relationship building


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 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


It’s said that eyes are the windows to the soul. Eyes don’t lie. Look into them, observe closely – the pupils, the changing shape at the corners, the eyebrows – and you know what the person is truly thinking. Eyes aren’t the only window. At least not with horses. The […]

That Lip!



We teach our dogs to come. Even the little ones will rush towards you with a bit of training. (Scooter has a hard time putting on the brakes. He stopped just behind me.)   Like dogs, horses can be taught to come for treats. However, a horse is a grazer, […]

Come! From Turnout


It’s still so cold that Tonka is turned out in a sheet or blanket.   But it’s been warming up to above 40° F in the afternoons. That’s a good thing/bad thing. The trails are clear of ice!   But the ticks have woken up. The other day, scratching the […]

Hands On Grooming for Tick Season


I think that the big picture is cute.   The view from on top gets even cuter. There’s a whorl in that skunk mane. It’s a part of my horse that cannot be tamed!   As a trainer, I’ve learned to break down behavior into the smallest possible components, find […]

Seeing The Details



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


Recap: Tonka has had recurrent sacroiliac joint issues which cause back pain, which I know because he tells me in a myriad of ways. When the SI joint flares up, Tonka moves away from the mounting block. He doesn’t willing do upward transitions. It gets so bad that he refuses […]

Tonka’s Sacroiliac Joint Progress


For the last few weeks there’s been a lot of activity near the horses’ paddocks. A crew of two men have been putting up a new fence. First there were the piles of posts and rails in places where there had never been posts and rails. Then the guys got […]

Losing Fear By Making Friends