equine clicker training

using precision and positive reinforcement to teach horses and people

Resources

A list of online courses, events, books, and websites.

If you are interested in learning more about clicker training, there are lots of ways to get more information and help.  This page lists online courses, events, and links to trainers who can help you learn more about clicker training.  At the end, I’ve included a list of some of the books that I’ve read and recommend. Many of these are older books and they may not be the most up-to-date in terms of current training practices but I still think they are useful and worth reading if you come across them.

Online Courses: Horse Courses

This is a small subset of the courses available. Every year more clicker trainers are offering online courses and I can’t keep track of them all. I try to update this page a couple of times a year, but can always add material in between. If you teach a course, or have a suggestion for a useful resource, and would like me to add it, let me know.

Introduction to Clicker Training.  This is Alexandra Kurland’s course which covers the basics of getting started as well as more advanced work including stimulus control, building chains, clicker compatible rope handling, and a little bit about using clicker training under saddle.  She will be adding courses on more advanced and/or specific subjects when they are completed.

Bookends Farm (Jane Jackson) 30 Days of Husbandry Course. Jane Jackson KPA – CTP has put together this self-paced course that teaches you how to train 30 different husbandry behaviors.

Peggy Hogan On-line Courses:  Peggy Hogan offers short (2 weeks to 1 month) on-line clinics on a regular basis.  Peggy’s focus is on shaping behavior using capturing, targeting and free-shaping. She frequently offers short online course ranges from one to four weeks long. The topics cover a wide range such as husbandry (eye care, hoof care, shots, standing for farrier) riding behaviors trained from the ground, adding cues to those behaviors and then put under saddle. She offers teaching videos, written material, personalized feedback and video assessing.  Please note that the classes vary so people should check often, also, there is a prerequisite of a shaping course, learned either by tutorial, private coaching, clinic or online coaching course. Laurie Higgins co-teaches the on-line courses.

Jo Hughes Academy of Positive Horsemanship:  Contact Jo through her website for more details. I believe you become a member and then sign up for courses as they are offered.

Connection Training: Hannah Weston, Rachel Bedingfield.   Connection Training is an online education site for horse owners wishing to learn more about training their horse using positive reinforcement. There are a selection of in-depth video courses to guide you in topics such as ‘trailer loading’, ‘suppling and engagement’, ‘de-spooking’, ‘training techniques’ and many more. Connection Training is a collaboration between Shawna Karrasch, Hannah Weston and Rachel Bedingfield who bring their unique experiences and expert knowledge to the site, as well as tons of enthusiasm for positive horse training!

Connection training has memberships of varying levels. You can get a free membership which allows you access to some material and then there are other memberships that allow you acces to more services. Their website explains it clearly.

Melissa Deal Compassionate Horse Click online course:  This is an introductory course offered by Melissa Deal, a dressage trainer from North Carolina.

Online Courses:  Related topics

There are a lot of excellent courses that are taught by trainers who do not work specifically with horses. These may be more general courses, or ones that are geared towards dogs, birds, zoo animals etc. In any case, the same principles and techniques apply across many species and it can even be helpful to see training with different species as it helps to generate more creative approaches to common horse training challenges. The courses listed are ones that I have taken or are being taught by professionals whose work I have seen. I am sure there are a lot of other courses out there so think of this list as a starting place.

Living and Learning with Animals:  Professionals course:  Dr. Susan Friedman offers this 8 week course every fall. It is an introduction to behavior analysis and I highly recommend if if you are interested in learning more about the science behind clicker training.    Registration for this course starts the spring before and it fills up fast so if you want to take it, I suggest you contact her before June.

Trainer Accredited by Kay Laurence:  Kay Laurence’s course is designed for dog trainers, but she is accepting a few students who wish to do the course with a horse instead of a dog.  It’s a great opportunity to learn from someone who works with another species and learn what can be done the same way and what needs to be adjusted to accommodate the different learning needs and abilities of horses. 

Karen Pryor Clicker Training:   Karen offers a variety of different courses. These are all dog courses, but I know several horse trainers who did them with their dogs and then applied that knowledge to their horses. 

Natural Encounters Professional Course:  (Steve Martin and Susan Friedman):  I haven’t taken this but I have taken Susan Friedman’s LLA course and I am sure that if she is co-teaching, it is worth doing.

