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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Donkey Days

February 9, 2017

I thought it was finally time to write about my clinic in Denman Island that happened last year! It is almost time for this year’s clinic and there is one spot left for anyone interested. Definitely one of the best times of my year, so why don’t you join us and find out what I mean!

 

At this clinic we all get to play with Cynthia’s fabulous donkeys. Now we usually get some horse folk who come but are skeptical about how working with a donkey can compare to working with a horse. They are small and so should be easy. Well it doesn’t take long for the donkeys to first win them over because they are so cute, but it also doesn’t take long for them to find out that they are stronger and much more particular about their training. The people come away with a new appreciation and a better set of skills then a lot of people who come to the horse clinics.

 

Attending the 2015 clinic were body workers, both human and equine, and a veterinarian, so needless to say the topics of discussion during dinner and the clinic sessions often drifted towards looking at the why some movement pattern was difficult and were there any exercises that we could teach to help out the animal.

 

A very interesting discussion focused on how to help one of the guest horse visits who had had a hind leg injury. Putting our observation skills together we came up with a plan to shape her to step up on a block with a hind foot and then lift the other leg up so that certain muscle groups were activated and she became aware and strengthened them without any effort on our part, other than teaching the behaviour. I’m excited to see how she has made out when I go back this time.

We also looked at asymmetry in the donkeys and had one of the donkeys doing belly lifts to help her topline. What great fun to see a bunch of ladies all crowed around this little donkey watching for a tiny lift and everyone celebrating small successes!

 

We worked on stationing for safe food delivery and more advanced exercise on the circle to help with lateral bending and of course rope handling skills.

 

We also played a game called ‘portal’ during dessert. You will have to come to a clinic to find out about this great training game.

If you would like to attend this clinic at the end of May in beautiful Denman Island please send me an email.

 

I will be offering my week-long intensive clinics here in Cochrane, Alberta, again and also have a clinic in Ottawa area for April. I would love to have you come and play at one at least.

 

Until next time keep it positive!

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