Picking feet, tacking up, vet visits, de-worming, fly spray, carrying a rider…can you imagine your horse willingly “inviting” any of the above as a welcome activity? This is our goal in this intensive!
It all starts from permission. As we establish a mutual language and give our horse agency, while developing the tools to read their subtlest communication, they feel increasingly empowered and start developing incredible resiliency.
The main form of permission we will use in this program is the “Start and Stop” signal. They will cue us to start and stop any fear-inducing activity.
↑ feeling in control
When our horse will know that they have power over when to make an undesirable activity start or stop, they will start to feel more in control.
Their fear system will therefore deactivate, while their seeking system will be activated. They will increasingly allow themselves to be curious rather than afraid, and activities that used to be fear-inducing will become fun and desirable.
Horse’s feelings towards an activity can change, and in fact, with this two-way communication, it can happen all the time. Their self-confidence increases for having successfully faced a challenge they didn’t think possible, and their trust in us also deepens, for having heard them when they whispered “I’m afraid”, for having respected their “no”s and encouraged them further without pushing them over threshold. This will carry over other fear-inducing behaviors, and contribute to shaping incredible resiliency and courage!
What can you achieve with Permission?
Mounting, fly-spraying, “self-farriering”, riding, accepting needles, de-worming, tacking up…Think about it this way: anything that your horse feels negatively about, can bed counter-conditioned and become desirable! Here is a video with a few examples.
Watch Sombra and Dragon in action with a few of their permission behaviors.
What if my horse has previous trauma regarding any of these activities?
This approach was actually thought about with horses with trauma in mind. We seek to work below threshold and truly respect their feelings to the tiniest detail. This is in fact one of the elements that will help them relax: feeling heard!
For more information about this, consider watching The Compassionate Cowgirl Show by Mustang Maddy, who we are lucky to count among our amazing mentors.
Common concerns about permission
If my horse has choice, I doubt they’ll choose any of these activities
One would think…right?!?!? Yet this is exactly what this framework seeks to change: how your horse feels about any of these activities. We will learn to present them in such a way that horses will not only tolerate them, but actually love them! So yes, the outcome will be that when the horse has choice, they’ll definitely want choose these now fun behaviors.
Will this take ages?
It’s quite impossible to forecast how long our horses will take to change their feelings about a previously fear-inducing activity. We have had experience with overnight changes as well as much longer ones — even months. What we want to highlight here, though, is that in this intensive we won’t pressure our horses to change their minds/feelings about fly spray or the saddle. We will instead focus on giving you and allowing you to practice as many tools as we can, so that you can feel resourceful your permission and resiliency after the program!
Prerequisites for Humans
Human students in this course should already have been introduced to Positive Reinforcement, ideally through our Intro to Positive Reinforcement Intensive.
Prerequisites for horses
Participating horses should master the following behaviors at liberty with R+:
1. Calm Default Stationing (at least 6 sec)
2. Head Down (at least 6 sec)
4. Target handheld target from a stand-still at different angles
5. Walk and backup in-hand
6. Hind-quarter yield
7. Target a cone (or stationary target)
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 Permission and Resiliency Intensive, click on it and follow the instructions!
The price of the Permission and Resiliency Intensive Pilot is $225. It is a discounted rate, in exchange for honest feedback.
We mostly use timothy hay pellets or cubes in this class. You are welcome to bring your own, though they are usually only available in 50lb bags. You can also draw from the Hatha Equus common bin — just make sure, in this case, that you drop 5$ in our cash box!
You might also need a few higher value treats.
Twice/week for 2.5 weeks, plus one private lesson to be scheduled at your convenience
Groups max out at 3 human and 3 equine participants.
10069 N65th St
Longmont, CO 80503
You can haul your horse in, or partner up with a Hatha Equus horse. NOTE! This second option will be an additional $50.