Kurland Clinic -- Fayetteville, AR

Contact Cindy Martin: maddogranch@gmail.com

The clinic begins Friday evening, April 22 for an Introduction to the weekend.

from Alexandra's website: http://www.theclickercenter.com/ClinicInfo.html

How I Teach
Central to everything is this: If I want to understand my horse’s balance, I need to understand

my own. Out of this has grown three important elements in my teaching:

1.) I learned to break lessons down into very small steps - both for the horse and the handler. However small a step might seem, there is always a smaller step we can find. Whether it is learning a new skill to advance the training, or solving a behavioral problem that is blocking progress, the approach is the same: look for the solutions in the underlying layers. Break your training down into smaller steps. Build the components first, and then assemble them into the desired, goal behavior.

2.) The best way to develop new skills is away from your horse. Especially if you are encountering problems, trying to learn new things while you are also trying to manage your horse can create a lot of frustration. The fastest way forward is to let your horse spend the lesson time eating hay. That frees you up to concentrate on the skills you need to learn. Learning those skills BEFORE you go to the horse produces much cleaner results.

3.) Working slowly leads to faster progress. What do I mean by working slowly? I mean going through “dress rehearsals” without your horse where you literally slow movement down. Doing things fast is a great way to miss mistakes. It's those mistakes that accumulate one on top of another to create real roadblocks to progress. When you take time to really examine the inner workings of how something is done, you find yourself on a compelling voyage of discovery. You learn how to analyze and adjust small details that in the past would have gone unnoticed, but it is those details that matter most to the horses. They notice everything!

When I teach, I begin by first asking the handler describe her horse and her training goals. I find out what she wants to achieve. Then I watch them together. I am “collecting data”. I watch for the little details that can make a huge difference. Does the handler have the skills needed for the lesson she is trying to teach? What training choices is she making? What can I add to make things even better? The first steps towards answering these questions often involves putting the horse away so the handler can focus on what she needs to learn. When we’ve worked for a bit on the new skills, we bring the horse back out and ask him what he thinks. How did we do? What do we need to work on next? Always it is the horse who gets to evaluate our “homework”. He has the final say in how well we have done.

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22 April , Friday 18:00

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