Pressure and the Click

I have an internal struggle. I’m seeing more and more articles about clicker training and horses, which is a good thing, right? Well, I’m not so sure. One article discussed how to train your horse to put its head down. It clearly demonstrated how to apply pressure to the poll and then once the horse lowers its head you click.

Herein lies my struggle. Why should the click be associated with pressure? Continue reading

New Paintings, Palominos and Mind Reading

New paintings have arrived, but not without a story involving my muse, DaVinci.

DaVinci is my gelding recovering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I’m not certain if he’ll ever fully recover, but the journey continues to amaze, like today for example, where I think he read my mind and painted what he saw! Continue reading

A Sappy but Powerful Experiment

Here’s a fun little exercise I did with DaVinci. I was patting his neck and admiring his beauty. Part of me was wishing he’d hurry up and get over his deep-seated fears of things that sound weird, things that smell weird, things that move fast, things that move suddenly, things that are in the wrong place, people who he doesn’t recognize, people who sound weird, people who smell weird, people who move fast and so on and so on. Continue reading

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

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

Free to Decide

I just read a post on a forum about how a woman said she cured a small dog of its aggression. She only had to alpha roll it twice! She bragged about how it was licking her face afterward. I’m curious to see what happens next. Does the dog have to see a chiropractor from being thrown on its back?

I shudder thinking of all the horses that were tripped and thrown onto their backs to break them.

So is all this animal tossing really necessary? Continue reading

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