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


Thursday, 20 November 2008

I'm really, really excited today! My new Click that Teaches DVDs arrived at last (customs got me this time and I had to pay an extra £16.57!). That's 'Capture the Saddle', 'Riding on a Triangle ' and 'Helen House Horse', lessons 11, 12 and 13. I especially can't wait to see Oliver again (who I fell in love with on the 'Shaping to a Point of Contact' DVD) now that he is all grown up!

Now I just have to find 6 spare hours to watch them!!!!!!!


  1. Thanks for your answer. I find it fascinating the somany transitions.
    But don't you find disrupting?

    It is something I notice on one of your video. Do you never get in a "zone" whn the horse keeps the pace relaxing into the rythm.

    One of my instructors was an endurance rider, and she used to get us into a "rythm" which must have been natural for the horse, it is very relaxing.

    Do you do that?

  2. I do when riding out but not when schooling. I'm going for balance before movement, and then clicking, hopefully, before we start to lose that balance. I do go for more duration now, than in that very early video, with movements that are well established, but if I am going to click them, then I have to try to click the best of the movement.

    It did feel very strange to begin with, because I used to be one of those riders who trotted around for half an hour trying to get balance through movement, but that seems like such hard work now, for me and for the horse, and so hit and miss.

    It CAN still be quite hard, to click and end something lovely, like when Bella starts to offer some passage, but I KNOW that this is the way to make sure that I DO get more of it, and that she's happy to volunteer more of it, which she probably wouldn't be nearly so keen to do if we didn't stop before it became really hard work.

    The frequent transitions are also making real improvements in my riding too, because I find that if I can ride the transition well, the rest is easy, and I get a LOT of practise at riding transitions!!!!

    Of course there are many roads to Rome (as Hilary would say, if she's reading this!) but, for me, this is the easy, most successful, least physically stressful and most fun way for me and for my horses.


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