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 19, 2017

I’ve been playing with some "new to the horse world" ideas. I know, I know...so what else is new!

It has been a treat this summer to have a young lady interning with me who had a fabulous coach in the dog training world. So of course we started to play with how to do horse things in more of a dog way... why wouldn’t we? After all we are out-of-the-box thinkers to start with, so why not go way out?

You always see the horse agility videos where the horse is fairly close to the handler. In the dog agility world there seems to be two styles: the close and the far. We wanted to play with seeing if we could build distance in the work that most horse people do up close.

Eggo already knew his mat work and I could send him to a mat from a fair distance, so we started playing with going around an object to get to his mat....

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...

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 7, 2015

It is hard to believe it has been almost a year since ‘U’ came to live with me. It has been so wonderful to watch him change from a sullen, depressed horse that would stand in the back corner of his stall with a grumpy face and go away air about him into a bright eyed, nicker when he sees anyone and trots over to get a scratch kind of guy.

I know there are those of you thinking that that must have taken a lot of time and effort. Well it didn’t. That is one of the great things about positive reinforcement training. This spring and summer were very busy so everyone got a bit neglected in their opinion (they all love to play); perhaps only getting to play once a week.

During haying, or if I was away teaching, it was even less and yet everyone still made huge leaps forward in their abilities.


Here is the video of ‘...