I became involved with horses at the age of 10, taking horseback riding lessons and learning about traditional training methods. At 12, I got my first horse, who ignited my curiosity about horse training. I noticed the problems associated with punishment, but was unsure about how to avoid the occasion for punishment.
In 1999, I first learned about clicker training, and started practicing this gentle method of teaching behavior on horses, cats, dogs, and even birds. Inspired by the science of operant conditioning, which is behind the art of clicker training, I got my BA in Psychology from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, taking as many Applied Behavior Analysis classes as were available in the program. Understanding the behavioral principles behind all training made me even more committed to training methods that rely primarily on positive reinforcement.
I continue my behavioral education by attending clicker training conferences and clinics. I study under Alexandra Kurland (the best known equine clicker trainer and pioneer) and ride in her clinics whenever possible.