Ooh, Shiny; a Horse!

Today’s WordPress photo challenge is Ooh Shiny! Diversions, distractions, and delightful detours.

What always distracts you? What can’t you resist not looking at? What is your ‘Ooh, Shiny!’?

Mine is ‘horse’. It doesn’t matter if they are in a pasture next to the highway or printed on a bag in a shop somewhere. I always have to look if I see anything horse-shaped from the corner of my eye. I see horses everywhere, every day. Even when I am on holiday, no matter what country I am in.

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This is a banner in the Burnaby Village Museum where they have a  restored 1912 C.W. Parker Carousel. It is really fun to ride the carousel horses!

What is your Ooh, Shiny!

Please share yours in the comments.

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Sandra Poppema, B.Sc.
My mission is to improve horse-human relationships by educating equestrians about ethical and horse friendly training. I offer coaching to empower you to train your horse in a 100% animal friendly way that empowers both you and your horse.
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Relax!

This weeks  photo challenge is called Relax

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Horses need to lie down in order to get their REM sleep. This is dozing, if they really sleep they lay flat on their side.

Sandra Poppema
Are you interested in online personal coaching, please visit my website or send me an email with your question to info@clickertraining.ca

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Weekly Photo Challenge: the Baroque Horse

The real name of this WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is ‘Curve‘. When I think of horses and curves I think of all baroque horse breeds.

Baroque horses

Wikipedia tells us what baroque horses are:

“The term baroque horse describes a group of horse breeds, usually descended from and retaining the distinctive characteristics of a particular type of horse that rose to prominence in Europe during the Baroque era, after significant development throughout the Middle Ages.

It describes the type of agile but strong-bodied descendants of horses in the Middle Ages such as the destrier. Specific ancestors of this type include the Neapolitan horse, and the Iberian horse of Barb ancestry known in the Middle Ages as the Spanish Jennet.

They are characterized by powerful hindquarters, a muscular, arched neck, a straight or slightly convex profile, and usually a full, thick mane and tail. These horses are particularly well suited for the haute ecole discipline of classical dressage.

Curve

Kyra is half Iberian horse and she is blessed with some beautiful curves. I like her curved neck and her round hindquarters and belly.

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What kind of horses do you like? Please let me know in the comments. Are you a baroque horse lover too?

Sandra Poppema
Are you interested in online personal coaching, please visit my website and book your free intake consult!

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Exmoor pony on the Moors

The photo challenge from April 1st was Landscape in my mind I was immediately searching for a landscape picture with horses… I remembered the vacation in the UK in Exmoor where we saw Exmoor ponies in the wild.

Their coat is a really good camouflaged in the ferns that are growing on the Moors. In the background you can see the farmers land. It is incredible beautiful. If you are ever in the South of England, do visit Exmoor National Park.

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Exmoor pony in Exmoor National Park, England

Exmoor ponies have a special place in my heart because Kyra’s mom is an Exmoor. They have very gentle characters.

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Well camouflaged

 

Did you ever had the chance to see horses in their natural habitat?

Sandra Poppema
For tailored positive reinforcement training advise, please visit my website and book a personal consult!

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Enjoy life

Horse riding birds, I call them with a smile. I love the way they seem so confident on a horse back. They never have to be worried to fall, that’s for sure.

I made this picture for the photo challenge ‘On top’.

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Sometimes I see them pluck the loose hairs for their nests.

This one seemed so proud to be up there! He was singing out loud.

I just love to take the time to see what is going on in the field.

Have a nice day! Don’t forget to enjoy life.

Sandra Poppema
For tailored positive reinforcement training advise, please visit my website and book a personal consult!

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The clicker, for me a symbol of …

WP has a Photo Challenge with the theme ‘symbol‘.

For me the clicker became an important symbol. It represents force-free horse training, friendship, fun and a life time of learning. Let me explain.

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Force-free training

The clicker represents positive reinforcement: training behaviour by adding an appetitive to the horse in order to reinforce behaviour. There is no force or coercion in positive reinforcement training.

Friendship

When I started to use positive reinforcement I had to learn about what my horse likes and dislikes.

Positive reinforcement is a way to give my horse a choice in training and therefor it gives her a voice. For me friendship is not only listening to my horse but also acting on the information she is giving me. Friendship means that I sometimes have to change my approach if my horse doesn’t like it, can’t (physically) do it or won’t do what I ask for whatever reason. For me, the clicker symbolizes this.

Fun

Learning new skills, exploring new ways has always been fun to me. The clicker represents also the fun the horse displays when he figures out what the training question is. The eagerness my horse shows in working with me: always coming to the gate in the pasture as soon as she sees me and the soft loving nicker to greet me.

Life long learning

Switching from traditional and natural horsemanship methods to positive reinforcement forced me to develop new skills so I could communicate clearly what I want from my horse.

I had to learn to listen better to my horse and I had to develop my observational skills in order to pinpoint (click) the desired behaviour. I had to figure out what motivates my horse in order to reinforce the behaviour I am teaching her. I studied the learning theory and learning curve of animals intensively. Something I probably wouldn’t have done tothis degree if force was still my go-to method in training and riding horses.

The road to positive reinforcement has been (and still is) an exciting journey for me. I am still fascinated every day by how learning actually  works in horses and how we humans can influence it. It is a life long journey with fabulous views!

