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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

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...

May 6, 2016

I had the pleasure of teaching in Ottawa this past weekend. There were a great group of ladies with many, many years of combined horse experiences, but only a few who had been exposed to clicker training, and most of those through the dog world, so it was very exciting to see all of them get excited about the possibilities with the horses.

As the weekend unfolded and they could see just how fast the learning occurred they got very excited about all the possibilities for their horses.

The horses we used in the demos were a good cross section with regards to exposure to the clicker work.

It went all the way from Carter who was a rescue and Anne his owner did a lovely demo for us all of all the work she had done using the clicker to get him from a horse referred to as dangerous into a lovely confident fellow who lo...

January 7, 2016

Well, 2015 certainly zipped by. I have now had ‘U’ for a bit over a year. Many people would not have been happy taking this amount of time to get to where we are in our relationship, but I have both the luxury, and experience to be able to do feel confident in this decision. And ‘U’ has certainly proved it to be the correct decision.

‘U’, when he first arrived, did not want anything to do with humans. He would stand with his head in the far corner of his stall, not wanting any interaction at all. He was an angry and depressed fellow. Never was he mean or nasty but definitely not a fan of interacting.

I introduced him to novel behaviour that would have no negative associations with them and made sure is was told he was right and wonderful for doing these simple behaviours like targeting and standing on a mat. Tr...

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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