JOY Full Horses

IMG_0218 Fengur snow great

JOY Full Horses


In 2014 I surprised myself by writing a book.  This is by no means the first book I have written, so perhaps some of you will be surprised that I was surprised, but I had just finished the monster-sized project of writing and launching my new on-line course.  I wasn’t expecting to take on another big project quite so soon on the heels of that endeavor.

Once the book was written, there remained the question of what to do with it. The normal answer is you publish it as a hold-in-your-hand actual book, but somehow that didn’t seem the right answer for this particular project. I sat with it for a year while I considered what I wanted to do.  In the end I decided to share it here.

The first installment was published January 2, 2016.  I suggest you begin with that post.  You can use the calendar in the side menu to navigate through the book.

Because I know we all have a lot to read, I have broken the book up not into chapter-sized units, but into smaller chunks. To help you navigate through the book and to find sections you want to reference, I am including the Contents here.  As each new blog is published, I will activate a link to the sections it covers.


Alexandra Kurland

Joy Full Horses – Contents

Published Jan 2, 2016

Robin hug

Introduction: How the book came to be written

Published Jan 12, 2016

Joy Full Horses title page cover


Published Jan. 14, 2016

Panda scrabble - leaning against me

Chapter 1: Mammals Play
Airplane Reading
Why Do Animals Play?

Chapter 2  Animal Emotions
Is Your Training Fun?
Animal Wise
Outdated Belief Systems

Published Jan. 17, 2016

Affective Neuroscience
The Seven Affective Emotional Systems
The SEEKER System
A Courageous Mouse
The Cat Dilemma

Published Jan. 20, 2016
aa mouse


Published Jan. 24, 2016

aa Panda scrabble

Chapter 3: What Neuroscience Teaches Us About Play
The Archeological Dig Through The Brain
Clicker Training and the Seven Affective Systems

Chapter 4:  Inside the Trainer’s Brain
The Neuroscience of Training

Published Jan. 27, 2016
sindri fengur playing 3 photos

Recognizing Play?

Chapter 5: What is Play?
Defining Play

Published Jan. 31, 2016

Cindy with her dogs

Chapter 6: Being PLAY FULL
Play Full
Playing with Horses
Playing with Behavior
Playing with Play

Published Feb. 3, 2016

Peregrine Robin family time

Chapter 7:  Training Playfully Mixed with a Little Science
The ABC’s of Training
Reinforcement Variety

Published Feb. 7, 2016

Chapter 8: Cues and Their Connection to Play
What are Cues?
Explaining Cues to a Beginner – Your List
Explaining Cues to a Beginner – My List

Published Feb. 10, 2016

Ten Things You Should Know About Cues

Part 2 collage

Published Feb. 10, 2016

Natalie with Harrison

Number 1: Cues are not Commands
Chapter 1: Asking Versus Telling
Paradigm Shifts
Playing with Cues

Published Feb. 14, 2016

Mary pointing to chair

Number 2: Non Verbal Cues
Chapter 1:  Shh. Don’t Talk.  I’m Listening To Your Body
Clever Hans
Unintended Cues

Published Feb. 16, 2016

Power of habit book cover

Chapter 2: Turning being PLAY FULL into a Habit
The Power of Habits
The Effect of Cues
Unexpected Habits
Emotional Habits
Traveling Outside Your Habits

Published Feb. 18, 2016

mouse in maze

The Structure of Habits
Changing Habits
Bad Habits

Published Feb. 21, 2016

Forming Habits – Good or Bad

Published Feb. 24, 2016
Changing Your Habits
Do You Believe?
The Power of Community

Published Feb. 26, 2016

keystone round arch 2

Keystone Habits
Small Wins or Big Fights – You Choose
Brick Walls

Published Feb. 28, 2016

garden hose

Dismantling The Brick Walls
Patience and Persistence

Published March 2, 2016

“They Don’t Feel Pain the Way We Do”
The Evolution of Belief
Balance – The Core of Everything
My “Salt Box”

Published March 5, 2016

Learned Helplessness
Standing Up For Our Horses
Force-Based Training
What Good Trainers Have In Common
Speaking Out For Our Horses

Published March 7, 2016

Chapter 3: TagTeaching – You Can’t Train My Child Like a Dog!
Tag Points
WOOF Criteria

Published March 8, 2016
The Focus Funnel
The Focus Funnel Applied to Horse Training
Constructive Feedback

Published March 10, 2016
Tag Teaching and Keystone Habits
Forming The Record Keeping Habit
Forming a Journaling Community
KeyStone Habits for Life

Published March 27, 2016

Panda zebra crossing

Number 3: The Environment is a Cue

Chapter 1:  Emotions and Environmental Triggers
Environmental Cues
Guide Horses

Published March 30, 2016

Panda environmental cues

Goose Neck Trailers
A Trainer’s Play Ground
The Herd Horse Advantage

Published April 3, 2016

IMG_1991 Panda Ann construction

My Cue Trumps Your Cue
Intelligent Disobedience
Horses as Guides
Evidence in Support of Intelligent Disobedience
Trusting Intelligent Disobedience
Teaching Traffic Checks
Testing the Training – How Strong are your Habits?

