Welcome to the Challenge

4 Challenging levels

Welcome to the HippoLogic Clicker Challenge. This Clicker Challenge has 4 exciting levels. It’s fun to pick a level before you start so that you have a clear picture in mind of what your training goal will be for these next 14 days. Here is how the challenges work:

Purple, greenblue and red are all steps of the same assignment, only the criteria are different. All these levels are basically part of the shaping plan.

A shaping plan is a step-by-step document in which all steps to train a goal behaviour are written down. The levels will help you get started.

If you aim for the red level these 14 days, you can start with the purple level and work your way up trough green and blue.

If you think you can start at green or blue, that’s awesome! Start wherever you feel comfortable! You can always go back if you get stuck and get the foundation right.

By starting to pick a goal before you start you know what to aim for. Share your goal in the group and get some accountability!

4. Key lesson Mat training

Key Lesson Mat training

Prerequisites: horse masters Table Manners for horses. This exercise will be easier to teach if your horse also already masters Key lesson Targeting, but it’s not a prerequisite.

Start with working with protective contact (a barrier) between you and the horse until he knows what to do. Taking away the barrier (or fading it out) can be a real context shift to the horse and it is normal to act differently without the barrier.

You can expect an increase in ‘mugging’ behaviour or other undesired behaviours because he falls back into old habits (behaviours that have been reinforced in the past).

Shaping plan:

  • Put a mat on the ground in a fenced area
  • Let the horse explore the object at liberty
  • Handler is in the fenced area or outside
  • Click worthy moments are all behaviours that helps guide the horse to step on the mat with one (and later on two) front hooves
  • Criteria are: reinforce the horse for looking, moving towards the mat and/or sniffing or interacting with it
  • Allow pawing but don’t click and reinforce (pawing is exploration behaviour and reinforcing in itself)
  • Once you click, you immediately reinforce, see Key Lesson ‘Table Manners for Horses’.
  • Ask your horse to step off of the mat. Reinforce that too
  • Ask your horse to approach/ step on the mat
  • Click and reinforce about 3 times before you raise your critrion
  • Only raise one criterion at the time

Raising criteria:

  • Horse can step on mat with one front hoof
  • Horse can step on mat with two front hooves
  • Horse stays on the mat for 1 second
  • Horse stays on the mat for 2, 3, 4  seconds and so on
  • Horse stays on mat while handler moves one step away from horse
  • Horse stays on mat while handler moves two steps away from horse
  • Horse stays on mat while handler moves towards hips of the horse
  • Horse stays on mat while handler walks around horse
  • Horse stays on mat while handler moves 2 meters away from horse

Green level: suitable for ‘green’ horses. Horses that are new to clicker training or not yet have mastered any of the behaviours asked.

The green level is also great for trainers that haven’t yet worked on duration, distance and stimulus control much and want to focus on those techniques.

Choose this level if you’re advanced but don’t have much time to train or if weather or other external conditions might interfere with training sessions.

If you and your horse master Green, you can go to Blue. All levels built on each other and no time is wasted if you start with Purple or Green.

Blue level: suitable for horses and trainers that already master one or more of the behaviours asked. This level is great for trainers that want to practise advanced training techniques. The blue level is a very advanced and challenging level.

Red level: this level is really challenging and is meant for advanced and expert trainers and horses who have a solid positive reinforcement foundation. In the Red level there are a lot of criteria to make this really challenging.

Aim for this level and become experienced along the way! Your biggest challenge is in this level is ‘time’. Download the Challenge and keep practising, even after the Challenge end! Have fun!


Yes, there are some rules.

Rules of HippoLogic Clicker Challenges

  • Everything has to be taught with positive reinforcement only (that’s why it’s called a Clicker Challenge)
  • You can use whatever bridge signal you prefer, it doesn’t have to be a clicker
  • During the training phase you are allowed to click and reinforce/use keep-going signals/encourage your horse verbally as much as you need
  • During the training phase you are allowed to use props (like a target stick, mat, cone) to help your horse understand your criteria. You can fade these out in the final stage and before you film your final video.
  • Punishment and negative reinforcement are not allowed!
  • Share videos of your results in our secret FB group  (not mandatory, but it’s very helpful to get feedback and coaching is included!)
  • In your final video (last day to admit is on day 14) you are allowed to bridge and reinforce once
  • The final video must be: one take, no editing (you may shorten the video)

If you haven’t registered and you want to join, click here to sign up.

Each Challenge lasts 14 days. During these 14 days you get online support and the Challenge stays open another week before it closes until next year.

! Sandra’s coaching is only available to you during the challenge dates!