The BEST way to learn with Lockie about Emotional Horsemanship, Step by Step
Step 1: Study the Emotional Horsemanship Foundation Online Course
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Step 2: Book A Coaching Call with Lockie
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Step 3: Learn with Lockie on LIVE Online Lessons
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Step 5: Attend an International Clinic, or Retreat with Lockie
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Who can try it?
Equestrians of ANY BACKGROUND, who care deeply about horses.
Who has tried it so far?
Natural Horsemanship background
Positive Reinforcement background
Fellow Instructors and Trainers wanting professional and personal development
Recreational, private horse owners
Competitive and former competitive equestrians
Classical Equitation background (dressage, jumping, eventing etc)
Pleasure riding background (no formal tuition)
Total beginners, novices and new-horse owners
Western horsemanship background (rodeo, ropers, ranchers, cow horse, vaquero etc)
Biomechanical and Euro-centric Academic Dressage background
All continents on earth except Antarctica!
Youngest client has been 17. Most experienced client has had 50+ years experience with horses
Varieties of horse breeds from miniatures and shetlands, to Thoroughbreds, Drafts, Welsh Crosses, Warmbloods, Arabians, PRE (Andalucian), PSL (Lusitano), Fresians... the list goes on
I don't have a horse right now. Or the horse I visit the most, is not mine, but belongs to a lesson stable or a friend. Is Emotional Horsemanship still useful for me?"Absolutely! Emotional Horsemanship puts a 50/50 focus on your emotional intelligence, and the horses emotional expression. There is SO MUCH we can do even without a horse to better prepare us when we do meet any horse, or one day buy our own. The skills you will learn in Emotional Horsemanship you can take to any horse, anywhere, and forge a friendship with them straight away. They will help you be safer, because you will FEEL and KNOW and UNDERSTAND when the horse is getting upset, or when the horse has potential to do something hazardous. You can actually develop the skill to predict accidents. It is not easy, but definitely possible!
I struggle to know what I am feeling. I am stuck in my head all the time! I am not an emotional person. Can this work for me?Yes! You ARE an emotional person. But societal conditioning, your normal education, and your hyper developed human brain has over developed your rational, thinking system. Your emotional system is still there in your brain. It mixes in the same region as memory and movement processing. You can access it. Because you don't learn emotional awareness. You REMEMBER IT. You got this! You can do this! Reclaim your empathy
My horse is 'naughty'. He/she is not kind or sweet natured. How on earth can I be empathic and kind to my horse when they try to hurt and annoy me all the time?This is exactly why Emotional Horsemanship is so important. I made this FOR YOU Horses behave in ways which are - naughty - aggressive - careless - dangerous FOR A REASON! By peeling back you and your horses history and layers of learned behaviour there is a horse in there that just wants to feel safe, be understood, feel comfortable and enjoy their life. Just like you. In Emotional Horsemanship we take a very direct route to solving these behaviour problems without punishment, but by rehabilitating the way the horse relates to humans from the ground, up.
I come from a really traditional background. This sounds really great, but I am struggling to get to grips with all this. Maybe it is just not for me?"It would be a mistake to think that you cannot change. My favorite type of horse person is the one who makes a change, after years of belief or even success with a different way of doing things. You CAN change, you CAN adapt, and you CAN begin again. For no other reason than you decided it to be so. This time, you got the support you need to make it happen If you are unsure where to begin, book in for a free 30 minute discovery call and I will break this huge change you are going through into small, easy, bite sized chunks. You got this.
Emotional Horsemanship is the solution to the problems that deeply caring horse owners of today, struggle with
"Don't let them get away with it!"
"You're too soft with your horse!"
"Gotta show them that you are the boss!"
"They are a big animal. You can't hurt them"
"This is how it has always been done!"
"Horses don't have feelings like us"
"Don't spoil them, don't be kind to them"
"Make them move their feet"
"Ask, tell... then demand"
"Use as much pressure as you need to get what you want, immediately"
A long list of common phrases perpetuate the horsemanship and horse training world. Some people subscribe fully to them, some people do what everyone else does. Some people do what they are told and taught to do, and some of us reject these things entirely.
If you read those above phrases again, through a lens of "Would you do this to a child" and if you would, ask again "Would that be considered child abuse?", how then would you feel about the treatment of horses who work under such a program?
Look to your left, look to your right, 100% of those people have done the above to a horse. Nobody has utterly clean hands here. It is not about blame. It's about honesty, radical accountability and change. Doing better.
