The Happy Athlete Conference
Dr Andrew McLean is widely considered one of the leading academic experts on horse training. He is a winner of Australia’s highest science award, the Eureka Science Prize and in 2013 won the John H Daniels Fellowship to the USA sporting library and was instrumental in forming the International Society for Equitation Science, for which he is an Honorary Fellow.
Andrew has written 5 books on horse training, including one academic text, Equitation Science. He has also made 5 contributions to The Encyclopaedia of Applied Animal Behaviour and Welfare and has authored and co-authored 37 papers for scientific journals.
Andrew has had a strong competitive career in horse sports spanning 25 years. In 1989, Andrew won Australia’s premier Horse Trials, the Gawler Three Day Event, and represented Australia in Horse Trials that year. In 1990 he was short-listed for the World Championships in Stockholm. In dressage he has competed to FEI level and trained horses to Grand Prix and he has trained and ridden to Grand Prix in Show-jumping. He has also held a race trainer’s license and has ridden in bareback races in Australia and New Zealand.
Andrew has been an equestrian coach for over 30 years and owing to his broad knowledge of equine psychology, has coached some of the world’s greatest riders, coaches and trainers and reformed internationally competitive horses up to Olympic Games and World Championship level, as well as some top Australian racehorses.
Andrew is most widely known for his work in behaviour modification in sport horses, his development of the Australian Equine Behaviour Centre, and now Equitation Science International, developing the worlds first Nationally Accredited evidence based horse training qualification.
In addition to training horses, Andrew has also developed successful foundation training programmes for working elephants implemented in Nepal, India, Thailand and Myanmar through his co-founded charity foundation, Human Elephant Learning Programs (HELP).
Manuela McLean is an internationally sought after coach specialising in the application of Equitation Science principles to dressage training, with a keen interest in rider biomechanics. Manuela is the wife of world renowned Equitation Scientist, Dr Andrew McLean, and together they authored “Horse Training the McLean Way” and more recently “Academic Horse Training”.
With Andrew's focus on training and Manuela's focus on getting the message across to riders, they have developed a rider- and horse-centred systematic approach of training horses on the ground and under-saddle according to the principles of learning theory. The signals or aids used are shaped progressively, and the horse’s responsiveness to them are the benchmark for progression.
Calmness, relaxation and safety are the base for all training with the rider having a clear understanding of the signals he/she needs to use to ride and train their horse.
Manuela’s specialty is improving the rider's posture and balance to enhance the delivery of these signals and to that end, she has developed multiple techniques for riders at all levels to improve their training. Her lessons are geared to the standard of horse and rider, they are easy to understand and produce positive outcomes.
Terminology such as ‘inside leg to outside rein’, ‘throughness, ‘half-halt’ and ’bend’ are simply explained to make sense while at the same time they are achievable without force. Manuela’s coaching style is encouraging and positive, she is approachable and friendly enabling riders to feel confident and successful in their training.
Manuela trained Joann Formosa and Worldwide PB in just 8 months to win a gold medal at the London Paralympic Games in 2012.