wave decorationFor years, I have been looking for a logical, gentle way to have my horses trained. In this quest, I have sent them to the “regular” trainers with very mixed results. Several years ago, natural horsemanship seemed a possibility, but two of the horses that were trained this way showed anxiety and unwillingness to work when they returned to my farm. I also found that I could not make them perform the way the trainers had, and the horses were reluctant to work at all for me.

Tanya Kiselyova, who was working as a natural horsemanship trainer, was beginning to question some of the methods used in this training technique. She started incorporating clicker training into her work, and I observed that the horses who had been anxious or stubborn readily responded to this positive approach. When Tanya came to work with them, they would come galloping up and follow her into the round pen.

After learning some of the basic clicker training techniques and attending two workshops with Alexandra Kurland, I have become convinced that this is the training method of choice for me and my horses.

Clicker training is definitely not a 30-day miracle training technique. Time and patience are important. I really enjoy watching the progression of the horse in clicker training, and it is important to me that the horse enjoys the process as well. After many trials and tribulations, it is wonderful to find a positive form of training for my horses. Clicker training has given me new insight into my horses and most of all – me.

Violet H. Dawe, Ph. D.


wave decorationMy family and I went with Charmer's former owner, Renata di Pietro, to visit Charmer and Tanya today.  What a blessing it was!  I'm not sure if I was more impressed with Charmer or with Tanya, his trainer!!!  And I'm not necessarily a people person, so that is speaking volumes. 
   ...We stopped on the road and watched Tanya walk out to the pasture, stop at her choice of places and call Charmer over to her.  He immediately responded and held his head down for her to put his halter on, then walked like a total gentlemen the 1/2 mile to the barn.
    She got him tacked up while my five children (ages 4, 6, 8, 17 and 19), dad and I stood around.  Charmer was apparently not very used to that many people all at once (according to Tanya) but he did not give any indication at all.  He was as placid and content as could be.  Tanya led him out to the round pen and rode him around for a while, then took him to the arena.  While in the round pen, she asked him to canter and gallop ... gaits she had not previously worked with him on.  I really loved her gentle nature and his responsiveness.  She just clicked her tongue and barely tapped him with her hand on the rump to get him moving faster.  He did beautifully.  My 19-year old daughter Stephanie rode him in the arena and he spooked once or twice.  She lost her seat and stirrup during his trot and it startled him a bit, but she was able to regain control of him and settle him down easily.  He clearly was uncomfortable with someone other than Tanya, but I know he will be fine once he has built up trust and confidence in others.  Although he wanted to be with her, he did respond when Stephanie told him to back up or keep moving.
    In short, he has AMAZING potential.  What a super horse!  I know he needs some more work and am willing to invest it in him.  Tanya offered to come up and give us some pointers.  I cannot remember the last horse I was THIS impressed with.  He is extraordinary ... and what can I say about Tanya, who has taken a very-green-broke horse and taught him perfect manners and discipline?!? 
    I thought that Charmer was stabled at the barn, let in/out of his stall to pasture and handled each day.  He is not.  He lives in the pasture with two other horses in perfect harmony.  And yet he still has extraordinary ground manners.  This makes his "performance" today that much more stellar --- because he has not been handled and ridden daily. 
   ...Charmer and two other horses will be our family's personal pets, and will be used sparingly for some limited therapeutic programs.  We do not envision that they will ever be ridden by regular cabin guests.  ...As Tanya and Charmer fully proved today: there is an intense bond between a horse and his owner that I personally do not think should be taken casually, or confused by a myriad of other people.  With our training in healing the human bonds that were severed or not properly developed in troubled children, we are perhaps more sensitive to this issue than most.
   ...I believe this horse is an absolute treasure that will suit us perfectly. 





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