behavior


We’ve all heard Horses are prey animals. It’s followed up by the statement: We’re predators. This is then used to justify certain training techniques. It’s claimed that since horses are naturally afraid of us, that we have to train them differently than we do, say our dogs. I don’t agree. Because of the uniqueness of […]

Horses and the Predator/Prey Mythology


I’ve not been blogging much lately, but I have been busy. I’ve been working one-on-one with horses and their owners. People come to me because the training methods they’ve been using haven’t been effective. There’s usually something specific that they haven’t been able to do, whether it’s getting a horse onto trailer, or having the […]

Observation, Relationship, Training


I recently started working with four horses. Three are minis. They were rescued from a hoarding situation. The other is a BLM Mustang, which means she was collected on the open range, shunted from holding pen to holding pen, shipped across the country, put in yet another pen, then finally adopted by her […]

To Click or Not?



Remember Nate?   When I first met him, he sent out signals loud and clear: DO NOT TOUCH. All horses will pin ears and wrinkle their lips when they want you to go away. But Nate had taken it a step further. He bit. He bit when feeling threatened. He […]

Progress with a Biting Horse


I’m pulling out a behavior science term today because it explains a lot about what horses do that can drive you a bit crazy. The science can give you a different and more generous way to view their behavior. So geek out with me here. Emancipated Behavior: behaviors that are performed […]

Emancipated Behavior


I use food rewards when training, but not in all scenarios. Here’s why. I train by identifying the behavior that I want, setting up scenarios that make it doable, and then rewarding the animal when it happens. I want to be able to get that behavior numerous times, the more […]

Training With Food – Sometimes



This time of year there’s freeze and thaw, snow and rain. When the ground softens, many horses look like this:   Not Tonka. On the same day that Zephyr coated himself in mud, Tonka came out of the paddock his pristine, shiny self. Tonka does love a good roll. But it has to […]

Mud-loving or Not


Anyone who’s been around me at the stable knows that I’m obsessive about grooming my horse. I take pride in seeing a shiny coat and I enjoy the bonding and communication that happens during those long sessions of brushing.   But I also love seeing a tail filled with shavings because this tells me that […]

Shavings in the Tail


Take your dog to a trainer and one of the behaviors that they’ll teach you is how to get your pet to come when called. A good trainer will teach you the reliable recall, one that your dog listens to despite distractions, like bicycles zipping by, or a piece of hamburger on the […]

The Reliable Recall, with a Horse