Clicker Training: Thumbs Up or Down?

Editor’s Note:
In my conversations, interviews, and observations of scores of horsemen, I’ve come to understand that ‘pressure and release’ or negative reinforcement, is a extremely effective method for working with horses. Since horses use negative reinforcement on each other, it’s easy to understand.

Understand more about negative reinforcement here.

But a Practical Horseman article states:
“In most cases the trainer prompts the desired behavior by guiding the horse with pressure (a negative) and rewards the behavior by releasing pressure. But if the behavior is evoked with something positive, the horse learns faster and remembers better, says Dr. Sue McDonnell. “There’s no question that positive training methods are more efficient.”
That’s the theory behind reward-based systems like clicker training. The horse learns to associate a click with a food reward, so the trainer can instantly reward behavior using a quick click as a stand-in for the food.

Is positive reinforcement (like clicker training) more effective than negative reinforcement (pressure and release)?

One study reports that positive reinforcement is, in fact, less effective than negative reinforcement.

We put it to frequent contributors and Best Horse Practices Summit presenters as well as board members: Katrin Silva, Amy Skinner, West Taylor, Cindy Morin, and Dr. Steve Peters.

Please Note: What follows here is not a study, but a conversation with folks who work with scores of horses other many years.

Dr. Steve Peters

Dr. Steve Peters:

Many of these training techniques are borne from Animal Behaviorism. Research involved simple stimulus response behaviors, many of which was reinforced with foods. Think pigeons tapping, rats in mazes, etc.

During its hey day, Behaviorism was never concerned with what was actually going on in the brain.
However, the world has changed and we are learning how animals’ central nervous system works. We are learning how to develop a language and conversation that works with what the horse can recognize and understand. It is reinforcing to the horse to simply realize that we are having a conversation and that certain behaviors result in certain changes from us.

I think a number of horseman feel that the simple clicker training type responses shortchange the horse and our ability to grow a working relationship that is dynamic and allows the horse to actively participate in a much more complex interaction.

Katrin Silva

Katrin Silva

I do agree with the principle that positive training methods work better than negative ones. If you’ve seen me work or heard me teach, you know that I’m always looking for a chance to reward a horse.
However, boundaries are also important, and I find horses actually like them. There are times when a firm “No!” is a perfectly appropriate response – with your voice, your leg, your spur, whatever is necessary. Then you move on, without holding a grudge, and look for a chance to reward again. This is not abuse. No horse will be psychologically scarred from an occasional correction in the form of a negative reinforcement.

A few months ago, I lost a client because I could not promise her to use exclusively positive training methods with her horses. She thought I was way too demanding. This woman is now working with a clicker trainer and has stopped riding her horses altogether.
Apart from the constant food rewards, my main problem with clicker training isn’t the positive approach – it’s the overly simplified communication style. Horses and riders can talk to each other in a much more subtle fashion, body to body, back and forth.
Good riding takes feel, sensitivity, timing, physical balance, etc., etc. It’s not about a tool that looks like a garage door opener, because horses are much more complex creatures than garage doors.

Amy Skinner

Amy Skinner:

It’s possible that learning is faster with positive reinforcement, but there are so many negative side effects. You end up working harder to fix behavioral problems that you could have otherwise avoided.

The pressure and release training we do on the ground works well because it ties into what we do in the saddle. Everything connects and the horse can understand all the ties from ground to saddle. Clicker training does not allow that. Horses like things to be smooth, and clicker training forces you to chop up your work, to stop in mid-movement to reward with a treat, instead of asking a horse to follow a feel of a rope, seat, or bridle. I’m currently working with a clicker-trained horse, and I find he’s much less frustrated, much happier and more peaceful without clicker training, now that everything ties together for him.

Katrin Silva:

Good points, Amy and Steve. Here’s another thought: I don’t think of “pressure” as something automatically “negative.” Framing it this way makes it sound like the horse is frantically trying to get away from the discomfort.
Instead, I think of training horses as communication. I think of the signals I give as conversation starters that prompt the horse to engage with me and to try different responses, some of which I will reward, many of which I will ignore, and a few of which I might reprimand. The horse does not try to “get away from pressure,” the horse tries to talk to me and vice versa.
George Lakoff talks about reframing as a tool to take back political power. We can do the same in the horse world!

