"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

July 13, 2016

This month’s blog is all about an amazing lady who inspires me and everyone who meets her. Her name is Bernice. Her horse’s name is Altea and together their ages total well over 100. Altea being 20, so you do the math.

Bernice and Altea have been at my barn for about a year, but I’ve known Bernice for many years. She was originally my teacher when I was at University and was fondly referred to by all the students as ‘the dragon lady.’ You did not mess with her.

Bernice had been doing work with the clicker for several years with me off and on at another barn where she was boarding for several years. Zack, her old Arab, had been trained by a wonderful fellow and knew how to do lots of things, including some high school dressage, but he was getting on and had many health issues so things, while they progressed, we...

November 20, 2015

‘U’ has been doing really well and, as you know, even participated in a clinic this year. He was also doing really well with regards to coming to the mounting block and inviting me to get on…or so I thought.

He was happy to come to the block and even let me on. He was also happy to have Shannon continue to play the games we had played on the ground while I was on his back.

We all got so excited about this that we started to go back to more normal riding stuff, fading Shannon out and having me do the click and treat for simply walking around the cone circle.

Well this went well for a couple days and then ‘U’ stopped offering to come to the mounting block!

So what do you make of this?

Traditional trainers would just say ‘get over it’ and make him go to the mounting block and continue with what they wanted to do. But...

October 28, 2015

I sure hope all of you have been enjoying this great fall weather and getting out riding while we can. I will admit my blog is a little late because this is exactly what I have been doing!

One of the ladies, Heather, who came to my summer intensive clinic wrote a fabulous blog about it so I thought I’d best get writing about the clinic and take the opportunity to share her impressions of the clinic with you!

It was six intense days of horse play. I had only four students for most of the clinic and it was amazing. It was so wonderful to be able to share the knowledge my fabulous schoolmaster, clicker super stars with other like-minded people. All these ladies were familiar with Alexandra Kurland’s program and were also in her online course so they knew how to speak their language.

The look on the students’ faces...

April 17, 2015

I have great news to share with you all. I am helping out Alexandra Kurland, my mentor, at a clicker clinic at Cavalia in Quebec at their home farm this coming week and have been busy prepping for that. If anyone is interested in attending the next clinic there in June please let me know either by a post here or emailing me from my website www.theponyfairy.com for more details and who to contact.

So this week I’m going to share a couple videos and pictures from a couple of ladies who are also Alex’s TCCT coaches and I hope to get some of you inspired enough to give this work a try! The changes that you can see in their before and after pictures are amazing and it is all because of doing the work that Alex has so wonderfully laid out for us.

The first picture is Aesop before and the next two after more of t...

October 15, 2014

Expanding Clicker Training Through the People Who Use It

I have always said clicker training benefits the most from two groups. The first are the experienced horse trainers who bring their horse handling skills and knowledge into the community. We need people who know what a piaffe feels like and how it is traditionally trained. We need people who have the timing and the physical coordination to handle the super talented sport horses that are being bred today.

And we also need the complete novice horse owners who never handled a horse before stumbling across clicker training. They know nothing about how it is normally done. They don’t know you “can’t do it that way.” They don’t know you can’t get a horse into a horse trailer by having him push a ball up a ramp. They don’t know you can’t teach a horse to go forw...

September 13, 2014

I always get a giggle when people new to clicker training ask ‘But when do I get to ride?’ Those of us who have been with Alex Kurland from the early days remember it was many clinics before we got to get on and ride…at a walk. I also remember the shock when one of the new people got to ride at one of the clinics before having done what we all thought was due diligence. It’s too funny actually. I know all the groundwork I did was very, very valuable to me and, looking back, I can understand a bit better now why Alex did what she did.

The groundwork, and especially the in-hand exercises, was different than anything I had done in my past history. I couldn’t revert back to doing these exercises the way I’d always done them, as I’d never done them before. It allowed me to look with fresh eyes and an open mind at t...

April 15, 2014

I was recently asked ‘If I wanted to compete and still use clicker training, how would I ever ride a whole dressage test? I click and treat for every behaviour, which means my horse stops to get his reward.’

The science and theory behind the way to do this can be a bit of a mind-bender concept for some folk, but I will try and explain it here and hope you can wrap your head around why it works.

The concept is based on chaining behaviours together. This is typically used when you have a good sized list of behaviours already established to work with.

We start by teaching, through positive reinforcement, several behaviors – for example, the foundation lessons. Once a behaviour is well understood and has a strong reinforcement history, doing the behaviour becomes pleasant and the act of doing the behaviour actually...

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