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

I have just bought another Charles De Kunffy book, 'Dressage Questions Answered', and I read this with delight. He says:

“That is why the rider with feel may not sit as properly or elegantly as a competitor in the Olympic Games but may certainly make the horse happy. Often one can see (with delight) riders with improper skills (mushy abdomen, rounded shoulders, awful style) who make delightfully harmonious companions on their horses backs.” And he says that such riders “enjoy getting obedience from their horses by cajoling them and keeping things smooth”.

Perhaps he would think that the above would describe the way that I ride.

He also says;

“For the luxury of civilised riding is that success is measured in the horse’s terms, not the rider’s. Is the horse improved? Is he happy?” and “The horse that is happy is a giver! If you cannot tell stories about what your horse is doing for you, there is not much in the way of happiness to talk about.”

Well, no one could say that mine aren't givers!

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