Cindy Morin

Cindy Morin

Interesting that there are some people who swear by the clicker method. I “feel” it is a very small tool in the really big box of tools one needs for training horses. As with humans, there is not one training method that fits all. You need to understand your horse and how he thinks and the possible baggage he may have. Each horse is different.
I agree strongly with what’s been said here; I don’t think I will ever use it. It feels like something you have to do before you actually work on the issue at hand. And I don’t like treating my horse like a trick pony and feeding a million treats either.

West Taylor

Horses are not capable of discerning between positive and negative. These are human words that we like to apply. Therefore, I don’t think of anything I do with a horse as “positive” or “negative.”
Pressure is the invitation to the horse to seek mental relief. Pressure is applied and the horse starts seeking mental safety. As the horse seeks relief I am guiding the horse to mental safety.
Let’s say I am asking a young horse to walk on a tarp:

West Taylor

Pressure is applied to the horse to walk forward to the tarp. As the horse seeks mental safety he will start to explore his options: He may want to avoid the tarp. As he does so there is a slight increase in pressure. As the horse seeks again, he may turn back toward the tarp. Then pressure is released or lightened.
I want the horse’s mind to be seeking mental relief. Each time the horse shows interest or moves toward the tarp, he will experience mental relief as I lighten or totally release pressure. Each time the horse seeks this mental relief he is also rewarded with a dopamine release which then reinforces the behavior of seeking mental relief.

Again, I want the horse to seek mental relief each time he senses pressure. I am simply there to direct his mind to the mental relief.
In the end, the horse is not focused on the tarp. Rather, he is seeking direction from me as to where he will find mental relief. As a result, his mind will find this mental relief at the tarp. The closer he gets to the tarp the more mental relief and dopamine rewards he will get. Ultimately he will seek relief so strongly that he will walk right onto the tarp.

That being said, I know mostly nothing about clicker training. From my minimal observations, it appears to me that the horses are simply performing maneuvers expecting a treat, not seeking relief. Then the question is:

What if I am in a real dynamic situation with my horse and I don’t have my clicker or any treats and therefore my horse is not able to figure it out on his own?
I feel the treats we can do best with neurochemical. There is an endless supply already built into the horse, and if your horse has been taught to seek mental relief to get his treat of dopamine, now you have a horse that can solve his own problems and pressures in life. This also works super well with humans! Teach our kids to find mental safety within their own mind and beliefs is way more impactful than teaching them to run from the pressures of life.

Amy Skinner:

Really well said! Clicker training involves performing movements instead of seeking and engaging. You hit the nail on the head, West.

This study reports that positive reinforcement is less effective than negative reinforcement.

Posted in BestHorsePractices Summit, Clinicians, Training.

22 Comments

  1. Excellent dialog here and points well taken by everyone. I especially loved the points about conversation between horses and humans. I agree that horses are complex beings and their natural curiosity caused them to explore and seek relief. What a joy it is when conversations lead to understanding which opens up opportunities for the horse to offer more with a willingness to do so. As Dr. Peters and Wes mentioned, the neurochemical treats are always readily available! What a super connection with science and behavior. This is one of my favorite article so far— more please. And thanks to all contributors on a very contentious topic.

  2. This seems like a very biased study and article.
    It doesn’t appear in the article that you talked to anyone that has had success with clicker training, or that really understands how to use it appropriately or has spent any significant time learning, studying and applying it with any expertise.
    I know many amazing trainers that use it successfully as a “tool” along with many other modalities. I would like to hear from someone that can share when this is an appropriate way of adding to the conversation of communication with the horse. Horses are aware of what you know and feel and what you don’t. If you don’t believe in what you are offering or have confusion about it, the horse will feel that from you. They like clarity. If you are consistent, clear and believe in what you are offering, have an awareness of the horse’s engagement of that. The horse will seek to understand and communicate. It is not about the food “treat”. It is about awareness for both the human and the horse. Who doesn’t like a cookie or payday? Would you pay a little closer attention if someone said their is possibly $100.00 in this for you? I bet most professionals are making a pay check. The food reward. Hmmm, how interesting….

    • Thanks for commenting, Jill. Please note that this is simply a conversation, NOT a study. As for bias, we know that virtually every written piece has bias. Sometimes it’s clear. Sometimes it’s more subtle. I do think that many, as Cindy Morin stated here, believe that positive reinforcement can be one tool in a greater toolbox. But stating, as McDonnell did, that it’s better, is worth questioning, especially as there is a study to the contrary.

