clicker training


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



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?


This post goes on and on about small details that we dressage riders obsess over, like angles of the hock and suspension of a stride. But I hope that those of you not into such geeky horse things will stay with it, because this blogpost is actually about noticing the moment […]

Canter Jump



What drives some of us to ride dressage is the fine-tuned communication that you develop with your horse. A slight press with a leg, a subtle shift of a sitting bone, a closed finger on a rein, and the horse responds. All of us who ride dressage are after something called feel. It’s when […]

Feel


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