This is the story of my quest to train my three Dales Ponies for classical dressage, primarily by using Alexandra Kurland's clicker training methods, with a touch of others such as Philippe Karl and Anja Beran thrown in. I turned to clicker training because I had come up against some issues that I didn't know how to fix and because I wanted to inspire them to become enthusiatic partners. Bella and Jack are all my own work and have never been ridden by anyone else.

Bella, Grace and Jack

Bella aged 6

Bella aged 6

Treat Delivery

Jack aged 7


Monday, 10 November 2008

Bella and Jack had a very unusual joint day off today (I usually try to ride at least once every day, to keep my hips supple enough to cope with their widths) and had a whole day in the field, as it was overcast, so Fructan levels should have been low.

When I led Bella in she walked the whole way down in shoulder in! I don't mean just walking a bit fast and sideways - this was slow, balanced, correct, beautiful shoulder in, on the end of a leadrope hanging in a loop. She was looking at me out of the corner of her eye with her smug 'let's see you resist this then' look on her face.

Of course she was quite right and I couldn't resist, and had totally emptied my pockets by the time we got to the yard. The only trouble is I had her field mate in the other hand and had to treat him as well, after every click. I only had eyes for Bella, so goodness knows what I may have been reinforcing him for, but I may find out at a later date!!!

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I am a clicker training addict and there is no cure - thank goodness!!!