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From the Horse’s Mouth

By Dr. Lisel O’Dwyer

© Can Stock Photo/sonyae

Since I began clicker training, I have observed horse owners have a few misconceptions about clicker training, such as:
• Hand feeding is dangerous, making the horse mouthy
Clicker training is the best way to deal with a mouthy horse because it clarifies the expectations the handler has for the horse’s taking food.
• What happens if I don’t have a clicker with me? Or I don’t want to carry a clicker and treats with me when I am riding. Or I want my horse to do as he is told, not because he might get a treat
I demonstrate treat delivery to the horse from the saddle and the horse and handler equally extend head and hand to exchange the treat. Horses gain extra lateral stretching and become more supple using treat delivery from the saddle. For those occasions when food is unavailable, a horse can be rewarded with scratching on the withers, or in the shoulders area. The horse can only receive the treats when he is standing motionless, so the treat delivery develops a solid stop and more opportunities to practice transitions between gaits. Read more.


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