As we came to the final day of the course, there were realisations for many attending over the three days. I will write some of the comments here. There is a whole different mindset attending Alex’s courses. It didn’t matter about the language barriers – we all understood it was a completely different ‘vibe’ to what you normally find in the horse world.
Here are some comments from the attendees – as we summed up on the final day –
“I was so surprised! We – as humans – are always so blindfolded – we can’t see what’s in front of us – it’s not just about the click – it changes everything!”
“I have seen such freedom for the horse to experiment. I really liked the presentation of it. What I loved was that people here share my mindset. I had stopped working with horses because of what the horse world perceives as ‘normal'”.
“I’m an absolute newcomer to clicker training. My horse is aggressive. I loved the flow of energy and was amazed with what you can do with a rope! The softness, and the feel!”
Alex comments here that the rope handling is something we can all learn – and it lets the horse express their beauty.
“I found the rope handling simulations with a partner amazing! Those small shifts to find balance! The smaller the movement – the bigger the effect!!! Oh – the small details are huge!!”
“I have come here looking for answers – I was so stuck! I speak no English – but this course has now given me answers!”
There were many other comments – these were just some – it was all being discussed through a flow of tears…. so what were the tears about?
Here are my thoughts on the tears….
When you go to a course like this, it’s different from a ‘normal’ horse course. For example, there is a quietness…. there is a lot of observation…. and there is already a positive mindset. Most importantly, the horses attending the course are treated with such care and understanding. Each horse is able to start with something, specifically for its needs.
Anyone struggling with skills such as rope handling, or timing of the click etc. is never met with criticism. There is only encouragement.
So it’s a caring environment – for the horse and human…. but that’s not what the tears are about….
It’s because we have all been on this horse journey for so long, searching for answers… we knew there was some other way… but clicker training isn’t well publicised. We have come from either natural horsemanship or traditional methods – and we were fortunate to stumble upon clicker training.
But apart from tears of relief at finding this training – we have been able to see for ourselves how the walls just tumble down – the walls of fear and misunderstanding – we see the horse change before our eyes – we are speaking a language it can understand – and it is a true miracle.
In fact, it is witnessing the horse have a ‘ Helen Keller moment‘ that is so moving. Alex has referred to this in her writings – it’s a reference to the movie The Miracle Worker – and here is the famous scene when Helen makes the connection to the signals her teacher is giving her – she realises they have meaning…
It’s the same when a horse realises the click has meaning. Suddenly it is woken up from its self imposed ‘sleep’. It wants to try things. It gives the horse a voice – and the barriers come crashing down.
To witness this is moving – to find this ‘key’ is overwhelming… it is a true miracle. And to find other like minds is such a comfort.
So – in our Italian/German/English clicker course – we were all moved by what we saw or felt. It was time to bid farewell – and there were promises to return again.
We ‘The Travelling Four’ – had one more day before our adventure finished. We returned to Giulia’s the following morning and watched Michaela with Graya and Asfaloth again – then it was time to head back down the mountain…
I had to leave the others that evening as I had an early plane to catch – so I sadly said goodbye – I really didn’t want to leave – I just wanted to stay in that space with like minds….
Michaela took me to the station where I caught a train to Milan. As I sat on the train I reflected on the adventure. I felt like a child, after being out playing all day and returning home late. I was hot and grubby (no time to wash clothes in the 2 weeks!) – but ever so content! I noticed I had a new spark of enthusiasm – but something else – I had gained confidence.
Previously I had lost my confidence after suffering two broken bones in less than a year. My trip to UK and Italy was the first trip I had had in three years. My brain had tried to tell me that it wasn’t safe to go on such a big journey from Australia – but fortunately I didn’t listen to it!
So – if ever you are contemplating attending either Anja Beran’s workshop – or one of Alexandra Kurland’s courses – do so!! You have so much to gain!
And to finish – a special thanks to Michaela Hempen for your generosity and fabulous organisation – you made my trip very special!!!
COMING UP – STARTING OVER…