TAGteach:  If you are teaching clicker training to people, you might want to look into TAGteach which is “teaching with acoustical guidance” for people. Same idea as clicker training, but with some modifications to make it more effective with human learners.  I took the level 1 course which is offered on-line and it significantly helped me learn to make teaching a more positive experience for my human learners.

Events

Clicker Expo –   Karen Pryor clicker training hosts this event.  It is usually held twice in the US (one on the east coast, one on the west coast) and once in Europe. It is 3 days packed with lecture and labs on clicker training. While it is primarily dog related, I have attended for years and find that I always come away with a lot of new information.  

The Art and Science of Animal Training Conference – The students at the University of North Texas host this conference every year.  While not specifically about clicker training, it is focused on training with positive reinforcement and always has a variety of interesting speakers. The conference is usually in late winter, but the month varies from year to year.

Miscellaneous opportunities

Mustang Camp  (Patricia Barlow-Irick) – .  Want to spend a month learning how to clicker train wild mustangs?  Here’s your opportunity.  Patricia accepts 4 students per month who can come and work with the mustangs.


Books and DVDsHorse training

How 2 Train A … – Patricia Barlow-Irick (2012). Patricia has years of experience taming wild horses and describes her training methods and the science behind them. The back cover says “This book connects the behaviorist, the companion animal trainer, the exotic animal trainer and the horse trainer through the application of a common language based on scientific principles.”

Teaching Horses with Positive Reinforcement – Katherine Bartlett (me!) (2018). A guide to achieving success with clicker training. It includes both introductory material (getting started training with food, foundation behaviors, common challenges) as well as some more advanced material such as cueing and stimulus control, chains, and problem solving. You can find it on Amazon in both kindle and paperback formats.

Connection Training – Rachel Bedingfield and Hannah Weston (2019). Rachel and Hannah are the owners and teachers at Connection Training which is a very popular clicker training website that offers courses on a variety of topics.

Getting to Yes: Clicker Training for Improved Horsemanship – Sharon Foley (2007). Sharon is a dressage instructor who has also spent time with Harry Whitney and this book shows she adds clicker training to her training program through a system of progressive exercises to create a light, soft and happy horse. She has sections on the basics of clicker training, horse behavior, safety and manners, liberty work, learning to follow a feel, longeing, in-hand work and starting to ride. I really appreciated her section on common clicker training misconceptions. If you are new to clicker training and having trouble explaining it to your friends, or responding to their questions, this section will give you some useful information to clear up any misconceptions.

Empowered Equines – Jessica Gonzalez (2018). Jessica runs a horse rescue where she uses clicker training with all the residents. I haven’t read this book yet but it has gotten good reviews.

You can train your horse to do anything – Shawna Karrasch (2000).  Shawna started as a trainer at sea world and then moved to working with horses. Her book covers the basics of using clicker training with an emphasis on using targets.  I do want to note that this is the only book on this list where the trainer uses the click as a keep going signal as well as the terminal bridge.  So be aware that this is one signficant difference between her training and the others.

The Click that Teaches: A Step-by-Step Guide in Pictures, the Revised Edition – Alexandra Kurland (2019). This book and has a progression of exercises to teach clicker training basics and more complicated behaviors to your horse. Alex has just updated this book to include new material.

The Click that Teaches Video/DVD Series – Alexandra Kurland. Videos demonstrating the lessons in the Clicker Training and Step-by-Step books. If you can’t find someone to come demonstrate Alex’s work, these will be very helpful. These were produced over about a 10 year period ending in 2011.

Clicker Training for Your Horse – Alexandra Kurland (1998). This is Alex’s original clicker book and is a little outdated in areas, but it is still a great book.

Riding with the Clicker – Alexandra Kurland (2005). This is the book on how to carry your clicker groundwork over into your riding. It builds on many of the exercises in the Step-by-step book and shows how to teach an inverted, stiff and tense horse into a soft, willing and confident riding partner.

Clicker Training: Colt Starting the Natural Horse – Leslie Pavlich (2008).  If you are new to clicker training or new to horses and want a step by step guide to starting your young horse with clicker training, you might find this book useful. Leslie has started over 50 young horses and she has carefully recorded each step from some basic liberty work, to handling and grooming, introducing tack and leading skills and early rides. The book has a definite Natural Horsemanship flavor but you don’t need to know a lot about Natural Horsemanship to follow her instructions. She does have a section in the beginning on the basics of clicker training and her philosophy but if you want to know more about the science behind clicker training, you will want to find some additional reading.

