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If you’re familiar with clicker training, then you’ve probably heard of a target being used. It’s a tool that reinforcements the correct behavior. The target can be fixed to a fence or wall or be hand held by the trainer. Ultimately, it gives the horse something to focus on while training.

Target Training Benefits

Before you begin target training, you’ll want to introduce your horse to the clicker and a reward. Find a video, book, or resource like Shawna Karrasch’s podcast on clicker training. That’ll help you get the basic concepts down!

A target can come in different shapes and sizes. A simple hand held one may consist of a dowel with a small marine float on the end. Once your horse is trained to follow the target, you’ll be able to teach them force free. That can be helpful for…

  • Leading them around
  • Standing
  • Backing
  • Respecting your space
  • Trailer loading
  • Jumping
  • Turning on the forehand and hindquarters
  • Moving their hips
  • Shoulder in
  • Haltering
  • Trimming or cleaning their ears and face
  • De-worming
  • Applying medication
  • Lifting their hoof
  • Tricks likes sitting down or the Spanish walk
  • Many more things…

You can learn the basics of target training with The Willing Equine‘s video.

You’re one step closer to having a great relationship with your horse!