This is the story of my quest to train my three Dales Ponies for classical dressage, primarily by using Alexandra Kurland's clicker training methods, with a touch of others such as Philippe Karl and Anja Beran thrown in. I turned to clicker training because I had come up against some issues that I didn't know how to fix and because I wanted to inspire them to become enthusiatic partners. Bella and Jack are all my own work and have never been ridden by anyone else.

Bella, Grace and Jack

Bella aged 6

Bella aged 6

Treat Delivery

Jack aged 7


Friday, 30 January 2009

My Little Helper.

Hope to start riding again in a couple of days but in the meantime I thought I'd cheer myself up by posting these pics of Megs, my little helper. She's just a year old and we thought we were buying a black and tan Jack Russell. Her mum is the most typey JR imaginable and we keep saying we should take her back and demand a refund!

Megs is tiny but thinks she's huge and spends most of her time telling the horses off. Amazingly they are all, even Bella, really tolerant of her. She's a gorgeous little dog; really faithful and always so happy and enthusiastic. I spend most of my time looking down on this view:

I also cheered myself up by buying another Iberian bridle. It's much more plain than Grace's and I want to replace the very thin noseband and browband, but it was going too cheaply to resist (and the buckles and reins are lovely). I do find that with these driving or in-hand type bridles (the English equivalent) the noseband, as it runs through the cheekpieces,does help to support and stabilise the bit in the horse's mouth. I always used to ride my PBA mare in an in-hand bridle for that very reason. I didn't know about Iberian bridles then. I'll take some photos of it when I've customised it!


  1. She is ADORABLE!!!

    Bridle sounds fab - I'd like one with the noseband through the cheekpieces as I don't really like the whole separate noseband thing. Would only want it for 'posh' though (my parelli one is SO easy to clean!!). Do think the Iberian bridles are gorgeous though - those buckles are fab.

    Looking forward to piccies :-)

  2. Thank you Charlotte. She's lying on my legs right now, so I'll tell her you said so.

    This one only has the plain rectangular buckles, but they're big, so it looks a bit different. I'm going to try to make a noseband out of a belt!

  3. Oh How does she do with the ... cats? especially the evil-lurking-one-near-the-arena?

    having a dog is BIG on my list after having a horse. But first the horse. Perhaps I am going to see one this afternoon. I promise i will update my blog ^-^

    Can you take a pic of an in-hand bridle, I do not think I have ever seen one I do not understand the thing about the noseband and teh cheek-piece thingy.
    Thnaks !

  4. Oh Helen,what a little cutie, I love little terriers,and she's so pretty. We have just had one of my alltime little hero's staying. Alfie is a boarder terrier, and belongs to my dear friend and farrier Ralph.

    I have a beautiful young German Shepard pup called Evie, and she is just going through the terrible teens , and for the last month or so has been a right pain in the whatsits,chasing deer, cars, anything that moves, and all her earlier obedience just has flown out the window.After a week of Alphie firmly putting her in her place and showing her that recall really is important, I now have a different dog again, so I hope we have knocked the yob stage on the head.We also started puppy classes last week, so that might have something to do with it!

    Helen and Charlotte, if it's any consolation, I am grounded as well. Took Sophs out for lovely ride on Weds, but got perished, when I got home my legs were so stiff I could'nt dismount, so slid off on the nearside ( naughty, I know! )toboggand down too fast and crunched my right Knee,could hardly walk yesterday,but have just managed to hobble down to give the pones their breakfast,so I'm feeling a little more sanguine. In spite of that I managed to have an interesting day yesterday, will post on this on Charlotte's blog! Hope you all make a speedy recovery,regards janette

  5. Helen I have enailed you. Check your junk email ^-^

  6. Aww, thank you so much everyone.

    She loves the 'boiler-room softie' cat, Muriel, but is rightly quite frightened of the other one.

    The noseband on Iberian/in hand/driving bridles is just a strap that runs through a slot in the cheek pieces, just above the bit. I will take some photos.

    I hope you found your perfect horse this afternoon - how exciting!

    Hope your knee is better soon too, Janette. Trust a terrier to sort out a GSD!!! Meggie is much more obedient than our Golden Retriever, believe it or not, and our 'proper' Jack Russell is somewhere between the two of them.



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I am a clicker training addict and there is no cure - thank goodness!!!