Innovations in Horse Training
Merging Ancient Art with Modern Science
Presented by Alexandra Kurland and Manda Scott
Alexandra Kurland is the author of “Clicker Training for your Horse”, the book that introduced the equine community to clicker training over twenty years ago. She has also written "The Click That Teaches: A Step-By-Step Guide in Pictures", "The Click That Teaches: Riding with the Clicker", and she has produced a DVD lesson series, an on-line course, and she currently co-hosts Equiosity, a weekly podcast.
Along the way, she began teaching shamanic dreaming, the first indigenous spirituality of all continents. The dreaming infused and inspired the Boudica books and all that followed. Over the years of teaching, she has come to believe that if we can only understand ourselves as living in, through and of a world of energy, if we can learn to curate that energy, to identify what is ours and what is not, if we can learn to let in what we choose to let in and let out what we choose to let out, then the world will be a better place. As we live through the sixth mass excitation, this is becoming an urgent necessity. Manda is striving, therefore, to teach energy work wherever she can, and particularly to those who work with domestic animals: our best and most honest mirrors. She has worked with Alex since the late 90s and is honoured to be able to share the teaching of a new kind of course weaving the art and science of clicker training with the science and art of energy connection work.
This unique horse training workshop brings together two authors.
Manda Scott is the author of historical fiction, including the Boudica series. She began her professional life as an equine veterinarian (Veterinary surgeon in her native UK). She specialized in stud medicine and then followed a natural progression to anesthesia and intensive care.
At the turn of the millennium, when her BOUDICA: Dreaming series of novels took off, she left the day job to become a full time novelist - which also gave her space and time to have her own animals. She has been obsessed with concept and clicker training of horses and dogs ever since, and has become something of a neurophysiology geek.
All of this is to bring clicker training into the horse world. When she isn’t traveling to teach clicker training clinics or present at conferences, she literally lives in a barn with her horses. Studying equine behavior is a full time obsession.
Horses are the best teachers. One of the many lessons they want us to learn is aggression comes from a place of fear. Traditional horse training is the perfect reflection of that statement. So many of the choices riders are taught have their foundation in fear and the need to control a large and very powerful animal. But when we change the core belief system that surrounds how we perceive horses and our relationship with them, everything else changes. It no longer feels right to control through fear, and the search is on for another way of communicating. For many of us, that other way is clicker training, a training method that is grounded in the science of applied behavior analysis. Science opens the door to clear communication, and that in turn that leads straight to the heart.
Alexandra and Manda met in 1999 when Alexandra was giving her first UK clinic on clicker training. They have remained good friends ever since. This will be the first time they will be teaching a workshop together.
This will be a creative process. Alexandra: "We both know our own work. What we don’t yet know is what emerges when we combine the two repertoires. The workshop will be a great illustration of the generative theory of creativity. If you only know Behavior A, that’s all you can produce. If you add in Behavior B, now you can offer Behavior A and Behavior B, and you might even experiment and try putting behavior A and B together. The result will be something completely novel that wasn’t in your repertoire before. Broad repertoires make it easier to be creative. Both Manda and I are life-long learners. So we are eager to broaden out our repertoires by working together and seeing what creative new ideas emerge." Hence the title:
Innovations in Horse Training: Merging Ancient Art with Modern Science
This workshop will be merging the Shamanic dreaming that Manda teaches with the science-based clicker training that Alexandra teaches. What emerges will be a voyage of discovery.
This new course is our endeavour to bring our understanding of energy work into the world of horse training - we live with energy: it surrounds us, and can affect us - from the moods of those we live with, to the moods of nations. In our own ways, we endeavour to curate our own energy: Perhaps we choose not to listen to the news. Or we listen selectively to those things that will not undermine our world views. But we can do so much more. With work, we can learn to understand the energy that flows through us, to us and from us - and how we do, inevitably, share that with our horses whether we choose to or not. So this clinic is about learning to make safe, sound, grounded - and appropriate - choices of how we are in the world.
