photographs are provided by Sentient Equine and others

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About Me

The focus of my journey is now on trying to help reach the tipping point in positive, scientific based horse training. To bring science into the work, and training out of the dark ages. Having seen the joy that positive reinforcement training brings to both partners in the horse - human relationship over the past 17 or so years, there is no going back...

 

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"Thinking of your horse as behaving badly disposes you to think of punishment. Thinking of your horse as struggling to handle something difficult encourages you to help him through his distress."- The Concordia Connection

August 6, 2013

Hopefully you had some fun and success playing with targeting to the mat, but possibly you have one of those horses who has some issues from being MADE to do stuff and so is very afraid to try it. In this case you will need a different approach that allows the horse to make the decisions with regards to how close and when he steps on the mat. This approach will do a lot to build your relationship with him.

Shaping

Another way to teach this would be to free-shape the behaviour. Turn the horse out into a small area and place the mat on the ground in a spot where it is likely to be noticed or in a likely path. Perhaps watch him in the pen for a bit and put the mat where he is likely to encounter it. (Managing your environment to set you and your horse up for success is an easy and very important part of the planni...

July 15, 2013

I like to relate grown-ups and duration by suggesting you look at it this way. You and I are having a great conversation, you have my attention and I have yours. We are responding to each other’s emotional bids. Now along comes a friend of mine. I now ignore you and talk to my other friend. How would you feel? Left out, upset, wondering why you aren’t being included in this conversation? Part of how you feel will depend on your understanding of what is going on. If you are young and still learning the rules of social interactions I should not expect you to wait long before expecting my attention or at least acknowledgement.

A two-year-old human toddler will need to be reinforced more frequently for his quiet waiting than say your husband who has figured out how this works. So, while I can expect my clicker sup...

May 27, 2013

What now? The horse, right? No, not yet!

Now that you have your food delivery skills perfected, it’s time to add another new skill: handling a target. A target can be anything that is easy to hold and is horse safe. An empty plastic water bottle, the lid off of a supplement container or a small cone, all makes great targets.

You will be teaching your horse to touch his nose to a target, in your first horse lesson, so we need to practice with your human horse first.

Pretend that your human horse is in a stall with a stall guard across the door.

Here is the loop of behaviours – standing on your horse’s left side, hold the target out with your left hand in a position where she can easily bump it with her clasped hands (they represent the horse’s nose). Click as she touches the target with her “nose” and hand her the...

May 21, 2013

This series of lessons, showing you how to use the foundation lessons of Alexandra Kurland’s clicker training, though they appear very simple, were very carefully designed. If you progress systematically through them, you will see amazing results from your horse and reap unexpected benefits to your relationship.

Each lesson presented will explain another section of the “polite horse” rule book to your horse. The lessons will also address a whole host of issues such as barging, pushing into you with their shoulders, rearing, biting and shying to mention a few.

Now, I know you’re going to be eager to go out and try this with your horse but, before that happens, we’re going to begin by perfecting the basic mechanical skills you will need to be a great clicker trainer.

We start by having people work on these lessons...