Positivity is powerful! I recently tried a new training program that focuses on poisitive reinforcement with horses - called Empowered Equines. Their website can be found at www.empoweredequines.com . This is a fun, easy to follow program that I really enjoyed... and so did my horse! It is all about providing your horse with positive reinforcement in order to learn new things. What did I and my horse learn, and would I suggest this program to other horse owners?
I decided to try the "Clicker Challenges" offered by Empowered Equines. These challenges are progressive and start with "Foundation Level". In this challenge, my horse had to learn to stand facing forward as I stood next to her and walked around her. This is important to keeping both me and my horse safe. It also really helped teach my horse to not be constantly mugging or begging for treats. I had my reservations about positive reinforcement making my already treat-greedy horse even worse. I am happy to say this Clicker Challenge did the opposite! She now can stand quietly facing forward instead of invading my space looking for treats.
The second part of the Clicker Challenge was teaching my horse to touch a target with her nose to earn a treat. This was super fun for me and my horse. As you can see in the photo, she had "happy ears" throughout the challenge. I learned a target does not have to be anything fancy - mine was a broken, old dressage whip with some yellow duct tape on the end. This is a great way to engage your horse's brain and get them to follow and touch the target. My horse had a great time learning to use the target!
After you complete the challenge. you submit the video for scoring and feedback. I did not have a long wait before I received my results, and I was pleasantly surprised with the detailed feedback I received. It gives you insight on your strength and weaknesses, and what to work on. Your results are sent to you with a PDF file, which is great for keeping on hand and referring back to as needed.
If you receive a high enough score, you can also win beautiful ribbons as pictured above. You can also win prizes like a clicker, a treat pouch, and more. The best thing I took away from the experience was the new skills learned and closer bond to my horse - but the ribbons and prizes are such a fun bonus that helps keep me motivated.
Would I suggest Empowered Equines' program and their Clicker Challenges? I absolutely would. All fees submitted for the challenges (which are VERY reasonable) go to benefit rescue and sanctuary horses. I feel good about where my money went, the invaluable feedback I received, and the fun that my horse and I had! Check out www.empoweredequines.com and see for yourself how this program can help you and your horse.
The Info Pony