There was a very detailed post by Alexandra Kurland on her mailing list, about a horse who was afraid of plastic, and how she taught him to overcome this fear by clickertraining during a clinic.
He also didn't like having his ears touched.
She taught him to target the plastic bag with his ears
there was a lot of microshaping in this, but it did work well for him (being a new and a free shaped behaviour).
Don't know if you've ever visited my photobucket album, but you can see there the result of clicker training to overcome anxiety and fear of just such things. In one pic you can see me rubbing a large HUGE piece of black plastic, the infamous Black Plastic Sabertoothed Tiger over Cody.
He was terrified of plastic just fifteen minutes or so before I had him chasing it. Same with umbrellas. In one of our vids, Dakota and I, you can see me waving an umbrella around his head.
His expression is like you'd see a person do if someone was being annoying...but he's not frightened.
Another vid, you can see me riding him coming up to the highway (another fearsome monster object for him with log trucks roaring by regularly) and I'm waving the umbrella all about his head and body. Same look of annoyance, but no fear.
Another pic or two, and a vid, shows him walking up to a rotting deer hide and putting his nose right on it, for the click, and the treat.
He got to where he'd run UP to anything that startled him, and put his nose on it, or front hooves, according to which was most convenient.
All with clicker training. And there as no shaping being done. I simply put the feared object out there, clicked him when he got over his startle and treated.
Pretty quickly the startle went away and of course the treat replaced the fearsome object, sound, or smell.
He has stood in a driving wind and rain, in hand, while my wife raced the engine of my pickup just six feet from his nose, flashed the light and blared the horn, all at the same time.
Oh and I was beating on the hood of the pickup the whole while. All he expected, most obviously, was that treat he'd come to associate with noise and other formerly fearsome things.
This horse, on the lungeline lost the old saddle I had on him while he was dragging the BPST and when it broke loose it tangled around his hind legs. He slide to a stop, snorted and looked at me as if to say, "Okay, now THAT has to be worth a treat avalance, right?"
And of course
it was. I think if I came off him and got tangled in the rigging if I could still make a click sound with my mouth, I would be in no danger. And it's quite possible that even without it, he'd stop and ask for his treat.
I was not familiar with C/T in any specific way, though I knew generally about the principles (used to watch Karen Prior work with Dolphins in Hawaii), and from my own professional life, so it was pretty easy for me to just jump in and apply it.
It made perfect sense to me, and to Dakota.
The other day I made a miscalculation about using my misfit saddle on him with one less blanket (usually takes two) and when I mounted up I know the gullet must have come down on his withers. He bolted...for three steps and stopped, and peered around to see if I had that treat ready.
He got it, and I went to fetch my extra blanket to bring the padding I use up to the right depth.
We had a nice ride after that.
Hooray for click training.
If you want to look at my pics and vids follow the URL below and click on the album (left side of your screen) "Dakota" -- don't forget the password below.
If you are curious, you can see my photo and video albums at -
guest password is 'haumea'