Category: Alexandra Kurland

Carrot or stick?

Having just read a great article by Inge Teblick How a carrot can become a stick  I wanted to make a few comments.

When teaching clicker training to new learners, there are two common mistakes they make, firstly, they don’t click often enough at the beginning of training a new behaviour and secondly, they keep clicking that first step far too long!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhy is important to click lots at the start?  The function of the click is to mark the performance of the correct desired behaviour and it also acts as a bridge to the moment when we deliver a reward (be that food….most commonly, or a good scratch, or whatever your horse is prepared to work for).  Horses need to learn that what they are doing is the correct behaviour by repetition.  How much repetition is needed depends so much on the horse, his/her experience etc.  It is important to recognise that just a few repetitions may not be enough for a behaviour to be truly learned (how many times in learning how to ride have you been told to keep your heels down?), but it’s also very important to keep the horse interested and enthusiastic and not bore them by too many repetitions.

Alexandra Kurland talks about training in loops….CUE…leads to …BEHAVIOUR…..leads to CLICK/REINFORCE….leads to….CUE….leads to …BEHAVIOUR…..  and so on.  She says that when a loop is clean, (meaning the horse is performing the behaviour readily), that you get to move on (increase the difficulty) and not only can you move on, but you should move on.

kid write Os for writingThe example I give my trainees is that when we learned to write, we started by tracing very simple shapes, following the dots.  When we got a gold star from the teacher we went home thrilled and delighted.  However some years later, we are writing long essays for the reward of a tick on the end of the page and maybe a ‘very good’ comment from the teacher….we would not appreciate gold stars every two letters at this stage!

gold star

Clinic with Alexandra Kurland

Alexandra Kurland is giving a three day clinic near Tralee, Co Kerry Ireland…why not take advantage of Ryanair flights to Kerry airport (30 min away) to come and have a wonderful break in Kerry while learning new skills.

alex taking photoLearn how to communicate clearly with your horse, solve common problems, improve performance and build a great partnership!

3 Day Clicker Training Clinic with Alexandra Kurland at, The Irish Clicker Centre, Tralee, Co Kerry, Ireland. May 31st to 2nd June 2013

This 3 day clinic starts with introductions on the evening of Thurs 30th May, followed by 3 full clinic days from 31st May to 2nd June

There are limited horse places available on the clinic. Book early to avoid disappointment. Auditor/Without horse places are available.  Everyone who attends is a full participant and will have hands-on learning throughout the day.

Panda_Albany_restaurant_010Alexandra Kurland is the foremost equine clicker trainer in the world and is the author of a range of books and DVDs.

Enquiries and Bookings: phone Mary on (353)87-1370162  email: