The feature photo was caught on video last week. I was taking Magnum back into his stable – for whatever reason, something spooked him. I’m glad I wasn’t in the firing line! For all the layers we have added over the years, sometimes the wild horse pops up again. It’s a reminder to never assume anything!
Now, let’s talk about problems!……Oh – do we REALLY have to? I think we do! It will help us overall to get a better idea about what it means to be a clicker trainer.
First we will start with problem horses…. are there really problem horses? Let’s say there are horses that may test your patience! They are only a problem because you both need to live in each other’s worlds.
A clicker trainer has great patience. But the patience can be tested. This is where it’s good to get help. Of course the difficulty is that there aren’t that many clicker trainers – but help is out there. Thank goodness we have the internet!
We can gather together and discuss problems. We can take part in clinics (of course via Zoom at present!) – and we can feel supported.
As I follow Alexandra Kurland’s work, I’ve got to know many people in her network. I first attended an event in 2014, and it has been absolutely inspiring! There are many very knowledgeable and talented people and I’ve been so fortunate to meet so many. It helped enormously with Magnum in particular – and sometimes it may not have been technical help – but just something they said. I will forever be grateful!
So, I’d suggest you all seek out others. When clicker trainers have a problem, we need the support of other clicker trainers………..
as long as it is positive support………
Sadly, like any type of interest group, there are people with very strong ideas, who may be great with their animals, but not so good with other people.
For example, if you have a problem, and you are getting a response that is harsh or critical, you aren’t in the right place. Find someone who also understands how to treat humans!
Right – that’s the problem horses sorted – now let’s talk about problem people! Add to that – problem environments.
I hear a lot from my friends, mainly the ones on the other side of the world, who have all sorts of problems because they board their horses. The boarding barns may impose strict rules – or the other people at the barns may be very critical.
I can’t begin to imagine how hard this is! I’m fortunate to have my horses with me 24/7! All I can say is, when in the minority, you need strong backing!
That backing can come from the clicker community – or even a supportive friend or partner. It can also come from an image!
I’ve written about my time at the natural horsemanship group. I was so very nervous about clicker training. But no one criticised me – they were all welcoming! However, doubts would creep in. I would see them with their horses and wonder if I was doing the right thing. So I carry an image in my mind.
I carry an image of Magnum – the horse from the wilds who no one could get close to – and I think of our clicker journey. There is nothing better than knowing you have improved the quality of life of an animal – and he in turn has improved mine!
He has given me confidence in all sorts of areas – an unexpected bonus. And we still have fun together!
So I carry Magnum with me – more to keep my own mind on track. You can do the same. Think of a clicker success – it may be the smallest moment – it may be the blink of an eye that you have never seen before, or your horse touching a target. Hang onto that image when you are lacking confidence – or if you venture into not so friendly areas.
Images are powerful. Take lots of photos! It will help you to see where you started and the progress you have made.
Well, that’s all I’m going to say about problems for now – we just need to find a way to encourage ourselves when the going gets tough!
Until next time!
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