I attended my first clinic with Alexandra Kurland in 2001 and was a regular attendee at the Groton, NY clinics for about 13 years. The clinics were held three times a year, so that’s a lot of clinics.) I originally took my OTTB gelding Willy, but after a few years I started taking Rosie, my young KWPN mare. These clinics were a great way to get her used to traveling and working in a new environment and we learned a lot about clicker training. When Rosie was about 10, I started looking for local trainers or visiting clinicians who could help me train her to upper level dressage. This has been an interesting process as many traditional trainers are not educated about clicker training and are skeptical about the value of using food.
Over the years we have found some helpful people to work with and I have enjoyed learning from Wendy Murdoch, Francois LeMaire de Ruffieu and Jose Mendez. In addition, I had regular lessons with Paul Belasik (on his horses) for 3 years and have audited and ridden a few times with both Jean Luc Cornille and Mark Russell. Recently I’ve been working a few times a year with a very skilled dressage rider and trainer who has helped me learn more about collection.
While Rosie has been my main focus for the last fifteen years, I have also been working with some of my other horses. I started both our young horses (Red the Quarter Horse/X and Finale the Shire) under saddle and rehabbed a rescue pony who came with some serious issues including rearing. With clicker training I was able to re-teach her all the behaviors she needed for husbandry and handling around the barn. I also had a lot of fun with our mini, Buster, and taught him both tricks and useful behaviors. He loves to fetch and stand on his pedestal. In the fall of 2013, I bought a 9 month old filly, Aurora, who will be my next riding horse. In addition to working with my own horses, I do some local teaching and clinics. I love to get people started with clicker training and help them when they have questions.
I think continuing education is very important and horse people can learn a lot from other clicker trainers. I’ve attended both the Clicker Expo and Art and Science of Animal Training Conferences a number of times. I’ve also taken some on-line courses. In 2013 I took Kay Laurence’s Intelligent Dog Training Course (www.learningaboutdogs.com) with Rosie as my “dog.” This is an intensive 2 year course (taught on-line) and at the end of it, I received my certification with endorsement from Kay Laurence. In 2015, I was asked to assist in her new course TAKL (trainer accredited by Kay Laurence) and helped her coach her students for a year. In 2014, I took Dr. Susan Friedman’s Living and Learning with Animals course (www.behaviorworks.org). I also coach students on Alexandra Kurland’s on-line course (www.theclickercenter.com).
Clicker Training led me in some new directions. and I started exploring other aspects of horse care that I had previously left to professionals. I became more interested in hoof care and maintenance and in 2005, I started learning to trim my own horses. In 2017 I learned how to apply glue-on shoes to one of my own horses. I also became more interested in bodywork. I started by taking a course in Equine Touch, and passed Level 1 in 2011. In 2014 I became a Masterson Method Certified Practitioner (www.mastersonmethod.com) and I now divide my spare time (what there is of it!) between teaching/writing about clicker training and working on horses. I also love to do and teach in-hand work. A lot of times in-hand work is the bridge between bodywork and ridden work and I find it fascinating to see how I can use bodywork to release tension patterns and in-hand or groundwork to re-educate the horse about new ways to move.
If you want to know more about my own personal story (how I found clicker training and why I got hooked), you might be interested in the following articles:
I hope you enjoy clicker training as much as I do. Good luck and have fun,
Questions, comments, requests? I love to get feedback. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me through my Facebook page Equine Clicker Training – Katie Bartlett.