  3. I’ll start first by saying that I’m not a proponent of clicker-training as a one and only method and that it can be misused in many ways. I use positive AND negative reinforcement with my horses. Aversives should be kept very low-level though (Mark Rashid’s work).
    I agree that initally behaviorism was sadly not concerned with relationship. Fortunately, a lot of modern trainers including Ken Ramirez, probably the best trainer in the positive reinforcement world, DO insist on establishing strong relationships with the animals they work with.

    That said, I think it’s important to point out that 2 things mentioned in the above interview are actually wrong because of lack of knowledge.
    1) In Katrin Silva’s first “speech” what she describes as “an occasional correction in the form of a negative reinforcememt” is NOT negative reinforcement, it’s POSITIVE PUNISHMENT, which is completely different.
    2) West Taylor is talking about “positive” and “negative” without knowing what these words actually mean in the behaviorist world. All living creatures know what “positive” and “negative” mean there: it’s nothing to do with moral judgement. “Positive” means that you ADD something (a reinforcer or an aversive), “negative” means you REMOVE something (again, a reinforcer or an aversive.
    Please look up BF Skinner’s work, the four quadrants of operant conditioning.

    If various methods of training must be discussed, I really wish people who do so really knew what they are talking/bitching about. This would make for a more balanced debate.

    • Interesting that you would call out individuals, but not post your own name in this discussion. Any form of training can be effective depending on a variety of factors, the least of which is a knowledge of the theories and definitions of operant conditioning. In the end, the effectiveness of any training methodology is reliant on three things from the trainer: Firmness, consistency, and patience.

    • Dear F,
      Like you, and like Mark Rashid, whom I deeply respect, I do think positive reinforcement should be used most of the time when working with horses, though it can’t be used exclusively. I never pretended to be an expert on clicker training or behaviorism. What I know about positive reinforcement training I know from a couple of horse owners who practice it and have tried to explain it to me, not from years of study. Based on these explanations, I use the term “positive reinforcement” for any type of reward, and “negative reinforcement” for any type of reprimand. I have never heard the term “positive punishment.” Please accept my apologies for using behaviorist terms incorrectly, but I’m not the only one who does it.
      While we’re on the subject of semantics, don’t you think “bitching” is a little harsh as a descriptor of the discussion that took place? And why did you put quotation marks around “speech” – was it not something I actually said? English is not my first language, so I’m probably missing something, but I’m genuinely curious.
      Katrin

    • As publisher of this post, I can attest to there being no “bitching.” Let’s keep things civil. No need for rancor.

  4. Thank you to all the contributors on this “talk” about clicker training. I’ve never used it, so will not add to the commentary to it’s benefits or downfalls, other than to thank you for bringing up a subject to discuss. There is a time and place for many types of training. BUT the key is that you should be able to move beyond the training sessions to being able to work with your horse in a show arena or out in the woods. If your tools are your voice and body instead of “props” that you have to carry around, then you have your training toolbox ready at any moment.

  5. I agree with Jill and F, I like what was said, but it is undermined a bit by lack of balanced perspective of all in the conversation. A nice follow up would be cool. People are looking up to these mentors and not getting the whole picture. I could comment on a lot of things I know nothing about, how valuable would my information be to you? What does it say about my integrity if I’m commenting on something but can’t be bothered to do even basic research to understand the terminology?
    My horse has had a more than average share of extended medical downtime, clicker was a cool way to keep him from mentally shutting down without moving too much or running away during handwalking. In an emergency, clicker reinforcement can get a nervous horse tuned in quickly and even onto a trailer at times. I love soft feel and the dance of harmonious horsemanship, too. I realize you said this, yet I feel it needs a better explanation on all sides.
    I’m disabled now, and still have a language with my horse from both foundations. Not saying I’m good at either one, but good enough to have fun and the transition was a very smooth one, thanks to the multiple tools you mentioned. Glad to have this forum.

  6. Conversations are how we lead to better understanding. So thanks for introducing this topic.

    I have not studied clicker training though have watched demonstrations and others who use it. It would not be my approach of choice, I’d forever be losing the clicker device! All the comments here reflect a personal style, preference or a view to how the horse might interpret the training technique. I’m going to offer how the human as a learner might benefit from the style of training and why it has become popular.

