Sunday, June 20, 2010

Imagine a horse and hours of clicker training

We went to an exhibition at Imagine a Horse. I've seen a video of the work they do with horses, and it was fun to see them doing all this work in person.

I appreciate that Allen came to horses late in life, and didn't get started with this level of training until he was in his 40s.

Now look at what he can accomplish:

One horse moving the ball with such control that he can roll it between two other horses that stand still for it. He says they like playing with the ball so much that they don't even need a cookie reward.

When he demonstrated this trick for the pre-med/vet students, they said that they didn't think that horses could do this kind of thing - roll a ball in a certain direction because it required a level of anticipatory thinking they didn't think they were capable of.

Allen makes no assumptions about what their minds can do.

They learn sitting this way as foals.

What's really remarkable is what I can't capture in a photo - he gives them such complex things to do - one horse will trot a figure eight between two horses who are both turning on their little pedestals.

One of the horses even did a trick on his own. He showed one horse putting a ball in a bucket, then as he was talking to the crowd the bay went to the bucket, removed the ball, put it on the ground, then worked to get it back in the bucket. Allen says the horses will do this, make up their own tricks or try to take over the spotlight.

Taking a bow. They have great training videos and do exhibitions all over. You can find out more on their website.

Now I'm off to not follow doctor's orders for a few hours. :)


Crystal said...

Wow, I can only imagine the amount of time that would have taken. Amazing what a horse can do if you will help them learn.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...


Melanie said...

Love it!!!! And I am glad to see that you and Cibolo are working together as a team. : )
It just took a little time, right?
Kudos to you for sticking with it...

KIM said...

Clicker training literally changed Red's life. He used to be very reserved and "inside his own head." Learning he can be involved in training instead of the "victim" mode a light bulb go off in his head and his entire attitude changed form obliging and dull to "What are we doing today? Come play with me!"

Riding is different, too. He listens more instead of going into "let's get this over with" mode.

Now tell me, why does he have them sit on a ball? Is that good for stretching their backs or it more like a "time-out?'