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The Willing Equine

The Willing Equine

By Adele Shaw, CHBC
Welcome to the official The Willing Equine podcast, with your host Adele Shaw. A podcast dedicated to improving the horse/human relationship, encouraging science based and ethically minded horse training, and a species appropriate way of keeping horses.
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Ep 47 // LIMA For Humans and Supporting Change: Part One
For our 47th episode on the podcast Brie Simpson of PATH Equestrian joins me to discuss "pure" positive reinforcement, LIMA (and the humane hierarchy) for human learners, damage control vs structured training, setting you and your horse up for success, transitioning from traditional training to positive reinforcement, and so much more! We hope you enjoy this episode and would love to hear if you have any questions for Brie and I on this subject. This is a topic that is near and dear to both of us and we hope that this episode helps you, as a listener and potentially someone working to incorporate R+ into your interactions with your horse, and encourages you! "Brie Simpson is the founder and owner of PATH Equestrian in Ontario Canada. She is studying to be a Certified Horse Behavioural Consultant (CHBC) through the IAABC and has been training and working with horses for over 14 years. She has dedicated her last 4 years to researching and studying equine behaviour, positive reinforcement training, the learning theory and equine enrichment. Brie is extremely passionate about improving the day-to-day life and basic handling of horses and wants to help advance the equine world into using more compassionate, humane and science-based methods of training." Stay tuned for part two!
June 21, 2021
Ep 46 // Young Horses & Preparing For Shows
We cover two topics, of similar nature, in this episode! To begin with... all the things you can do with young horses BEFORE you ever get on to ride! This can really help take away the pressure to get to those first rides, and put you WELL ahead of the game when it is the right time! Second, we discuss preparing for shows from home. Especially during this recent season in pretty much everyone's life with the pandemic. A lot of us haven't been traveling with our horses much and the shows have been largely virtual. It may be a bit of a surprise for your horse to suddenly return to the show arena after such a long time away, but it doesn't have to be!  ✦✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
May 18, 2021
Ep 45 // How R+ Horses Respond To Pressure
In this episode I share with you my experience in how horses that are trained with clicker training, focused on positive reinforcement, respond to negative reinforcement (or pressure & release) training. I also provide suggestions for boarding and other situations where you horse may be handled periodically by people trained traditionally, how to help horses understand traditional handling, and give examples of situations I've been in where I had to switch over to negative reinforcement. ✦ ✦
April 27, 2021
Ep 44 // Lesson Programs With R+
In this episode Steph K of @stephkequestrian shares with us her recipe for success in combining a thriving rescue/rehab program with a successful lesson program! We also discuss.. ✦ “Career training” for horses ✦ Personality/temperament changes in horses ✦ Rehoming rescue/R+ horses ✦ Instructor personality types and matching with the right students ✦ Personality/temperament matching of horses and humans ✦ And sooooo much more! If you want to learn more about Steph's program, check out her website at or find her on Instagram @stephkequestrian
April 1, 2021
Ep 43 // Is Your Horse In A Toxic Relationship With You?
