My journey into the field of Equitation Science all started roughly 8 years ago with Warwick McLean and Carolina, Warwick's wife. I happened to be on a livery yard which this lovely couple worked from in West Sussex. Warwick’s father, Dr Andrew McLean, the founder of the Australian Equine Behaviour Centre and Director of Equitation Science International. I was a true traditionalist, putting human heads on horses shoulders!! Need I say more!
I started to watch Warwick and Linus (Carolina’s shortened name) work with the horses and was truly fascinated In how their horse training worked. I bought the first AEBC book so I could read at my leisure and have a better understanding of the training ways. Warwick and Linus left England to set up a base in Germany, so I was left with a few tools to work with and my book!
I then found a clinic in Chailey East Sussex of which I met Lisa Ashton founder of Espresso With Equicoach, Lisa was hosting a clinic there so I went along to watch. Great I thought as Lisa is trained, accredited and qualified to assess the ESI Diploma by Equitation Science International and Dr Andrew McLean. Sadly Lisa lives many miles away to attend regular clinics, so I plodded on again with my book and looked at different training but none seemed to match the simplicity of the AEBC.
A few more years went by.
I decided to retire my horse of 25 yrs whom I’ve owned for 20. So I had to start on a new adventure with a new horse! In between finding Beauli my sweet new mare,I had found Equicoach.life via Facebook which is Lisa’s coaching business. I messaged Lisa as my confidence and taken a complete nose dive!! Lisa spoke to me about mindset mastery and joining Espresso With Equicoach global coaching membership of Equitation Science. I looked around the features for 24hrs and I loved the whole concept, content and at last more people like me! Like minded people struggling with the same issues.
EWE has given me the confidence to begin my journey with my new horse, to the point I decided to buy Beauli - an unbacked 5yr old - so a complete blank canvas. Beauli had done a little learning of 'join up' in her previous home and had a head collar on and that was all. And so our journey has begun.
One of Beauli’s unwanted behaviours was catching her! Lisa coached me to use 'Approach and Retreat' aka negative
reinforcement plus positive reinforcement or combined reinforcement. If she was looking at me I walked towards her, as soon as she turned her head to look away, turn away, walk away, I retreated. I removed myself before she removed me. Once I was close enough to bridge with a unique sound in my mouth (cluck) it predicted a treat was coming, Beauli now comes to call. Happy horse, happy me.
Second lesson for Beauli was picking her feet up. It just didn’t happen! I was pulling, pushing trying-everything but an effective way! So on the phone I go to Lisa again 🤔 ...
Lisa advised me what to do. Once again combining negative and positive reinforcement. And again it quickly worked! Last week the farrier came to shoe her and using combined reinforcement, a very relaxed Beauli.
Lisa and others in EWE are so supportive. Every Friday is Live @ 5pm where Lisa answers questions, no matter how small or big...silly or weird...Lisa is always there to help with videos to watch on the learning process of positive and negative reinforcement and many other learning aspects. I now feel that I am learning to be the trainer Beauli would like me to be!
All thanks to Lisa, of which her inspiration is unbelievable, and this very supportive community. If you are thinking of joining, I would say it will be one of the best things you’ll do for your horse and you.
If you have any questions about my experience as a member of Espresso with Equicoach, just post me a comment below...
Sara & Beauli x