“Horse Training Success” is running a training tips contest. We just submitted this entry:
I love all the posts that include training with treats! Do you know they actually funded a study in France which “scientifically proved” that horses learn faster when they receive food rewards? Hahaha, horsemen since the dawn of time could have told them that!
My tip brings even more impact to the power of treats. When a new horse first comes to the farm, we teach them a “bridge signal.” They learn to associate a clicking sound with a treat. More importantly they learn that whatever they are doing at the exact moment of the click is what they are getting rewarded for. This way, we can reward them “in the moment” no matter how far out of carrot range they are (great for liberty training or speed work.)
This has infinite applications! We have taught a horse who hated having his feet handled to stand in a bucket of warm water and epsom salts to soak out an abcess. We have taught rowdy youngster to quietly hold their hooves on a hoof stand so one person can trim their feet without needing a second handler. We made horses who refused to be dewormed look forward to the dewormer. We have taught flying lead changes to an off the track TB who would only take one lead, and curiosity and courage to a “chicken-heart” who spooked at anything and everything. The list is endless!
The photo shows a recent– and FUN–success. The mare in the photo is an off the track TB. We brought her to a medieval equestrian reenactment. In no time she accepted the flowing, jingling costumes, the swords and lances swinging around her head, the loud cracks of impact and flying targets–all through the power of associating the click for the right behavior with the treat that says “well done!”
Check out the contest and vote for our tip!