Presentation on theme: "A SYSTEMATIC APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE LEADING AND HORSE HANDLING"— Presentation transcript:
1A SYSTEMATIC APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE LEADING AND HORSE HANDLING Charla Shurtleff Sandy Rafferty
2Purpose of Presentation: Share Leader and Horse Handler Training Programs and Processes Developed over many yearsField tested for over a yearDemonstrated effective results according to our program standardsThrough sharing our training programs we hope that you identify some processes -- pick out the processes, learn about the processes, it is the processes that are important, we are teaching you some processes that are important that we went through. You need to do them for yourself.This presentation is not about just the content of horse leadingIt is about the processes – you need to do them yourself!If you take the content of our training program and apply it in your organization it will likely fail.If you use the processes we used with your staff to define your own program content and apply the same training principles, it will likely succeed.
3ContributorsTim Shurtleff - organizational development facilitator and technical advisorDarla Green - longtime mentor, instructor, trainer and equine advocateKaren Allhoff - developed prototype volunteer training courses using US Pony Club manualChris Donaghy and Dana Nallon - video modelsProgram volunteers, students and horses from Exceptional Equestrians of the Meramec Valley and TREE House of Greater St. Louis, formerly known as Therapeutic Horsemanship, Inc.
4Training PhilosophyIt is our belief that teaching volunteers effective and humane methods of handling horses is a key component of a safe and successful therapeutic horsemanship program.Volunteers are motivated, committed and empowered to perform with excellence when they fully understand their responsibilities, are given the appropriate training to do their job and are offered opportunities for growth.HOW we teach volunteers is just as important as WHAT we teach them.
5Learning Steps/Stages “Head learning”Lecture, reading, discussionObservational learningModeling, example, demonstrationPractice learningCoached rehearsalPhysically doing itFollowing stepsPerformance learningDo it in contextCreates automaticityAll steps are necessary to produce synergistic whole – if you cut these out, my experience is don’t get the results you are hoping for.Stages happen while you are going through the steps, but they are not a direct fit with the steps.Head learning: ideas, concepts and theory, without having tried it yourself.Observation learning: Modeling => see it done right, visual picture of how to do it, something to copy,Practice learning: is about following steps, Being coached to do it correctly, develop a “Feelage” a feeling memory, Following the checklist in my mind, not automatic yet.Performance learning: is doing it after you can follow steps, refining it, making it automatic so you don’t have to think about it, becoming unconsciously competent, complex motor program, almost a “reflex” (but not really, a reflex happens in the spinal cord and doesn’t require cognition)Concepts based in Bandura’s work on social learning theory. And is consistent with Fitts and Posners work on motor learning (cognitive, associative and autonomous stages), except I break the cognitive stage into some parts.Need to know it in your muscles and bones, not just in your head, and you don’t get that in a couple of hours of lecture and demonstration.
6Learning Steps/Stages Unconscious incompetenceDon’t know I don’t knowConscious incompetenceI know that I need to learnConscious competenceCan do it when I think about itUse checklist, steps, instructionsUnconscious competenceHabit, automaticity, “reflex”Perform without thinking about itSteps“Head learning”Lecture, reading, discussionObservational learningModeling, example, demonstrationPractice learningCoached rehearsalPhysically doing itFollowing stepsPerformance learningDo it in contextCreates automaticityAll steps are necessary to produce synergistic whole – if you cut these out, my experience is don’t get the results you are hoping for.Stages happen while you are going through the steps, but they are not a direct fit with the steps.Head learning: ideas, concepts and theory, without having tried it yourself.Observation learning: Modeling => see it done right, visual picture of how to do it, something to copy,Practice learning: is about following steps, Being coached to do it correctly, develop a “Feelage” a feeling memory, Following the checklist in my mind, not automatic yet.Performance learning: is doing it after you can follow steps, refining it, making it automatic so you don’t have to think about it, becoming unconsciously competent, complex motor program, almost a “reflex” (but not really, a reflex happens in the spinal cord and doesn’t require cognition)Concepts based in Bandura’s work on social learning theory. And is consistent with Fitts and Posners work on motor learning (cognitive, associative and autonomous stages), except I break the cognitive stage into some parts.Need to know it in your muscles and bones, not just in your head, and you don’t get that in a couple of hours of lecture and demonstration.
