clicker training


Summer is a Quarter Horse who was rescued from the kill pen by Rita. She is one lucky mare. Rita is lucky, too, because Summer is a super little horse. Summer does, of course, have issues, but Rita accepts and accommodates them. In return, Summer adores her person. I was […]

Being Calm is Self-reinforcing


Today, Karen Pryor and I went on our annual autumnal outing to apple orchards. We buy this and that, what catches our fancy. This year both of us couldn’t resist the five varieties of plums grown at Westward Orchards, nor the delicata squash, still with dirt on them, from Carlson […]

Karen Pryor And Tonka


Yesterday Tonka was ticked off at me. He made it very clear. I had to look back through my archives to find a photo to illustrate his demeanor. This does it. Pinned ears, narrow nostrils, tight lips, tense neck, eyes showing some white. This is a pissed off horse.   […]

Tonka is Ticked Off



Each day brings incremental improvement to Tonka’s ease of movement. As I mentioned in the last post, Tonka, my usually willing horse, said that he was hesitant to trot, and full-out refused to canter. To the uninitiated, horses look like sturdy beasts. But to those of us who know them […]

Incremental Improvement



If Tonka were a dog, I’d say that he has perfect loose leash walking manners.   Once in awhile, when he lags behind, I gently pull on his halter and he catches up. He doesn’t drag me to grass – he knows graze, head up and let’s go behaviors, which he […]

Walking Past Scary Things



Most of us have had an aha! moment that has changed our lives, but few of us take that insight and change the world. Karen Pryor is one of those rare people who has. In the 1960s she was handed an obscure and technical manual that she was instructed to […]

From Dolphins to Training Surgeons


For me, the joy of riding is that mind-meld that happens when my horse and I are in sync and communication flows between us with subtlety and nuance. To achieve this, not only do I have to listen to and understand what Tonka is saying, but he has to understand me. […]

Saying “Thank You!” From The Saddle


You can train a horse to get on a trailer without balking, but for me, that’s not enough. I want Tonka to get on and have a cheerful, Where to? demeanor. And, I want him to arrive relaxed and ready. That’s asking a lot. Trailering means that Tonka is leaving […]

Happy Horse Trailering