clicker training



Sit in a field with horses. Listen. You hear them tearing up grass with their teeth and chewing. A swish of a tail. A hoof stomping the ground to shake off a fly. There’s rarely verbal communication going on, and when it happens, it’s brief. Perhaps a horse is out […]

Train Quietly


At one time, Dolly was the pony of every horse-crazy child’s dreams. Snow white with big dark eyes. Petite. Pretty. Likely purebred Welsh. You could imagine her a unicorn. She lived in a small field behind her people’s house. The children rode her, but didn’t do pony club or 4-H, […]

Touching the Uncatchable Pony



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


My work with clients and their horses is ostensibly about teaching the humans how to ride, or the equines new behaviors. But underneath that, before that training can start, I need both horse and rider to be in a calm and confident place. Whether it’s the off-track thoroughbred learning how […]

Build on Small Moments of Calm