Humane Science-Based Horse Training – Alize Veillard-Muckensturm (2017). I haven’t read this book yet either but Alize has been very active in the clicker community and it has gotten good reviews.

Books and DVD’s – general, dog, other animal

Learning and Behavior – Paul Chance (various editions).  This is not a book about clicker training, but a textbook about the science behind clicker training.  It covers much of the same material as Pam Reid’s book, but in more detail. I found it helpful and it was actually a pretty interesting read. Don’t be scared by the fact that it is a textbook. I picked this textbook because someone recommended it to me, but on one of her DVD’s Kathy Sdao says that she collects old (and new?) animal behavior textbooks because there is a wealth of information in them from descriptions of research studies to historical information.

Culture Clash – Jean Donaldson (2012). This book will make you rethink everything you ever thought you knew about dogs, and other animals too. If you are new to clicker training and are still struggling with making the mental shift of training for positives, this is a great book to read. Note: I haven’t read the new version published in 2012.

The Thinking Dog: Crossover to Clicker Training – Gail Tamases Fisher (2009).  If you are coming from the traditional horse world, and struggling with making the change to a more positive reinforcement oriented mindset, then this is the book for you. In addition to being full of practical information about how to clicker train your crossover dog (a crossover dog is one that was started with traditional force based training), you will learn how to make the switch in your own training methods and philosophy.

Clicker Revolution – Kay Laurence (2013). Kay’s many years of experience are distilled into an easy to read and informative book that takes a new look at how we train with positive reinforcement.

The other end of the Leash – Patricia McConnell (2002). Along with Culture Clash, this is another great book to help change your mental approach to dog training and animal training in general.

Control Unleashed -Leslie McDevitt (2007).  Leslie wrote this book to describe the exercises she uses in her “Control Unleashed” classes which are classes for dogs that are easily excited, aroused, or distracted and who find it difficult to work in a regular dog training class or in an area with high distractions. Her approach to training can easily be modified for horses. Leslie now owns a horse and is very interested in using her exercises with them. If you find this book helpful, be sure to let her know.

Ten Golden Rules – Bruce Nock (2004). Want to improve your basic understanding of training and why horses react as they do? This is a great book for improving your training skills and basic horse handling.  It is not a clicker training book, but many of his rules are the same principles used in clicker training.

Don’t Shoot the Dog (Revised Edition) – Karen Pryor (2006). This is a must read for anyone interested in clicker training. It lays out the principles of operant conditioning, how to use it to teach and modify behaviors and how it is working all the time in the world around us. The older versions (1984 and 1999) are still worth reading, if that’s what you can find.

Lads before the Wind – Karen Pryor (2000). if you are interested in how trainers work in real life, this account of Karen’s work with dolphins will interest you.

On Behavior – Karen Pryor (1995). This is a book of Essays and Research, mostly from Karen’s work with Dolphins. It includes topics such as the Creative Dolphin and other fun training experiments.

Reaching the Animal Mind – Karen Pryor (2009). This is Karen’s newest book and explores what we’ve learned about how animals learn. Like all of Karen’s books, it is easy to read and educational.

Animal Training – Ken Ramirez. This is a big book and it has a lot of information that does not seem to apply directly to horses but I found that there were nuggets of useful information tucked in all over the place, so I read the whole thing. I think that as horse trainers who want to use clicker training, it is important for us to be aware of how trainers are using clicker training with other species. It makes it easier to have conversations and sometimes I can get good ideas from someone who is approaching training behavior from a different direction.

The Eye of the Trainer – Ken Ramirez (2020). Ken has shared stories and tips from his 40+ years experience as an animal trainer, both at the Shedd Aquarium and with Karen Pryor Clicker Training. It’s both informative and enjoyable.

Excel-erated Learning – Pam Reid (1996). Early on, when I wanted to learn more about how animals learn and some of the more scientific terminology that people use when describing training strategies and setups. This book was clear and easy to read while explaining about classical and operant conditioning, schedules of reinforcement, stimulus control, extinction, punishment, and common behavior problems (the book is geared to dog owners). If you want to become more fluent in some of the technical jargon or understand more about the science behind clicker training, then I would recommend this book.

