Is My “Damaged” Horse Worth Keeping?

I have a horse named DaVinci who is recovering from what seems to be Post Traumatic Stress. I’ve had him for almost two years now and an outsider looking in might tell me to get rid of him and tell me he’s useless.  Just when I thought he may have irreparable damage and I was considering the thought he may have a mental illness, wondering if he’s even worth keeping, I received an unexpected phone call from a wonderful woman in California, named Roxanne, who works with Mustangs. Continue reading

Food is Not a Bribe (To a Horse)

Horses are motivated by food and rightfully so (given the thousands of miles of intestines it has to maintain by continually eating anything with fiber). I believe horses are acutely aware that if things aren’t going in, things will plug up, clog up and result in a bum trip. The way I see it, horses have no hang ups regarding food. But humans do. Continue reading

The Other Language of the Horse

It’s interesting to note that books and calendars are not filled with dramatic pictures of wild stallions snoozing in the sun. The more common image is of two rearing, teeth-bared stallions engaged in mortal combat. So naturally because of these popular photos, one might assume that horses commonly use force to interact and communicate with each other. Continue reading

Natural Born Targeters

In a nutshell, everything I do with my horses is summed up by three, very scientific words:

What Feels Better?

At the heart of that phrase are two other important words. Association and motivation. For instance, if my horses associate me with something that feels good, they’ll be more motivated to pay attention to me, to be with me, to trust me. If they associate me with something that feels bad, you can bet I’ll see all sorts of things that make me feel bad. Like the hind end of a horse as it runs away from me, or the pinning of ears, or the flying of hooves, or the throwing of me off its back. Continue reading

What the Heck Kind of Training Is This Anyway?

If you read my page about Attraction, or if you’ve read anything from my PaintingHorse site, you may say, “Sounds like this is Clicker Training” and then wonder why I’m not calling what I do Clicker Training.  I think a more correct term would be to say it’s Positive Reinforcement training, but wow, is that a loaded term. Continue reading

Orca Out of Control, But Not for Long

At this stage in my life I’m completely fascinated by marine mammal training. BIG marine mammal training. Maybe it’s because I’ve found myself owning a really big horse that just keeps getting bigger. To me, he is my land orca. (He’s the Clydesdale in my banner picture. He’s even bigger now.)

I stumbled upon this amazing video. It was captured by an audience member during a Shamu Adventure, with adventure being the key word here. Continue reading