Category Archives: Thinking Out Loud

A collection of ideas and reflections

Whips and carrots

Sometimes I get caught up in conversations where people devalue the use of food as a training tool and then I stop and remind them what I’ve accomplished. I have worked with many, many horses who were very troubled. Some … Continue reading

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How shaping changed my life, and my horse’s life too.

People ask me why I’m always talking about shaping behaviors. Quite frankly, it’s the most powerful technique I have found for cultivating a mindset in a horse, one that is based on active and willingly offered creative efforts, with the … Continue reading

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Creative thinking in horses

Probably most of you who know me, know I have a clever little horse named McKee. His antics always make me laugh and today was no different. I was going to teach a lesson to a young boy. I was … Continue reading

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McKee’s Choice

I seem to be pondering the theme of choices lately and one more example came to mind, mostly because a training situation with McKee illustrated the topic quite clearly. Funny how horses can give us that moment to stop and … Continue reading

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When fear enters the picture

Some of you know that I taught summer camps for kids and horses. I did this with a kind and compassionate horsewoman and I look back at those years and feel good about what we offered.    While I haven’t … Continue reading

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Learning from other species.

I see so many people that look at clicker training as whipped cream, that light fluffy stuff you put on top of something else. The extreme of this application is someone who will use a whip or swinging rope to … Continue reading

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A bucket of cues

I was thinking about a way to describe how a horse might respond to a cue for a behavior that has been taught using clicker training. By cue I mean the specific signal a trainer uses to let the animal … Continue reading

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