7History of ProjectAll staff participated in a problem solving meeting where each had a chance to submit their ideas/concerns, which were posted on the wall on large sheets of paper.Ideas were clustered and categorized into specific topics.The topics were prioritized by a group consensus process.The above helped us to collectively identify our problems, clarify our roles, formulate a written philosophy and develop a roadmap to problem solve.Multiple part time staff – program growth and increasing professionalism in the equine facilitated therapy industryVariations in backgrounds, philosophies – each viewed horse handling slightly differently, which trickled down to the volunteers, which resulted in inconsistenciesEach had concerns others were not aware ofTook a process to sort it all out and give each a say and “See the whole elephant”Allowed us to come to a consensus and formulate a written philosophy and roadmap to problem solve“There is nothing as practical as a good theory” Kurt Lewin, pyschologistAlso applied this process to critique the training programs that were developed and adjustments were made, i.e. pre-requisites and mentoring process added after initial training programs developed
8ProblemsInconsistent handling of our horses by both staff and volunteersResulted in unhappy horses with behavioral, as well as physical problemsDirectly affected the quality and safety of the lessons for staff, students and volunteersDNA BADLEADER TAPE
9Program RolesTherapists: identify goals for the rider - specify and apply the movement of the horseInstructors and Leaders: produce the movement of the horseEquine Manager: provides horses capable of performance
10Equine PhilosophyOur equine partners are the keystones of the success of our program.Horses want to understand their jobs and feel secure. They learn through repetition and thrive on consistency.EVERY encounter with a horse either reinforces their training or affects it negatively.
11Equine Philosophy, cont’d The encounter begins when a person comes in view of the horse and continues throughout the catching, grooming, tacking, untacking, lesson and turnout components of the contact.Awareness and vigilance are key components in maintaining consistency.It is ALL of our responsibility to be a part of the solution that will positively and athletically affect the horse’s physique and mind.
12Welfare of the Horse is Maintained by Utilizing the Following Principles: ForwardBalanceSymmetryRhythmCalmnessSelf-carriageResponsiveness/Willingness/DesireStrengthen, develop and supple the body, primarily the back
13Action PlanGoal was to improve our staff and volunteer training programs with the purpose of maintaining the physical and mental soundness of our horses through consistency and repetition.To be achieved by developing AWARENESS:Gait analysisBasic conformation +/-Mental/behavioral +/-Movement of the horse – hollow vs. roundPositively influence movement of the horseHow do we get people excited and committed? To buy into process and know they make a difference – process has to have value and esteem associated with it
14Action Plan cont’d Incorporate the steps and stages of learning to develop training systems that allow us to:Hear it and think about itSee it performed correctlyIncorporate it into thinking processExperience it with correct coached practiceLive itIntegrate it into behavior without having to think about it
15Process Chose a horse handling system to serve as a theoretical base Revise/refine pre-requisites, job description and responsibilities of leaders and horse handlersDevelop a curriculum to teach techniques to perform the jobs effectivelyDevelop a mentoring system with competency checklistDevelop horse awareness curriculum for continuing education for both staff and volunteers
16United States Pony Club Use of the USPC Manual of Horsemanship – Basics for Beginners – D Level - by Susan E. HarrisWritten permission given to use material out of book for this presentation
17An Illusion of Safety Building Effective Leadership Article published in the Winter 2003/4, NARHA STRIDES magazineWritten by Priscilla Maden and Julie RobinsExcellent article that emphasizes safety, discusses leader faults and steps to create what they call an “Authentic Leader”Set the stage for the leader training
18Leader Training Agenda Job descriptionResponsibilitiesLectureObservationRole PlayHands-onMountedSummaryMentoring ProcessInitial training takes about 8 hours – ideal class size is 8 to 10Use of center training handbooks, pony club book and article refered to throughout training as a resource
19Horse Leader Responsibilities Must be a sidewalker for at least 25 hoursSafety before, during and after lesson – emergency proceduresFocus on horseFollow instructor/aide/horse handler directionsCommunicate effectively with teamProduce specified movement and school figuresBecome familiar with unique habits of each horse being lead (use horse behavior chart)Understand basic principles in order to make best decision under varying circumstancesAssist in mentoring “Leaders in Training”Separate from general volunteer responsibilities
20Job Description for Leader Take assigned horse to and from the waiting areaWarm up – stretch horse’s muscles, create communication, create rhythm, observe horse’s behaviorSquare and stand horse for mounting and dismountingNegotiate arena, do school figures and trailsCool down – loosen girth, allow horse to stretchAssist in retrieving/returning horse - stall, paddock, pasture
21In order to fulfill job description effectively, leaders need to… Wear appropriate dress and safe footwearUnderstand how a horse thinksKnow how to communicate with horse effectivelyRecognize signs of stress in a horseUnderstand how a horse movesUnderstand basic terminologyKnow how to safely secure horses cross ties/slip knotDemonstrate how to safely catch/release horseUnderstand basic principles of therapeutic riding and hippotherapyUnderstand general guidelines for NARHA therapeutic riding centers
22How A Horse ThinksHorse has two blind spots – behind rump and in front of noseRight and left sides of brain not connectedHorse’s personal space/zone is feet around his whole bodyFight/flight animalsHerd instinctEquine sensory systemsA horse is paying attention to you if he has given you his ear
23Observational Learning Watch a real class in actionHorseLeaderRiderTeam interactionClass interactionBegin to develop awarenessbecoming consciously incompetentLaura does video clips of EE as if in a leader classGet an AHA! Experience
24Role Play ExercisesPair up and hold hands – one person plays the horse, the other the leader, then reverse roles.At the walk, trot and transitions…Stiff elbow, then light, swinging armPull, body barge, bump into partnerMove slowly and drag feet, then upward, forward with open chest and energetic movement, looking forwardLook down, look at horse, aimlessly look aroundTurn around and walk backwardsPet noseSit and look up at horse
25Correct Leading Position Stand next to horse’s shoulder, approximately one arm’s length away.Leading arm should be carried with elbow slightly bent and fingers forward with thumb on top or palm facing upward.Excess lead should be in figure 8 in opposite hand.Make sure you are in self carriage and looking up at all times.
