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Finding a new way to train

Filed in - Horses - Clicker Digest

From the ClickRyder mailing list... Horse training is traditionally built around the threat of escalating pressure. Although it would be nice to throw away all of our pressure-adding tools, it's not practical since some of those tools are used to give cues when riding. Alexandra Kurland explored how traditionally-aversive tools, like ropes, can be used in a more positive way. The first step, she said, is to retrain our own muscles with new behavior patterns, so we don't fall back into the old rope-handling habits. Alex begins teaching new rope handling skills with a simple rein mechanic that can be used to redirect a horse's energy without relying on brute force. This technique is also the first step in understanding the powerful transfer of energy that happens through a rope or reins. While studying with Tai Chi instructor James Shaw, Alex found that the power of the technique comes from the leverage gained by a subtle rotation of the handler's arm bones. She named the technique the "Tai Chi Wall," and it became the foundation of her exploration of how tiny body adjustments can have profound effects in our communication with our horses.

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