In this intensive, we focus on giving you the basic tools to communicate with horses in a Positive Reinforcement (R+) framework. Theory-wise, we will go over the mindset and practices of R+. In the arena, we will work on establishing a few basic behaviors with horses, which will become the foundation to any future R+ training you may want to continue with (e.g. Permission with R+, Liberty with R+, Trailer Loading with R+, Self-Farriering with R+, etc.)
We will frame the arena for our horses as a place of relaxation, fun and active listening. We will learn to read their subtle communication and change our plan accordingly, so as to tell them: “Your opinion matters to me: please talk to me, always!”. In return, as they feel more heard and seen, we will watch them develop more trust and resiliency than we could ever imagine.
These are the the roots for the deepest horse-human connection we know!
Why Positive Reinforcement?
R+ is all about giving horses choice. When to start and when to stop. Whether to engage or opt out. Whether to earn a reinforcer by doing a behavior or another.
When they don’t feel like there are bad consequences to their free choice, horses feel less threatened and, paradoxically, become much more available, playful and relaxed!
With R+, horses start to show us their true colors. This can definitely hurt on those days in which they keep opting out, but then again, when they engage, it’s the most authentic “yes!” ever!
A horse who freely talks to you is a horse with no surprises. No unsafe behavior will come seemingly out of the blue anymore, when you see it coming miles away, and reroute to a different (safer!) communication style instead!
What you can achieve with R+?
It’s more like – there is very little you can’t achieve…with R+ 🙂
Here’s a list a few of the successes we’ve recently had with it:
- rehab horses who used to exhibit severe separation anxiety
- help shut down horses out of their shell, and to find joy in interacting with humans
- support the physical rehabilitation of injured horses, by teaching them to move their body efficiently at liberty
- teach horses to self-position for the farrier at liberty and to cue them to start and stop
- counter-condition needles, de-warmers, tack, fly spray and make them desireable
Sombra (previously wild mustang) self-positioning for the farrier at liberty, and cueing him to start and stop
CO-CREATE BEYOND TIME AND SPACE
“I’ve loved horses since I can remember. It wasn’t until I was winding down my life immersed in 40+ years in Montessori, guiding 3- 6 years, parents and colleagues that I discovered the language of horses. Being a student of the horse, I’m intrigued in how they respond and be with each other through their finely tuned, 56 million year mastery of living on planet earth. My learning, coming from the human pressure-release lens of how horses are in relationship with each other and with humans, I’ve discovered yet another lens. Positive Reinforcement…R+! Little did I know that my heart, mind, body and soul would co-create beyond time and space, a felt sense connection between me and my horse partner. Instead of coercing, having an agenda or power over the horse, R+ has shown me that the horse chooses to participate! AND the horse is motivated from the inside out to naturally move to, with or participate in the horse-human dance. It is uplifting to be in infinite collaborative possibility. Thank you Giorgia for providing R+ groundwork, based on trust, appreciation and clear, steps for empowerment!”
Will my horse gain weight with all those treats?
Absolutely not! The only “treats” – or better, “food rewards – we use are timothy hay pellets, which have the same caloric value as the hay that our horses eat 24/7 out in the track.
Is R+ like saying “Trick Training”?
Nope! You can use R+ to teach tricks to your horse, of course, but its scope is much wider than that! You can gentle a horse with R+, you can start them under saddle, you can teach them to stay calm and quiet for the vet, for the farrier (and for you when you try to apply fly spray or dewormers), dressage…to tell the truth, there’s little you can’t teach your horse with R+!
Common concerns about R+
Will my horse become a cookie monster?
Not if you follow our directions 😛 Jokes aside, “Treat Receiving Mode” or “Calm Default Stationing”, as Mustang Maddy defines it, will be the very first behavior your horse will learn in this program, and on your end, you are going to learn all about food feelings and how to heal them, so even if you horse is already a cookie monster, take a deep breath and…let the learning begin!
Will I still be able to ride my horse?
Oooooooh yes! Horse’s health permitting of course! Your horse will not simply “tolerate” you on their back anymore…they will start to love this so much that they will INVITE you on! That’s if you are planning on transitioning to riding with R+, of course. If you are not, horses are really good at discerning the difference between pressure-and-release sessions and R+ sessions, so riding with your usual cues will still be available to you!
“I took the Intro to Positive Reinforcement intensive with Giorgia in order to get a better communication with my horse DH Aref +. We have been endurance partners for over 10 years, finished Tevis together and have thousands of miles on the trail. I am really impressed of the results I had on communicating with my horse on a totally different level. It’s like we started a new relationship. I will be continuing with this program since the newly open communicating doors can take me to places I’ve never thought or dreamed possible”
Prerequisites for Humans
Human students in this course should already know how to keep themselves safe around horses. Horses are mostly going to be at liberty, so some interaction is to be expected.
Prerequisites for horses
If you are planning to bring your own horse, please know that we have set this program up with the assumption that they are already gentled and halter trained.
Have you had your FREE Consultation Call yet?
If you are a new student to Hatha Equus, please make sure you schedule a FREE Consultation Call with us before you enrol! We want to answer any question you might have, and we want to make sure that this program is the right fit for you.
When is the next Intensive and how do I enrol?
Check out our scheduling page at the link below, find the next Intro to Positive Reinforcement, click on it and follow the instructions!
“Giorgia is extremely knowledgeable and deeply passionate about Positive Reinforcement training. She truly wants you and your horse to succeed and she goes above and beyond to get you there. I highly recommend Giorgia: she has made a big difference in the relationship I have with my horse and the excitement I have working with him, going forward.
If you are looking for a safe space to deepen your relationship with your horse, get a better understanding of their body language, and just plain FUN! — this class is for you!”
The all-inclusive price of the Intro to R+ Intensive is $299.
We only use timothy hay pellets or cubes in this class. You are welcome to bring your own, though usually they are available in 50lb bags. You can also draw from the Hatha Equus common bin — just make sure, in this case, that you drop 5$ in our cash box!
Twice/week for 3 weeks. Usually on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at 1:45pm.
You are going to need:
– a BIG treat pouch: example 1, example 2
– a buoy target: example
– gloves: when delivering lots of food rewards, there is a good level of slobber involved. Also, it sometimes happens that the horses mistakenly give a bigger bite than necessary…so we suggest water-proof-ish protective gloves 🙂
Groups max out at 6 human and 6 equine participants.
10069 N65th St
Longmont, CO 80503
Hatha Equus horses love volunteering as your equine partners for this program, and if you are a horse owner, you are more than welcome to haul your horse/s in!
If you wish to work with a Hatha Equus horse, please know that there will be an additional fee of $50.