    I’ve noticed of those who are drawn to it, again not a scientific study but rather an observation, happen to be female and appear to want their horse to “like” them. Yes they might be able to get their horse to do some impressive stuff on the ground, but they avoid riding them beyond a walk and it appears they like to focus on the relationship and not worry about getting a job done. I’ve just been writing on that very topic from a Leadership perspective – the limiting mindset of a Leader. Being liked as a boss versus being effective.

    The role of the horse has changed and for many owning a horse is a dream come true. The largest group of new entries into the horse ownership market are women in their 40s & 50s. Clicker training isn’t as threatening and reinforces that grade 5 science class where they learned and still remember, about behavioral science through the rat maze lab. Clicker training is similar to what they know that works with their Pug and it helps them manage their own fear of falling off.

    Clicker training does not take as big a leap of faith as being able to wait on the slightest of changes. The horse does start to seek out the treat. I avoid treating my horses because I don’t want them to turn into muggers with clients. The one positive reinforcement I use with food, I whistle at dinner time and they come running. They wouldn’t hear that clicker 1/2 mile away.

  7. I find the comments here by seasoned horsemen/women to be very disappointing for the following reason: the comments reflect the fact that they actually don’t know much about what clicker training can be. They seem to understand this type of training to be only superficial, rewarding a simple behavior in a mechanical way without the ability to work on anything more meaningful or complex. This can be true if a trainer doesn’t have the skills to use this type of training any further; similar to beginning dog trainers who learn how to lure and reward simple behaviors like a “Sit” by giving the dog a treat when they do it. However, “clicker training” (by the way one doesn’t have to use a clicker, one can use the voice or any other sound) is a means to shape behavior, and can be done on the back of a horse as well as on the ground. It can be used to teach any behavior: correct jumping, correct dressage movements, correct reining movements, fear issues, aggression issues, etc. However a trainer needs to be very skilled, both as a rider, horsemen and in the understanding of timing and horse behavior to reach the best effective levels. West Taylor talks about how pressure is the best way to get a horse to understand….this reminds me of myself when I was first learning how to train. The only thing I really understood and adamantly believed in was how to train through avoidance; in other words, by applying pressure and letting the animal figure out how to avoid it by choosing the desired behavior that I wanted. Really, West Taylor, you shouldn’t make statements about methods that you don’t actually understand and have never tried. Let me add here too that I strongly understand and believe that all horses are not alike and that a truly experienced trainer will have experimented with and understand many different tools, as every tool will have a place somewhere and sometime. Cindy Morin’s comments are probably the most disappointing as they reflect not only a complete lack of understanding of what shaping behavior consists of, they also demonstrate an arrogant disregard for the fact that something she doesn’t understand at all might have merit. Finally let me say that “clicker training” , or shaping behavior isn’t “necessary” in the basic training of horses as they will perform as desired through the application of pressure and negative reinforcement as they have ever since they were domesticated, and “cowboys” such as the above can continue forever training their way. However adding this tool can only heighten a trainer’s abilities when and if they might find it necessary. And , the results and deep relationship that one can find by working with the mind of an animal is incomparable. Finally: at some childish level I would love to see how the above would like it if the only way they could move through the world was by avoiding deliberately applied pressure, all too often applied by someone with poor timing and poor understanding of when to lift that pressure.

    • Great comments Valerie,
      I use pressure as the invitation to solve the problem, much the same as life on this planet. I would love it if every time life put me under pressure all I had to do was run to the fridge to get a treat so I could feel better. That’s just not how life or horse training works for “me”. I have learned that the pressures of life have molded and formed me to who I am today. By me seeing the pressure of life as an invititation to solve my current life issue I have discovered great confidence for myself in life. By my seeking out these solutions in life I have shaped my behaviors to get me through anything this life can throw at me. I simply do the same thing in my horse training. I apply pressure to the horse, not for him to avoid, rather for the horse to “seek out” the answer. When the horse even thinks about looking for the answer I release pressure (my skill set in this is very good) whic then allows the horse to “seek mental relief” not avoid pressure, which in turn creates a Dopamine release within the horses brain rewarding his behavior for “seeking out” the solution. This Dopamine reinforcement will set the horse up to want to “seek out” more and more solutions to pressure. So let’s say my horse is tied up to my horse trailer at the horse show….somebody comes walking by dragging a metal garbage can in the ground making all sorts of racket (pressure), my horse will WANT to seek out the solution, rather than panicking and pulling back trying to escape. My horse will engage in problem solving because he has learned that when he feels pressure it is his invitation to seek a solution, and the solution that will work is to find calm in the chaos! Simply hold your feet still and relax, which the horse will then reward himself with yet another reinforcing dose of dopamine confirming to the horse that he found an approiate solution. I want my horse to be able to problem solve and reward themselves with the natural Dopamine release that comes from transitioning from the Sypathetic nervous system by down regulating to the Parasympathetic nervous system all on their own. No clicker, no trainer, no cookie!!
      Just my humble cowboy way of thinking :).

