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Aug 20 SMART Clinic a Smash Success

Wow! So many cool light bulb moments for our horses and participants this past Saturday.

Just read what one of the Intro to Clicker Training Group Class participants sent us after attending with her son:

Mon, Aug 22, 2016

Hi Emily and Lauren,

I wanted to give you some feedback after the Clicker Seminar with Lauren. Our son, [name removed for privacy], and I started working with our horses on Sunday and continued today. We are just beginning to shape their behavior at this point. We have them touch an object with their nose – tarp, bucket, crate, disk, halter, grooming brush, etc. and reward them with the clicker and a treat. They are learning quickly and today, the spookier of the two horses walked right up to every new and strange object without hesitation, put her nose right on it, and never showed any signs of fear. She was seeking out new opportunities to be rewarded. On both days, we had a lot of licking and chewing as the lessons progressed.

As you may have noticed, [name removed for privacy] is on the autistic spectrum. He has gained confidence working with the clicker with the horses and I was quite proud of his work with them. The clicker training is a good technique for him. On the way home, I asked him to get me a bottle of water out of the cooler in the back seat. He leaned back, got it out, held it toward me, then clicked his clicker as he handed it to me. I was tickled!

I ordered Shawna’s book and her tool with the pool float on it. I also ordered and just received, “Don’t Shoot the Dog”. I have some busy days ahead of me to read, absorb, and process this information.

Thank you again for a wonderful seminar. We look forward to the “200” level in September.

All bests,

~[name removed for privacy]

Intro To Clicker Training Group Class: If you’re interested in attending this class, it’s $20 for general public and $10 for Village members. It’s scheduled for 1:30 to 3:30 on Sept 10, visit our Summer Calendar page to sign up. This Intro Class is great if you have never done any clicker training with horses before. Drinks and treats provided.


200 Level SMART Class: For those feeling like they’re ready to dive deeper into positive reinforcement (like the author of the letter above), Lauren will do a SMART “200 Level” Group Class 9am to 10:30am on Sept 10. The lecture will be inside where it’s cool, the live demo will be in the indoor arena, and we may regroup to the lounge for finishing Q&A. Coffee and treats provided!

The 200 Level Class will include the following components which strengthen and make behaviors usable:

  • Stimulus Control

  • How to name cues

  • When to start a variable schedule of reinforcement

60 minute Privates: If you would like to stay for a private lesson after the 200 Level Class ends, you can! Or stay and audit, it’s only $5/hour to audit the privates. OR come for just a private, if you can’t make it to either class. One private will be at 10:30am and the other will be at 11:30am, both will be a full 60min each. Lauren will work with you on whatever you would like, mounted, unmounted, your horse or ours.

See our Summer Calendar for all class times and payment options.

Things you can teach with SMART

Curious about what this “SMART” stuff can do? Here’s just a FEW things horses can learn to do with enthusiasm:

  • stand quietly in one spot

  • walk on lead politely, or even gracefully

  • pick up and hold feet up for hoof care

  • come when you call

  • self-load on a trailer

  • play fetch

  • play soccer

  • play piano

  • paint paintings

  • be curious about formerly scary things

  • jump with good form

  • lay down

  • calmly hold still for medical procedures (eye ointment, foot soaking, etc)

  • back away from a gate so you can take horses in/out

  • lift their back while you’re riding

  • respond instantly to “more forward” cue while you’re mounted or unmounted

  • respond instantly to “slow down” cue while you’re mounted or unmounted

  • respond instantly to change of gait cues while you’re mounted or unmounted

  • free lunge around you without equipment

  • ride with no bridle

  • lead with no halter

  • guide blind people (see this amazing story about Panda, the mini guiding eye)

  • …and obviously, so much more – in fact, if you have trained your horse to do something through positive reinforcement, tell us about it in the comments below, we would love to hear how you used your clicker!

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