December 16, 2020

Prior to taking the courses with Kendra, I was struggling with what I realize now were primarily communication issues. I often did not understand what either of my two horses was trying to tell me. And sometimes what I was trying to say appeared to fall on deaf ears.

I am using what I learned in the courses with training my big (saddle) horse, too. In the past, despite my being a generally gentle person, sometimes he would get frustrated with my lack of understanding and act out with dangerous, aggressive, and/or greedy behavior.
My accomplishments resulting from taking the courses include:

  • More harmony in all our interactions.
  • A better appreciation for the remarkable intelligence of miniature horses and how using better communication could help me make real, deep friendships with them. I had thought, in the past, that kind of friendship between horse and human was a rarity.
  • An increased awareness and understanding of my horses’ feelings about their lives and work. It is amazing to me how deeply horses think and how much they care about each other, me, their environment, work and training.  
  • Learning about the better nature of, and results possible from, using positive reinforcement techniques rather than pressure and punishment in horse training.
  • Using liberty and positive reinforcement with wonderful results in the areas of trick training and trailer loading training.
  • I am a better “horse mom” because I am more tuned-in to the horses’ wants and needs, which makes all of us happier. Watching how much their trust in me has grown has been a moving experience.
  • I have learned to have a better attitude about building teamwork with my horses. For example, instead of saying, “I want you to do this”, I (effectively) say, “Let’s figure out some fun things we can do together.” Fun is the better goal!
  • I have a better attitude and more confidence about training now. It seems the horses never forget our training sessions and I let them tell me when they are ready to go to the next level in each area of our work. Now that I know more and have improved my methods, they seem to love training and frequently express dismay when I say it is time to stop.

The biggest change in my relationship with my horses is that now we work as a team instead of our relationship being just about me trying to get them to do things. I also have a bigger appreciation for how hard they try to please me and the bravery they sometimes show when facing tougher challenges. They seem to appreciate when I applaud their efforts and successes.

It’s not unusual to find an instructor who cares about horses, but Kendra genuinely cares about their people, too. In the Facebook groups, she thoughtfully tailors her remarks and advice to each horse and person team, keeping their abilities in mind.

I love learning from Kendra. Her experience, scientific knowledge, and caring approach are just what I need from an instructor.