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

Training with Oxytocin

After reading the book Made For Each Other by Meg Daley Olmert, I should probably change the name of my blog. I brainstormed long and hard to come up with name “I Feel Good, My Horse Feels Good.” My other choices were “I’m Smiling, My Horse is Smiling” or “Training Horses the Way I’d Like to be Trained if I Were a Horse.”

All of my name choices revolved around how happy I am when I’m working with my horses. The reason I started my blog in the first place is that when I saw other folks working with their horses, neither they nor their horses seemed to smile as much as I would when I was working/playing with my horses. 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.

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