Zonkey Training!

Happy new year! 2013 has just arrived and one of my new year’s resolutions is to post regular video blogs all about what I’m getting up to. I’m beginning with sharing my exciting start to the year. Introducing the Zonkeys, two zebra x donkeys!

These beautiful stripey girls are my first new project of 2013!


5 Responses to Zonkey Training!

  1. Sam says:

    Hi Hannah,

    I hope you don’t mind but we have posted your video onto our website at ponymag.com.

  2. Eleanor Rycroft says:

    Hi there,

    I saw your stand at Your Horse Live last year and became really interested in clicker-training my horse, who has a very big brain and likes to be occupied! I have just been getting started at home in a very amateur fashion and I am finding it difficult to link the action to the click when I am targeting. I use a small plastic cone (like a sports boundary cone) as a target and find that while my horse will touch the target on occasion he also tends to simply search me for a reward instead of touching the target. I have spent three or four 5-10 minute sessions on simple targeting. I don’t reward him at any time without the click and have a specific waistcoat for clicker-training so I don’t always smell of food! Is this problem created by my timing (lack of precision!) or is he simply getting bored and should I move on to teaching him something else? I notice that you keep the target away from you when training these two lovely equines- is that something you would do with every horse (i.e. is my problem because I am holding the target and this is confusing my horse) or is it simply because these two are very nervous?

    Sorry for the essay, but I really don’t want to confuse my poor horse with a basic error!



    • Profile photo of admin admin says:

      Hi Ellie, firstly sorry for SUCH a late reply – it got lost in mountains of spam comments which I’ve now got sorted! Anyway, great question… If your horse is simply mugging you for treats rather than touching the target then I’d work on teaching ‘manners’ first. This is where you click and reward your horse for turning his head AWAY from you so he learns that mugging for treats doesn’t work. I usually begin this over a fence or stable door so your safe and it’s easy. As soon as he turns his head away or stops pushing for treats for a second click, and then feed him. Repeat this until he’s got the idea of turning and staying away from you and treats. You then want to just look for those moments when he softens and relaxes a bit so that he’s not really tense or excited when training or he’ll struggle to concentrate and learn the things yu want him to. So, while doing ‘manners’, look out for things like head dropping a bit, some deep breaths, relaxd eyes and ears from him and so on and click those moments so he starts of clear and calm around the treats. then bring tha target back in and I’ll wager he’d get it pretty quickly! Hope that helps, any more questions, please get in touch 🙂 Hannah

  3. Profile photo of admin admin says:

    Thanks Mary! Yes, it’s interesting how much is missing for them in terms of humans. I’ve now taught them 2 behaviours – targeting and standing on a pedestal – and have begun to work on stimulus control (previously, the presence of the object was the cue) and it’s interesting how difficult they’ve found it as they have never looked to humans for cues in that way. I think they’ve found most human movements incomprehensible and to see them start paying attention and understanding is lovely. I think it’ll be a big step forward in their confidence so fingers crossed as they’re still very wary and untouchable at present. thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Mary Hunter says:

    Love them! Such cuties. 🙂

    Would enjoy seeing more videos as you continue working with them. I bet they’ll make fast progress with clicker training.

    Just posted the video on my blog, as I think my blog readers would enjoy seeing it.



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