The Volunteering Horse: Training without Pressure

ClickerExpo 2017 - Peggy Hogan - Clip -

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It’s the reality with horse training and horse ownership—we need to ask a horse to move its body in many ways, both on the ground and in the saddle. We need to teach the horses to move forward, backward, toward us, away from us, and to move the front legs, the hind legs, and a combination of both.

Traditionally, these behaviors are taught using pressure. Peggy Hogan will demonstrate techniques for teaching movement using shaping, capturing, and targeting. Even complex movements can be shaped and trained without pressure. Once learned, movements established on the ground can be cued visually or verbally, or transferred to tactile cues, such as hand touches and lead-rope directions.

Conventional training under saddle involves teaching horses to respond to pressure from reins, legs, and weight by moving away from the pressure to remove discomfort. In training without pressure, the transfer to working under saddle is accomplished by transferring the ground cues to contact cues from legs, weight, and reins—cues that carry the same information as the conventional signals.

Instead of increasing pressure to produce movement from avoidance, learn to communicate with your horse about movement verbally or through learned contact cues. You’ll have a willing horse, offering behavior instead of resisting.

Total run time: 47 minutes