Plenty in Life is Free – Kathy Sdao (2012). Kathy has always been one of my favorite presenters at ClickerExpo. She is dynamic, practical and knowledgeable. This book is all of those things and the information translates very easily to horse training.

Teaching Dogs, Teaching People – Dani Weinberg (2006). This book gave me some insight into teaching from the trainer’s point of view and it gave me some good tools to keep my own training fresh and keep the enthusiasm. The book is divided into sections on students, how to reach them, common misconceptions and assumptions they might have, and how to decide what you want them to learn (the bigger picture beyond teaching the dog to sit). In the section on instructors, she writes about such basic things as setting up a good training place and structuring classes but also covers her toolkit for maintaining self-esteem. If there was one thing I got out of this book, it was that teaching is very rewarding but also very hard and as an instructor, you have to look out for yourself so that you can do the best for your students.

Animal Training 101Jenifer Zeligs (2014). Jenifer has many years of experience training a wide variety of animals. Her book “thoroughly explains the entire spectrum of training methods. Dr. Zeligs provides a cost-benefit analysis of each approach, while focusing on maintaining a trusting, positive relationship between animal and trainer.”


Clicker training websites

Please remember that no two trainers are alike, even if they share some common techniques or philosophy. This list includes clicker trainers who I have encountered either personally or via the internet, and who are promoting positive reinforcement based training methods But each one has a different flavor. A review of their websites will help you choose which ones might be more useful to you.

Adaptive Animals Equine – Robin Foster, PhD, CAAB, IAABC Certified Horse Behaviorist (Seattle, Wa). Robin teaches educational clinics/workshops on learning, behavior, and communication in horses. She has a special interest in welfare and stress in therapy and sport horses.  

Australian Clicker Connection – Julie Lannen (New South Wales, Australia).  She has some articles on clicker training and CAT (constructional approach training) as well as DVDs for sale.

The Best Whisper Is a Click – Peggy Hogan (Santa Barbara, Ca). Peggy offers on-line courses, has a blog and facebook pages.  She sells a DVD on getting started and also has some material for sale that can be downloaded.  

Bookends Farm – Jane Jackson (Sheffield, Vt).  Jane is a KPA-CTP and has a blog and facebook pages. She has an eventing background and works a lot with young kids using clicker training combined with TAGteach. 

Carolina Fransson’s website (Almunge, Sweden). Caroline describes herself as a “behavior science geek” with a special interest in anthrozoology (interaction between animal and human).  Grown up with horses as my biggest passion and I love to combine clicker training with classical dressage and work with horses in liberty. She is available for private instruction, clinics, demos.

Click that Horse – Mary Concannon.  Mary is a student of Alexandra Kurland who is now based in England and teaches international clinics. Her website has some tips for getting started, videos and an online shop.

Click your horse – Lyndsey Lewis (Belfast, Me). This site contains articles and information on getting started with clicker training as well as some of Lyndsey’s fun training projects.

Click with Horses  Georgia Bruce (Queensland, Australia).  This site has information on getting started and more advanced clicker work, an on-line store, and her schedule.

The Clicker Center – Alexandra Kurland (Delmar, NY) Alexandra is the author of several books and many DVDs on clicker training. She has an on-line course and her website has information on getting started, articles, a store, her clinic schedule, and a link to her blog.

Clickersolutions.com – This site is geared more towards dog owners, but there are some excellent articles on clicker training and the yahoo group that goes with it has really helpful members.

Clickertraining.com – Karen Pryor.  This site contains a lot of good articles on clicker training, an on-line store, information on upcoming events like Clicker Expo and news from Karen Pryor Clicker Training. 

clickertrainingpferde.com – Michaela Hempen (Parma, Italy).  This site is in German and English and has articles and a blog. Michaela has studied extensively with Alexandra Kurland and is interested in classical dressage.

Clickin’ on Ranch  – Karen Parker (Cave Junction, Oregon).  Contains articles and information on getting started.  Karen has been clicker training for a long time and uses it with her endurance/trail horses as well as to teach tricks and for rehabilitation.

