The Extreme Trail Park is a wonderful facility with all sorts of interesting and varied obstacles. They very from very simple, such as a slope up and down, to more complex swinging bridge and everything in between.
The course is taught in English. Reasonable english is a help but we do have some excell translators available. Participants tend to be German (because of the location) but all comers are welcome.
“Clicker meets Extreme Trail”
As I have never been on the Extreme Trail before and I also have little experience with clicker training, I was very curious what my pony and I could expect at the course. After three intensive days of training, I am really enthusiastic about this combination of extreme trail and clicker training. We began on the first day with dry practice of lead rope handling without the horses. Then the first obstacles were also trained without the horses. We could thus experience with various techniques (mats, target sticks, lead ropes) how the obstacles could be accomplished with use of the clicker and without the use of pressure / negative reinforcement. This was then implemented with the horses. Mary took much time for every single participants, and so it was possible to work in a very relaxed and individual way. At the end of the course, we have successfully mastered every obstacle with the clicker (except for the suspension bridge, but so we still have a challenge for next year…), and it was great to see how much fun my pony had when working on the obstacles. And therefore the most demanding task was always to motivate him to go back to his paddock in the breaks…
As an additional “obstacle”, we had two sessions on trailer loading with the clicker every day, and at the end of the course, the horses (and donkey), which were quite skeptical towards the trailer after the journey, entered the trailer for the journey home easily and without pressure.
For me as a beginner in clicker training, it was very useful to learn how such tasks and obstacles can be developed and mastered with clicker training. Of course I was already aware before this course that clicker training is much more than only circus tricks, but to learn that really demanding obstacles can be mastered completely with positive reinforcement and to see how much fun this also was for my pony was a very helpful experience for our every day clicker training. I am looking forward to the course next year!