The point of clicker



Hia All,

Well i have some friends who do this clicker training stuff,and i have to say i do not get it.No offence to those that do it but i kinda think its for people with no imagination and cant train horses in any other way.All the horses ive come across who have had this form of training are not horses id wanna be around.All the people ive come across doing it dont seem to know any other way.The horses all seem to shut down and lose that spark.Its just a shell that takes pony nuts out your hand.

Just seems utterly pointless to me.What are your views on it?Do or dont?

Ive tried a few times on my own horses but they have just become horribly nippy and become bored fairly quickly.

Why do those of you that use it,use it?What is so special about it?What is the point?

I hope nobody takes this the wrong way i am just fascinated as to why people use it and what it achieves.

Thankyou :)


Sexy Dressage Pony
May 7, 2003
On my horses back...
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i kinda think its for people with no imagination and cant train horses in any other way.All the horses ive come across who have had this form of training are not horses id wanna be around.All the people ive come across doing it dont seem to know any other way.The horses all seem to shut down and lose that spark.Its just a shell that takes pony nuts out your hand.

You havent met Captain Underpants drag you off your feet then. ;) No I dont know any other form of NH to be honest. I watched someone trying to train Captain manners by smacking him on the face with a carot stick once and thought about a life sentance. Decided to cancel next lesson instead. ;)

We do Clicker training once in a blue moon. Just to reiterate manners at certain times of the year. It works for us. In fact its been a god send. :)

If your horse becomes nippy it because you havent taught him the basic no1 lesson of no mugging tolerated.


New Member
Aug 27, 2002
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It sounds like they aren't doing it too well. I used it on Mia because she was a brat about having her feet handled, got her from kicking to playing nicely in one session and she enjoyed it. She'll do anything for clicks and really enjoys learning that way, she's much more enthusiastic to think about things and figure out what I want since learning CT. You do have to be very careful with timing clicks and insisting on good manners or it can go very wrong. I don't use CT for everything or even most things since there's no need, but it can be a good way to learn some things since the horses are very motivated to figure out what they need to do to get a click and they enjoy it.


I must admit id rather use the good old fashion ways of training horses although training Icys is abit different.

I did the mugging game etc...They just didnt get on with it.I used it on my mare to try and get abit more in the way of brakes but it didnt make the slightest bit of difference.

I guess its each to his own.What works for 1 may not work for another.

I agree that hitting a horse on the face with a "Carrot" stick isnt the way to go.That i also do not get.The whole Parelli thing being NH is to me an utter scam.Whats natrual about getting your horse to stand on a block of wood or do silly tricks.I expect ive just upset the apple cart in a big way so sorry!

It is interesting to learn about all forms of training and learning what i like and what i dont like.Its good to hear other people opions on it to.

I just dont get what is "Natrual" about some of it.The use of body language and round pens i do understand and i use but the rest just seems to me like some old man thinking of a way to make money.

Whats the general feel about it all? :)


My friends are really into it,perhaps a little to much as it is used for everything.

Mabey its just the way they do it that puts me off?!


Sexy Dressage Pony
May 7, 2003
On my horses back...
Visit site
I just dont get what is "Natrual" about some of it.The use of body language and round pens i do understand and i use but the rest just seems to me like some old man thinking of a way to make money.

Whats the general feel about it all? :)

I generally feel that people should be sensible using any form of training. Whether it be NH, Clicker or old fashioned. :)


I agree.

Have you heard of this Pony Boy man?Ive heard his name but know nothing about anything he does!


New Member
Nov 12, 2007
South Africa
Do you mean Gawani Pony Boy? I have his Horse Follow Closely book, but I must admit, I bought it more for the beautiful photos (by Gabrielle Boiselle) than the training techniques! His training methods are based on native american methods - basically similar to a lot of other NH practices: about making the horse see you as a leader/friend instead of as a threat/authority figure. Might be worth a look if you're interested, though.


New Member
Aug 10, 2008
I'll agree with you on this one. I tried it on Skye and it did not work at all. She did not understand and her training only went backwards.

But I've heard stories on NR that give me some faith in clicker training, it really depends on the horse.


New Member
Oct 5, 2005
New Zealand
I've tried it just for an experiment and because I think it's hard to have an opinion on it if you haven't, but I still have no opinion because every time I clicked, my horse shot off or freaked out, probably thought it was a leccy fence shorting or something:confused: I guess we did something wrong...
I think being anti any method of training only really serves to limit your options when you come to a problem(although I obviously have preferences based on experiences I've had), and anything that doesn't cause anyone to get hurt and resolves the issue can only be a good thing.
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New Member
Aug 25, 2008
I've great success over the years with clicker training, i have been teaching my young pony many things of late, he now walks over large pieces of plastic sheeting, he's holds the sheeting and shakes it about, i can completely cover his body with it, he does'nt care at all.
I believe the clicker has worked because he was so scared, it has given him so much confidence, we also had a BIG nappy problem, the clicker has got us through it.
I agree not all the training methods suits everyone, you just have to do whats suits you best. :D

Skippys Mum

New Member
Nov 25, 2007
To say its for people with no imagination is a sweeping statement that is obnoxious to say the least.

I was introduced to CT by Capalldubh from here and it has helped my youngster no end. Once he sussed the basic no mugging game he was quick and keen to learn other tricks.

I dont use it exclusively but it got us through a period in time where he wasnt responding to normal training methods due to problems with his teeth etc caused by his age. It got him out working with me again and got him used to doing what I wanted - willingly and happily. This attitude has transferred into ridden work and he is coming on a treat although I do very little CT. Just enough to keep him keen and happy.

