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

Riding Jack in the school I have kept to on the buckle riding for the whole time; no contact at all, except very occasionally picking up one rein for steering purposes. It has been very windy at times but he has kept his head low and remained calm and focussed throughout.

Then, yesterday, even though I still had no contact, he started to pick himself up and offer me some collection at times, even though it was VERY windy.

It seems as though, by showing him that I have, finally, understood his position and I am willing to do whatever it takes to keep him confident, he is finding the confidence to do what I was really after. Through my giving away any pretence of having him under my control, he is offering me real control, freely given. It's a lesson I won't forget in a hurry.

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