HORSE TRICKS GO VI­RAL

A six-year-old Katikati horse is mak­ing a name for him­self around the globe for sim­ply open­ing a chilly bin and tak­ing his owner, Rebecca Tasker a bot­tle of wine.

Katikati Advertiser - - Front Page - Bri­die Rose Photography

Katikati horse trainer Rebecca Tasker has re­cently found her­self re­ceiv­ing phone calls and emails from in­ter­na­tional en­ter­tain­ment and vi­ral me­dia com­pa­nies.

It’s not her that they’re in­ter­ested in though, it’s her 6-year-old clicker-trained horse, Hokey Pokey.

Hokey knows lots of tricks, but it is one in par­tic­u­lar that has drawn global at­ten­tion— in April Rebecca up­loaded a video to Face­book of her­self in a deckchair, re­lax­ing in the pad­dock with Hokey. In the video she points to a chilly bin and he walks over to it, nudges it open with his nose and pulls out a bot­tle of wine be­fore re­turn­ing to hand it to his owner.

That 30 sec­ond video quickly went vi­ral on so­cial me­dia. As well as al­most 350,000 views on Face­book alone, the video is pop­ping up on me­dia sites all over the world. Rebecca has signed a li­cens­ing agree­ment and the Daily Mail, MSN, Ya­hoo, AOL, the Daily Tele­graph, The Aus­tralian and many more in­ter­na­tional sites have fea­tured this clever palomino pony from Katikati.

Rebecca trav­els the coun­try un­der the name ‘Pos­i­tively To­gether’, teach­ing peo­ple how to train their horses us­ing clicker train­ing, amethod of an­i­mal train­ing in­volv­ing food re­wards and amarker sig­nal. Clicker train­ing can be used on all species of an­i­mal, and is widely used be­hind the scenes in movies and tele­vi­sion, zoos and ma­rine parks.

“Clicker trained horses learn faster, they re­tain their learn­ing for longer, and they gen­uinely love be­ing trained. They’re very en­gaged in the whole learn­ing process. Peo­ple are al­ways re­ally sur­prised and ex­cited at the im­me­di­ate dif­fer­ence in their horses and how well they re­spond,” Rebecca says.

Clicker train­ing is use­ful for more than just tricks, with Rebecca and her clients us­ing it for dres­sage and other rid­ing as well as solv­ing prob­lem be­hav­iours.

“Hokey loves learn­ing tricks, but he also tries his heart out when I’m rid­ing him be­cause he is re­warded for his ef­forts.”

As well as rid­ing horses all her life, Rebecca has worked with guide dogs and worked as a drug de­tec­tor dog han­dler for Cus­toms. For the last 10 years though she has fo­cused on horses, and her ab­so­lute pas­sion is teach­ing peo­ple how to train their own horses in away that is ef­fec­tive, ef­fi­cient, and eth­i­cal.

Check out the YouTube ver­sion of video here: https:/ /www.youtube.com/ watch?v=N2XazCyg7c0

Hokey loves learn­ing tricks, but he also tries his heart out when I’m rid­ing him be­cause he is re­warded for his ef­forts.’ REBECCA TASKER

PHOTO BRI­DIE ROSE PHOTOGRAPHY

FA­MOUS: Clicker-trained horse Hokey Pokey nudges the chilly bin open and pulls out a cold drink for his owner.

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