This episode began with answering a listener's question about bonding with their horse, took a deep dive into "toxic relationships" in the middle somewhere, and ended with 5 (or was it 6?) steps towards improving your relationship with your horse. We also look at operationalizing "willingness", choice, trust, and more. Plus, there's a whole tangent nestled in there about how first impressions are often not accurate! (Just because the horse looks like they have a choice doesn't mean they actually do). It's a bit of a whirlwind! ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
March 10, 2021
Ep 42 // A Conversation With Ryan Cartlidge
I'm excited to share this wonderful conversation with Ryan Cartlidge of Animal Training Academy with you guys! In this episode we discuss...  ✦ What throwing spaghetti at the wall has to do with brave and resilient learning ✦ How our feedback towards other may directly impact their motivation to go out and train ✦ Flow charts and being a confident trainer ✦ Generalizing and trigger stacking ✦ And how we are not so very different from our horses! → Here is a little more information about Ryan  "Ryan Cartlidge is a certified professional dog trainer through the Karen Pryor Academy & the founder of Animal Training Academy & Kapiti Dog Trainer! He has been working internationally as a professional trainer since 2007, including in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the US. Ryan has trained teams, developed animal training programs, been published in leading industry magazines, spoken at international conferences, and delivered presentations in a university on animal behaviour. And now through the Animal Training Academy, he connects hundreds of animal behavior & training enthusiasts with a large (and growing) library of lessons and tutorials delivered by renowned animal experts." To find out more about Ryan check out the Animal Training Academy at
February 19, 2021
Ep 41 // What Pumpkin Has Taught Me
As promised, here is the episode talking about Pumpkin! This episode is all about my beautiful mare Pumpkin, what she has taught me, how she has challenged me, how she's transformed over the years, and so much more! We talk about: "Slow", "resistant", and "lazy" horses. The different ways fear can manifest in behavior. How to recognize learned helplessness/shut down/going internal behavior. What can cause frustration and rage responses in us as trainers. How I responded then vs now to Pumpkin. Putting horses into boxes and the problem with treating rescue and "regular" horses differently. Plus a lot more! This is a bunny trail episode as we explore all the ways Pumpkin has made changes in me and my horsemanship.
February 7, 2021
Ep 40 // Resetting, Renewing, and Avoiding Burnout
WELCOME BACK listeners! Looking forward to season three and a fresh new year! As we go into 2021 I wanted to talk about starting off the new year in such a way that we can avoid burnout, "enjoy the ride", and not get so focused on checking off that to-do list that we forget about the joy that the process can bring! In this episode I take you through some of my thoughts on the subject, how this relates to horse training, business, personal growth, and so much more.  I also share a little update about how I've been since the end of season two of the TWE podcast (aka, Tiger's passing), and give you a teaser about a coming episode where I share with you the journey I've been on with Pumpkin! ✨ Adele Shaw, CHBC ✨ ✨
January 15, 2021
Ep 39 // Love Without Conditions
I've gone back and forth on whether to do this episode or not... annnnnddddd here we are. Be warned, this is a very emotional episode. This episode is dedicated to my late mare Tiger (she's the podcast cover photo), and all that she taught me. I explain some more about how I lost her, her history, why TWE is even here, and expand on a recent instagram post I did about love that comes with conditions. ✦✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
September 23, 2020
Ep 38 // When Horses Don't Like Food Reinforcement
It's not that common, horses not wanting to take food from a human, but it happens to varying degrees from time to time... So I think this is an important topic to address! What do you do when your horse doesn't want to take food from you, but you want to train with positive reinforcement? In this episode, we take a deeper look at the statement "my horse doesn't like food, or working for food" and problem solve why that might be! ✦✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
August 26, 2020
Ep 37 // Riding With R+ (Clicker Training)
Brought to you by popular request... An entire episode about riding with positive reinforcement and clicker training. In this episode I talk about what it looks like, why the stopping for food isn't a big deal, how you build up to more complex behaviors, I compare the process between R- and R+ training under saddle of teaching a young horse to carry a rider, there's a brief discussion about completing with positive reinforcement trained horses, and so much more! ✦✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
August 13, 2020
Ep 36 // Achieving Balance
In this episode I take a broad topic or "idea" and apply it to many areas of horse training. We dive into what balance looks like, how we can achieve it, what areas it's important to prioritize it in, and so much more! ✦✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
July 31, 2020
Ep 35 // Aggression Within The Herd
I can't tell you how many times I've heard, and continue to hear, about horses that can't be turned out with other horses because they are too aggressive or.. because the other horses are too aggressive towards them. It's unfortunate that the individual horses are often blamed for this, or that it's considered a problem that has no solution many times, when really there is a LOT we can do to provide our horses with the peaceful social lives they need ✦✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
July 9, 2020
EP 34 // Conversations With Family, Friends, and Professionals
This longer episode all about having conversations with family, friends, and professionals within the equestrian community who have a different approach to keeping or training horses than you do. It's also about dealing with negativity, skepticism, and criticism from those who don't understand why you keep and train horses the way you do. At the end of the episode I invite my listeners to share with me their own stories! I only mentioned sharing stories where you've made a positive influence on other people, but I'd love to hear of how someone else made a positive impact on your horsemanship journey as well. ✦✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
June 13, 2020
Ep 32 // Punishment's Impact On Trust
In this episode I talk about what trust in a relationship looks like, what creates trust, and how punishment impacts that trust... And I also briefly touch on how we can use other approaches to train/resolve problem behaviors without the use of punishment to maintain the relationship. ✦✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
June 8, 2020
Ep 33 // What Is Confidence?