The above quoted approach to a horse, is not training. It is not quality communication. It is dominance, coercion and abuse. All of this is about the human desire to use and exploit the horse for their own benefit. It has an element of the selfish within it, that fundamentally ignores that the horse has needs, wants, desires and rights of their own.
30 years ago, some brave horse trainers stepped outside of the box and started something called Natural Horsemanship. For their time, they were mavericks. Because they didn't blindfold horses, sack them out, tie them up to poles, throw them to the ground, or beat them with 2x4's until they gave up, like some of their contemporaries did. For that, they were seen as betrayers to tradition, but also guru's of ethical change. For their time, what they offered was essential. A launchpad for what was about to come next.
But for many horse people today, even Natural Horsemanship has become outdated. It is often performed through the lens of Dominance Theory, of the Alpha horse, of establishing advantage over the horse, be is physical,y mentally or emotionally.
Emotional Horsemanship IS NOT Natural Horsemanship.
In a response to Dominance Theory and problematic and abusive training, many horse people didn't walk, but ran towards Positive Reinforcement Training. In this context, the word "Positive" does not mean "Ethically Superior" or "Better than", despite the fact that it is often marketed as such. The genesis of Positive Reinforcement Training (R+) is in Radical Behaviourism, or Operant Conditioning. It means "The Addition of a Wanted Stimulus to an Other, To Gain the Behaviour that You Want Out of Them"
R+ training, just like the advent of Natural Horsemanship, has added many very valuable and important tools and changes to the horse training world. But it is not the end of the development and improvement of horse training. It is only chapter two. Because still, this Radical Behaviourism approach does not automatically account for the inner life of the horse. It can. But the tools it recruits need to be augmented and applied with great focus and intention toward the horses internal world, it is not fundamentally or intrinsically part of that tool kit. Its inception was not about the animals internal world, but its external motivators. Some of us want something that from its inception accounted for the horses inner world.
After R+, many folks continued their learning journey and discovered a multitude of other horse training modalities. One of them which is popular is "Intrinzen". Founder and figurehead, and famously "Anti-Guru" Kathy Sierra, a personal friend and colleague, explored ways in which the internal world of the horse can be improved by externally motivating factors. Her work on Pain Science, modern biomechanics and hormonal responses of motivation is 20 years ahead of its time. This works very well for many, but while this works on often highly aroused and explosive manoeuvres that require an adrenalised horse, many of us dream of a quieter, more relaxed relationship to our horse that give give us safe and simple riding and groundwork activities. So what to do next?
Next enter the world of Modern Horsemanship and Liberty training. We look to change the horses mentality and focus. The word "Energy" is used frequently. As is wanting the thought of the horse to follow us. Liberty is instilled as the removal of tools and tack and focusing on the pure communication trade with the horse. Valuable and important contributions here too. Yet if all we do is change the focus, the horse learns to shift focus onto us, but not necessarily onto themselves. "Energy" is sometimes used as a euphemism for escalating pressure and aversions, or something esoteric and intangible that overwhelms the average horse owner. Shifting focus is great, but if the horse cannot hold that focus, you've basically trained them an equivalent of an ADHD response. Liberty is great too, so long as the horse can and does say "No" within that framework, otherwise it is just tackless obedience training and behaviour conditioning. The horse doesn't internally choose that which has been conditioned to be their only available choice.
Everything that is old, is becoming new again. The Biomechanics training movement is well established and again, is offering extremely important and valuable lessons to the horse training world. Important to understand anatomy, the consequences of pathological posture, the consequences of overuse, inappropriate training and disease of the musculoskeletal system, and sympathetic training which seeks to avoid and prevent those issues. Yet for some of us, the narrowing down of a small percentage of correct postures, and large percentage of incorrect postures is confining and suffocating. And at its best, is contextual. What is correct for a show horse is not necessarily correct for a family horse. Correctness for a jumper is not necessarily correct or desirable in a trail horse. So what is correctness? Modern Human Kinesiology and Biomechanics has discovered that the Correct v Incorrect paradigm was a well intentioned but medically ineffective protocol for human athletes and now focuses on adaptability, mobility, versatility and cross training as a foundational approach to injury prevention and physical performance. But as usual, the equine world is at least 30 years away from accepting this, and integrating the change from the human athlete world into the equine athlete world. So on this subject, modern equine biomechanics, the cheese stands alone.
So, which method of training to use? None of these are perfect. None of these really address a Holistic Approach that seeks to touch on all the things.
Scale back and look at classical training. Both Western and European. Fact; we do not know what that actually looked like. We have no videos of the ancient medieval systems that some of us romanticise. It may have been glorious. Or it may have been problematic. We might interpret the writings and treatise about them and transform them now into something which considers the horse as a thinking, feeling creature who has a right to say what they need and want. But how often is this actually the case?