What represents a clicker for you?

Sandra Poppema

For tailored advise, please visit my website and book a personal consult!

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Photo challenge: Time

In response to WP photo challenge with the theme ‘Time‘.

How to forget time: Go to the barn and spent time with my horse. ZEN.

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Sandra Poppema
For tailored advise, please visit my website

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Weekly photo challenge: Optimistic

Last weeks theme of the WordPress challenge was ‘Optimistic’.

How do I express my optimism in a picture when it comes to horses?

This picture came to mind. It is taken on a moorland called Dartmoor in Devon, England.

This foal is a Dartmoor pony and his mom and the rest of the herd were patiently waiting and watching it from a distance. I wanted to connect with this free roaming horse. I was curious if I could win over his curiosity and come closer. He did!

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Horses inspire me to stay optimistic and live in the momen. They are so gentle, so forgiving and so patient with us. They are a great inspiration to me!

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Sandra Poppema
For tailored advise, please visit my website

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Weekly Photo Challenge: silhouette

When I came across the WP Weekly Photo Challenge with the theme Silhouette I browsed through all my horse pictures and found this beauty.

Reflecting on 2015 and earlier years I realize that Kyra and I have been on a wonderful journey since 2009. I am enjoying every day of it.

This is a picture taken in July 2009. Kyra trots in front, the Arabian horse on the left is Ziggy. Behind Ziggy and Kyra you can spot the lovely fluffy ears and mane of Mees.

In the background, behind a ditch, you can spot the herd of yearlings watching our ponies run.

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Ziggy, Mees and Kyra 2009

 

2015 was a wonderful blog year for me. Thank you all for following, commenting and sharing.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Sandra Poppema

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Photo challenge: Now

WP weekly photo challenge ‘Now’

I like this picture I took today. Kyra has changed a lot over the years. She changed from a feral filly, dark brown and scared to a confident, human oriented, grey mare.

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I love the horse wreath on her door and the Christmas decorations. Every one in the barn add some Christmas stuff, so when we have the December potluck the stall is very festive decorated.

Sandra Poppema
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Eye

In response to the WP Weekly Photo Challenge. Today’s topic is “Eye”. I have made many eye pictures of horses over the years. I find it very difficult to photograph them in an appealing way. Here are my best shots.

I like this one because of the light.

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I like this one because of the horse in the background.

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I like this one because of the colour and the horses’ spirit.

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Take a look at my other photo challenge ‘Close Up’ in which I posted a picture of Kyra’s eye.

Sandra Poppema
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Trio

In response to the weekly photo challenge ‘Trio‘ I selected two pictures I took in 2009.

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Kyra, Ziggy and Mees eating hay

 

In December 2009 Kyra shared a paddock with another mare Mees and a gelding named Ziggy. They made a lovely trio.

Kyra was 1,5 years old, the other horses where 2,5 years old. They had their own happy mini-herd and we, the three owners, where very happy with this arrangement too. They where the only horses on the premises that where not locked in 23/7. It just reminds me of a really happy time in my life!

These pictures are taken in Hoogkerk, Groningen, The Netherlands.

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Kyra, Ziggy, Mees (the tallest horse is in fact the smallest)

Sandra Poppema
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadowed

Today I made a picture of me and Kyra while I was making a video of our training for my online clicker training course. Kyra is always curious if I bring my camera.

The photo perfectly fits the theme Shadowed.

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Sandra Poppema
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Treat

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In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Treat.”

Secret of succes is ...

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Related ‘treat’ posts:

Training with treats

Prevent mugging because of treats

Magic of using different kind of treats

Have fun trick or treating tomorrow!

Sandra Poppema
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Happy Place (with my horse of course!)

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In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Happy Place.”

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As long as I am with my horse, I am in my Happy Place. It doesn’t have to be riding, also sitting and watching my horse in her herd makes me happy, doing chores at the barn make me happy, training my horse makes me happy. Just being with my horse…

It takes my mind off of everything. I am in total Zen Mode: in the moment. That is why horses are good for the soul. My soul. Thank you Kyra for being here.

Sandra Poppema
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Beneath Your Feet

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In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Beneath Your Feet.”

The assignment was to look down and capture the ground beneath your feet.

I never made a picture from this point of view riding my horse. Thank you for watching.

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It was quite challenging because I made the picture with my phone. It was hard to sit still, focus and operate my new, big slippery phone with one hand without letting it fall into that ditch you don’t see in the picture.

The feeling that represents this picture is ‘proud’:

-I am proud that I managed to make this picture the way I pictured it, despite the difficulty making a picture with my phone in one hand.

-I am proud to accomplished training my horse the way she is. She is very cooperative and sensitive and she knows so much already. She is only seven years old.

-I am proud that I changed my training methods over the years from traditional to Natural Horsemanship to positive reinforcement to train my horse. You can see Kyra enjoying her reward in this picture.

-I am proud that I accomplished my search for the Holy Grail: a saddle with a perfect fit for horse and human, high quality and beauty. I am enjoying my saddle and my Spanish stirrups every day I look at it or use it.

Related posts: Creepy, Close Up, Connection, Inspiration Today was a Good Day.

Sandra Poppema
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