Published April 6, 2016

IMG_1994_1 Panda Ann great walk

Guide Work: Yes She Can!
But, But, You MUST Need to Correct Her

Published May 2, 2016

Shannon mat series

Chapter 2: Using Environmental Cues
Every Day Environmental Cues

Published May 6, 2016

scout lateral work

Using Environmental Cues: A Multiple Mat Lesson

Published June 9, 2016

Panda helping me sweep 3

Chapter 3: The Time Has Come the Walrus Said to Talk of Many Things
The Time Has Come
Behaviors as Reinforcers
Turning Mats Into Tractor Beams
Feldenkrais Work
Asking Questions
The Translation to Horses
The “Black Box” of Emotions
The Lead Tells A Story

Published June 21, 2016

Robin Runway release to mat 2016-06-18 at 6.16.14 PM

The Runway
Give Them What They Want
Stopping on Mats
Constructional Training

Published June 25, 2016

Robin on mat grups at distance 2016-06-22 at 2.56.57 PM

Mat Manners
101 Things
The Opposite of Flooding
Playing with Language

Published June 28, 2016

Robin with shavings 1 2016-06-22 at 5.54.53 PM
Transforming Horse Training Into Play
Using Props
Playing with Images

Published July 24, 2016

Icky mounting block - hands up

Number 4: Cue Communication

Chapter 1: Dr. DooLittle Knew How To Listen
Everything You Need to Know About Cues
Cue Communication
Everyday Conversations
Animal Trainers – The Ones to Really Learn From!
A Well-Trained Human

Published July 26, 2016

Panda environmental cues

Behaviors Become Cues
Mounting Blocks as Cue Communication
Trust Your Horse, Trust the Process

Published July 27, 2016

wwylm collage

Capture the Saddle
The Why Would You Leave Me? Game
Walking Off Casually and the Why Would You Leave Me? Game

Published Aug. 2, 2016

Capture the Saddle approach mounting block 43

Constructional Training
Capture the Saddle – A Targeting  Game

Published Aug. 3, 2016

Newby capture the saddle 3

Pre-Ride Safety Check List
“Grand Prix” Mounting Block Behavior
“Grand Prix” Behaviors

Published Aug. 6, 2016

Listen To Your Horse
Detective Work
“Just Tell Me How You Feel”
Saying “No”
The Horse As Teacher
The Conversation
Fixing the “Fixers”

Published Aug. 17, 2016

Number 5: Cues Evolve

Robin backing black background

Chapter 1: Cues Evolve Out Of The Shaping Process
Head Lowering
Keeping Things in Balance
There’s Always More Than One Way To Teach A Behavior

Published Aug. 18, 2016

Panda grazing 1

Not A Forward-Moving Exercise
Moving the Hips
Backing in a Square
“Walking and Chewing Gum”
Dynamic Food Delivery
Mapping Out The Dance
Reading Your Dance Partner
Cues Evolve – Adding the Lead
Cues Evolve: How Light Can Light Be?
Who’s Not Showing Respect?

Published Aug. 19, 2016

Robin back thru square with food delivery - captions

Starter Button and Constant On Cues
The Horse’s Perspective
Soap Box Time
Backing with Starter Button Cues
A Change in the Game
More “Being the Horse”
Heating Up a Behavior

Published Aug. 20, 2016

pump 2

Priming The Head Lowering Pump
Head Lowering from Backing in a Square
Calm Down NOW!
Heading Toward Lighter Than Light Cues
Playing with Cues
“How’d you do that?”

Published Aug. 20, 2016

Number 6: Getting What You Want When You Want It: Stimulus Control

fengur backing from saddle with caption

Getting What You Want
More About Cues
Cues and Our Eager Clicker Horses
Stimulus Control Version 1.0
The Four Criteria of Stimulus Control
Speed Bump: Teaching with Extinction
Through “the Wardrobe”

Published Aug. 28, 2016

Number 7: Stimulus Control and Play

statue of horse

Chapter 1: Even Play Has Rules
Balancing Cues
Building a Repertoire of Behaviors
Base Behaviors
An Equine Ostrich
Clicker “Drill Sergeants”
Laughing with our Horses
Playing Safe
Remember To Laugh

Published Aug. 31, 2016

Number 8: Cues Can Change and Be Changed

Panda in Panda catch canter

Chapter 1: Cues Evolve
Change Happens
What Comes Before What Comes Before
How Light is Too Light?

Published Sept. 1, 2016


Chapter 2: The Cue Transfer Process
Changing Cues
Basic Manners
Tap Root Behaviors

Published Sept. 2, 2016

Panda asleep 5 photos

Saying Please and Thank You
Good Manners are a Good Habit
The Grown-ups Really Are Talking
Great Service

Published Sept. 3, 2016

Pico head down 1

Over-eager Students
Chapter 3: New Cue – Old Cue
Creating New Cues
Sleight of Hand Magic Tricks
Understanding Pressure
Play and the Transferred Cue
The Transfer Continues
Sleight of Hand Magic – The Trick Revealed

Published Sept. 8, 2016

Number 9: You Can’t Not Cue

Chapter 1: Using The Cues Your Horse Discovers
Collecting Gems
Clever Hans
Working WITH Your Own Clever Hans
Canine Teachers
Selecting from the Menu
Use Your Cues

Published Sept. 10, 2016


An Accident Waiting To Happen
All Work and No Play . . .

