Scroll down to see the Introduction, and Lessons 1 and 2.

An Introduction To Clicker Training


The first DVD in

This one hour video is a superb introduction to clicker training. In addition to showing you how to introduce your own horse to the clicker, this video shows you how to use the clicker to:

* Work with young foals

* Accept clippers

* Handle aggressive horses

* Safely encounter spooky objects out on the trail

* Work with fearful, timid horses

* Teach great tricks


All this plus the video introduces you to Panda as she is in training to be a guide for the blind.

Give it as a gift.

This video is a great way to share clicker training with all your friends.


People often skip the Introduction to Clicker Training DVD.  They skip ahead into Lesson 1 thinking the two videos cover the same material.  While it is true both DVDs show video of horses having their first clicker sessions, the DVDs do not overlap in their content. I made the Introduction to Clicker Training DVD to give people an overall look at clicker training and to show them all the practical, every day handling applications that it has.


Every time I go back and review this DVD I am reminded about all the great video that is on it.  It's a great DVD to accompany the Step-By-Step Guide in Pictures.  Many of the practical applications are illustrated in this DVD, and I do not return to them in the lesson series.


You'll see how to help horses overcome their fear of clippers and other scary objects.  You'll see how to combine advance and retreat handling techniques with the clicker to work with young foals and fearful horses.  You'll see how to use the clicker out on the trail, especially when you encounter scary "goblins".  You'll see some fun tricks.  And you'll see how to work with aggressive horses.  You'll also see some great footage of Panda's early training as she learns the skills she'll need to be a guide for the blind.


I know budgets can be tight, but my recommendation would be to include this DVD in your clicker library.


Alexandra Kurland


This DVD was first produced in 2002

Scroll down to see Lessons 1 and 2.

This DVD includes the original two hour VHS video lesson: "Getting Started with the Clicker" plus a one hour bonus video; "The Six Foundation Lessons of Clicker Training."


Lesson One focuses on clicker training basics: Introducing your horse to the clicker and the key foundation lessons that create safe, polite horses.

Learn how to get started with the clicker:


With a good foundation you can teach your horse anything you want!

From Tricks...

To good ground manners...

To Performance

under saddle.

With clicker

training, you

can do it ALL!!

"Lesson 1: Getting Started with the Clicker" is a three hour presentation packed full of information. The main focus of this tape is the very beginning step of clicker training: teaching the horse what the clicker means and establishing polite manners around the food, but it contains so much more than just that.


The DVD contains the original two hour video "Lesson 1: Getting Started with the Clicker". The first part is a special treat for those of you who read my book, "Clicker Training for your Horse". I know for many people the story of the aggressive thoroughbred mare, Fig, was their favorite part of the book. People ask after her all the time, so I included her in this video.


When I first met Fig, she was a total nightmare to be around. She was an aggressive biter and kicker. You couldn't tie her. She didn't lead. You couldn't groom her or pick out her feet. You name it, and she had every bad habit in the book. Under saddle she was just as difficult. She'd rear, spook, spin, and buck. She was a totally dangerous, out-of-control horse.


The second hour focuses on the first step in clicker training: introducing the horse to the clicker and getting control of the treats. I address some of the common problems people sometimes encounter in this early stage. Often people are starting with horses who come to the training with a lot of baggage. These horses never really learned how to learn, and their emotional control is fragile at best. They have no tolerance for mistakes. They frustrate easily. They get pushy around food, or they become angry when they can't figure out how to get their human vending machine to work.


Their owners often compound the problem by being unclear in their requests or inconsistent in their timing. The video shows you the little details that can make a huge difference to your horse. Even people who are well past this stage in clicker training will enjoy watching this segment. It drives home the importance of good mechanical skills and timing.


This video lesson gives you a great start on clicker training. It shows you the details you need to be successful with your own horse. As I said, I want to make this series as close as I can to a one-on-one private lesson with you. Think of it as though I were coming out to your barn every week to work with you and your horse. In our first session together we'll be introducing your horse to the clicker. In the weeks that follow we'll move on to other lessons such as basic ground manners and head lowering.


The new DVD contains an additional one hour video: "The Six Foundation Lessons of Clicker Training". This video is designed to accompany the books "The Click That Teaches: A Step-By-Step Guide in Pictures" and "The Click That Teaches: Riding with the Clicker."

This DVD was first produced in 1999.


Come have a private lesson with Alexandra Kurland in this two hour introduction to lunging and lateral work.


  Topics covered:


           Pressure as a communication tool


           Basic Leading: Foal handling and Ground Manners

           The “Duct Tape" lesson

           Putting an End to crowding: Lunging and Lateral Work

           Understanding Balance


Does your horse barge over the top of you? Fidget and dance when you groom him? Spook at his own shadow? “Lesson 2: Ground Manners" shows you how to solve these and other common ground problems. In the process you’ll be laying the foundation for upper-level performance work.


“Lesson 2" shows how to teach basic leading and handling skills using the clicker, including:



     Ground Tying


     Lateral Work 


These fundamental ground skills are the foundation of emotional control and performance in your horse. The video uses freeze frame, and slow motion footage to highlight the details you’ll need to be successful with your horse. Whether your horse is a juvenile delinquent or a solid citizen, the lessons on this tape show you a gentle way to reach your training goals.

In the booklet, “Getting Started, Clicker Training for Horses", I describe three exercises, targeting, head lowering, and backing, which are the basic building blocks that I teach to all clicker-trained horses.


