Spring brings warmer weather and more opportunities to practice Priority to Positive®. In this newsletter, we’re excited to share our stories of R+ success, support for Detroit Horse Power and Saddle Up and Read, upcoming Positive Reinforcement Workshop with Claire Waldron in Santa Fe, and more. See below for details!

Stories of Positivity!

From Fear and Failure to Smiles and Success
After 20 years out of the saddle, amateur rider, doctor, and mother, Jenny Achilles, got the bug to compete again. Soon after purchasing her first horse, Frida, she learned that her new mare had a tendency to rear. Scared and stuck, Jenny decided to let Via Nova Lead Trainer, Gilly Slayter, take the Priority to Positive® path. And when she purchased her next horse, a ‘proper’ Irish eventer named Excel Star Lance, Jenny and Gilly turned to the Priority to Positive® approach to fix both husbandry and cross country challenges.

Click below to check out Jenny’s stories with Frida (1) and Lance (2).

stories of positivity videos
Rhonda Saiers

Elephants and Horses and Positivity, Oh My!
What happens when a retired elephant trainer buys her first horse? Positive reinforcement (R+), of course! After decades of personal success using R+ as a tool with elephants, it seemed like a natural training method for a horse. And this is how we met an amazing individual who truly thinks like a positive reinforcement trainer.

Rhonda Saiers, best known as the “elephant mama” from Albuquerque’s BioPark Zoo, talks to Via Nova about her equine adventures.

Positive Reinforcement and Emotions
In August of 2021, Cami Hustead arrived at Via Nova Training to begin her journey as a Student Trainer of Via Nova’s Priority to Positive® Program.

She has been studying in and out of the classroom while simultaneously training and riding many of the Via Nova horses. The time invested with one of these horses, Nico, has opened the door to positive and personal growth. In her blog post, she describes her discoveries.

“I have seen the most growth in my personal trainer journey through one of the Via Nova horses that I’ve been working with since December, Nico. He’s an aged Oldenburg gelding who is a sensitive type. Nico wasn’t new to positive reinforcement (R+); before I started to work at Via Nova he had been trained as a demo horse for R+ clinics…”

cami nico arena positive reinforcement training

Via Nova Helps Harness the Power of Horses to Help Detroit’s Youth

Via Nova applauds and supports Detroit Horse Power, a nonprofit founded in 2015. Through donor, community, and foundation support, DHP offers year-round youth programming that teaches Detroit’s students to ride and care for horses while helping them develop critical skills that will set them up for academic, career, and life success. They also aim to build Detroit’s only educational equestrian center, on repurposed vacant land, by 2024, which will offer year-round youth programming and riding. Learn more about their mission and plans and discover how you can sponsor a student at detroithorsepower.org.

claire waldron workshop positive reinforcement

Claire Waldron is coming in June!

Via Nova looks forward to hosting an in-person Practical Positive Reinforcement Workshop with Claire Waldron at our Santa Fe facility from June 24–26. A few spots for both participants and auditors are still available. Don’t miss this positive opportunity!

Click here for more details and to register.

Via Nova: Priority to Positive® Supporting Equine Media, Literacy, and Education at the AHP Media Conference

Via Nova was thrilled to sponsor the American Horse Publications (AHP) Annual Equine Media Conference in Lexington, Kentucky.

We were grateful to present and share our vision, mission, and values through our stories and brochure, bookmarks, and Saddle Up and Read’s coloring book and her videos.

AHP 2022 Via Nova
nimue joins the team

The Newest Members of the Team!

Spring brought our first new member of the team, Nimue, aka Rivergroves “Lady of the Lake.”

This pup has yet to meet a challenge she can’t conquer!

We also welcomed Westley, Cami’s new OTTB, to the Via Nova stable!

Thank you to Pas de Cheval Horse Rescue for providing ex-race horses in New Mexico a second chance. To read more about their rescue program, click here.

westley and cami