A wonderful learning experience at the Shawna clinic of on-target-training.comand connectiontraining.com. Science, we apply it to dogs, we apply it to broken people, but in the horse industry we have been sadly slow to accept what can be proven and duplicated. I do believe in science. I like reading journal and scientific articles about horses or many topics I am interested about. With a degree in Psych, learned then about classical and conditioned learning. When I first saw John Lyons in the 90’s, I said that is just conditioning, but to many it was magical. Then the onslaught of “natural horsemanship”, basically taking the nature of the creature and using it’s primary survival drive , always having enough energy to escape the predator, aka rest after induced stress, as a major reinforcer again all explained easily with verifiable science. I used to feel, well maybe using food as a reinforcer as “cheating”. Oh silly me, then why wouldn’t using rest and relief from inflicted stress be cheating. I could never buy into the NH movement completely, but I have used much of it as opposed to the more subtle induced pressure and release as reward in more traditional classical training. Same principles but slower. I enjoyed this weekend and clinic so much. Shawna is very honest and so effective. The horses were so quick to learn and they enjoyed their work and wanted to do more. Most of the clinic were thoroughbreds, and what a variety of temperaments. Yet, they all quickly become focused and more calm. Even herd issues were quickly let go, and the tasks became the focus. The sessions were broken into bits, science shows that it is difficult to remain focused for long durations of time. Shockingly, when Shawna would take these minutes to lecture, the horses would take a little break and many of them practiced or performed their newly learned tasks with no reward or stimulus. I am going to try to stay focused on this method for 30 days with Neubee. I have seen it work before but have renewed interest and motivation. Thank you Los Gatos Farm and Kate and Allison for making this opportunity happen!
Written by christine amber
Christine Amber is the owner of www.equestriantraining.com, an equestrian services business located in Gilroy, Ca. Christine has been a horse woman for many years and has a broad base of experience that lends to her unique, personal approach to animals and people. She has been a published author, and expert witness and community college educator as well as a trainer, rider and horse-owner. She lives at EquestrianTraining with her husband, Brian, their youngest son Wego the doberman, Pickle the 29-year-old OTTB from Okalahoma, and their newest edition Neubeequus, an 11-year-old OTTB from So. California.
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