Natural Horse World

You Can Train Your Horse To Do Anything – On Target Training: Clicker training and beyond by Shawna and Vinton Karrasch.

Everyone involved with horses wants them to consistently behave well, and perform to the best of their ability. But as is all too well known, many horses do not cooperate, and this is because they are not motivated to do so.
Shawna and Vinton Karrasch are co-founders of the On Target Training program – a revolutionary method that combines the basics of ‘clicker training’ widely used on marine mammals – killer whales, dolphins, and sea lions – as well as dogs, with another reward reinforcement program known as ‘target training’.
Shawna trained marine mammals at Seaworld in San Diego, California, before joining up with Vinton who had years of experience riding grand-prix show jumpers. Together they have developed this highly successful system of training horses.
Clicker training initially motivates a horse to perform correctly, because the handler rewards him every single time he does what is required. Later the horse comes to associate the sound of the clicker with an up-coming reward, so a rider can tell the horse that he has performed correctly without having to stop and give a pat or a treat. This frees the rider to continue the movement he is performing while communicating to the horse that he is doing it right.
Target training takes reinforcement of correct behaviour to a stage further. The ‘target’ is a tool – either fixed to a stationary object such as a fence or held in a trainers hand – that the horse learns to focus on completely.
Because the horse is motivated to perform well to gain his reward, he can be trained to happily follow the person holding the target.
The On Target Training method is easy for both horse and trainer to learn. There are dozens of practical applications covering every area of horsemanship, from stabling and handling issues to groundwork, and on to riding. And, just for fun, the Karrash’s show how to teach horses entertaining ‘tricks’ such as ‘bowing’ to an audience, spinning, and smiling.
A good attitude is paramount for progress, safety and results. Using this system horses are happy to interact with their riders and handlers, the learning process accelerates, and there is less frustration involved.
This 200 page book with lots of quality colour photographs is an easy read and explains everything you need to know about enhancing your horse’s education in a very positive way. It motivates the reader to want to get out and try it – just to see if it works…. and it does.
By using positive reinforcement techniques such as clicker training, we can bring out our horse’s heart and desire which is often suppressed by the removal reinforcement or negative reinforcement we use to communicate with.
There is an accompanying video also available and you can find out more by visiting

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