In this episode, three of my students join me to talk about what confidence looks like for horses and for ourselves.. and how do we "train" confidence? What does confidence even mean? Is a horse born confident or un-confident? What are the factors that go into helping us feel confident; confident riders, confident handlers, and confident trainers. And what are the factors that go into helping our horses feel confident. -- This episode was recorded from a video conversation, so you'll have to forgive the fact that it sounds like I'm in a tin can. It wasn't originally intended for podcast listening. And a big thanks to Anastasia Konova, Kari Naumann, and Tessa Goddard for being willing to share with us this conversation!  ✦✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
May 28, 2020
Ep 31 // Progress Not Perfection
Are you a perfectionist at heart? Or feel like maybe you should be? Then this episode is for you! I dive deep into my struggle with perfectionism and how it has impacted my horsemanship journey, my everyday life, my business, and more. ✦✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
April 29, 2020
Ep 30 // Training vs Management
If we are being honest with ourselves, there is really only so many hours in the day. How do we choose which behaviors and things to manage and which to train? In this episode I share a little about my own process and why for many situations management is all you need! While in others .. I think you're doing a disfavor to your horse to only manage the situation. ✦✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
April 16, 2020
Ep 29 // Motherhood and Horses
I've been asked quite a few times how I achieve working, having horses, and being a mother .. how I manage all that. In this episode I get a little raw and personal with you guys and share my strengths and weaknesses, the challenges I've faced, and some tips and tricks I've learned along the way. ✦✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
April 7, 2020
Ep 28 // The Ethical Use Of R+
"Effectiveness is not enough" is something I say a lot (quoting Dr. Susan Friedman), and I mean it. R+ (positive reinforcement) is a VERY powerful and effective way to teach our horses behaviors we would like them to do and know, but it's not inherently more ethical or "morally sound" way of training. I explain why in this episode and also share some of the ways I modify my training to focus on ethical training practices.  ✦✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
March 24, 2020
Ep 27 // Finding Middle Ground In Our View Of Horses
Bex, of Positively Together, joins me all the way from New Zealand in this podcast episode where we answer a question we received from a student. "How to find the middle ground between seeing our horses as objects for our use (machines/sports equipment) and seeing them as over romanticized magical spiritual leaders?" ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
March 11, 2020
Ep 26 // Changes We Can Make 2
In this episode I'm adding on to my previous episode about changes we can make to improve our horsemanship, improve our horse's lives, and ways we can make a world of difference in our relationships with our horses. These are practical every day application ideas that can sometimes magically cure a lot of behavioral issues. I also discuss the idea of making changes as you can, it's not an all or nothing kind of situation, and how to be okay with knowing that we are doing the best we can with what we know right now. ✦✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
February 25, 2020
Ep 25 // Changes We Can Make
In this episode I've collected together some ideas of ways we can work to have a kinder and more ethically minded approach to interacting and keeping horses. A lot of this episode is focused on training practices (R+ or not), but there are some practical husbandry ideas too. At the end I ask you guys for some help in prepping for the second part of this topic! I'd love to do a follow up with ideas from you guys. ✦✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
February 12, 2020
Ep 24 // Communication Errors
It's not uncommon to see horses appearing grumpy or offering behaviors seemingly out of control when the trainer is just learning to implement an R+ focused training program. This can make it look like the horse is not having a very "positive" experience and is frustrated, and at it's worst can become dangerous. Often times the cause for these issues is the human's understanding of the "Language" they are speaking with their horse, especially when it's a new one! Training with R+ is a different language than with traditional training, is not as simple as just adding a click and some food. - In this episode we dive into one reason why it's different, some changes you can make to help your horse, and briefly introduce some ideas that I recommend EVERY horse owner/trainer/and caregiver dive into further if they wish to train with R+. ✦✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