      West Taylor. 435.680.0946
      Science Based Horsemanship

  8. My contribution to the dialogue – I completely agree with everything that “F” has just said. Her take on learning theory is 100% correct. And both PR and NR are very useful tools in the tool box. Neither is better, it depends on the task.

  9. This has been a great discussion. This year I attended the Clicker Training Expo to dive a little deeper into the subject how the clicker is used in the positive perideim. I had the pleasure of three full days of learning from highly passionate and skilled trainers. I am always looking to find new tools to add to my base of knowledge. The number one thing I like about the use of a clicker is when used correctly it will mark the exact moment the horse did what you are asking for. I have used this method when my horse is struggling to find the answer to what I am trying to teach. I recently used this method to help my horses foot placement in a yield that I was teaching. I also will pair this method with something the horse finds negative. I had a super needle sensitive horse that was horrible for injections and this method corrected this issue. Clicker training taught me a lot about the shaping of behaviors. Feel, timing and my observation skills also improved. Positive reinforcement is also fun for both the trainer and the horse. I am not a clicker trainer but a person who will use this method with my horses when I feel it would benefit the situation. I love learning and trying new things. I think we all get exposed to various methods and techniques and we get to decide what we as trainers want to use in our programs. This is what is so beautiful. We are passionate and we create wonderful things. So every person is right in this debate. Only each one of use knows what is the right choice for ourself. We choose, we learn, we believe and we all have success.

  10. Hmmm. A lot to comment on here. What I observe is that most of this conversation seems focused on riding. As a functional movement specialist who has been learning to take my decades of training into the equine world, we use “clicker” training to get many behaviors on the ground. I mean how do you get a horse to do PT? I don’t use it much riding, but learning to effectively use +R/-R has very much changed the way in which I use +N/-N.

    The clicker is simply a “bridge” that tells the horse (or dog or cat or…) that yes, that was the behavior I was looking for. If the horse is mugging for treats, then the trainer is not rewarding correctly. One is using the clicker (or sound, hand signal, etc.) to MARK the desired behavior, often from a distance and increasingly delaying and/or even fading the “treat.” Many horses SEEK a requested new behavior like a game which becomes intrinsically rewarding. Call it “tricks” if you will. But who cares if it is achieving the end of creating a new desired behavior, setting up trust and creating a happy horse?

    I have to agree with some of the commentators regarding the bandying about of terminology. Pressure is an added negative (+N) and removal of that pressure is not positive, it’s removal of the negative (-N). Positive reinforcement is giving a reward (+R) and (-R) is removing the object of desire. Positive and negative in this context are not simply opposites of each other. I know. It can be confusing and I may not be explaining it well.

    I just got in a very fearful, highly reactive mustang. Her biggest and only fear so far seems to be being chased. By humans. The last thing I’m going to do to win her trust, is chase her around my round pen. Initially I used the slightest advance and retreat so that she was able to tolerate me in the pen. That’s +N/-N. I ignored her and cleaned her pen. Her bubble got smaller. Last couple of days I was able to extend the muck rake and she took a few steps toward me and sniffed the rake, I took it away. Did this dozens of times. Her bubble got smaller. She stayed calmer. She got used to me moving around. Still all +N/-N, though I would argue that her getting calmer each time is an intrinsic +R. Tonight, on her own, she took hay from my hand maybe twenty times. So we’ve switched to +R. If I’d wanted to punish her for coming to me, I would have taken the hay away. -R, but why would I do that? We’re making progress. She is learning, AND she is stressed. Dr. Peters has talked about the threshold of stress or “discomfort” zone. Somehow there was an implication in the comments that +R/-R means the horse never feels discomfort and is always completely relaxed. Not true. It’s an art to keep any being in the sweet spot. I can’t say I’m real good at it, but I’m working hard on my observational skills. (I read the referenced study about stress and learning in horses and it’s full of holes IMHO.)

