Safety in Numbers: Working with Multiple Horses

An environment with multiple horses (or people) is a safety concern for trainers who are using food to train their horses. When you begin to clicker train a horse, the recommendation is to distance yourself from the horse, using protected contact as basic skills are established. Protected contact keeps trainers safe in the initial phase of training.

One of the joys of clicker training is how the quality of the mutual bond with the horse can improve. Human trainers become VERY important to the horses. This relationship can open the door to a situation where the horse becomes animated and assertive; the horse may step into your space when another horse is present, or even when other humans are present. Not only can this be disconcerting to a beginning clicker trainer, but it can be dangerous. Feeding in a herd situation may even escalate the behavior.

In this Session, you will learn how to shape and offer several behaviors that are designed to allow the horse a choice, all of which are considered safe for a handler with food. Video and lecture material will help you identify expanded herd dynamics, feeding protocols, general-management techniques, and a variety of training behaviors that can make your daily work with multiples safe.

Once you have some basic safety behaviors in place, working with multiples can be fun and rewarding. In this Session, you will also see some possibilities for fun behaviors with multiple horses!

Please note: This Session was recorded in 2017; content presented in 2018 may vary slightly.

Peggy Hogan

Through her business, The Best Whisper is a Click, Peggy Hogan has traveled internationally providing clicker training clinics and lectures; she also leads online courses.

A horse-lover since the age of three, when her sister put her on a pay-per-lap pony ride, Peggy loves all animals and has a passion for training. Her training background is varied, and she has studied techniques that range from natural horsemanship to classical dressage, having immersed herself in the teachings of Peggy Cummings, founder of Connected Riding. In the late 90s, with inspiration from Alexandra Kurland, Peggy fully embraced clicker training and positive reinforcement.

Learning from clicker trainers of other species, Peggy has investigated ways to add more shaping, capturing, luring, and targeting to her clicker training for horses program. She explains and demonstrates that horses will offer complex behaviors freely if given the choice—behaviors that range from riding to horse agility to freestyle to medical procedures. Peggy has also worked with clicker training techniques successfully in the area of horse rescue. Peggy has a master’s degree in psychology. A speaker at ClickerExpo conferences since 2013, she lives with her husband and seven horses.