Part 20 – Tearing Down The Wall

Right – we were talking about the brick wall between us and the horse. Let’s continue!

We are using positive reinforcement – it should all be going perfectly – so why do we feel like there are some bricks still standing? Why can’t we seem to shift them?

The brick wall theme came to me during a Zoom clinic with Alexandra Kurland. In fact it was her first Australian clinic and was hosted by Sarah Nickels of Abbey’s Run Equestrian. Check out Sarah’s website here!

I will talk about the clinic in another post – but let’s get back to my discovery.

Everything with your training/communication seems to be going swimmingly!……then why do you feel like there are ‘blocks’ (the remaining bricks). What have you observed that makes you feel like that?

Or maybe you haven’t really observed anything? What if you don’t even know there are blocks?

This was me…. I didn’t realise…..

So how did I finally realise?

Only when it got better! When things became clearer.

But what made them become clearer?

Well – I want to add in here the tutorial for the Dyson Air Wrap. When I came across this video, I realised there was something about it. Just watch it first – then I will tell you more!

I love the clearness of this tutorial. There is no talk, just a few words, and everything is shown clearly – and in slow motion. It’s almost hypnotic!

Now – back to the horses… when I focussed in on the smaller details and slowed down – everything became clearer. It was like I had properly reached to the other side of the wall. I had cleared those remaining bricks!

I was working with Danny at the time and my focus was on my feeding position, posture and being as clear with my cue as I could. Everything was turned down a notch. I was slower, quieter (in my head) and clearer. And just like that, I entered Danny’s world – the brick wall didn’t just clear, I was able to step into his side of it.

It was like he said “Welcome! You finally made it!”

I fully immersed myself in the process – there was no training goal, no other horses trying to catch my attention, no thought in my head of what I had to do in the day – it was just about the process. Was I balanced? Did I feed correctly? Which muscle did Danny move? Why did it move? Does anything else need to move? Do parts need to stay still?

So have I maintained that? Well ……. no…… I forget and go back to old habits – but I hope bit by bit I will improve!

But when I saw this Dyson tutorial the other day I thought how clever it was – it’s clear, slow and quiet – all the ingredients for good learning! So this morning as I was doing the rounds of the horses, I thought about being like that tutorial – and when I was once again slow and clear and focussed on my cues – everything became precise, calm and gentle.

The brick wall is broken down in those moments – now it’s up to me to make those moments last longer – until they are my everyday manner!

In the next post I will talk more about this. This is a crucial part of what it means to be a clicker trainer.



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