behavior


Effective trainers know that when a desired behavior is rewarded, it’s likely to happen again. For that reason, we’re thoughtful about paying attention to what the animal wants and timing the reward so that they make the connection between what they’ve done and the consequence. But behavior isn’t only learned […]

When Feeding Treats Goes Wrong


It’s said that eyes are the windows to the soul. Eyes don’t lie. Look into them, observe closely – the pupils, the changing shape at the corners, the eyebrows – and you know what the person is truly thinking. Eyes aren’t the only window. At least not with horses. The […]

That Lip!


Almost two weeks ago, Tonka left The Ark for his new home in Maine. The Ark was the perfect boarding barn and it was a challenge to find a place where my horse would be as content. I realistically accepted that there’d be compromises, but I also know Tonka well […]

Tonka Settles In



This face mask makes me look like a court jester!   Much better.   In all seriousness, fly masks can be a life-changer for a horse. They keep the biting and annoying insects out of ears and eyes. For horses with white pigment around the eyes, they can literally save […]

Fashion Fail/ Fashion Forward


If I’m in the room with five people, and there’s one mosquito, I’ll be the one that gets bit. Some people are like that. We give off whatever it is that the biting insects use for navigation. Some horses are like that too. Tonka is one of them. He attracts […]

Itches and Scritches


We teach our dogs to come. Even the little ones will rush towards you with a bit of training. (Scooter has a hard time putting on the brakes. He stopped just behind me.)   Like dogs, horses can be taught to come for treats. However, a horse is a grazer, […]

Come! From Turnout



It takes just one bad scare to change how your horse behaves from then on – for days, maybe months, maybe years, maybe forever. With observation, management and training, you can alleviate some of your horse’s fear, but you might not be able to “fix” it. I’m in this situation […]

Overcoming a Fearful Incident


Several times a year, I teach a Problem Solving Your Problem Animal class through local adult and community education departments. Each person who comes loves their dog (it’s usually a dog, although I’ve had people discuss cats and parrots, too) but they’re at their wit’s end. Each person has an […]

How To Choose A Trainer


I’ve been asked why Tonka wears his ear bonnet in the winter. Good question! It’s something that horses usually wear to keep flies and gnats out of their sensitive ears. It’s a simple solution to a pesky (pesty!) problem. Although there aren’t bugs in New England when it’s cold, Tonka […]

Ear Bonnet