Published Sept. 11, 2016


Chapter 2: What is Clicker Training?
What Clicker Training Means To Me
Defining Clicker Training
Creating Stepping Stones

Published Sept. 12, 2016


Chapter 3: Are You A Clicker Trainer or a User of Clicker Training?

Are You a Clicker Trainer?
Why Clicker Train? The Science Foundation
Three Blind Men and the Elephant
Modern Animal Training

Published Sept. 13, 2016


Using Clicker Training

Published Sept. 14, 2016

The Clicker Super Glue

Published Sept. 15, 2016

clicker umbrella 1

Using Clicker Training
The Clicker Umbrella
Just Because You Can . . .

Published Sept. 16, 2016

More Questions
Levels of Analysis
Adding a Question Mark – Feldenkrais Work
Asking Not Telling
The Questions

Published Sept. 17, 2016

Chapter 4: What is the lesson? – Playing with Cues
The Teachers We Get Are The Teachers We Need
One Day At A Time
Innovations Come From the Outside In
Following Antennae
The Joy of Discovery
Ready To Teach
Change Makers
Change Our Beliefs, Change the World
Detective Work

Published Sept. 18, 2016


Chapter 5: Stepping Stones
More To Learn
Remembering Play
Getting “Yes” Answers
Training Choices
Building Clean Loops
Sequence Matters
You Never Know What You’ve Taught.  You Only Know What You’ve Presented
Using Your Head

Published Sept. 19, 2016


Moving On
What Could You Find? What Could You Release?
Posing the Questions
Adding the Click

Published Sept. 19, 2016


Tactile Communication
Cues Evolve
Cue Communication
Adding in Lateral Flexions
Do Not Enter Signs

Published Oct. 9, 2016

Number 10: Playing with Chains


Chapter 1: Cues Evolve into Chains
The List of Ten
Creating Change Through Chains
The Story for Poco
Poco’s Learning Loop

Published Oct. 10, 2016


What We Say
The Meaning of Words
Negative Reinforcement

Published Oct. 11, 2016


Procedure versus The Emotional Effect
History Matters
The Emotional Spectrum
It’s Not Your Fault
Changing Expectations

Published Oct. 11, 2016


Hidden Motivators
What Triggers Change?

Published Oct. 11, 2016


The Fluid Nature of Language
How Words Are Used
The Power of Play


Published Nov. 10, 2016


Chapter 1: The Many Forms of Micro
Why Micro
Outcome Versus Reaction Pattern

Published Nov. 11, 2016

Robin on mat grups at distance 2016-06-22 at 2.56.57 PM

Base Behaviors
Tossing Treats
Dynamic Food Delivery
Precision and Play Go Together

Published Nov. 12, 2016


Published Nov. 16, 2016

Chapter 2: How Clicker Trainers Play
Five Go To Sea
“Riding” the Ocean
The Conference
Reaction Patterns

Published Nov. 17, 2016

Chapter 2: Regression
Reverting to Past Behaviors
Extinction Reveals Your Horse’s Past
Well Behaved or Shut Down?

Published Nov. 18, 2016

Leaving History Behind

Emitted and Permitted Behaviors
Data Collecting
Tuning Up the Handler’s Skills
Building Your Repertoire

Published Nov. 19, 2016

The Animal Emotions
The Emotions of Extinction
Extinctions Emotional Pattern

Published Dec. 1, 2016

Chapter 3: Understanding Extinction
Extinction and Shaping

Published Dec. 2, 2016

Regression and Resurgence
Extinction History
The Catalyst, Not the Cause

Published Dec. 3, 2016
Extinction Reveals the Past
The Equine Version

Published Dec. 4, 2016
Accidental Extinction
Mini versus Maxi Extinctions
Training Game Mishaps
Micro Extinctions

Published Dec. 5, 2016

Using “Hot” Behaviors

The Measure of Success
Click For What You Already Have

Published Dec. 7, 2016
Cues and Extinction
Teaching “Chill”

Published Dec. 8, 2016

The Training Game

Published Dec. 9, 2016
Mastering Extinction
Experiment One: Resurgence
Experiment Two: Regression
Mind Games

Published Dec. 10, 2016
Using resurgence – Insight
What is Creativity?

Published Dec. 11, 2016
Degrees of Freedom
Expanding Repertoires

Published Dec. 12, 2016
Being Emotional Is Being Alive

Published Dec. 13, 2016

Mastering Micro: Building Unlikely Behaviors with Resurgence
Resurgence and Dog “Yoga”
Generalization and Creativity

Published Dec. 14, 2016

Puzzle Solving
The “Pose”
Seeing Familiar Landscapes with Fresh Eyes

Published Dec. 15, 2016

Our Creative Horses
The Creative Process
Mastering Micro
Micro Masters

Coming Soon

I Can’t Do What You Want
Finding Joy

Epilogue: To Love A Horse