horse training


Effective trainers know that when a desired behavior is rewarded, it’s likely to happen again. For that reason, we’re thoughtful about paying attention to what the animal wants and timing the reward so that they make the connection between what they’ve done and the consequence. But behavior isn’t only learned […]

When Feeding Treats Goes Wrong


Tonka has been going well, and so I’m planning to take him to a couple of dressage shows later this summer. We’ll be doing First Level, Test 3. We’re used to having a whole dressage ring to ourselves to train in, but now we’re at a hunter/jumper barn, where there […]

H/J Cross-Training for Dressage


Tonka used to cross tie perfectly. But then, last winter, we had two almost identical and serious incidents in the space of a week. He got zapped with static, startled backwards, felt pressure on his poll (which he’s always hated), panicked, and yanked to free himself until he broke the […]

Cross Tie Retraining



This is the state of my current home office.   This is what my new office looks like. The movers come the day after tomorrow. We’re not exactly ready. But transitions are like that. Rarely perfectly smooth and according to plan. I’m working on transitions with Tonka, too. Stretch walk […]

Transitions


Here in New England, it’s the beginning of horse show season. There are tune-up schooling shows to go to, and we dressage riders are mapping out which USDF recognized shows to enter later this summer. I like showing, and Tonka seems to, too.   We’ve certainly done well since entering […]

“Success” With Your Horse


In an ideal world, your horse confidently walks with you anywhere. A comfortable halter and lead rope provide for subtle, tactile information. Turn here. Slow down. Wait.   However, when faced with something worrisome, a horse might need more from you. We’ve all been there. A horse won’t get in the […]

Effective Luring For Horses



It takes just one bad scare to change how your horse behaves from then on – for days, maybe months, maybe years, maybe forever. With observation, management and training, you can alleviate some of your horse’s fear, but you might not be able to “fix” it. I’m in this situation […]

Overcoming a Fearful Incident


It can be aggravating when you’re just setting down into the saddle and your horse moves off before you’ve even slid your feet into the stirrups. If that’s the case, your reaction might be to pull back on the reins and say something in a harsh voice. That can set […]

Mounting Block Manners Quick Fix


When you ride dressage, you care about the details. Where each hoof falls, the height of the poll, the way the shoulder follows the arc of a circle. It’s all too easy to micromanage every stride, to push and constrain so that the horse’s body goes exactly where you want […]

The Square Halt