About Sandra Poppema, B.Sc. Animal Management
Located: Chase, British Columbia (BC), Canada
Social Media: HippoLogic
Languages: Dutch (native speaker), English, bit German
Services: Online coaching and courses. Yearlong mentoring program in the HippoLogic Clicker Training Academy
|“I always wanted to train horses in a force-free way. I used rewards in training as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t always effective, until I discovered the clicker.
No one ever told me about using a bridge signal, one of the most powerful tools in animal communication and training.
I also didn’t know how to achieve my goals.
Sometimes I hit my horse because that was what I had learned: “Don’t let the horse get away with that!” I felt a lot of guilt and shame training and riding my horse. Learning about positive reinforcement and developing a structure in training and having a plan to achieve my dreams helped me become a better horse person. I used to feel a lot of frustration (because I couldn’t figure out how I could ask my horse to do what I wanted and get results) and I often felt guilty if I hit my horse “because you can’t let him win”.
I figured “There must be another way!” I found it!
Now I know how to train and ride horses without feeling like a failure, fear and without frustration.
I train animals with ease and lots of fun. I help horse people all over the world to get the results in training and riding they really, really want. Not at cost of the horse or the relationship with their human but to both their benefit!
HippoLogic’s training method is easy to learn. I developed a home study program for equestrians that will give you results and is fun for horse and handler. Win-win!“.
Wildlife Management and Zoos was one of my majors. The welfare of animals in zoos, and the ethics of keeping animals in captivity were central focus points. They made me think a lot about the way we keep horses and what we need to improve to make life better for our equines.
In 2007, I became a certified “Basic Instructor Dressage & Jumping” at the Royal Dutch Horse Sports Federation. In 2011 I became a Level 1 Certified Centered Riding instructor, because I wanted to learn more about biomechanica, the rider’s seat and how it influences the horse’s movement so I could help more equestrians.
A lot of my clients’ horses had minor “behavioural issues”. They were hard to catch in the field, difficult to halter, bridle, saddle, deworm or trailer load. Sometimes their horses showed undesired behaviours during handling, like biting or walking away while being mounted.
This is how I started helping riders train their own horses. I see much more value in coaching a horse owner how to train their horse, than me training their horse. If I do the work, the horse will listen to me, but I am not the person working with the horse on a daily basis. What horse owners really need is that their horse behaves safe around them and respond to their cues.
Kyra, my success story: From Feral to Fantastic
My current horse Kyra was born in 2008 in a nature reserve; she was 11 months old when I got her. She didn’t accept any human contact in the beginning. I had no idea if I could tame her at all, she was extremely nervous and anxious.
I tamed and trained her myself using positve reinforcement. I made a plan of approach and just started clicker training Kyra. I didn’t know if I was doing the right thing or if I was doing everything in the right order. I wish someone had a ‘clicker training guide’ for me which would tell me how to tame a horse.
Because that wasn’t available I decided to write down all my experiences and that is how I started my blog: as an online training journal. This is how I know it only took me a couple of weeks to tame her.
In just three weeks, I could halter her, touch her all over, lift her feet and lead her around the premises. After just a few months of training Kyra now seeks out human contact.
I used positive reinforcement to start her under saddle and she is doing great. This convinced me that it is possible to train a horse with positive reinforcement horse training. I laid my hands on everything I could find regarding positive reinforcement training; from scientific studies to dog training books. I kept track of my training methods and developed my own way of teaching people to use clicker training for their horse. I called it the ‘Key Lessons’, those are all the fundamentals (the keys) that leads you to success in clicker training your horse.
My relationship with my horse Kyra is very special. She greets me with a soft nicker and always comes to the gate as soon as she sees me or hears my car. Not only that, but she also seeks out all human contact. She doesn’t know any better than people bring her lots of good things: fun experiences and training challenges. Yes, and of course positive reinforcers like scratches and food.
Skype: PoppemaS (HippoLogic)
Social media: HippoLogic