Video on Demand by Karen Pryor Clicker Training |

Riding with the Clicker

For many riding with the clicker seems mysterious. How do you deliver treats? What do you click? Doesn’t your horse have to stop to get his treat? How is that going to work? You click when he’s cantering, and suddenly he’s slamming on the brakes. How can that be right?

Clicker training is all about breaking our lessons down into small steps. Every time you click the clicker you are creating a step in the training. On the ground those steps are often easy to understand. You want to teach your foot-mover of a horse to stand still next to a mounting block. You can see all the preliminary lessons you need to teach him before you ever take him near a mounting block. It’s easy to click and hand him a treat. You’ve taught that lesson well, and you’re ready to put your foot in the stirrup and climb aboard. You want to take clicker training along for the ride. How do you do that?

This program will look at the universals of riding and how to teach them using the clicker. This crosses all riding disciplines. It doesn’t matter if you ride english or western; if your dream is to ride in a dressage arena or on back country trails, there are basics we need ALL of our horses to understand. Remember the very first lessons a beginning rider is taught? This is how you ask your horse to go. This is how you stop him, and this is how you turn.

Stopping, starting, turning, moving in balance: those are the universals. What separates a novice horse from an advanced performer is how well he responds to those basic requests. So in this program we’re going to tease apart the universals of riding. We’ll see how to introduce them to a horse and how to develop them into performance excellence. Again, this is independent of riding discipline. We’ll be looking at the overall structure of using clicker training to build performance under saddle.

(Does this mean this program is only for riders? Not at all. If you are interested in how to break a complex behavior into its component parts, and then how to teach those parts separately so you can recombine them to create performance excellence, this program is for you even if you never intend to put your foot in a stirrup.)

Please note: This Session was recorded in 2019; content presented in 2020 may vary slightly. 

Alexandra Kurland

Alexandra Kurland is a graduate of Cornell University where she specialized in animal behavior. She began teaching in the early 1980s. Her area of particular interest is the development of a horse’s balance: physical and emotional. Helping horses stay sound throughout a long lifetime is the goal. The result are beautiful horses that feel like heaven to ride.

In 1998, Alexandra launched the rapidly growing field of clicker training for horses with the publication of her first book, Clicker Training for Your Horse. She teaches clicker training geared to any horse need or sport—including developing a gentle and companionable riding horse, halter-training foals, training advanced performance horses, and reforming difficult and unmanageable horses. Alexandra travels widely, presenting clicker training seminars in the US, the UK, and Europe.

Alexandra has written The Click That Teaches: A Step–By–Step Guide in Pictures and has also produced The Click That Teaches DVD lesson series and an online course. People outside the horse community may know her best through her weekly Equiosity podcast.