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


Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Photo Albums 2008.

I've organised Bella, Jack and Grace's photos from 2008 into albums. Clicking on the photos should take you to each individual album. I think they've all been posted before but I wanted them all together for ease of reference. I really must ditch the AK-style waistcoat for future photos!!!!

I've had to move all the photos back again because they had disappeared from the earlier posts and the EE blog, which people still seem to be reading. I'll have to reload them into separate files at some point. One day I'll get the hang of all this!


  1. ooooh, lovely - makes me realise I must get more photos of my two!!

  2. What fabulous photos!!! You've got their lives on film :-) Thanks for sharing them all.

    I adore the ones of them lying down all cozy or zooming around the fields, too. They look such healthy loved horses and your smile is ever present.

    Did you used to have a suberpanel perchance? Also, seeing all that SRS stuff (cavasson and pad etc) is very very tempting....

  3. Thank you, Charlotte. Yes, I still have the Fhoenix Suberpanel and use it quite often on Grace. I prefer the St. Merryn though -it's definately my perfect saddle!

    If you're wondering about the incredibly skinny grey pony in a couple of the photos (I'd forgotten they were there), he came here for a while (along with the bay pony) when the 'sanctuary' where he lived burnt down. He was near death's door, through gross neglect by the 'sanctuary's owner, who has 32 horses, dozens of dogs, etc, a full time job elsewhere and spends all her free time looking for more animals to 'rescue'.

    I took the pics to get Jackie Taylor's advice about feeding him. I nursed him back to health (he was well covered and bouncing about like a 2yo) and then the owner insisted of having them back, and even the ILPH couldn't stop her.

    It's made me very wary of small so called 'charities'. She is a registered charity getting money from the public and there are no checks on the welfare of the animals. The RSPCA are round there all the time 'advising' her to improve conditions but the place is horrific - dogs kept in old cars 24/7, no staff, ect. etc. It broke my heart to send those two back.

  4. oh poor boy! Well at least he went back in a better condition and with a chance of holding it. Very scarey that she can register herself and get money for essentially starving animals!

    i had a suberpanel which was great for Tig but I then retired her and used it on Loly which didn't work. He got white hairs either side of the withers :-( Jill Shepherd came out to look at it and said it just wouldn't work for him. Real shame as I loved it.

    Having said that, I'm more than happy with my WOWs now. The St Merryn is a lovely comfy looking saddle - I was looking to see if I could find one of them when I was saddle hunting.

  5. Hi helen,

    I am posting here,as I emailed you a few days ago with my acceptance,it has obviously been lost in the ether! Hope you dont think I was being rude, but this is all new to me.

    Yes I would love to join you,I am very thrilled to be asked, and hope to be able to function as light relief if nothing else!

    Lovely photo's of your ponies, they all look so happy and well turned out.

    You also look as if you are about to laugh out loud for pure joy,which is afterall what it's about.

    Hope this gets thro!

  6. Hello Janette,

    I did get your email, but you need to click on the 'accept' bit on the email from Blogger. It's still showing as an open invitation at the moment. If it won't work let me know and I'll get Blogger to send you another invite.

    Don't worry, it's taken me ages to work it all out too!!!

    That's really kind of you and I'm sure you'll be much more than just light relief!

  7. Hi helen,

    Cant find Accept anywhere neither can the puter wizz kid, he's sending you an e-mail!

    have had two nice little sessions in hand, have been practising pre WWYLM and she is stopping nicely and backing when she overshoots to get her click and treat.

    I also have been working her in her bridle,this has nade a huge difference, I am an idiot

    but its a reflex after years of NH doh!

    I also have been asking her to shift off her inside shoulder,she very deliberately moved her inside foot and carefully placed it on top of her other foot.Two big muffie feet together, I could't stop laughing I had to treat her as she had followed my intent.

    I thoroughly read, I know an old lady, and all is made clear, also working her in her bridle, I realise she is giving me her jaw and dropping her nose.I thought she was, its just working in her headcollar gives a more NH bend.So thank you so much everyone for all the patient advice.

  8. Hello Janette,

    I think it's my fault, using what I think must be David's email address? - the greenandgrass one? I've got Blogger to send another to the other email address - the one I emailed you on last. If you find both of them just accept on one and I'll remove the other. We'll get there in the end!

    I can just picture Sophie, standing on her own foot!

    You're not alone with the bridle business. I spent ages just using a headcollar, then, when I did use a bridle, I tried to do everything using the reins only as a last resort, and then wondered why nothing worked in the same way ridden. It was reading something Alex said about the power of cues which made me realise that mine were all body language, which isn't so easy from on top. Getting the same results ridden has been much easier since I started actually using the reins in hand. I thought I was being clever but I was just missing out on a whole load of transferable cues.



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