26Demonstration of Leading Principles Correct position in relation to horseUse of body language as natural aideUse of whip as artificial aideModel principles of forward, balance, symmetry, rhythm, calmness and self-carriageDynamic vs. static process – have a “conversation with horse”We don’t hold as tightly as pony club recommends – find too much restriction of horse’s movement with a close lead. There is a reason for the difference. The pony club leader is only getting from here to there to get ready for work.We are not just leading a horse to get from here to there, we are producing free forward movement to influence a rider. This IS the work.Leaders change sides to the inside – halt horseClips of Chris Leading –
27Hands On - How to Safely and Correctly Lead a Horse Assume proper leading positionSay horse’s name, then give commandLook where you are going and where you want your horse to goNo sharp turns for the sake of the horse and rider – think forward movementBe direct and consistent, move in rhythm with the horseMaintain 2 horse’s length between horses in movement and at least one horse’s length at haltAlways pass to the inside and announce yourselfStop in the middle of the arenaIdeal to have two trainersDivide class – half in middle observing with one trainer, other half with horses with other trainerStart with simpler movements at walk on the rail, then add increasingly more difficult movementsAllow opportunity to trade horsesAs a check, have leaders release lead line from hand closes to horseDon’t forget to add closure for horse when trading off leaders – pet and tell goodbye
28Negotiate Arena/Terminology Dressage arenaOn the railCenter lineQuarter lineAcross the ringDiagonalHalf circle reverseOver ground polesWeave conesLine upSquaring horseRamp
29Catch Under supervision of staff/horse handler Caution – a horse’s behavior may be different when he is turned out with other horses than when being handled individually.Never walk up to a horse unannounced.Approach shoulder or head, say horse’s name to announce yourself.Be tactful – you are entering the horse’s personal zone.Proper fit of halterUSPC D Level Manual - pages 133, 135
30Release Under supervision of staff/horse handler Lead the horse all of the way into the paddock or stall.Turn horse around to face the entrance and you.Horse should stand quietly and wait to be released – never let him pull away from you.Refer to USPC D Level Manual – page 157 Turn out - 157
31Securing Horse Safety Lecture Demonstration Divide into groups of two or three to learn and practice quick release knotCross ties practicePony club pics 142, 143, 144, 145
32Mounted Experience “Good leader/bad leader” experiential learning Divide class into teams of leader, sidewalkers and rider.Emphasize GOOD LEADER principles - allow only minimal ineffective leading to allow rider to feel the difference.Put in slight video tapeTry not to do too much bad stuff to horses – have already been through a lot – also people rememeber what they do, so be sure not to inadvertently reinforce incorrect leading principles but can do things like look down, look at horse, tight turny
33MentoringLeaders in training have a different colored name tag for easy I.D.Collaborate with volunteer coordinatorNo more than two scheduled per classUse seasoned leaders as mentorsCompetency checklistServes as documentation of training/ competencyMentoring component came about as a result of committee work of 9 participants representing therapists, instructors, aides as well as volunteer coordinatorSame process as staff meeting mentioned earlierPositive comments were:lots of hands on providedmany different approaches for different learning stylesprovides basicsNegative comments no process for leaders to progressIMPORTANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!MENTORING IS NOT SUCCESSFUL PROCESS UNLESS BASIC TRAING PROVIDE ALL STEPS?STAGES OF LEARNING! Can’t be expected to provide basics in this mentoring processAllows leaders in training to focus on areas that need improvement and provides positive feedback for what doing wellSame comments about the HH, which Sandy will addressLIT left hanging in space with no process to advance and improve
34Leader Competency Checklist Form Chart with place for instructor initials, mentoring date and comments, as well as numerical scores0 - not performed1 - awareness of skills needed2 - working knowledge or skill building3 – masteredMust have a score of 2 or above in each area to demonstrate competency.Must have a minimum of four mentoring sessions across two instructors.Kept in easily accessible notebook
