The Practice of Appreciation

I’ve been told and have read that successful positive reinforcement training (or attraction-based work or clicker training) is both an art and a science. It certainly helps to observe, as an artist with a trained eye would, the subtle nuances of your horse’s behavior. And the knowledge of science can shed light on the ins-and-outs of operant conditioning. I’d like to add a third category that compliments both the art and the science: appreciation. Continue reading


Teaching a Horse to Target

All this talk of attraction and why targeting works so well and I haven’t explained how to target. The process is a weird combination of being technical and observant. There are a few rules for the human to follow, but the rest is simply watching your horse to gauge his interest. For me, the moment is absolutely magical when I see a horse’s eyes widen, his ears perk forward and I feel him say, This is great game. I know how to play it and I’m good at it. Let’s play again! Continue reading

“Good Become Normal” Videos on Sources other than YouTube

Wow. I just found out that not every country has access to YouTube. In response to that, Mary from so graciously added a list of “Good Becoming Normal” videos from Vimeo. Thank you Mary!

Mary wrote: “I have some videos there and I know a few others have some clicker training videos. Not as many there as on youtube, though, unfortunately.

Here is my Nika learning the parelli friendly game at liberty:

And some others of me clicker training some of our horses:

Here is a video I love of a very creative horse playing with cones and rings:

Judy Ryder has quite a few videos on vimeo:

As does Leslie Pavlich:

Search the site for “clicker horse” or “clicker training horse” and there are several other users with videos as well.”

Courtesy of the amazing Mary H.



More “Good Becoming Normal” Videos

In my ongoing quest to find and share examples of attraction-based training I found these two clicker trainers.

This trainer has 19 amazing videos on her YouTube channel. I love the videos teaching her horse to do belly crunches. A valuable exercise for any horse.

This trainer has a whopping 136 videos of wonderful videos sure to make you smile and say wow.



Random Acts of Scritchy-Scratch

There’s a mantra in the field of sales that says, People don’t care what you know until they know that you care. DaVinci, my post traumatic stress gelding, has caused me to tweak that saying to fit his point of view — DaVinci doesn’t want to interact with me until he knows that I care. Which leads me to a question. How do you show a horse that you care? Continue reading


The Gift of “Good Becoming Normal”

‘Tis the season of giving and I found a few gifts online in the form of awesome websites. The first is a dog training website chock full of phenomenal training information. It’s called Dogmantics. If I could snap my fingers and fast forward into the future I would love to provide a resource like this for horses. Continue reading


My First Official Clyde Ride

I’ve just descended from the back of my lofty, three-and-a-half-year-old Clydesdale gelding. I can’t seem to wipe the smile from my face. This was our very first trail ride, his very first time leaving the safety and security of his pasture under saddle, and my very first time riding a horse of this magnitude on the road. Continue reading