My mother tells me my first word was “horse.” From then on, horses were a constant topic of conversation for me. My formal introduction to riding came at the age of five when I began attending a riding school. I almost took a tumble off the horse during my second attempt, which left me frightened and led to me quitting. It’s unclear whose decision it was – mine or my mother’s.

Despite the setback, my love for horses persisted, and I resumed riding at the age of eleven. At thirteen, I was fortunate enough to acquire my very own pony, an Icelandic gelding named Trunten. Since we lived on a farm, he stayed with us at home, and we shared three wonderful years together.

Over time, there were stretches both long and short where horses were absent from my life. Yet, I always felt their absence keenly.

My connection with Shakira, whom I met at the riding school when she was five, was immediate and profound. Eleven years later, in 2013, I was finally able to purchase her, fulfilling a lifelong dream. However, what began as a dream soon turned into something of a nightmare. It was then that I discovered Parelli Natural Horsemanship. While it made us safer, it didn’t bring us happiness. Drawing from my experience with clicker training in working with my dog, I sought out similar methods for horses. This quest led me to Connection Training, which completely transformed our relationship. With this approach, both Shakira and I felt secure and content, and there was no turning back.

Lukas, Shakira’s little companion also appreciated the change in training method.

Tragically, I lost Shakira in 2020. To provide companionship for Lukas, I’ve welcomed several ponies to our farm. This has not only allowed me to hone and advance my positive reinforcement skills but has also provided profound connections. Mario and Luigi, two Shetland ponies, have particularly captured my heart and pushed the boundaries of my training abilities. Remember, it’s never too late to embrace positive reinforcement techniques. Luigi was 28 when we began, and TinTin was around 30. Seeing the spark ignite in their eyes and witnessing their joy in response to this method has been truly rewarding.



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