35Leader Competency Check List Influences horse in a positive, relaxed mannerAble to assess issues and use correct training methods/aids within scope of program policies and proceduresHolds excess lead rope at an appropriate length from the halterLooks up and ahead in direction of travel with soft eyes for awareness of surroundingsHorse moves freely forward and relaxed with complete freedom of head and neck
36Leader Competency Check List Cont’d Walks with clearly balanced rhythm and arm swinging in harmony with horse’s movement while positioned at horse’s shoulderComfortable, safe and not disruptive of the team (horse, rider, sidewalkers)Able to safely control/maneuver horse at halt/walk/trot including squaring horse at halt and maintaining safe distances between other teamsAble to secure horse safely, including tying a quick release knot in stall or hitching post and in cross tiesExpect will be adding catch/release and tightening girth – always a work in progress
37Continuing EducationLeader awareness classes strongly encouraged for previously trained leaders/staffInstructors required to take leader class and teach at least one leader class per yearAwareness classes included much of the same material as in leader classes, ie. role playing, mounted as well as quadrille, ground driving, advanced exercises i.e.***Chris walking backwards tapeIS this good place for DANA tape? Premise – horse that is handled well most of the time will attempt to do their job well and compensate, despite having to deal with beginners or the less effective leaders. Also much easier to refocus the horse if they have not been handled in an ideal manner.Difficult for Dana to do incorrect leading - autaomaticity
38Horse Handler Training Leader training provides foundation for horse handler trainingProvides pool of people who have demonstrated competence in basic horse handling principlesServes as a “elimination” process – only those designated as “LEADERS” eligible to train as horse handlersBy invitation only
39Horse Handler Training Agenda Day One Job descriptionResponsibilitiesLectureDemonstrationHands onHome studySame learning process as leader training – steps of learning
40Horse Handler Training Agenda Day Two Written testPracticumMentoring process - continuous
41Horse Handler Job Description Responsible for total care of horse before/after lessonRetrieve horse from pasture/paddockGroom and tackAssist with warm-up prior to lessonUntack and groomRelease horse in designated areaReturn tack to designated area
42Horse Handler Responsibilities SafetyRecognize signs of stress/injuryPreparation of horse for lessonPreparation of horse for turn outFollow Aide/instructor directionsCare of tack/organizationCommunicate effectively with teamAssist in mentoring “Horse Handlers in Training”
43In order to fulfill horse handler job description, need to know… Principles taught in leader trainingUnderstand basic terminology, including horse markings, colors and body partsHow to groom and grooming tool identificationHow to tack, including tack identification, proper fit and parts of tackLecture/hands on takes about a5-8 hours depending on group
44LectureReview of all horse handling principles taught in Leader TrainingBasic terminology – use test and USPC Level D Manual as study guides
45Horse Handler “Hands On” Demonstration:catchinggroomingtackingreleasePractical application of all above under supervision
46PracticumPracticum 3 to 5 hours during actual lesson preparation under guidance of aide/horse handlersWritten testTry to schedule withing week of Initial HH training
47Horse Handler Written Test SafetyHerd instinctFight/flight responseHorse sensory systemsCatch/release/securingHealthColorsMarkingsParts of horse, tackNames of grooming tools/grooming sequence
48Horse Handler Mentoring Schedule with volunteer coordinatorIdentified with name tag as “Horse Handler in Training”Maximum of two HHIT per lessonSame documentation format as Leader Competency Checklist
49Horse Handler Competency Checklist Able to catch, halter and lead horse to barnAble to safely tie and work around horseAble to groom horseAble to identify and know general procedures for equine careAble to tack upAble to untackAble to turn out
50Competency Scoring0 - not performed1 - awareness of skills needed2 - working knowledge or skill building3 - masteredCurrent efforts underway to develop levels within Horse Handling Competency systems i.e. “groom only”, “groom and tack only”Purpose is to accommodate people who may not be able to safely fulfill all job responsibilities, i.e catch/releaseStudents may fall into this category
51SummaryVolunteers are motivated, committed and empowered to perform with excellence:when they fully understand their responsibilitiesare provided with systematic and appropriate training to do their jobare offered opportunities for growth
52It is our hope others may use components of our processes to enhance their own training programs as appropriate for their organization’s unique needs.