Refining Behaviors: Shaping isn’t all about the trainer

FeifelTarget01A few years ago I worked with a 1400 pound Warmblood horse named Feifel. (To get a sense of proportion of how big he is, here is a video or Feifel learning targeting ) He had a number of problems but primarily he bucked when going from a trot to a cantor. To get started with him I associated a clicker with carrots. Then I started working to create some behaviors to develop the relationship before I addressed the primary complaint. I first started with having him turn his head to his left. Each turn received one click and one treat. Within about 15 minutes he started turning his whole body. After the second training session he was making a 360 turn to his left. Continue reading