Remembering

Each month this year I’ve been writing a post in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the publication of “Clicker Training for your Horse”.  These posts are thank yous to all the many people who have helped bring clicker training into the horse world.  In January I began with a tribute to Bob Viviano and his horse Crackers.  February belonged to Ann Edie and Panda.  Last month I turned the spotlight on all the clinic organizers.  To represent them all I singled out Kate Graham and her horse Lucky.

This month is different.  April can belong to no one else but my beloved Peregrine.  April 26, 1985 was his birthday.  For thirty years I celebrated that event with him.  Now I remember the day without him.  Today I am getting ready to fly out to California to teach a clinic.  Peregrine put me on the path to all these great adventures.  I learned about clicker training for him, through him.  When I went out to the barn all those many years ago with treats in my pocket and a clicker in my hand, I had no idea of the journey he was sending me on.

When I lost Peregrine’s mother, I promised her I would write her a love story.  I didn’t know at the time what form that would take, just that I would do it.  My book, “Clicker Training For Your Horse”, was that love story.  It was written for her and for Peregrine.  Clicker training was not a story to keep to myself.  I have been sharing it with all of you because of them.

When Peregrine turned thirty, I wrote a series of posts in celebration.  They are a tribute to him and a history of equine clicker training.  You can read them beginning with https://theclickercenterblog.com/2015/04/13/todays-peregrine-story-early-lessons/ 

For most of his life Peregrine lived at boarding barns.  It was only in his final years that I was able to move him to a home of his own.  The barn is still so full of his memories.  We moved July 4th 2011.  It was truly Independence Day for all our horses.

Peregrine shaped how the barn is used.  He taught me to open all the doors.  Throughout his life he was always opening doors.  The most important one was the door to clicker training.

He is greatly loved, and he will always be greatly missed.

Peregrine Foal and in winter

Peregrine April 26, 1985 the day he was born, and Peregrine when he was 29

14 thoughts on “Remembering

  1. Thank you for this post Alexandra. I am sure many stories could be told of rude handling of our horses. There really is a better way! You have helped so .any find that way. Gwen

    On Thu, Apr 26, 2018, 3:16 AM The Clicker Center Blog wrote:

    > theclickercenter posted: “Each month this year I’ve been writing a post in > celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the publication of “Clicker > Training for your Horse”. These posts are thank yous to all the many > people who have helped bring clicker training into the horse wor” >

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always it is the Maya Angelou quote: When I was young I did the best I could. When I knew better, I did better. You can’t force people to change, but you can provide gentle nudges through good examples.

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  2. Special horses arrive in our lives and we are grateful for them and without realising just how special they will become. It has been an awesome journey so far Alex and much has been achieved from humble beginnings. As Peregrine has inspired and empowered you so you have bought clicker to the horse world – wow what legacy Peregrine has given all. So many years ahead to come, but clicker will move forward and gradually one horse at a time will become more and more embedded until one day all encompass it as ‘normal’ horse training. Thankyou Peregrine, thankyou Alex.

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  3. 2018 has revealed itself to be a difficult year for you Alex, and I am sorry for all the pain you and your friends have felt in the loss of these truly great horses. There are amazing equines all over the world, living and dead, but these ones were the first clicker trained horses. Even Man of War cannot eclipse that honour. What those big hearts, clever minds and willing spirits taught you was carefully noted, curated, distilled into lessons and distributed throughout the world. I bless the stars that put you together.
    Because of your work there is a quiet movement afoot all over the world. I wish you could see what magic you have unleashed Alexandra. Two weeks ago I watched a vet support her huge warmblood gelding load himself into a trailer. He backed up the side ramp and angled into his spot with a minimum of fuss, safely, and for reinforcement of carrots. It took a few attempts to get the job done, but at no time did this vet use a whip, raise her voice, or get discouraged. It was a joy for me to watch. She knew I was a clicker enthusiast and took some comfort in my praise for her timing, letting him pause and resettle and the incredible balance it took for him to accomplish his load loading backwards. It was his choice to do it that way. She was smart enough to let him take charge!
    I have been working with a few horses to learn how to carry vaulters. Clicker training has helped immeasurably and has kept everyone safe, as these are huge horses. The kids in the vaulting club are becoming accustomed to watching me click and treat. I get teased by the vaulting and Pony Club community for my full treat pockets, but nobody refuses to take treats from me to reward their pony after a good lesson or well ridden jump course! I am slowly getting the kids trained to reward. By the time they test their B levels I should have the reflex to reinforce fully mylenated (SP) with those kids!
    Alex you hooked me with a clinic on clicker training horses. That is what you advertised, and what I paid for. You over delivered. I learned to take notes, to slow down, read books and reflect on them. You gave me confidence to carry on when way over my head with the kids, coaching a sport I knew nothing about. You addicted me to stretch goals and verbalizing them. Moose Jaw now has a vaulting club and Pony Club with plans stretching for the next two years. We have 15 young girls who see themselves a lot differently with developing mindsets that will carry them far. All this good stuff traces back to those good horses who have passed on, and the exceptional humans in their lives.
    What a powerful legacy. Just think, all this in one small Canadian town. You have this happening all over the world, one click at a time.
    Dolly and I send our deepest sympathy and respect. May 2018 move forward with less loss and may the joy Peregrine, Panda and Crackers brought continue to ripple though the world.
    Kim Reynolds

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    • Wow, Kim. All that is left to say is a heartfelt thank you. What a joy you are. It has always been such a great pleasure to connect with you and share this work. You are one of the “ripplers”. You are dropping many “pebbles in the pond” and the ripples are going out.

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  4. When I read your remembering Peregrine I remember how I was moved to tears when shortly before Christmas 2016 I read your final post of JOY Full Horses and learned that Peregrine had died. It was the year I lost the second of my beloved horses – two Arabians, father and son, the first died in May 2012. I therefore felt so much with you. But my inner answer that lead to those tears also came from gratitude for your love story for Peregrine and his mother. I started clicker training with my horses a decade ago and your book ‘Clicker Training For Your Horse’ was the final little drop that made me start. And clicker training for me was and is what gave a way to the love I had for my two wonderful horses and gives a way to the love I have for the horses that are with me now – a way in every aspect of being together and safely doing things that are fun for both human and horse. In your final post of JOY Full Horses you wrote: “Woven in every lesson are gifts of love from my horses.” It is true – that is what reached my heart when I read your first book and all your books and many posts afterwards. These gifts of love have reached me and my horses and still are with us whenever we do some of these lessons. Clicker training is a way of love!
    Christmas 2016 I missed the chance to tell you that – this time I do! Thank you so much for keeping your promise to Peregrine’s mother and writing her and her wonderful son this love story!
    Lots of love from Germany,
    Undine

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