Questions & A’s

If you have a clicker training or equine behaviour question, or even a question about a behaviour problem you are having with your horse, email Amanda at amanda@smaarthorses.co.uk and Amanda will be more than happy to help.

What format will my first clicker training lesson take ?

When Amanda meets you and your horse, she will ask you more about what stage of clicker training you are at  and what your short and long term horse training goals are.

Then you will get started with the lesson.  The first lessons will usually be with ground work to assess you and your horse and make sure there are no ground work issues.

The aim of each lesson is to set things up in such a way that we ensure the basics for your short and long term goals are in place.  Then you build on those foundations to achieve the goals.

If the foundations are weak then your goals, although may be achievable at this stage, will not achieve their full potential, and also be foundations themselves for your future goals.

Lesson plans often change as we go through a lesson because the horse will often show us what training (s)he needs.   Changing the plan when needed is an important part of the learning process for yourself and your horse to create solid foundations for each behaviour to be built on.

How should I prepare for a clicker training lesson ?

If it is your first lesson and you have not yet started clicker training, it would be a good idea to make sure your horse already knows what the clicker means.  If needed, when you book your lesson with Amanda, she will be able to give you guidance on how to get started before your lesson.

If you are already clicker training then there is little preparation that is required, just some thought in to what you want to achieve with your lessons.  Amanda will then guide you as to what the lesson plans need to be to help you achieve your goals.

What equipment will I need  for the clicker training lesson?

 A clicker, a horse, some treats and a smile.

Clicker training is about shaping behaviours in increments and so we do not use gadgets or training aids, just the clicker and rewards to tell the horse when they got the right answer.

For some of the lessons, we may work across the stable door from your horse and so we will not even require a head collar or bridle.  Some lessons may have the horse at liberty and others may have you communicating with your horse through the lead rope or reins.  The choice of working your horse in a halter or bridle is entirely yours.  which ever you choose, make sure your horse is comfortable with the equipment.  If they are not, let Amanda know and she can help you address this using clicker training.

Amanda’s horses put their own bridle and head collars on !

Does my horse need to be bitted ?

The use of a bit or not can get quite debatable.  Any piece of equipment can be harsh in harsh hands.  Clicker training works on behaviours in small increments so that no harsh handling is required. If you choose not to have your horse in a bit, that is fine.  There are no ‘equipment’ requirements for the clicker sessions.

If you are concerned about using or not using  bit, speak to Amanda before your lesson as this may end up as a lesson goal for you and your horse.

How long will each clicker training lesson be ?

You and your horse will use more mental than physical energy during a clicker training session.  You will be doing a lot of thinking.   Therefore, the duration of each lesson will be gauged depending on how much information you and your horse can take in at each session.

Each lesson will be approximately one hour.  Sometimes the horse and handler are at saturation point before this and so the lesson would stop early.  Sometimes, if the horse and handler are both able to continue, it may go on a little longer.

Will I be charged extra if the clicker training lesson runs over the allotted time ?

No.  There is a flat rate for each lesson.  The idea is that if some sessions are shorter and some are longer than the hour, the average lesson time will be approximately 1h as lessons continue.

Can I share a lesson with a friend ?

 Sometimes lessons with friends can be great for you and your horse.  Your lesson would be broken in to smaller chunks and Amanda would work with your friend.  You both get to catch each other and so you will have a ‘coach’ for you when you are clicker training your horse between lessons.

Your friend can be a set of eyes to catch things that you might need to change a little.  And they will also be a great support as you progress your clicker training.

By breaking sessions in to smaller chunks, during the breaks that you get you and your horse get time to ‘take it all in’, digest what you just learned and then come back out again for another short session.

Depending on the level you are at or the goal you are aiming to achieve, shared lessons are not ideal.  Amanda will help you decide if a shared or a private lesson would be best for you and your horse.

What should I do if I have questions after the lesson ?

After lessons there will always be questions.  You will be given so much information that it will be almost impossible to remember it all.  The way the human brain works is that we will remember the information that is key to us at that moment in time.

A few days later, what is key to us may have changed and it may remind us of something that came up in the lesson, but we can’t quite remember what it was.

Amanda is always happy to answer questions between lessons.  There is nothing worse than being stuck and having to wait to get the answer, especially if the question is about a problem behaviour.  Feel free to email Amanda with any burning questions and she will reply as soon as she can.  I am sure you can appreciate that her inbox is often very full and so you might not get a response immediately, but she will reply.

Do I have to use food as a reward ?

What type of treats should I use ?

The treat that you use must be appealing to your horse, something that they will be eager to work to obtain.

For more FAQs, visit the FAQ page on the web site

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