Dogtrainingology – Mary Hunter (Denton, Texas).  This is Mary’s professional site.  It has her contact information and a blog.  (Mary also runs the website, http://www.stalecheerios.com)

Equi-libre.co.uk – Jo Hughes. Site of the Academy of Positive Horsemaship. Jo also has some articles, an on-line store and a blog. She is interested in dressage and horse agility.

Equine Revelation – Sola Wolff.   Articles and videos on clicker training.  Sola is a student of Alexandra Kurland and has worked a lot with mules and other equines such as donkeys and zebra crosses.

Equinox Horse – Tanya Kiselyova.  Articles on clicker training, video of horses in different phases of clicker training. Tanya is a student of Alexandra Kurland and has some nice information on starting horses under saddle with clicker training.

Hippologic – Sandra Poppema (Canada). Sandra teaches courses, shares videos and writes articles on her website, FaceBook page and blog.

Horse – Charming – Maxine Easey.  Articles on positive reinforcement training. She also posts educational information on her facebook page of the same name (https://www.facebook.com/HorseCharming)

Horseman’s Arts – Sharon Foley (Ocala, Florida).  Sharon has studied with Karl Mikolka and Harry Whitney and combines that work with clicker training. She has some articles on using clicker training to solve specific problems.

Compassionate Horse Click – Melissa Deal. Melissa is a professional dressage trainer who offers instruction in clicker training both in person and online. She also runs the website www.victorylanddressage.com.

Essential Animal Training – Michelle Martiya (Boca Raton, Florida). Michelle works with both domestic and exotic animals. She offers private instruction, behavior modification, giving clinics, demos, basic training. She helps people connect with and train their wild, fearful, or aggressive equines via positive reinforcement.

Equiclicker.it – Miriam Barattoni (Vincenza, Italy). Miriam is actively promoting clicker training in Italy. Her website is one of the few resources on clicker training for horses that is in Italian.

EquiLightenment – Sharon Madere (Ocala, Florida). Sharon is an IAABC Certified Equine Behavior Consultant. She breeds Iberian horses and offers coaching and instruction (individual Lessons, group workshops, clinics).

KBR horse site – they work with mustangs.  There is a lot of information on using clicker training with mustangs, why they use it, how they use it, etc..

Loving Presence with Horses – Mary Kay Hasseman (Tomball, Texas). Mary Kay is a graduate of Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior. She was a dressage instructor and competitor for over 30 years and is a USDF Bronze Medalist. She also trains therapy animals. She teaches and provides online instruction.

On Target Training  – Shawna Karrasch.  Shawna has a background working at Sea World and took that knowledge and applied it to horse training. She has a blog, on-line store, q&a section and also has an “ask Shawna” column where you can submit questions and she will choose some to answer on the site. 

Peaceable Paws – Pat Miller (Hagertown, Md). Pat offers boarding (clicker friendly) and is available for seminars, visits, demos, hosting and giving clinics, training/private instruction, and phone/internet help.

Passionate Horsemanship – Kim Wende (Merkel, Texas). Kim is interested in trail obstacle for fun or competition (In-hand, Ridden Obstacles, Horse Agility, Liberty, Breed Show Trail Classes) for miniature horses, miniature donkeys, and horses. She teaches and offers private coaching, clinics, demos, and online courses.

Penzance Equine Integrative Solutions – Gwyneth Browning Jones Santagate.  Gwyneth has a background in NH and promotes holistic methods of horsekeeping. Her website has articles on clicker training as well as many other subjects.

Spellbound – Jen Digate. Jen writes about training and the work she is doing with her own horses, many of which are mustangs.

Stale Cheerios – Mary Hunter (Denton, Texas).  Mary blogs about many aspects of animal training.  She has some great notes on conferences and clinics/seminars she has attended as well as things she learned while a student in behavioral analysis at UNT.

TAGteach.com – Information about TAGteach which is positive reinforcement training with an acoustical marker (clicker) used for teaching people.

Texas Veterinary Behavior – Lore Haug DVM (Richmond, Texas). Lore teaches private lessons and seminars on clicker training.

Willing Results – Casey Sugarman (East Lyme, Ct). Casey learned operant conditioning as a senior veterinary biologist at The New England Aquarium and has been using it with horses since 1996. She specializes in dangerous, aggressive, medical rehab horses.