Helen chats with Alexandra Kurland and Amanda Martin

Helen got chatting to both Alexandra Kurland and Amanda Martin, an Approved Instructor for Alexandra Kurland’s “The Click That Teaches”, both speakers at the Equine Clicker Conference 2012.

Listen as Alexandra, the lead speaker at the Conference, wets our appetites for what we anticipate to be a thoroughly entertaining talk at the Conference Dinner (the night before the conference) and two wonderful talks at the Conference itself.

Here is what Amanda Martin has in store for the conference:

Its not long now until the Equine Clicker Conference I hope you’re looking forward to it as much as I am. Your first topic is called “What a cue can do” now that’s a catchy title Amanda, could you tell us a little more about it?

‘What a cue can do’ is, as the title says, all about cues.  They are not as simple and one-dimensional as they first appear.  So I thought it would be fun to take people on the first steps of the journey through the more complex world of the cue; what it is, how it works as a cue and more than a cue, how to teach solid cues and what cues really can do for us.

Clicker training for me is all about building a solid and trusting relationship with the horse, and them with me.  Once we really start to understand cues, how powerful they are and how to use them to help us with our training plans (not just simply using them to ask for behaviours) they can help us with that relationship.  The relationship with our horse will grow with consistency and clarity in the conversation we have with them, and that starts with the cue for a behaviour.

Understanding cues is a foundation of good clicker training and I hope this presentation helps people with how to use cues as a key part of their training plans.

That sounds really interesting. Could you tell us a little about your second topic Balance in the Horse & Rider; through food delivery awareness as well please?

When we are working with our horses on the ground if we can become more aware of balance in our horse and ourselves then we can do more than just teach the horse behaviours and movements.  We can start to teach ourselves and our horses about balance and riding in balance, even though we are on the ground.

   So this presentation takes a very simple ground manners exercise with the horse and adds on the layers of detail that show just how we can prepare ourselves and our horses for riding.  By becoming aware of and teaching this level of detail on the ground begins to look like a flowing dance.  As a result the rides we will have on our horse will be beautifully balanced and will look like we are dancing with our horse.

Dancing with our horses sounds like great fun, how are you going to demonstrate this to us?

One of the great things about the clicker training I learned with Alexandra Kurland is that we can take the training concepts and we can not only check how they work without even needing to have a horse with us but we can also feel the training for ourselves.  To do that we can work with human horses instead of real ones. 

There are so many advantages to working with human horses that the list is almost endless; we get to feel what it is like to be the horse on the end of the lead rope or reins, we can set up particular situations, we can work in slow motion, we can re-wind and so on.  But the real beauty of working with human horses is that we, as handlers, get to practice skills and get good at them without having to practice on a horse.  That way we don’t have to worry about confusing the horse or messing things up while we practice what it feels like to do something in different ways and choose the one that ‘feels’ the best for what we need.  By spending that time working with human horses when we take our new skills and new feel for what we are doing to the horse we have had quite a bit of time get clear and consistent with what we are asking for; we have used applied learning to become educated about horse training without touching a horse.

So as we work through this topic about balance in the horse and the handler I will be sharing video clips of simple behaviour to illustrate balance in horse and handler, then we can get people feeling this for themselves working with human horses.  Its such a powerful way to train, very eye opening and always great fun with lots of discoveries and ‘aha’ moments.

Its wonderful that the delegates, taking part in your workshop, will be able to learn and practice a skill to take home to their horse. I hope the whole conference is full of ‘aha’ moments!

If you are yet to purchase your conference tickets you can click here as a few tickets are still available

More Blogs on the Conference, Helen interviewed the other speakers too!


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