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road to redemption: The american horsewoman’s challenge

The brave horse

Horsewoman’s Challenge was amazing.

ed up being sound so I did take her.

I was so proud

of how Mocha handled it all.

1077 · Ph 830.796.5675 · � SW-HorseGazette 1indd.indd 1

9/16/14 4:25 PM

We did complete all three phases of the event. She was very afraid of the arena and the environment with the music and espe- cially the clapping, but she was willing and I could not have asked for more try from her.

The Lib-

erty portion was the only aspect that I had high hopes for in the placings.


to my surprise, the crowds and clapping totally blew Mocha’s mind and I could not keep her connected long enough to do any of the tasks that we were supposed to do. But, by the time

we went back into the Lib- erty arena for the work- shop with Leslie Nichols of Equine Liberty Sports, Mocha was more relaxed with the crowds and abso- lutely loved the experience then. Our connection was great and Mocha wowed the crowd with her romping and bucking and running back to me. It was awesome! The American

Horsewoman’s Challenge 2015 will be held at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla on October 2-4.

They will

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informationEMAIL: • WEB: Page 4


9214 Victory Pass, San Antonio, TX 78240 OFFICE: 210-641-9928 • Fax No.: 210-699-9928

start accepting applications November 1. If you even think you might want to participate, start getting your audition video in mind. The details are at www. So last month

we ended with a scenario where we would experiment with developing our intent to communicate with our horse. In this case we used my daily assessment and treatment of Mocha’s splint on her leg.

Could I get her

to hand me her leg just by exhibiting my intent for her to do so?

Let’s review:

The principle of intention operates on two levels:

1. The obvious: The

obvious is I physically reach down, lift her leg, and pull it forward.

2. The subtle: The

subtle would be I lean into position and extend my hand.

My goal is iden-

tified, and now the game plan. How do I get from the obvious intent/result to the subtle/intent result? Even more basic than that, what do I need to do for her to actually pick up that foot? What would make it the easiest for my horse to understand the intent?

You must break it

down to the very basic steps. I like to say, “When you are teaching or presenting a task

to your horse, always start with the goal in mind, not the goal itself.” You must develop a step by step pro- cess that will make it easier for the horse to understand, don’t start at the finish (the goal) and expect it will get done. Start with the goal in mind and work backwards from there to develop a simple to teach plan on how to get to that goal.

One of the things

that comes to mind in this example would be my posi- tioning. I want to be sitting to the front of her off to the side on a bench or pedestal. If my horse is to be able to respond to my intent, she must be able to actually see me in order to do so.

If I

was directly in front of her, she wouldn’t be able to see me. Not to mention, di- rectly in front of her would not be a safest place to be sitting. I also need to be far enough away from her that she can actually bring that leg forward for me.

I’m sitting in po-

sition, what’s next? How would I get her to give me that leg just on my intent for her to do so? What would be a signal or cue for her? What next?

Should I reach

forward and actually take the leg and pull it forward? But wait, I try that, and nothing. She just stands there.

Hm? What did I miss? I should have bro- Before I ever sit

ken the steps down even farther.

down in position, I need to teach her a cue to lift her leg. Not only will she need to lift her leg, she will also need to bring it forward to me. These steps will be easiest to teach while I am standing. You could continue to break this down even further as well.

If you keep this

idea in mind any time you are working with your horse, especially if you are having challenges getting some- thing across, stop and think about what you can do to break it down to its simplest steps.

Brave Horse Cen-

ter will be having a Play Date November 8 and pos- sibly November 22. We also have a great opportunity for a trainer to come in and lease part of our facility. And our boarding options have opened up as well. Be sure to check out our Facebook page for up to date news.


fa ce g - es/Brave-Horse-Cen- ter/371782919503957?ref_ type=bookmark

For information Should I use a tap

on the leg? I try that also, but she just moves around and doesn’t give me the leg.

on boarding, training, etc. please feel free to call: 210 912-7048, email yrcc@ , or our website at We hope to see you


By Anne Van Dyke © 2014 The Ame rican Mocha end-

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