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Dianaland 1
News I'm a father, son, brother, husband, and friend. I love to write and ride, and write about riding. I make radio and TV shows and write books for horse lovers like me. I love to learn. I hope you enjoy my work. 123
Recent Posts
  • How horses think

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    If I were to make a list of the most fascinating people I've interviewed, Dr. Temple Grandin would be right at the top. I find her life story inspiring (and it made a great HBO movie), but even more interesting to me is her explanation of how horses...
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  • Mistakes

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    Irish author, James Joyce (1882-1941), noted that, “Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” As horsemen, we can learn a lot from mistakes, both our own and those of others. A case in point is Pat Parelli’s "Road to the Horse"...
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  • Bombproofing Police Horses

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    Shortly after 9/11, a client treated me to an Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game. At the entrance to the ballpark, police officers mounted on big bay geldings quietly watched the crowd. There was something vaguely primal and distinctly comforting about...
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  • Gimmick or Tool?

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    In horse training, one person’s gimmick is another person’s tool. So before I dismiss a particular technique or device, I want to take a long hard look at it. What problem is being addressed? What principle of behavior modification is being...
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  • A Lonely Number

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    When I see a horse standing alone in a field, I’m reminded of Harry Nilsson’s lyric: “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.” Just how important is it for horses to be with others of their kind? You decide. Dr....
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  • Behind the scenes at RTTH

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    Road to the Horse has grown from an unlikely idea – a colt-starting contest built on natural horsemanship principles – to the must-see event of the year for students of horsemanship. For Diana and me, it’s something more. It’s...
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  • Riding, roping, and remembering Monte

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    Just when I despair that the late great Monte Foreman is being forgotten I run into someone else who knew him, studied with him, and is committed to keeping his methods alive. This week on radio I talk to my newest acquaintance from the land of the Basic...
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  • Honoring WWII Vets

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    More than 1,000 American World War II veterans die each day. One group committed to thanking those still living is Honor Flights, which brings them free of charge to Washington, D.C. to see the memorial built in their honor. Senators Bob and Elizabeth...
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  • Reflecting on the week of 9/11

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    Ten years ago today was September 15, 2001. It was the day I picked up my mare, Candy, at the Parelli Ranch in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. It was also four days after the 9/11 attacks on our country. Diana and I had planned the trip for months, but suddenly...
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  • Extremes of Horse Behavior

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    Casting the horse as the ultimate prey animal and the human as the ultimate predator is a useful teaching device to drive home the important differences between our two species. However, it’s also important to remember that both horses and humans...
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  • Green-broke horse

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    Question : My seven-year-old green-broke horse has been out to pasture for the past three years. Can he be retrained? I want to ride again. Answer : If you have a lot of experience and confidence riding (even after a three-year absence) get busy and...
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  • Trekking in Iceland

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    Our recent trip to Iceland was billed as “The Vacation of a Lifetime,” and it was. Twenty of us spent four days at Landsmot , the big dog of Icelandic Horse festivals, three days at Holar University in a riding clinic with training guru Gudmar...
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  • Off to Iceland

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    Our two-week trip to Iceland is almost here. (The pic was taken in Montana but it is an Icelandic horse.) I’m not worried about the white stuff. This time of year highs are in the 70s, plus they have hot springs and beverages you drink from flasks...
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  • Pedestals and beanbags

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    I want to put my horse on a pedestal. I mean an actual pedestal, like the one here. It’s a favorite tool of trick horse trainers Allen Pogue and Sue De Laurentis, who've also promoted the common beanbag from dorm room furniture to training aid...
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  • Can every horse gait?

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    Already I can hear the uproar from aficionados of our beloved gaited breeds. “No! A gaited horse is anatomically different from a non-gaited horse!” I agree that there are differences. However, I have also experienced firsthand an Appaloosa...
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  • National Cavalry Competition

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    Imagine throwing eventing, cowboy mounted shooting, and re-enacting into a big pot and mixing in riders from the military, law enforcement, and the general public. What you'd have is the tenth National Cavalry Competition, held at the Annual Bivouac...
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  • The Situation

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    One of my favorite bits of horsemanship advice comes from the late Ray Hunt, who said, “Adjust to fit the situation.” Let’s drill down a bit on this simple prescription. Every moment with a horse is a “situation” with...
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  • The Vaquero

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    There is much we can learn from studying horsemen of the past, and the first thing to note is that there is a context for everything. For example, the vaqueros of colonial California lived in a time when getting a job done with a horse was essential....
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  • Inspirational Jockeys

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    Even though horse racing doesn’t exactly float my boat, I find some real inspiration in the history of the sport. For example, Eddie Arcaro lost his first 250 races before going on to become the winningest jockey of all time, with five Kentucky...
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  • Behavior Replacement

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    Extinction of behavior takes time to work. Today I’ll share some thoughts on speeding up the process through behavior replacement. First, a quick review: With operant conditioning, “bad” behavior can be modified through punishment...
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  • Extinction of Behavior - Finding the Reward

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    I promised last time that I would address the fifth “quadrant” of operant conditioning, extinction, in a future blog. So here we go. Simply put, the principle of extinction says that, if reinforcement of a behavior ceases, the behavior...
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  • Operant Conditioning

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    Operant conditioning, formulated by behaviorist B.F. Skinner, is one of those subjects fraught with misunderstanding, and even those of us who understand it sometimes misspeak, due largely to the uncommon use of common words. The primary principle...
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  • Being an ambassador

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    Thanks again to all who joined me for my first ever Facebook Q & A session Wednesday. Great turnout. Great questions. Please vote in our FB poll regarding the format of the next one. Personally, I’m voting for video. (You can answer the poll...
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  • Live Facebook Q & A Wednesday 8:30 pm ET/5:30 pm PT

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    This is me, poised and ready to answer your questions Wednesday. Okay, you’re right. It’s not me. But I am poised and ready for my first live Facebook Q & A session. I’ll answer as many questions as I can in the hour we have. Keep...
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  • The Rearing Horse

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    As I was wondering what I should explore this week, I got an email from Roberta asking about how to deal with a rearing horse. Great timing, Roberta! Actually, timing has a lot to do with successful horse handling in all its forms. When you apply pressure...
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