clicker training


We all have things that we’re afraid of. Some of those things we should be afraid of, and fear lets us take quick evasive action. But other things get in the way of life. (For example, if I let my fear of snakes control me, I’d never go into my […]

Overcoming Fear With “Touch”


For the last month I’ve had a cast on my left foot. My dog nurse thinks that I should be on the couch with him for the duration.   But I’ve never been a good patient, and much to Scooter’s disappointment, I got a plastic protector for the cast, meant […]

Working While Laid Up


While my saddle is being adjusted for Tonka’s more athletic physique, I have been riding bareback (with a pad, which, honestly, doesn’t do much!) Riding bareback has kept Tonka and I at a walk. There’s a lot that can be accomplished at this gait. Dressage is all about fine-tuning communication and developing […]

Schooling Dressage Bareback



This is how a horse should get onto a trailer. Blasé.   Easier said than done. A horse has good reason to be wary of getting onto a trailer. Here’s a partial list: The ramp and floor sound hollow. Horses like solid ground. Simply walking on causes it to move slightly. […]

Horse Trailer Loading


Miniature horses are often pasture pets. They’re loved on, but rarely trained. Adorable, but taken for granted. I was brought in to train this massive Percheron cross to walk safely onto and off of a trailer. After two visits to the farm this little guy had a conversation with me. […]

Training Is Fun for Everyone


Everything that we do is behavior. Even breathing – whether you are gulping air in a panic, or inhaling and exhaling in a relaxed yoga state – is a response to your environment and what’s going on in it. Before we do what we do there are antecedents – triggers […]

The Rewarding World



Only in a laboratory does training happen in a sterile box. The real world is complex and changing. It’s impossible to keep the environment the same from training session to session. The list of potential distractions is long – it’s windy, a fly bites, a car backfires, a horse whinnies, someone walks by eating an […]

Context Matters


My friend, Michele, is a dog person. She and her husband like to have a house full of them. Not too long ago, her pack was sadly reduced to only two. These two dogs were perfect, and got along with each other and with the cats. They went for daily off-leash walks […]

Self-control Leads to Happiness


As fun as cantering down the lane is, if your horse can’t stop, you’re in trouble. So, we all teach the whoa! I’ve written about how I’ve taught Tonka to stop. When doing dressage, I rely on communication from my legs, seat and hands, and he halts balanced and square (see the video […]

Teaching A Horse To Stand Still