    I have the luxury of time. I’m not getting paid to get this horse ready in 90 days. In fact the horse is a TIP fail because she didn’t make the 90 day cut. I can afford to, as West says, “Go slower to get faster.” (Also, the spin on this horse might send me off into orbit and kill me.) Some people might run this horse, rope her, lay her down. Then we could have a discussion about learned helplessness.

    I guess my point is that using a marker and positive reinforcement to get certain behaviors from certain horses at certain times in their development is just another tool in the toolbox. It depends on what you’re trying to achieve and your understanding and skill at using the tool. Like a lot of training tools, it’s often used without skill or understanding.

    I recall a woman at a dog park explaining to me that the electric collar didn’t work on her dog. She kept pressing and pressing the button on the controller and the dog wouldn’t come. I’ve been read the riot act by people about the inhumanity of a small E-collar on my JRT who had the most insane prey drive on earth. I’d only used it a couple of times. But he could enjoy the freedom of being off leash because it helped him remember some semblance of self control. Just a tool in the toolbox.

    PS: there are other studies that show a combination of both positive reinforcement and pressure, ARTFULLY combined are most effective, but I can’t cough them up right now. Of course that is anathema to the 100% +R folks, but hey… just another tool in the toolbox.

  11. Reward based training has its merits and place in the trainer’s toolbox or at least this is so recognized by the Spanische Hofreitschule in Vienna where Lippizaner horse are trained in traditions going back to the 1700’s. Read the last paragraph of Alois Podahskjy’s (Former director of the Spanish Riding School) book “the complete training of horse and rider in the principles of classical horsemanship”. What he describes under “rewards” is paramount to what we call clicker training. Someone who has had the chance to witness the riders of the Spanish Riding School train their horses in groundwork may have noticed the little pouches with treats they carry on their belt and which they distribute sparingly.

    As the effectiveness of “clicker” training depends on the immediacy of the reward after the desired behaviour, food based reward training in the saddle seems at best impractical. But haven’t we all not caressed our horse on the withers after a real good effort?

  12. just one comment…love the conversation. FOOD is the strongest reinforcer of any kind. For all animals, us and them! So using with this in mind is important.
    Also if you ever walk with your horse and stop to “let him or her graze” along with other positive or calming experiences, you are consistently using food as a reinforcer. It is the same concept as clicker training…you are just (or maybe you are) marking the behavior as immediately as you mark it with a sound…that’s all..

    thanks everyone! Stimulating conversation and very useful.

  13. I think we are finding some common ground here! I’ve been thinking a lot about clicker training lately because of all the thoughtful comments, and I’ve asked myself where my less than enthusiastic attitude toward it comes from. The answer has two parts:
    1. I’ve learned about this method from observation, but also from a few clicker trained horses I’ve worked with – mouthy , pushy, confused horses wo made me feel like a human Pez dispenser. I realize that the clicker training was not done correctly in these cases. Judging the entire method based on a few bad examples is like judginig the discipline of dressage based on watching a few riders who go around the arena wth their horses’ noses cranked to their chests – it’s not fair. I have one friend who is a professional dog trainer and also an accomplished horsewoman. She has used clicker training for some behavioral issues with her OTTB, which worked great. She has used the clicker with dogs for many years. She is an expert. Her timing is impeccable, and because of this, clicker training is an effective tool in her toolbox.
    2. What I do with horses actually has a lot incommon with clicker training. I keep negative reinforcement/positive punishment to a minimum. I use food rewards sparingly, but I do use them, mostly when a horse has fear-based behavioral issues, like bolting as soon as a rider gets on. I use other rewards every day, with every horse. My frustrated tone in the original post (I still would not call it “bitching”) comes from discussions with a coulpe of recent clicker training converts who don’t see that I’m not a mean, abusive trainer because I choose not to use the clicker tool.
    So, yes, clicker training can work, but it’s not a panacea. If you choose to use it, you still have to learn how to use it correctly. I also believe it’s mostly applicable to ground work. Once I’m riding, the conversation between the horse’s back and mine becomes more and more involved, to the point where the clicker would just interrupt us.
    Thank you for all the constructive discussion!

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