Yes – I should have talked about this first! Anyway – we will talk now!
Clicker trainers stay safe. When they start with a horse, they use protective contact. A horse can have an excitable reaction to clicker training and they need to go through a teaching process to learn about the clicker being the marker for a ”yes” answer to the puzzle. They then learn that the reinforcer is coming after they hear the click!
It’s a good idea to start with a barrier between you. Then if you feel all is going well, you can get closer.
This theme flows throughout clicker training. It’s not about being brave or daring – it’s about observing where you are up to, and how the horse is reacting. Any time the horse is showing signs of having a problem, it’s time to review what you are doing.
This keeps you safe and the learning process at the correct pace.
So it’s not heroic! You aren’t using your strength – and you aren’t riding out bucks (hopefully) or dodging bites or kicks (at least hopefully not for any length of time!)
Using your observation skills helps you to stay safe and keep your horse happy.
Of course there are times when you will lapse, and for me, I wrote about the time I came off Ducati, because I moved back into the fog. I ignored the warning signs and my own ‘wants’ took over. It ended badly and was a huge wake up call for me. You can read about it again here Part 136 – Riding Ducati – I’m On – Then I’m Off!
If you are still operating in the fog mindset, it can be a huge blow to the ego. I felt like such a failure. I didn’t know if I could continue.
When I was finally able to examine it, I realised I had not finished the ‘preparing to mount’ jigsaw puzzle – and I had also not taken note of what I had observed previously. I made an assumption. Ego dragged me forward, told me to forget about those things and just get on with it! Here is another blog to read if you haven’t read it. Part 144 – Horse Crash Investigation!
The whole staying safe theme flies in the face of the old horse conventional wisdom I was taught as a young child. It’s such a relief! How often did I feel that mixture of fear and excitement. Even when I used to regularly trail ride in my forties I felt that same feeling.
There was a fear of being hurt, and a fear of failure – not to mention a fear of the many horse teachers I came across. Everything was always quick and aggressive. How many of us can remember being screamed at by our riding instructor? There was always a sense of hurriedness. We had to hurry to get on our horses, and hurry up and fix them if they were acting out. We were urged to make them go – kick them harder, get after them with the whip, keep them going!
And now there is peace! It’s wonderful! Staying safe not only keeps you in good physical condition – it keeps you and your horse in good mental condition!
Until next time!
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