Clicker Training Case Study: Healing a Wild Stallion

In 2010, Jen Digate adopted a traumatized, fifteen-year-old mustang. Tarot had been gathered from the wild as a mature stallion, having spent his entire life solely in the company of other horses. Each year of captivity, for six years, he went through one new home, until that home decided he was too difficult to handle. For his seventh home, he landed with Jen.

Armed with the science of positive reinforcement, open expectations, and a video camera, Jen began the slow and patient work of teaching Tarot that humans could be reliable and that training could be reinforcing. Watch video of Tarot from his first training sessions to his most recent and see how clicker training made a new life possible for him. This Session will include detailed explanations of core training principles and a deep look into LIMA (least intrusive, minimally aversive)—as both a philosophy AND a practice.

Jen Digate

Her lifelong passion for horses has inspired Jen Digate to reimagine the horse-human bond, and explore both the myth and legend of these magical creatures. Through a blend of behavioral science, practical experience, and positive reinforcement methods, Jen strives to build a collaborative relationship with her horses. She believes in building choice, clear criteria, and barometer behaviors into the structure of her training sessions.

Jen specializes in introducing untamed mustangs to domesticated life, including exposure to husbandry and vet care; exploring the intricacies of balance and healthy biomechanics to promote soundness, beauty, and longevity for all horses; foal training; and helping fearful, anxious, and mistreated horses learn to trust humans and enjoy the game of training.

Jen has been training horses and dogs for 15 years, and holds a Certification for Behavior Consultants - Canine (CBCC-KA). She offers both in-home behavior modification consultations for dogs and group classes through her business, Wild Canine. Jen also holds foundation-level clicker training clinics at Idle Moon Farm in southeastern Wisconsin, as well as clinics with Alexandra Kurland, with whom she has studied intensively for the last five years. Jen offers individual coaching sessions for humans and their horses both through her own business, Spellbound, and as a coach for Alexandra Kurland's online course.