Girls Horse Club Blog

No Cliquer Training

Published by • Feb 15th, 2007 • Category: LeadMare Tales

You may be familiar with Clicker Training, a technique that uses auditory cues and positive reinforcement for training horses, dogs, cats and other animals. I haven’t tried this method, but it looks really interesting.

This past week while reading another story submission that touches on the subject of barn cliques, I got to thinking — why not develop No Cliquer Training, also a positive reinforcement approach, to prevent humans from getting caught up in the cliques that form within the larger group of horse people?

Wikipedia says: A clique is an informal and restricted social group formed by people who share common interests. They are often subsets of larger social groups. Cliques are often associated with groups of teenagers, but can be found in most social groups.

At Girls Horse Club, we like to say that girls are connected to horses and horses connect girls. But within the larger group of all horse girls, sub-groups form around interests such as riding or sporting discipline, horse breed, training style, age, affluence, etc. It’s human nature to bond with those who share your interests and opinions. That’s generally a good thing.

But it becomes a bad thing when individuals or groups decide to shun (ignore) or bully those outside their clique. People who act this way may be doing so because they feel threatened or insecure, or simply because they don’t understand and fear the unknown. If you’ve ever been treated this way by someone or a group of people, try not to take it personally. It’s really not about you.

So in my imagination, No Cliquer Training would give positive reinforcement to horse people who step outside their circle to connect with those perceived as outsiders. It’s not necessary to agree with another person’s way of doing things, but that shouldn’t be an excuse to shun or bully. Ever. No Cliquer Training would reward tolerance, acceptance, and educating yourself about something or someone you don’t understand. Now that would be interesting.

What do you think — any takers for No Cliquer Training?

9 Nickers »

  1. No cliquer training, I think, is a fantastic idea. I’ve been bullied, ignored, and teased by people who think horses are stupid and all that but I’ve just learned to ignore them. Besides, they can’t even mount a horse so who are they to talk? In my opinion I think No cliquer training is more of a defense for those like myself who get picked on for no real reason. I love riding and nobody can tell me otherwise.

  2. I came to the conclusion that horsemanship (as in Mastery over Horses) appeals to control freaks, who naturally gravitate to clique-ish behaviors as a way to control their environment. Not all horsepeople are control freaks, but there are enough of them that it sets up for a very rigid and fragmented community. If you are not a clique-ish person, you just don’t bother to rail against them, so they persist. It’s ugly and hurtful when you don’t understand that it’s just those control freaks acting out on their own neuroses. Don’t take it personally.

  3. Thanks for the insightful comments.

    Julia: When a person feels threatened they typically do one of two things — fight (bully, tease) or flight (ignore). It’s good to hold your ground with cliquish humans. You go girl!

    Patricia: Totally agree. Horse person or not, most people feel more comfortable when they believe they’re in control. But one of the many life lessons we learn from horses is that no matter how experienced or confident you are, you’re never *really* in control when you’re on the back of a thousand+ pound flight animal. All you can do is relax, stay balanced, and ride it out. Hmm, do you suppose the same applies when our human companions act flighty (or fighty)? :)

  4. Very good idea :)

  5. I’m all in for clique training!

  6. The boys in my class would always tease me about me liking horses. They would say that they like to eat horse meat and all the horses are going to the slaughterhouse. Isn’t that horrible?! Now the girls in my neighborhood who are really girly say horses are useless and all they do is poop!

  7. The boys at my school do that to. It is so bad! :(

  8. Hey Marisa! Same thing happended to me! In 3rd grade this guy in my class named Lium said: “I hate horses I’m going to shoot them and eat them!” Well guess what? Turns out he likes horses! I saw hime at horse camp being all nice to the horse he was riding he saw me and ran off and was all embarassed. So your not alone this probably happens to every equestrian/horse lover just ignore it or say: “Hey have you ever ridden a horse? You don’t just sit up there and the horses does NOT do all the work!” Then maybe invite them to try it then they’ll see!

  9. Ya, I know! I don’t get why they would say that about them! They should give horses a chance! And all horses do is not poop!