When he sees the clicker he knows its fun time and he looks forward to it.

If your horse has become nippy and bored you are doing it wrong. It requires skillful timing and perhaps both you and those around you who are doing it with shut down horses are not capable enough for it. As you said though - no offence to those who cant do it:).


New Member
I think from what you say about clicker training you don't really know very much about it.

It can be a very poweful tool when used correctly and can help to train anything, not as a substitute but rather as an add on.

If you don't 'get it' then why not learn about it properly? Look up Alex Kurland, read her books and get educated. Or were you just trying to be contraversial and start an argument?


Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2003
Ive just started clicker training with my yearling, she is very resistant to picking up her back feet, and good luck to anyone who tries 'good old fashioned' techniques with her, I tried a holding on her her foot and she nearly broke my arm a few times and kicked me in the head.

With the clicker she went from trying to kick me in the head to holding her foot nicely and having it picked out and the rasp on it in one session (about 15/20 mins).

Clicker training is all about timing, if you haven't got very good timing, then the horses won't 'get it'.

Some horses just don't like it though, like with any method of training, I have my yearling and another who would do a back flip for the clicker, try 'traditional' methods on them and you would be lying on your back within the minute.
The others are slightly easier with it, they get it but not overly fussed, and then Mr Shay did not like it at all, I tried some clicker target training with him and he got very stressed and didn't realize why he couldn't just have the treat, he grabbed my target stick from me and threw it on the floor:eek: (He's a bit of a diva :rolleyes:).He is not the sort of horse that goes for 'mastery' either, so anything that tells him what to do he will think of ways to get out of it, usually dragging you across the floor, thankfully my own style of training works well with him, its all about compromise, and he really seems to be blossoming with it.


I actually went on a course with Alex about 2 years ago and it was very interesting.I dont think there are any right or wrong ways to train a horse.Ifit works and the horse is happy then its great.I tried it on my 4 year old and everytime i clicked he ran a mile.I guess it depends on the horse and the person doing the training.

I know it can be a very powerful tool and at times can be hugely usefull however it seems to me that once you start it and do it all the time you cannot get out of it.If you dont do it wouldnt the horse get very frustrated and problems arise very quickly?

I do know a fair bit about it from my friends but yet it dosent make me run to get a clicker and start doing it.To me and no offence to anyone,it just seems like the easy route to solving problems.You cant think of any other way so using treats is the answer.What happens though if sell the horse you've clicker trained to a person who dosent clicker train.Will the horse revert to its old ways?Or become nippy and nasty due to the lack of clicker training.

Each to there own as ive said before but dont there become problems when horses are sold on?Or you suddenly want to try something else? :)


I tried clicker training on a little rescue mare once...and never again. The reaction I got from her was horrific, she was shaking and scared, just shut herself down completly.

Now I wasnt using a real clicker (ball point pen :p) but I understand the basic principles, and many people had suggested to me to give it a go with her, what a difference is makes with a rescue horse etc so I felt enough pressure to try it.

However I immediatley went back to a standard way of treats for good behaviour, voice and body language the rest, building up expectations and I now look after one very happy pony who asks for a kiss instead of a treat and is confident and cheeky.

I'm sure a lot of her reaction was to do with the abuse, but I will never risk getting that reaction ut of any horse ever again, it was just dreadful. It's the traditional way for me I'm afraid.


New Member
Mar 13, 2007
I am a huge fan of CT. Done properly, it can work wonders, but there is lots of capacity to do it wrong if your timing is off. I don't CT every week, I don't always use treats - 4yo newly gelded boy can get a bit pushy around food! But he understands that the click (or "cluck" sound I make with my tongue) means that he has done well and can get a reward - maybe food, but he will accept a stratch and fuss instead.

I don't use it to the exclusion of all other methods, it's just part of my toolbox. I certainly don't think it's for those with no imagination - have you ever tried to solve a problem using clicker? You have to think outside the box, break things down into small stages and think about how you can communicate with the horse. I don't think of it as the easy way, just a way that helps me shape the behaviour with the click and get the horse thinking about how to earn another reward.

And as for going to a new owner who doesn't CT - do your friends really CT every single day? I just use it now and again for helping to keep focus and concentration when introducing neddie to new things. And for in hand work so I can mark the instant when he uses his body correctly. I regularly hand him over to my instructor for in hand work too and she gets great results without clicker, so no, I don't think there will be a problem.


Yes i can undertsand how it may be helpfull however lets say you had a very nervous horse that everytime you tried to touch it,it freaks out.And you couldnt use a clicker with it.How would you teach it to trust people and learn things arnt so scary?

My friends use it everyday with every horse for everything.Im not joking!It drives me insane if im honest.

Thats why im in the opinion that its training for people without an imagination.Take away the clicker and they couldnt train horses.They depend on this thing for everything right down to going for a hack.

Now used now and again i can get but all the time.Firstly it would bore me to tears.Doing the same thing,getting the same reactions.Also how do you ever learn anything if you use it all the time.All the horses ive seen trained with this method have behaved in the same way.

Also the things its used to teach is sometimes a little odd.Most people who use it seem to use it for things like loading a horse or manners etc...

However when i went on the course with Alex i was appauled at the mini she turned into a guide horse.It lived in this womens garage was taught to poo on command all kinds of things.Now i really do think that is very very wrong.

I may have the wrong end of the stick but for a so called animal lover to do that.Really does make me question if i want to have anything to do with her training methods.

Has anyone else seen this?What did you think? :)
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