A Research-Based Approach to Understanding Horse-Human Relationships and Connecting with Your Horse.
The Equines as Companions (EaC) is a one, two or three day workshop for anyone interested in understanding improving connections with their horse companion and partner and provides a research-based approach to understanding horse-human relationships and connecting with your horse. The workshop combines existing and emerging research to create a more thorough understanding of equitation and gives participants a new perspective on horsemanship, communication, and equine-human interactions. The lessons, both theoretical and practical, or just theoretical, depening on the facility, are designed to apply to all levels of horse owners and enthusiasts to provide new perspectives on all horse-human interactions.
This workshop is designed to look at not just horse ethology and behavioral psychology, but also the role we, as humans, play in the relationship. We will talk about the similarities and differences between humans and horses and how we can use these to facilitate better social bonds with our equine companions. We will examine the existing research behind horse-human interactions, how we can build and facilitate trust, and how we can create interactions that are based on mutual enjoyment. This workshop is designed to help guide people at any level, whether they've had horses for years or have only started to enjoy equines in their lives. It's also designed to help people who ride regularly as well as those who prefer interacting with horses on the ground.
The information learned in this workshop is applicable to all methods of training and riding. It serves as a foundation for understanding the psychology, physiology, behavioral and neurobiological principles involved in horse-human interactions.
The Equines as Companions workshop applies to anyone looking for different ways to interact or connect with their horse in any capacity. We will discuss applications of the science and research to existing training models, riding disciplines, and new approaches to training and riding (clicker training, bitless, etc).
Day 1 will cover theory, application to observation and practice observing equine behavior, and understanding of the human and horse perspectives. This day covers the history, theories, science, and principles around common horsemanship and training techniques including natural horsemanship and clicker training.
Day 2 will cover the practical application of these theories in horse-human interactions for ground work as well as ridden. There is an option on Day 2 to bring your horse for group work which includes both ground and ridden. There is no requirement for bringing a horse and individuals who choose to bring their own horse are not required to ride. Individuals without horses will be given opportunities for practicing application with facility horses.
Day 3 is a one-on-one guidance day - for those who wants to bring their own horse and have indiviudally tailored lessons and feedback on the above
Although there is an option at EaC for people to bring their own horses for some group work to apply these concepts for riding (day 2 or one-on-one guidance on day 3), this is not required. Everyone will be able to experience and practice the concepts in ground exercises with horses supplied by the facility if they choose, but there is no requirement for anyone to interact if they would rather just observe.
• Snacks and lunch on Day 1 and Day 2
• Theoretical and practical approaches to understanding horse-human interactions
• Discussion on application of these principles to each equine-human relationship.
• A comprehensive manual (based on peer-reviewed research) as a reference guide.
• Inclusion into the MiMer Centre network (if desired)
• Equine evolution – domestication, co-existence with humans. Wild/feral vs domesticated equines
• Equine biology - what do we need to know
• How the equine's previous and current life affects his/her interactions with humans
• Equine cognitive abilities
• Common myths about horses, horse behavior, and horse-human interactions
• General conceptions and preconceived notions about equines.
• Equines and humans common mammalian background. The importance of species specific knowledge.
• How a common space between horses and humans is created.
• The mirror neuron theory and why it doesn't sufficiently explain what goes on between horses and humans.
• How horses learn and how training affects your horse.
• Horse behavior and misbehavior (stereotypical behavior, bad habits, aggression etc).
• Equine stress – eustress and burnout.
• Negative equine welfare.
• Positive equine welfare – growth for equines.
• Anthropomorphism – the bad and the good version.
• Essentials about human psychology to know how horse and human effects each other.
• The horse as a subject, why objectification and instrumentalization don't belong in horse-human interactions
• Intersubjectivity theory and the application to horse-human interactions
• Horses and mindfulness
• How to enhance your observational skills to improve interspecies communication
• Awareness of yourself and what you bring to the relationship
• Activities with your horse – riding, groundwork, games – and the role of distress and eustress in these interactions
• Applications of learning theory and equine psychology to all training and riding methods
• How you can further develop your observational skills and use your own senses as tools.
The days consist of a mix of theoretical seminars and discussions and practical exercises with horses and humans. The practical exercises will include how to enhance your observational skills and how you link what you see with what you know, aware of your own filters, as how you approach your relationship with your horse. Day 1 and 2 is offered also as a purely theoretical course, then we will supply video material and do observatinal excesises without horses.
The training is adapted to the participants level of knowledge. Other areas/topics can be covered if need be, as some areas will only be touched upon depending on the participants prior, already acquired knowledge and skills.
Complimentary online support is offered after the training, on a consultant basis. There will also be possibilities to do follow-up trainings.
Upcoming EaC workshops:
June 13-14, 2020, at Hof Ohana, Hamburg, Germany
If you are interested in the training, a detailed program will be sent to you on request.
The training will be held in English.