   Targeting introduces the horse to the basic concept of the clicker: behavior leads to click, click leads to rewards. Touch a cone, and all of a sudden your human turns into a giant vending machine! Targeting is the main focus of the first video.


   Backing expands the clicker concept for the horse, and helps put an end to mugging behavior. Nudging you is not the way to unlock the “vending machine". Yielding to pressure and moving away from you is. That means that built into the foundation of clicker training is respect of space. You must have that for safety. You also need it for upper-level performance work. This is the focus of Lesson 2: Ground Manners.


   Head lowering is the third important building block because it creates trust and relaxation. This is the mental state in which your horse is going to do his best learning. This is the focus of Lesson 3: Head Lowering: Your Calm-Down Cue.


Lesson 2 begins with a discussion of negative reinforcement: what it is and what role it plays in horse training in general, and clicker training in particular. The video shows you how to take the horse training skills you already know and combine them with clicker training. That’s one of the great strengths of clicker training: it piggy backs so well onto other training methods. You don’t have to throw away everything you have already learned about horse training. You take the best of what you know and combine it with clicker training to make it even better.


Clicker training makes use of two powerful training shortcuts. The first is targeting. The second is negative reinforcement, or more simply put, pressure and release of pressure. This later is something that all horse training, no matter how gentle or harsh, has in common. Pressure and release of pressure is the way we communicate with horses. When you take the slack out of a lead or a rein to ask for a turn, you are using pressure. When you add leg, or shift your weight in the saddle to signal a change of gait, you are using pressure.


Pressure is our universal language. To be safe around horses, they need to learn to move away from pressure. The question is not whether we make this part of our training, but HOW we teach it to the horse. In clicker training pressure becomes information the horse uses to get to his reward faster. From his point of view he is just playing the children’s game of “hot and cold" Pressure is not meant to intimidate or cause pain.


Lesson 2 shows you how to introduce the concept of moving away from pressure to your horse. It begins with a very simple exercise which is particularly useful for pushy, bargy horses: backing in a stall or small paddock.


The purpose of this lesson is twofold: to teach your horse to move away from pressure and to teach him how to maneuver his body in tight, trappy spaces. This later piece connects the turning of his hips to you and gives you control of his feet.


When a horse is first asked to back near a wall, many horses will feel stuck. They don’t realize that they can just swing their hindquarters over and continue to back. Instead the only options they see are either barging forward over their handler, or planting their feet and growing roots.


Through this very simple exercise we are teaching the horse to be more aware of his whole body. As he learns to swing his hips to the side and back out of your space, click!, good things happen. All the pressure goes away AND he gets a treat. In addition to learning an important physical skill, he’s also learning emotional control and relaxation.


In addition to learning an important physical skill, he’s going to be learning emotional control and relaxation. He’s going to discover that turning into a freight train and barging over the top of you isn’t the only solution available to him. When he finds himself in a tight, trappy situation, instead of panicking or freezing, he can look to you for guidance to help him out.


Working in a stall or small paddock helps a horse learn how to maneuver his body, and it also helps the handler learn how to set his horse up for success. The video uses slow motion and freeze frame footage to teach the mechanical skills needed for this lesson. It highlights a fundamental handling skill which is one of the key building blocks for many critical ground exercises, including head lowering and lateral work.


From backing in a stall the video lesson progresses to basic leading. Here I let Max, a three month old Friesian colt, and his owner teach the lesson. Backing, moving the hips and shoulders, yielding softly to pressure on a lead, and the beginnings of ground tying are illustrated clearly by this youngster.


The second half of the tape extends the concept of moving away from pressure to teach the beginnings of lateral work. I use my young horse, Robin, a Cleveland Bay cross, to illustrate how you can focus on individual parts of the horse and get them yielding to you. This “duct tape" lesson, as I refer to it, is the cornerstone in the development of both basic control and all upper-level performance work. The video shows you how you can take a basic “move away from pressure" lesson and combine it with the clicker to produce an incredibly light, and responsive horse. This is the beginning of the development of a beautiful, elegant carriage that has become the hallmark of our clicker- trained horses.


It’s all well and good to watch a trained horse perform, but it’s often much more useful to see how you work with a horse who doesn’t know anything about lateral work. In the final section of the tape, you get to watch our Icelandic stallion, Sindri, in his second in-hand clicker training session. Sindri began this lesson by crowding in on me and wrapping his body around mine. Never mind lateral work, just walking a straight line with him was our first goal. Sindri’s eagerness to be right there next to you made this almost impossible. The solution was systematically to teach him to move his hips and shoulders away from pressure. The result was the beginning of lateral work and lunging.


When we taped this session, I was not wearing a microphone, so the sound quality is not as sharp as I would like it to be. However, it was such a good visual, I felt it was important to include this footage with the rest of the lesson. This part of the lesson is especially for all of you who have felt totally left out when you have listened to an experienced horse person describing a horse’s movement. If you have trouble seeing what they are talking about, you will really appreciate the slow motion segments in this tape.


From lunging to lateral work you’ll learn how to ask a horse to carry himself in balance instead of crowding into you. Through slow motion and freeze frame footage, I highlight the important mechanical skills you’ll need for this lesson, and the responses you can expect from your horse. In addition to a basic clicker lesson, you’ll be training your eye to see and understand the balance shifts that help a horse perform at his best.

This DVD was first produced in 2000

Scroll down to see Lesson 2.

© Alexandra Kurland - The Clicker Center

Questions? Email kurlanda@crisny.org

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