I use both clicker training (CT ) and pressure/release (PR) to train my horses. I find both really useful. Mostly I use pressure/release because either the concept is simple and I can release at the instant the horse does the behavior. I especially use pressure/release when the horse is trying to avoid doing something they already know how to do. In that case the pressure is usually moving their feet. I use CT when the behavior is complex or it is not possible to time a release at the instant of the behavior. An example right now is collection. I can click while we ride when I get collection or I get collection for a longer duration.
I think you can use PR for everything but I think sometimes CT can increase the speed of learning and also deepen a learned response because the horse is doing the behavior at liberty. A horse willingly does something without being pulled or pushed by anything when it is a well trained behavior.
And there are professional horse trainers who use CT successfully. One example is Shawna Karresh who trains for Beezy Madden. And actually, we ALL use food to train our horses. My horses come when I call and whistle for them because I always do that when I go out to feed them so they connect my calling to feed. Now, if they get loose and run to visit the neighbors (this never happens to anyone else I'm sure!) I just call them and they come running home. CT is just a way to REFINE the learning that takes place. Now I can make a sound ( I make a "clop" sound instead of using a clicker now) at the instant the horse is doing what I want so the horse knows what it was that I reward. PR requires this good timed response like CT, only you release at the instant of the response you want.
Hope that makes sense. It's hard to respond on a smart phone but that's all that works at my house in the boonies! And I respect other trainers and their methods. We all seek success and if you are successful with your method, you're good!
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