Can you use clicker training while riding?
Yes! It is easy to incorporate clicker training into ridden work. Using clicker training while riding will help the horse become very calm, motivated, obedient and responsive. It will also really help with teaching the horse advanced performance work such as dressage, jumping, western riding or reining.
To use clicker training while riding we simply click when the horse does something well, we then stop and give the horse a treat.
It is easy to give the horse a treat from the saddle because the horse quickly learns to bend their neck around to get the treat out of our hand. This also helps to improve the horse’s flexion and suppleness.
Using clicker training while riding causes us to ride a lot of transitions because we are frequently stopping to give the horse a treat. Riding lots of transitions is a good thing! Most people don’t ride enough transitions. If you go and watch any top level rider in either dressage or western training and you will notice straight away that they ride a lot of transitions. Transitions help a horse to become more obedient as well as improving the horse’s balance and self carriage.
We use the clicker to improve a response or to train a new behaviour. Once the horse has mastered a behaviour and can perform the behaviour on cue in any environment, we then phase out the clicker and rewards for that behaviour. This means that you don’t have to keep stopping and clicking for the same behaviour forever. We should always keep raising the standards of behaviour required to earn a click, this means that eventually we don’t have to click the horse for basic responses and can save the clicker and treats for when the horse does something new or puts in an extra special effort.