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 10, 2016

The following post was made by Carolina W. She has been here about two weeks now and will be here a few more. She is from Germany and her family raises Fjords.  She contacted me early this year asking if she would be able to come and learn from me. She has taken Alexandra’s online course but  wanted more!

Do you remember the old fairy tales you were told as a child or read yourself being a little older? Do you remember all these feelings in there, the whole variety of feelings we all (sometimes) have? Like fear and anger and love and hope, new unthought-of possibilities or help showing up while wandering around in a dark wood? Even fairies show up to help you out for your dreams coming true.

Right now, just for a little while, I live with a fairy and all her horses and ponies. She is The Pony Fairy. T...

March 19, 2016

As an aside for those of you playing the Tim Horton’s online no need to buy anything roll up the rim game, I found it to be an interesting experiment in reinforcement schedules. I played for a while and even managed to get badges that earned a ballot to a draw for a bigger prize and two free cups of coffee, whoopee. But I stopped shortly after the rate of reinforcements in the form of free coffees or tickets took too long to get. This is often what happens when training our horses; they suddenly stop doing the behaviour we were getting before.

There can be several reasons behind this:


1. Like in the Timmy’s example, often the rate of reinforcement or the amount of reinforcement (size of reward) is not enough to keep the horse ‘in the game.’

2. There may be a behaviour that you ask for after this first behaviour...

October 7, 2012

Let’s review what we have done with Bruce so far. His first clicker lesson was to turn and face me. This was done by rewarding him when he looked in my direction. The reward back then was a scratch (we call them scritches) with my lunge whip handle because I couldn’t get very close to him.

By working within his comfort zone, I was soon able to have him associate people with good feelings, and very quickly I could decrease the distance between us; in short order, I was scratching him all over, much to his delight. Bruce’s next lesson was to target (touch) his nose to my hand. This hand target, and the targeting lesson in general, will have many applications in his future training. Bruce was now very curious and like most horses would reach out to sniff or touch a new object. I took advantage of this and had Bru...

September 2, 2012

The story and training of Bruce continues this month. With haying season upon us, I have had very little time to work with the rescued mares and foals. However, I did teach them how to put on their halters. Yes, THEY put on their halters.

All I do is hold the halters up in front of them and they stick their heads in. This is a far cry from the hard-to-catch, fearful mares that arrived here. Bruce had only had minimal work as well. It had been a good stretch of time since they’d been played with, so I was curious as to how well they remembered their lessons.

The power of clicker training never ceases to amaze me. In my pre-clicker days, there would have been no way I could have spent as little time as I had with these mares and even hope to have them respond as they did... they both came right up, away from gras...

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