Natural Pinball-Manship

Remember playing pinball, the coin-operated arcade game? This is a game where the player attempts to score points by manipulating (whacking) one or more metal balls on a play field inside the pinball machine.

As I was contemplating the current popular trends in horse training, I couldn’t help but note the similarities between the game of pinball and pressure/release/aversive/intimidation based horse training. Continue reading

Identity Crisis?

There are so many words in our vocabulary yet none of them seems to help me define definitively what label I place on the type of training I do.

Even when I say the word ‘training’ it makes me feel a little uncomfortable. I feel like my work-play with my horses is more about a dialogue, or a conversation, even verging on communion. To say ‘training’ evokes images of a teacher and student. More often than not, my horses are the teacher, and I am the student.

Here is a fabulous article by a dog trainer encountering a similar conundrum called Why is Positive a Negative, by Gillian Ridgeway, from a website I dearly love, called Dog Star Daily.

Continue reading

R+ Trainers Unite

I’ve just been inspired by a comment from Mary Hunter (Stale Cheerios). She mentioned the fantastic idea of having a group of Positive Reinforcement Trainers from all walks of life, aquariums to aviaries, to paddocks and living rooms, come together and share their experiences. With the click of my mouse, I found this site Animal Management Resources. Here’s how they describe themselves. 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