January 29, 2020
Ep 23 // Personality, Labels, and Training
Left brained, right brained, introverted, extroverted, lazy, friendly, stubborn, playful, dominant, submissive, gentle, sweet, rude, competitive, mean, sassy, funny.... Do any of these describe your horse? What's their personality type? Who are they? What are they born with and what develops over time? ✦✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
January 13, 2020
Ep 22 // A Little History
In this episode I get a little more personal and talk about my journey to developing TWE. The ups, the downs, the challenges, and how I arrived here ... I hope this episode is inspiring to anyone who has their heart set on a dream but isn't sure how they are going to get there.
January 1, 2020
Ep 21 // Responsible Horse Ownership
Let's be real, horse ownership isn't all rainbows and butterflies. In fact, there's a LOT of responsibility and stress that goes along with caring for these beings we love so much. In this episode I answer a listener's question about being responsible for a horse during tough times ... how to prepare for those inevitable medical bills and extenuating circumstances... And what to do when you really want to have your own horse but aren't sure you can support them should anything come up. ✦✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
November 19, 2019
Ep 20 // Fitness and Easy Keepers
It's a question I get a lot... How do I work safely with food rewards with a horse prone to founder, gaining weight, or that really needs to get into shape but has zero motivation to do so. Well... Here you go! This episode is all about how I help horses stay healthy and get into shape with positive reinforcement and using food rewards. ✦✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
November 6, 2019
Ep 19 // Resilient R+ Horses
Let's talk about stress. Let's talk about "negative" and "positive" stress. Let's talk about chronic and acute stress. Let's talk about how it impacts training, and whether or not training with positive reinforcement creates less resilient horses. In this episode I cover a LOT of ground. Including how R+ doesn't automatically = ethical training, and how I help my horses be safer and more confident horses. It's definitely one of the longest episodes I've done, I apologize for that, but I think it's worth it. ;) ✦✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
October 23, 2019
Ep 18 // It's Not A Training Issue
Story time! This episode is the recap of a real life "walk the talk" moment with one of my horses that happened all in a single day. When I'm talking about not using punishment, giving the horse the benefit of the doubt, approaching behavior issues from a whole horse perspective, how trust is built and maintained, deepening your relationship with your horse, recovering from mistakes, letting go of control, giving the horse a choice.... I mean ALL of it... This episode is my recap of me walking that talk and what that looks like on a day to day basis. And WHY it's so important. ✦✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
September 19, 2019
Ep 17 // Horses That Aren't Your Own
In this episode I answer a listener's question about how to interact with horses that aren't your own, in a positive way! I discuss four different ways you can do this, briefly address the idea of respect (not in the way it's typically talked about 😉), and also talk about the struggles of trying to communicate with people about possible changes for their horses. ✦✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
August 28, 2019
Ep 16 // Clicker Training For Yourself (and others)
Wouldn't it be nice if we could clicker train people? I mean, technically.. there's the science for it and it does work (look up TagTeach), but I don't think the other horse owners at the barn would take kindly to you clicking and giving them gummy bears haha. BUT, we can use the idea of shaping plans and reinforcing approximations of behavior with positive reinforcement for both ourselves, those around us, our students, and even the other people at the barn.. and without it being "weird" or requiring a lot of work on your part. In this episode I talk about the ways we can use positive reinforcement and shaping plans to modify our own behavior, become better trainers, enjoy our own training more, have better relationships with our human learners (students), and more! ✦✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
