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

Jack exceeded all my wildest dreams tonight. It's as though, by giving him free choice and showing him total trust and confidence in his judgement (not that I had any real alternative), all the last mental blocks he had about working have fallen away. He hasn't needed to put his head down for days now, and tonight he was just falling over himself to please. When we are in walk I can feel him keeping himself ready to trot at the slightest hint from me, and his trot is now so forward that I would be tempted to slow him down slightly, if I wasn't so grateful for his enthusiasm.

I only ride him on the buckle to warm up and cool down now, and the rest of the time he is round, soft, and gorgeous. He feels so much more powerful and physically mature than Bella. Riding him has gone from being nail biting at some times and hard graft the rest of the time, to an absolute joy. I have never been more grateful to a horse than I was to him tonight, for the effort he's putting in and the changes he's made, and HE'S done it, all of his own accord. I've only shown him how to, he did the rest.

He is my hero, my best friend and my shining star. I am so lucky to have them both.

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