In 1993 when I went out to the barn clicker in hand to ask my horse what he thought about clicker training, there were no books to guide me. I was on my own. But I had a superb teacher. Peregrine and I worked our way through the beginning steps and in the process we discovered what an amazing communication tool the clicker is. It quickly evolved from a simple game to amuse my horse during a long layup to a comprehensive training program. I began to weave the clicker into all our training interactions. I reworked all the ground work I had taught Peregrine, all the work-in hand, the liberty training, the work on the lunge and long lines. When he was recovered from his lay up, I expanded the clicker into all his ridden work. We'd been doing okay before, but now! Clicker training opened up a world of possibilities that we're still exploring.
As I write this, Peregrine is now 26. Clicker training has been the central core of his working life for the past 18 years, and now it is plays an equally central role keeping him sound as we move forward into his mid-twenties.
My first clicker training book, "Clicker Training for your Horse" was published in 1996. It was edited by Karen Pryor and published by her company, Sunshine book. This was the first reference on clicker training horses. It has been followed by two more books and "The Click That Teaches" DVD lesson series. The books and DVDs are designed to compliment one another. They take you systematically through a very detailed and comprehensive training program.
The starting point is safety and good manners. If you are a novice horse owner these references will give you a great foundation on which to build your horse handling skills. The end point is "the sky is the limit!" Clicker training is a door opener. You'll understand what this means as you explore the details of these lessons.
People frequently email me asking which book or DVD they should start with. As you'll see, I've been busy these past eighteen years! It's become quite a library. And when you first look at the number of books and DVDs, it can feel quite overwhelming. But don't worry. I don't expect people to tackle all this material in one go. That's not how good training takes place.
What I recommend to people - even if you are an experienced trainer, or you are familiar with clicker training working with other species - is that you begin at the beginning and work your way systematically through the books and DVDs. Each lesson is built on the preceding material. You can skip around a bit, but if you find you aren't understanding some of the references or you don't understand why I am doing something a particular way, the answer may lie in the preceding lessons.
All of the lessons are very layered, so every time you go back through them you will find things in them that you didn't notice before. I've often had people comment to me that when they we rereading the books, they couldn't understand how I managed to download more text into their hard copies!
I've included detailed descriptions with each of the books and DVDs to help guide you through the references. And I've divided the DVDs into teaching units. That will help you to see how all the pieces fit together. You can also refer to the "What should I order?" reference page to help guide you through your selection.