Indoor Training


If this photo of our weather station is any indicator, winter has arrived. With complete snow cover, temperatures well below freezing and wind chills around zero (Fahrenheit), it’s time to get creative with our training opportunities.

For the horses, that means training which can be done in the barn and in short enough training sessions that hands don’t freeze. I continue to hunt for gloves which can keep my hands warm, dry and also allow me to manipulate my fingers well enough to extricate a treat or two from my pocket or pouch. So far, they elude me (if you live in temperatures similar to, or colder than above, and have any you recommend, please let me know!).

img_8227For the dogs, it simply means finding activities which don’t take much room so that we can continue to train indoors where it’s toasty and warm, (and pretending to hibernate in a hay bale during chores).

One thing which I find very helpful to work on during winter downtimes is husbandry skills. Whether it’s teaching a dog to do a chin rest in preparation for ear ointment, getting a horse comfortable with a deworming tube, or teaching a dog to file her own nails, all can be done in super-short sessions and all will make life much easier in the future.

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To give myself some new projects, I’ve just signed up for a fun, 12 Days of Christmas training series from Donna Hill. Check it out!


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    1. Well let me know how it goes for colder…I can do any gloves in 20 degrees. Below that is when it gets challenging!

  1. Jane, is a delivery method that doesn’t require you to pick up the treats a possibility? I am not sure what treats you use for the horses but I wonder if you could use something like a LeanLix ( or putting treats in a nail holder (you may need to create a bigger opening) ( so you can squeeze it and have it come out into the palm of your gloved hand.

    1. Thanks for the suggestions Lisa. I’m not sure what or how I’d use/make a Leanlix. Anything too liquid would freeze up. It would be an interesting experiment to see if they’d lick something. Like an applesauce popsicle!! They use salt licks…you’ve given me something to think about.
      As to the nail holder, I’ve never seen such a thing. I am definitely checking them out at Home Depot next week. Thanks!

      1. I am a big fan of the nail holder. It is good for throwing when you have a dog that isn’t toy motivated but you want to reinforce away from you.

        The LeanLix are actually solid. It is like a chapstick. Definitely too small for horses but I wonder if there is a mold that would allow you to freeze something to form a push pop so only a little bit shows because dogs definitely try to bite it until they realize licking works better.

  2. Just have to add that I LOVE the clip with the dog filing her own nails! Looks like she learned from a cat at a scratching post. 😉 What kind of surface are you using?

    1. She’s a great digger Lottie, but I wasn’t sure if I could capture it on something other than dirt! Luckily, it worked. I bought some sticky paper, like sand paper, made for putting on steps so you don’t slip. The back peels off and you can stick it right on a piece of wood. I’m actually amazed how quickly she wore it down- I’m going to need to replace it soon.
      Thanks for the idea on things to lick. They sell those here to be put into toys to entertain horses, but yes, they are very high in sugar. But as a controlled “one lick/treat” it’s an interesting idea.

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