I went for a casual trail ride with Vaquero yesterday. I started by working on his clicker training in the barn while tacking up. He was asked to touch an inanimate object (a feed lid), and was rewarded with a click and a treat. He likes the apple treats, and seemed eager to earn more.
I took him out of the barn and went about mounting him. He has a habit of taking a few baby steps when I mount him, but this time he stayed still, and earned a click and a treat. Again, he seemed pleased with himself.
We went out to ride one trail, and I kept asking for the walk and rewarding him when he slowed and maintained his walk, with a click and a treat. But I found out it's a lot harder to give a treat while mounted, than while on the ground. I would stop him, and he would bring his head around to take the treat from my hand. But he didn't like to stay that twisted and still for too long, and I found myself pushing the treat in his mouth. Well, of course, my fingers were presenting the treat instead of a flat palm. Can you guess what happened? Yep, he caught my fingers in his teeth and I got rewarded with pain! That pretty much ended the treat offerings for that trail ride.
I'm going to continue with his clicker training. I may even just give him a "good boy" and a neck rub along with the click, but I do think he is responding to positive reinforcement...