August 8, 2019
Ep 15 // When There Are No R+ Trainers Nearby
Until recently, horse training has been rather localized. If you wanted to learn how to train a horse, you found a nearby trainer. If you wanted to become a horse trainer, you went to work for a local horse trainer. Unfortunately the number of R+ focused trainers is still rather limited, and so there isn't always a nearby trainer you can learn from. In this podcast I talk about how it's still possible to become a horse trainer or learn how to train your horse with an R+ focus ...even when there are no like minded trainers nearby. ✦✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
July 24, 2019
Ep 14 // Damage Control
"Damage control" AKA what to do when your horse is already over their fear threshold, and losing their mind. can we keep both them and us safe without using punishment? Can we help them return to training without demanding obedience and respect through the use of aversives? What about if your horse is running scared in the pasture, how do you help them calm down? I talk about this and more in this episode. ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
July 6, 2019
Ep 13 // The Horse-Human Bond
Do you have a "bond" with your horse? is riding tackless proof of having a bond with you horse? What if you don't ride, let alone tack-less, can you still have a bond with your horse? In this episode I discuss my thoughts on this matter! ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
June 26, 2019
Ep 12 // Looking For An Equine Companion
Looking for your future equine companion/partner is challenging and stressful. it's a big decision! Especially if you go into it looking to make a life long commitment. In this episode I discuss some of the ups and downs, what you need to be prepared for, and my biggest tips for finding that perfect horse for you. ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ Recommend book ✦
June 14, 2019
Ep 11 // They Train Us Too
As much as we want to focus on training our horses, it's important to remember there are two learners in the relationship with your horse. With every interaction we are learning, as are they. ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
June 8, 2019
Ep 10 // What Defines Abuse?
In this episode I talk with Sara Kalenkiewicz ( @equineapprentice ) about what horse abuse looks like in a wide variety of situations. I know this sounds like a terrible episode, but I think you may find it really interesting and perspective broadening. We look beyond what the law defines as abuse/neglect... and dive head first into this touchy subject to discuss the grey areas of "abuse". ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦
May 29, 2019
Ep 9 // Let Your Horse Teach You
We talk all the time about how the horse is the greatest teacher...but do we let them teach us? What about when what they need to teach us doesn't fit our "goals" and dreams?
May 14, 2019
Ep 8 // An Update
This episode is a little unique, but I hope you enjoy! Its an update all about what's been going on with the horses and I at TWE this past month.
May 8, 2019
Ep 7 // Comparisons
Whether it's someone on Instagram, or another boarder at the barn, comparing yourself and your horse to others is so easy.. yet so damaging...
April 24, 2019
Ep 6 // Prep For Success
What does the quote "By failing to prepare, we are preparing to fail." have to do with horse training? How can we prep for success?
April 2, 2019
Ep 5 // Labels vs Solutions
Labeling symptoms and trying to fix labels is a fruitless endeavor. It's short lived patchwork. We need to go straight to the source to find a true solution to the problem.
March 15, 2019
Ep 4 // Your Horse's Defender
We can't be so busy worrying about everyone else's opinions and feelings that we forget about ourselves or our horses. You are your horse's one and only voice.
March 1, 2019
Ep 3 // How To Re-train Yourself
Training or re-training a horse is one thing, "re" training ourselves is a whole new level of challenging. In this episode I discuss the process I use to help my students and myself move past old training practices.
February 17, 2019
Ep 2 // Relationships and Classical Conditioning
How are relationships made? What is trust built on? In this episode I dive into how your every interaction with your horse lays a foundation for your relationship, and how you can build a positive trusting relationship with your horse.
February 6, 2019
Ep 1 // A Horse's Purpose
Does your horse have a purpose? Were they bred to jump or show western pleasure? How does this impact your relationship with your horse? In this episode I break down what your horse knows about it's life and it's human given purpose.
February 2, 2019