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My main focus when working in Structured learning is keeping my horse in either the ‘Learning State’ or a ‘State of Relaxation’. 

Original Question

SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT ABOUT STRUCTURED LEARNING!  My main focus when working in Structured learning is keeping my horse in either the ‘Learning State’ or a ‘State of Relaxation’. 

Angie’s Answer

I do need to mention that I teach the horses things in the Ground Work videos MUCH, MUCH, quicker than I would expect other people to teach their horses the same thing. If it takes me 20 minutes to get a horse to load on a float for the first time or 10 minutes to get a horse to stand on a pedestal for the first time or 5-10 minutes to cross a tarpaulin, do changes of directions etc., it doesn’t mean that other people should try to do it in the same time frame. I would expect people learning these things to take days, weeks, even months or even years to learn and teach their own horses some of these things.


This is SUPER important to understand, otherwise you will rush the process. I use ‘Structured Learning’ to teach my horse different tasks and exercises on the ground but MY MAIN FOUCS WHEN WORKING ON STRUCTURED LEARNING IS KEEPING MY HORSE IN EITHER THE LEARNING STATE OR A STATE OF RELAXATION. When they are in these two states they stay connected to me and the learning process, they stay engaged, they become confident learners, they build confidence in our human world, I develop their trust and in turn I build a very strong bond with my horses.


I have ONLY sped the process up in all the videos as I don’t have to think about the techniques that I am using, my timing and feel has been refined and there are no miscommunications causing confusion to the horses. When horses get confused they either get anxious, defensive or shut down. When I am working with horses I have strategies that I don’t need to think anymore that keep the horse’s I am working with in a “Learning State’ and/or a State of ‘Relaxation’.


Also because I am regulated in my emotional state, I am not worried, I don’t get frustrated, my breathing isn’t in my chest, I’m not fast with my hand or tools and I’m not confusing I can therefore teach horses things in a very short period of time.


I don’t have to do much now or even think about what to do to help horses find these two states, especially when working on ‘structured learning’. Though it didn’t used to be like this (only about 30, 000 hours practicing with horses). So many people will spend months or years learning how to help horse’s find these states for short periods before they leave again. This is part of the journey and process with your horse. This is the hardest part of learning to do Groundwork well.


When watching the videos I DON’T want anyone to get the wrong idea and think they have to do the same exercises that I am doing in the same period of time. Depending on your experience, skills, feel and timing and most importantly what’s going on for your horse. You will have to adjust your ‘time frame’ and ‘expectations’ on both yourself and your horse while learning and playing with any new concepts or exercises.


It’s not about the task or exercise, it’s about maintaining connection and relaxation! You use the tasks to help strengthen the connection and relaxation.


I hope that makes sense and helps some of you watching the Groundwork Videos



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