Horses will be part of the weekend, but not in the usual way. We want to explore our energy - how we understand what’s ours and what isn’t, how we curate our own energy, how our energy interfaces with our horses’ energy
Everything is everything else. That’s been a favorite expression of mine. I see connections. I see connections between the foundation lessons I use to introduce a horse to clicker training, and the lessons I use to teach something as advanced as piaffe. The steps that connect one with the other are so interlaced they fit seamlessly together. And I see connections between the work we do with our horses and the way we are in the rest of our lives.
We live in a correction-based society. The teaching most of us have seen modeled from early childhood on has been command-based/punishment based. When we make the choice that that’s not how we want to be with our horses and other animals, many people have to learn how to leave the stresses of the “real world” at the barn door.
For some that can be a struggle. It’s easy when things are going well, but what happens when your horse throws something at you that you don’t like? How do you respond? Can you control your own energy so you aren’t adding fuel to the emotional fire? As you learn how to enter horse time, through the use of positive reinforcement, you will be developing the skill of focusing on what you want. That’s a first step into the exploration of energy. Horses are wonderful mirrors and teachers. They give us great practice in observing our energy and focusing it on what we want to create.
What does this give you? When you use positive reinforcement in your training, you are filling your pockets with appreciation. Every time you click and reach into your pocket for a treat, you are appreciating your beautiful horse and the behavior he has just offered to you. Every click opens up more and more space for love.
Over time all this practice in appreciation, all this practice in focusing on what you want begins to ripple out and influence other aspects of your life. Connections. The planet needs these ripples.
I’m excited to be joining with Manda for this weekend where we will be exploring and making connections. I had the very great privilege of participating in Manda’s dreaming workshops when she was writing the first of her Boudica novels. I know what a powerful and wonder-filled experience this is. I know how important it is to “curate our energy" - thank you Manda for that perfect phrase. It is very much part of the puzzle. I have seen people who were great training “technicians”. Their skills were good, their timing was good, but their energy was stuck and so were their horses. Most of the clinics I teach look on the outside at the behavior we can see. In this workshop we will be looking inward at behavior we can sense.
In addition to the dreaming work that Manda will lead us through, I will be teaching a technique which I refer to as Micro-riding. It was originally developed to help people become better kinesthetic observers. Combined with Manda’s work I expect we will discover it is so much more. (And don’t worry if you aren’t a rider. The horses will be happily out eating grass while we explore Micro-riding. And if you are a rider - this process will move you to ever more subtle and invisible riding cues.)
Will horses be involved?
Energy is everything: We are made of energy spinning into atoms, and we engage with the world on an energetic level before anything else. It’s time we learned how to curate our own energy, how to sort what’s ours from what isn’t and how to shape what we send out and take in. And what better way to do that than in the company of horses - our greatest mirrors? Manda Scott teams up with clicker training supremo Alexandra Kurland to teach a brand new course: INNOVATIONS IN HORSE TRAINING - Merging ancient art with modern science. Be part of the solution: Come along!
Dates: 14th - 16th June, Cost £225, Location: Clunbury, South Shropshire, SY7 0HG For full details read on . . . .
This weekend will not be following my normal workshop structure where people bring their own horses to help them learn about clicker training. Instead the work will focus on us. We will take breaks to go out to the resident ponies to ask them how we are doing. And we can certainly engage with them in some clicker training play. I’m sure they will lead us through some interesting training demos and lessons.
What we won’t be doing is bringing in outside horses for problem solving analysis or skill building. This weekend is designed to focus on you. We’ll be building those “training" skills that are hard to quantify but our horses recognize so well - the difference that makes the difference. So come join us on a journey of discovery and connections - connections in your own learning, connections with your horses and other animals, and connections that ripple out for the planet.
We look forward to welcoming you to our Innovations in Animal Training Workshop.
To Register or for more information contact Manda Scott at: firstname.lastname@example.org