We talked with several students after the recent Evidence-Based Horsemanship Seminar in Mancos, Colorado. Here are their thoughts on how things went and what they came away with.
West Taylor, TIP trainer and owner of Wild West Mustang Ranch
Now, it’s very tangible, it’s very real instead of ‘what the heck is the horse guy talking about?’ It’s the science side. That was awesome to put that together. And to observe Martin working with the horse and to see the magic. It’s great to know that there’s science behind it and to see it from someone who is very, very clear in that communication.
You could see the results, see the physiological changes – fear, dopamine and all that. It was confirming for me, in my horsemanship and in what I’m doing – I felt really good about what I’m doing, I just had different words.
It gives me so much reassurance. YES. Such a confirmation and now I can take the words and phrases that I learned here. I picked up vocabulary. But most importantly, I want to go back to the round pen and take what I learned to the horse. The horse is going to bring that back to me. As I get proficient in feeling more, then I can take people with their horses and have them experience that together.
Petra Sullwold, equine chiropractor
My biggest takeaway? With my horses, I’ll be able to fine tune my relationship with them. It’s made me realize that it can be a very, very subtle thing to make this connection. That’s what I want to strive for. It made me super excited to go work with my horses again.
I loved the neurological part, the brain part, because as a chiropractor, there are so many things that we still don’t understand and don’t know about. This connected the dots for me. Working on the horse and also what happens when we adjust them. It’s a must for all animal chiropractors. The biggest part of the adjustment is that within a few minutes you have to get that big animal to trust you. If they’re tense and tied then I shouldn’t even bother to adjust them because I will not outweigh them. I am not going to force anything. I need to establish a good relationship fairly quickly so their body is relaxed and they are calm and I can have a better session with them.
My biggest takeaway is just how little it takes to get in sync with your horse and how priceless that is.
Regarding the potential for the horse’s learning, the laying down of dendrites and myelin. To learn about that is extraordinary. It’s amazing to have this information, I can give my horses much better opportunities for learning. Absolutely. The whole connection with dopamine and learning and dwelling… I think we all have learned about dwelling in the past but never appreciated the significance of it – to watch the process, to see the licking of lips and know that the horse is getting addicted to learning.
My biggest takeaway is to now have a better understanding of how the horse processes in their brain. That applies to whatever I do with the horse, whether it’s therapy work or riding the horse…the dissection of the brain. The whole thing. We got to put two and two together.
Biggest takeaway? All the information and how valuable it will be to use on a day-to-day basis as well as for any future scenarios down the line. It was just incredible the amount of information we got in such a short period of time – information we can use in such a multitude of ways. I got so many things out of it.
My biggest takeaway is that the door has been opened to want to learn so much more about the horse’s brain, chemicals, and how little you have to do and how amazing the science, the evidence is. It’s incredible.