"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

November 18, 2016

This year I was fortunate enough to be invited to teach at Heroncrest Stables, near Ottawa Ontario. I was there in the spring and had a great group turn out for it. I got to go back in October and thought I’d share some of the pictures and stories with you now.

In the first clinic I introduced the foundation lessons and we did a lot of human with human learning. I always start this way and often revisit it. By taking the real horse out of the training/learning process and using a ‘human’ horse it allows for the learner (trainer) to have much less to worry about while learning the mechanical skills needed.

I have covered all the foundation lessons in my early blogs here so please head on back into the history and check them out.  Many have demo videos to help you learn.

The second clinic this October followed a s...

September 10, 2016

This blog is written again by Carolina who is living and learning for a while with The Pony Fairy, Monty Gwynne. And in the photos, she’s almost starting to smile!

Living in Fairyland oddly keeps reminding me of the old fairy tales. You remember how pretty much every fairy tale ended, “and they lived happily ever after”? Well, it seems to me in our world “ever after” is a rather short while. We all have a backpack with old feelings, habits or pattern which we take everywhere – even into Fairyland. I think, especially when we are trying to live our dreams or feeling really good, our subconscious mind thinks “Hmm, maybe it is time to have a look in that backpack and find out what needs some of this positive energy which is around.” And all the sudden something shows up. To me it was my inner perfectionist once a...

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...

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...

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...

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 ‘...

December 23, 2014

Clicker training for many is something they slip on easily like a well fitting glove. For others it represents a real U-turn in their thinking. They have become comfortable with their current tool kit. Swinging a lead doesn’t feel forceful. It’s just how you use leads. The horse complies. Everything is light and polite. They don’t see the lack of sparkle as a problem. Until you have experienced the contrast, how do you know that something is missing? If I don’t know how much better a cake can taste when I add butter and cream and chocolate to it, I won’t mind the bland flavor and heavy consistency.

If you bring your old habits of thoughts with you into clicker training, you can still end up with that bland product. You may be mixing in the “butter and cream”, but you won’t see the result. It will get lost unde...

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