I recently read an article on eclectic-horseman.com entitled, "Should you start your own horse? Some ideas to consider if you're wondering whether to do or delegate." It was very well written by Sylvana Smith. This article really spoke to me. Having not been someone who grew up with horses, and being almost 30 years old, receiving the majority of my experiences with horses in the past 5 years of my life, I reflect a lot. I am human, and like all humans, in those moments of reflection, I do occasionally have self doubt. Most often this stems from when I see someone who I perceive to be better than me simply because they grew up around horses and have more experience than me. Or so I thought. This article served as a reminder to myself that, they have a different type of experience than me, and it is not necessarily "better," when relating to the goals I have set for myself as a trainer.
We all have experiences and everyone's level of experience is unique to the individual. I may see someone who has grown up with horses and at first glance assume they have more experience than me. But when you compare the types of experience, you begin to realize what is important in regards to training horses. While the said individual may have grown up with horses on his grandfather's farm, been trail riding since he was 5, been working cattle on the farm since he was 10, and now competes at a prestigious level, these experiences alone have little to do with training a horse. Although I do not have my entire life thus far put into my horsemanship experiences, I do have every ounce of my horsemanship experiences put into experiencing and educating myself on educating horses.
I've always been an educator. When I was young I helped teach the younger kids at soccer camps. While in school I worked as a para-educator assisting students with disabilities in a school setting. I graduated with an undergraduate degree in education and began teaching middle school aged students with disabilities. I received my masters degree in another area of teaching, and then went on to post graduate level work in Applied Behavior Analysis where I completed coursework and later experience necessary to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. With that new title I continued to educate others as I worked with families and other service providers to educate them on methods and strategies for improving independence and quality of life for those individuals they love and care for with disabilities. The educator piece is clearly there, that is why it comes as no surprise to me, that when I first got horses of my own, I immediately set goals and sought out experience and resources to help my horses reach those goals. And so, as my horses, and the horses I have been working with, have been learning and improving their skills, I have been gaining the experience important to my personal goals related to training horses.
My background in education and behavior analysis has given me the tools necessary to understand the science of behavior and learning. I have a keen awareness for detail and know how to recognize the steps in a desired outcome, to allow me to work on each component of a skill in a piece by piece manner, perfecting each step along the way, to create a seamless transition when asking for the entire skill sequence at once. I take those skills I had previously, and combine them with knowledge, guidance, and methods from leading individuals in the world of horsemanship, to create very successful training experiences for both myself and the horses I work with.
The link to the article is posted below. I believe it is a must read for anyone who sends their horse(s) to a trainer. It points out some important things to take into consideration when choosing where you send your horse(s).
I am a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), who has taken my knowledge in Applied Behavior Analysis, and the methodology of expert horse trainers, to create an Equine training program that is anything but average. Working with my own horses has led me to discover my passion for not just training horses, but practicing quality horsemanship. For the best interest of the horses, I hope to spread this interest in quality horsemanship.