Last weekend 14 people and their horses descended on Stonefold Farm over 4 days for our summer clicker training camp!
There was a great range of people and horses ranging from those just getting started in clicker to those who were more advanced. This gave a lovely spread and meant there was a huge variety of work going on.
The set-up of the camp meant that everyone got plenty of horse time (several sessions a day with their horse) as well as having lots of time to watch other lessons going on. Also, a great first this year was the kid’s camp which ran concurrently to the adult’s camp, and was taught by Helen.
There was also a great Tai Chi class by Kate Roux, focusing on balance, breathing and body awareness and Lesley Holehouse did a fascinating talk on saddles and saddle-fitting. Rachel did a great job being a warm and welcoming host, so thanks to you guys!
Here’s a quick synopsis of what everyone got up to:
Natalie and Steve were here to begin learning about clicker training. Natalie brought Frankie who was very eager and bright and quick to pick things up. We were working on helping Frankie to stay calm around food and clicker training. Steve got on really well learning the basics with Freckles.
Nina worked with Copper for the first 2 days, again on techniques she can use to help Copper stay calm and focused when working with treats as he’s a very food-orientated little shetland! The second two days she worked with Flyer, an Arab, on positions when leading, the beginnings of lateral movements and Freeshaping.
Dawn brought Bea who is a changed horse after all Dawn’s fantastic clicker work! She used to be spooky and anxious but this time she came off the trailer nice and calm and Dawn had a fantastic 4 days working on some lovely ridden work. I lost count of the number of times Dawn said, “I can’t believe it!” 🙂
Tricia brought her own horse to the camp for the first time and just wanted Rocky to be calm in a new place. Well, he was so relaxed in their first session that Tricia soon upped the ante and wanted to work on riding and lateral work! She got her wish and Rocky was super for her!
Jen brought the lovely Sky who is a delightful horse but lacking in motivation when it comes to going forwards in an arena. We started to change her emotions around this by adding in fun objects such as targets and pedestals (she LOVED the pedestal) which she got to play with whenever she went forwards nicely. She was also doing some great work in-hand and showing us that there’s an incredible dressage horse in there somewhere!
Liz brought Rosie, Sky’s companion, and Liz was completely new to clicker training. Rosie soon showed her the ropes and Liz proceeded to teach her how to long-rein in a very short time as they want to teach Rosie to drive. Using targets really helped Rosie get the idea and before long they were looking like pros and grinning from ear to ear (well, Liz was and Rosie looked she would have been if horses did that kind of thing!)!
Lesley brought her youngster Jim, who’s a bit of a worrier. We worked on sending him to a target. It was the perfect exercise to engage his brain and he calmed down so much he looked like a different horse!
Kerry and Chris came for the weekend and worked with the Arabs, Flyer and Khal. De-spooking and building trust came first and then they worked on relaxed leading, rein work and position, using lots of techniques from Kate’s great Tai Chi class.
Justine brought Ursula, a beautiful Fresian, and they worked on leg-yielding to help Ursula learn to move onto the verge when Justine asks when out hacking. They also showed us some beautiful shoulder-in and distance targeting work, which will look gorgeous when doing it with a foal at foot (Ursula’s due a foal next year)!
And, finally, the kids… Helen taught 3 girls, Anna, Imogen and Phoebe and their ponies. Sean and Molly are both very bargey horses and are quite new to their owners so they really wanted to teach them how to be calm and polite on the ground. They did a great job with this and looked so much more confident and connected by the end of the camp! They also found time to teach Molly to pick her feet up nicely, teach the ponies some tricks like noseball and catch, play fetch with Freckles and hone their skills freeshaping each other! To cap it all off, Anna did some great mounting block work with Molly and had a lovely calm ride at the end, which she was deservedly proud of! Unfortunately, Phoebe couldn’t bring her pony, Dexter, who she’s done loads of clicker training with as he’s lame, but had great fun working with Sean and also teaching Copper to lie on the sofa (hopefully a trick appearing in Snow White – a Pony Tale, coming soon)!
So, all in all, a great time was had by all! It was super fun and everyone came on leaps and bounds. On top of that, the sun shone and it was hot enough for ice-creams, without which no summer camp is complete! 🙂
We had a super 4 days at our Clicker Camp! Find out more in the blog here![slickr-flickr tag="summerclixcampHDE2012" items="50" type="gallery"]