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

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 ‘...

June 3, 2012

Good clicker trainers (and good trainers in general) will break a behaviour they want to teach down into its component parts, so that there is only “no-error” or “minimal-error” learning occurring. But lunging isn’t a complex behaviour to teach - or, is it?

How many times have you seen someone trying to lunge a horse only to end up being lunged BY the horse. They are running around the horse, not the other way around. How many times have you seen a horse at the end of the lunge line pulling the handler across the arena? Or cutting in on part of the circle? Perhaps this behaviour isn’t so simple, after all. Why did these problems happen? Perhaps the horse does not understand what is being asked of him. Let’s have a look at some of the component behaviours that should be in place BEFORE trying to teach the compl...

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