Oh, The Heresy!

Just thought I’d put all my cards on the table and tell you I train with food rewards, if you haven’t guessed it already.

I unabashedly feed rewards from my hand. I know full well this is a giant no-no in the minds of many, many trainers.

I even reward with food under saddle.  The funny thing about this is, my horses seem to really enjoy being ridden. Maybe it’s because the source of all good things, me, is on their back. I’m like a portable lunch box accessible at all times. They like to take me with them. Continue reading

Aversives: A Fancy Word for “Ouch”

A friend of mine sent me a link to the website of the Association of Animal Behavior Professionals.

Lots of big words on AABP’s site, but check out their general statement, which pertains mostly to dog trainers. I’ve bolded the parts that I thought were awe inspiring. How very cool would it be if we had something like this for horse trainers. Continue reading

Video: Starting Raleigh with Attraction

tvHere’s a look at my present experiment: Starting a horse using mostly attraction.

All of these video clips were shot on our third ride. The first two rides looked exactly the same. I put the videos in the basic order of the sequence that they were taught. My goal was to create in Raleigh’s mind a wonderful first and lasting impression of what it would be like to carry a rider.  Continue reading

A Popular (Inaccurate) View of Pressure

As Irony would have it, I read an article in a popular horse magazine written by a popular trainer defining the language used to communicate cues. It reads, Pressure is any cue that gets a response from a horse.

This incredibly misleading sentence sums up the entire reason for my blog.

Pressure is not a cue. Pressure is a means to enforce a cue. Continue reading