Most of us are aware that forceful and manipulative training that is fundamentally selfish or abusive towards the horse and not the way to be. We know this. But we don't have any valid other alternatives.
Just like we have regular soda, and diet soda, we basically eschew Forceful Training for Diet Forceful Training. Light Force. We mostly listen to the horse, but in the end, we are going to make our agenda be priority. We want the horse to explore postural variability, but in the end, we want them round and collected the way we want them to be. We like that the horse has the right to say no, but in the end, we use best practices behaviourism to get what we want from them, with a 100% success rate.
So how does Emotional Horsemanship differ from all of the above? Stay with me dear reader...
Emotional Horsemanship recruits three fundamental lenses which inform every technique that is used. Science, Empathy and Feel.
To honour that which is recordable, objective facts about horses. Including their biomechanics, their neurological and hormonal systems, their behavioural rules, their species specific needs and wants, so that you can gain a crystal clear understanding of what is right for them and what is wrong for them. Science gives us the confidence in knowing what we know. And the clarity to identify what we don't know for sure yet and where exploration and experimentation is needed.
To honour the "Woo". The intangible. The energetic frequencies and humbling awe of that which we cannot fully explain by science. Empathy is your anxiety and fear, but trained and redirected into a powerful empathic skill which enables you to accurately feel, see, sense and know... what the horse is feeling inside. Empathy helps you to connect with a horse in a mutual, kind and simple way, without framing connection through our human selfish desires.
To honour the masterful, universal horsemanship classics. Rules, phenomena and techniques recruited by horse people no matter what country, what discipline, what culture they came from are readily cherry picked and adopted here. Good feel is universal, regardless or tack, age, experience or gender. Feel is more than just the mechanics of your body language or riding aids, but how you feel around horses and more importantly, how the horses feel with you.
Emotional Horsemanship is a horse training method, that can stand alone on its own two feet. It is not stagnant or fixed. But fluid and evolving, constantly. Very specific techniques inform this methodology. Some of them, you cannot learn anywhere else.
After the Foundational Technique of Mother & Foal Bonding, which builds a unique language with the horse based on intrinsic body language phenomena, we recruit and cherry pick from;
- The groundbreaking research into Mammalian Emotions
- Modern Horsemanship
- Intrinsic Motivation
to produce an array of subsequent techniques which can train a horse from first contact, to saddling, to riding in a healthy and simple way.
De-escalation is used to fix problems instead of escalation.
Kindness is used to teach instead of agenda and force.
The horse has a right to say No, but so does the human being.
We train patiently instead of rush, hustle and grind.
We focus on lifelong bonds instead of short term goals.
We get what we wish for, but without bypassing the fundamental honouring of the horse.
We are committed to not perpetuating cycles of trauma or abuse onto the horse... OR HORSE PERSON.
It sounds complex. Because it is. The study, research, thought and care that is going into Emotional Horsemanship cannot be under estimated.
But the practical application is simple.
Techniques are edited, sometimes over a course of many years of trial and error, before they are presented to students in an elegant, paired down and well informed practice that works.
No dust flying. No rope twirling. No whip or stick. No spur. No rope shaking
Communication with the horse in a pure and simple form
Relaxation, and energetic fun, when the horse is ready for it.
It is our pleasure to walk this talk everyday, with horse owners all over the world in online services, and in-person at international clinics.
Let me show you. Don't take my word for it
What kind of horse person is this method best for?
Deeply caring ones.
If you do not have a deep care for your horse, and a willingness to really pay attention to them, or take radical personal responsibility for what is done with them, Emotional Horsemanship cannot help you, and you will not enjoy it.
Based on client history, Emotional Horsemanship attracts Private Horse Owners who own one, maybe up to five or six horses personally. And/Or, other equestrian professionals.
Many trainers and instructors are seeking this for themselves, for their own private horses and horsemanship practice, and to enfold some of these revolutions and transformative techniques into their own program.
Private Horse owners get "Priority Boarding". As they're have the luxury to slow down, and formulate their horsemanship free from expectations of others or society... most of the time! They want to keep their horse for the rest of this horses life. They want a deep bond, AND they want to learn to do stuff with their horse WITHOUT violating the horse. They are invested in ethical welfare AND in the tradition of the horse human working partnership.
It sounds like a niche. But it is the largest community of horse-folk there is now... the private owner. The private owner is not necessarily the rancher, the competitor, the breeder or the trainer.
Private Owners need and deserve a methodology designed just for them.
And so Emotional Horsemanship is.
Just for you. And for your horse