training theory


I just returned home from four days in Houston, Texas. I was there for the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) annual conference. There were three full days of lectures about the science of animal behavior (with ethology, physiology, and a few other ologys thrown in.) I go to […]

IAABC Conference Conversations


When my son was little, there was a book that we read over and over again. Goofy’s Big Race. It’s a retelling of the classic turtle and the hare tale, but with Disney characters and cars. Goofy, of course, is the turtle. As he perseveres through set-backs he repeats this […]

Slow and Steady, Steady and Slow


Humans find symmetry beautiful. (Google this. Fascinating research!) We also equate symmetry with athleticism. Oh, to be an ambidextrous baseball batter! But most of us are either left or right-handed. Beyond that, wear and tear alters our posture. Perhaps a shoulder droops a little, or we’re stronger on one leg […]

Counting to Position Success



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


Several times a year, I teach a Problem Solving Your Problem Animal class through local adult and community education departments. Each person who comes loves their dog (it’s usually a dog, although I’ve had people discuss cats and parrots, too) but they’re at their wit’s end. Each person has an […]

How To Choose A Trainer


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



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


As promised in my last post, here is a link to a new piece of writing by Karen Pryor. It’s about her time on board a tuna fishing vessel. She was there to study dolphin behavior so that better ways to fish could be implemented so that dolphins wouldn’t end […]

My Takeaways from Karen’s Writing


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