Help me attend the Equine Clicker Conference!

Please help me further increase my knowledge and understanding of positive reinforcement (clicker) training so I can help more horses and humans!

Clicker Training is a powerful technology based on the science of learning theory. It gives us a positive training technique to build a relationship and two-way communication with our horses, and is a fun and effective way to teach anything from basic good manners to high school dressage movements (or even to get your horse to help with the washing up!)

I have been clicker training my own horses for 3 years, and helping others to train their horses for the last year. Frankie is an orphan, who was given to me as a yearling with many issues that meant no-one else would offer him a home. Everyone who knew him then is amazed now at his level of trust and calmness around humans, all taught to him using non-coercive clicker training. He’s now almost ready to be backed, he loves to learn new things and I’ve even taught him to paint! Maurice is in his 20s, and before he came to me was described as a horse who wouldn’t stand still. One of his favourite things is our liberty lunge work, and contrary to his previous description, is now one of the most patient horses I have ever known. Since training them with clicker they will both come running when called, and are always keen to work and learn!

I also help people here in Portugal (and further afield via the internet) with training and horsemanship advice. I publish much of what I am doing & learning on the internet, for the benefit of others who are seeking to understand their horses and work with them without coercion or force of any kind. Traditionally in Portugal, horses are a very macho pursuit, and clicker training is part of a global movement away from aggressive tactics, towards a more thought-out and caring approach.

Attending events such as the Clicker Conference are very important to enable me to successfully play my part in promoting and developing training that benefits horses, as well as their human carers.

To watch horses responding to the calm and precise clicker training sessions is inspiring and offers hope that we can learn to interact with our horses in a more understanding and compassionate way. My continuing journey with horses is part of this inspiring future.

I have attended several clinics with top clicker trainers, and the 1st ever Equine Clicker Conference last year. It is held in the UK and is the only one of its kind in the world, teaching me so much in 2 days of discussion, demonstrations and workshops with some of the leading names in clicker training. I cannot convey just how useful it is to take part in the conference, meeting others who seek better and gentler ways to teach their horses, and of course I play my own role at the event sharing my experiences with those less travelled down this path.

In the last year my husband and I have decided to separate, and are trying to sell our farm in Portugal. With the proceeds, I aim to buy a more suitable farm, to create a co-housing horse centred community with others – where I intend to start sharing my knowledge and experience in a more formal way, to benefit both horses and humans.

At the moment I am not able to raise the funds to attend the Equine Clicker Conference. Since separating finances from my husband, my income has dropped and I cannot see a way to raise the £700 I need to cover the cost of the conference, return flights to the UK, and travel within the UK. Being able to attend the conference would hugely benefit my own education and what I will be able to offer others in the future.

If I raise more than the £700 I would also be able to attend the one day seminar “Human Behaviour Change for vets, behaviourists and trainers” http://www.learningaboutanimals.co.uk/hbc2013.html
which will also hugely enhance my knowledge and my ability to communicate the principles, understanding, and implementation of this amazing training tool to many other people.

Any amounts received over what I need for these 2 events I will use to enable me to do more voluntary training work at the only horse rescue centre in Portugal, to give the horses increased chances of being rehomed.

This is cutting edge stuff in the field of animal training and human/animal relationships, and I see myself in future being an integral part of the movement, if you can help during this financially lean period of my life.

Thank you.

Everyone who helps with a donation will receive a scanned copy of a painting by Frankie, and there are other rewards too. I am happy to hear from you if there is a different reward you would like as I am keen to repay people in kind for their donations.

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About Sophie

Living in Portugal on a permaculture smallholding.
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