training with food


I’m at an art festival with my husband. We’re holding hands. I see something that I want to look at. I walk towards it, he feels where I’m going through our hands. He follows. He gets distracted by something and he stops, he pulls lightly on my hand so I […]

The Halter As Welcome Information


Susannah called me in because she wanted to be able to tack up her mare, Fawn, without her horse showing signs of worry. The first thing that I do is watch the baseline behavior, and then tease apart the components. Here is how Fawn reacted when Susannah stepped towards her […]

Standing Still For Saddling


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



It’s drilled into us dressage riders to go forward. Sometimes, though, in order to get those big strides, we have to slow our horses down first because impulsion can’t come without balance. Tonka is a case in point. His front end and his hind end go at different speeds. Tonka […]

Slowing Down To Go Forward


Tonka has never had big issues with trailering, but I don’t take it for granted! When I purchased him, he loaded fine, but scrambled too fast backwards when stepping out, so I trained him to wait patiently in the trailer and back slowly when asked.  Over the years, there have […]

Optimistic Trailering


Yesterday, the Goat Boys traveled to their new home in Maine. I transported them in my horse trailer. My goats are skittish about new things and don’t like to be out-of-sight of their barn. They’ve lived in the backyard, without venturing beyond the fence, for many years. How do you […]

Loading Goats Onto A Trailer



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 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


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