Equitation is made up of different parts; not least because equitaiton brings #twohearts together.
Weaving together modes of information from horse and rider; mental and physical, into a coherent whole, is the life's work of Equitation Science. Equitation Science helps all of us do no harm. Knowingly or not. At the very most, becoming a truth seeker. Seeking the truth about horses is a journey that gives horses their best life.
Equitation Science is about the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.
Below is my roadmap for you to navigate all the different parts of equitation.
Linked by our shared destination. Living a good life.
I coach this roadmap. Demonstrate in Espresso With Equicoach and discuss in Coffee With Horse Lovers. Come and join and discuss how Equitation Science is trying to get it right for horses, not to be right.
Processing information requires neural connections to make sense of patterns. When the pattern fits what we already know, we decide to stop here. Confirmation bias keeps us in our echo chambers. Equitation Science provides horse lovers with different information; biomechanics, psychology, social licensing and equine enrichment. Linking all the different parts of equitation into a functional whole.
Equitation Is Integration.
Integration is not blending.
Integration is maintaining differentiation. Whilst also achieving linkage.
Take two different modes of learning; negative and positive reinforcement.
It is not as some horse trainers want you to believe,..."you are either training with one mode OR the other. Be-careful which you choose!" Because for some trainers, deciding one mode of learning over the other means this is your identity. You are either 'for pressure in horse training' or 'for force free training'.
This is binary BS.
Yes these are two different modes of learning. But they are LINKED. Both reinforce the horse. Together making a behaviour even more likely.
Combined reinforcement (positive and negative reinforcement) optimises learning by linking the two different reinforcements.
Things we can do:
Be brave and afraid
Use positive and negative reinforcement
Support social licensing and support horse sports
Fight for loose nosebands and wear correctly fitted bridles
Train with a contact and demonstrate self-carriage
Train go, stop and turn responses and train independence of the seat
Have hard conversations and practice empathy.
All at the exact same time.
We all need to revisit divisive either/or framing of complexity. Let's acknowledge our complexities that make up our identities. Our own subjectivity of the world, perspective (or lens) combined with a sense of agency (feelings of control over our actions and consequences.) "Self identify" interrelates our mindset with experiences. As healthy equestrians we actually have many 'selves.'
My "self' is to combine reinforcements to train new behaviours. I value being flexible and adaptive. Which I can be when I combine what's in it for the horse.
We can do and be two things at the same time.
Stay curious, brave and integrated.