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ABOUT EQUUSYNERGY & ZANETA

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MY PHILOSOPHY

Equusynergy combines a neuroscience-based approach with the principles of both positive and negative reinforcement training and the biomechanics of classical dressage.

 

By honouring our horse's choice to connect and communicate and incorporating the science of the mammalian nervous system and brain, we can create a felt sense of safety for both horse and human in the learning environment. Then by combining reinforcement training and the wisdom of the classical dressage grandmasters, we discover a mutually beneficial enjoyment of the training.

 

Over the years of learning and growth, I have experienced over and over again how our own authenticity, awareness, and attunement, along with an understanding of the horse's heart, mind, body, and spirit, is a holistic pathway to finding harmony and synergy in the dance together.

 

Along with my passion for learning, I love sharing my experience with others so that they too can enjoy the wonderful feeling of connection when their horses enthusiastically choose to participate in the training journey together.

For an overview of our main guiding essences as well as the references and resources to books, videos, and other inspiring horse-people see:

Cultivating Regulation & Resilience in Horses & Humans;

Exploring Positive Reinforcement & Targeting as a Training Tool;

Developing Healthy Biomechanics through Classical Principles.

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MY JOURNEY

I was fortunate enough to have had horses in my life from a very young age, and I competed in Childrens and Juniors through into Adults in Showing, Dressage, Show Jumping, and Equitation. My first big paradigm shift happened in my early twenties after reading the book Tug of War: Classical versus Modern Dressage by Gerd Heuschmann. After reading that book, I couldn't continue training the way I had been so I decided to pivot my training approach towards more classically based principles and I started searching for books and resources to help me on my new path. 

Another shift happened shortly after this; I broke my ankle on a hike and couldn't ride for a year.

I found and watched The Path of the Horse and discovered Linda Kohanov's and Mark Rashid's work with horses. I immediately bought their books and immersed myself in them while my ankle was healing. Their books opened my eyes to a beautiful way of connecting with myself and horses. Once my ankle was healed enough to walk, I started exploring groundwork, particularly liberty, with my horses, and this sparked a whole new passion in me!

Now I had a strong desire to find a way to combine the beauty of classical dressage with the freedom and relationship of liberty. I explored many avenues and found inspiration from the amazing horse-people worldwide who were on a similar path. I filled my bookshelves and read everything I could get my hands on, all the while exploring this new path with my horses and, for the first time in my life, listening to them and having them lead and teach me. It was exactly the medicine I needed to counter-balance and shift the old habits I had learned and practiced in my early years.

 

In my search for a balance between liberty and classical dressage, I came across Straightness Training® in 2013. I gained an incredible amount of experience and knowledge through the ST Program from 2014 when I joined the Mastery Program until 2022. During my time in ST, I graduated Grade 4 with my amazing partner, Delightful, in the Liberty, Groundwork, Lungeing, Work in hand, and Riding ST pillars. I also studied and qualified as a certified ST Instructor in 2015 and worked as an Online Coach in the Straightness Training Academy® from 2020 until 2022. 

When Karen Rohlf started her fabulous podcast series, Horse Training in Harmony, I was so inspired by what she was sharing that I decided to sign up for her Dressage Naturally Habits for Excellent Horsemanship online course to revisit my basics. This took me back to my roots with all of my horses, and I rebuilt our foundations with fresh eyes. When we came back to our classical work, I felt an even better understanding for what I had learned so far.

 

In November 2022, I joined Mustang Maddy's HCA Connection Course, where I studied more about compassionate, ethical, science-based horsemanship centralized around positive reinforcement. I am now combining my classical training experience with Maddy's life-changing training approach and my horses are absolutely loving it!

During 2023, I expanded my learning in the realm of the mammalian nervous system and brain in Stephen Peters's (PsyD, ABN) and Sarah Schlote's (MA, RP, CCC, SEP) Equuscience course. This course offers an absolute wealth of knowledge and has given me the tools to understand my horses, myself, and the learning process on a much deeper level.

 

Finally, I will keep deepening my understanding and application of positive reinforcement training in Hannah Weston and Rachel Bedingfield's Online Connection Training, as well as the classical dressage principles through the online courses in the Academic Art of Riding Online-Reitschule.

My horses continue to be, as they have always been, the true North in my journey to becoming the best partner I can be for them. I will also continue to share everything I am learning with my students, both in person and online, as my understanding and experience evolve.

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