With deep apologies to the entire Rayhawk family.

You get to participate in the second part. That means that half of you are now groaning, and the other half is going "oh good, it's one of those". Most of you know that you are at the art and science of animal training conference.

It took me a long time to learn the name of this conference. It was originally set up so that Steve White and Jesus were all presenting at clicker expo, and we were all excited about what others were presenting, so Jesus created this conference for us. At first it was called the wicked minds conference. I will leave it up to you to decide who came up with that title. And then we weren't sure that the title would really.. so we came up with a different title, the art and science of animal training, which is kind of bland, but very descriptive. The organizer of the conference always contacts you and asks you what you want to talk about. And there's a temptation at a university setting to skew the talk towards the science end of animal training. But when you have Dr. Panksepp during the day as well, .... I am going to skew my talk more towards the art end of animal training.

When I was asked what I wanted to talk about, it's July, I don't know what I want to talk about in February, that's a given. But exactly what do I want to talk about, I'm not really sure. What I've been focusing on, a lot of time in the clinics teaching, is something that, a part of training that makes horse training a little distinctive from the training of other species. So much of the information exchange is done through touch and tactile information.

Now before all of you who train other species get bristly or get your hackles out or whatever species metaphor is relevant to your critters, I don't mean to imply that you don't touch your animals. I have seen that when you train your belugas that you rub their tongues and belly scratches and scrubbing their dorsal fins, I know that you are handling your animals. I know you are grooming your dogs; if you are sitting on your couch you have 5 of them sitting with them. You're making more contact with your dogs; dogs are contact species. Horses are not contact species. The dogs are all huddled up on top of each other, and horses might be standing close to each other, so they aren't a close contact species. And humans are. So we have to negotiate this when we're working out our relationships with the horses.

With the horses there is a huge amount of exchange of information via reins, we ride them, the exchange information is coming through our legs, balance shifts, we have our hands on them while grooming, you become aware of, the horse hears a sound outside and we feel a change in muscle tone. We become aware of the physical changes that we are feeling when.. you can feel the heartbeat, so you become very aware of respiration rates, you become aware of the rate of the heartbeat and what that emotional state connects with.

So there's a tremendous amount of information exchanged tactically. And the question is how do you teach that? So if I'm putting my hand on a horse's body, on a horse's shoulder, and the horse backs up, you are going to observe certain things. Where I stand in relation to the horse. Know this perhaps where my weight has shifted, my heels, my balance of my feet, you are going to notice those details. But there may be a big missing component there that you, is going to keep you from really understanding what this tactile communication is really doing with the horse. And that's what I want to cover in this talk.

And I've been thinking about how do I want to present it, what aspect, how do I help you to understand what it is that we're doing through this exchange of information. A few weeks ago, one of my very nice critter friends that is here this weekend, sent me a youtube link, said I love this video clip it and it reminded me of your work. I watched it and I said wow, that's the clearest most succint way of describing what we're doing with the horses that I've ever seen. So I want to share it with you. Unlike you computer people, I don't know how to download video from youtube.

I know we have animal trainers in the audience. The way that Linda always described the work was that it was awareness through moment. Through non-habitual movement you could effect the nervous system. The expression was: where there is no fear or pain then learning can take place in a single lesson. The learning occurred through non-habitual, very small movement. Very small deliberate, non-habitual movement creates these changes both physical changes and changes in the overall well-being of the individual.

He is a practicioner who.. I am going to let this clip play. Art of Questioning. MBS Academy. Hopefully you be able to follow what she's playing. 4m 14sec. "The Art of Questioning - Mia Segal". What is the difference between this work and yoga? or physical therapy? The real difference is the method of questions. There is a listening in your hands. Detective work. Investigation.

I thought that at some level, magnificently, the training that I do is all about, and it comes down to this one simple question. Are you telling or are you asking? It doesn't matter if you're using a marker signal with positive reinforcement, what is the core of this relationship that you have with your animal? I could use a click and a treat to tell my horse to do things. So if I want teach a horse to pick up his hind foot for cleaning, I can do shift your weight entry, click treat, shift your weight a bit more, click then treat, shift more, pickup your foot and hold longer, click and treat. I'm telling the horse what to do. I'm still telling the animal what to do. Now if I'm telling, I'm not asking questions and I'm not listening. When I am telling the horse to pick up the foot and hold, if I .. I'm going to pickup that foot and I'm going to hold it where I normally hold it. But suppose the conformation of the horse's leg is such that when I hold the foot in the normal position, he's not comfortable, so what's going to start happening is my horse is going to say that it needs relief, that's when you get into the downward spiral. That's when I start saying, just hold it there, you should know better, he's just testing me, hang on to that foot, if you let go you will be teaching him that he can get away with it, because I am telling not asking. If I am asking questions, then I am not saying shift your weight, but how do you shift your balance, can you shift your balance, how does that hind leg unfold? So as I ask those questions, now when that hind leg unfolds, I am holding it here where the horse is comfortable, and sustain the movement over a long period of time. When I am sliding down a lead, and taking down the slack from a lead, I am sliding down that lead to ask a question, that's the difference between sliding down and telling the animal to roll over.

I want to show you two video clips that illustrate what I'm talking about. And then we are going to play and experiment and have direct experience to have tactile asking of questions. One of the things about kinesthetic work, it's not something you watch, it has to be something you have to feel. Let me give you some little bit of background on this horse. They recently purchased him. He belongs to a client of mine. They bought him knowing that he was ear shy. And normally when you get a horse that is ear shy, it's not a big deal, you can get past that and over it, it's a non-problem fairly quickly. It's been a very resistant issue. We don't know his history, but sometimes it's good to make up stories about what you think has happened in a horse's past, but the stories that you make up will support the horse and lead you to good solutions. He has a huge scar on the right-side of his neck; we suspect that he had a surgery. Someone took his ear and held his ear, to make him to stay still. They also took hold of his ear... you can do that, but if you want to put anything that looks like reins, forget it. So there's some negative associations in the ear shyness. He's being trained by an experienced horse person who is a clicker person.

She has made a tremendous amount of progress with this horse; you can holter him, but others can holter him. You can get a briddle on him, you can do a lot of things, but there is this ear-shy issue. Ear shy is.. there are other things in his body that are stiff and it is effected his pelvis, it effects the way he moves. There are some movement deficits, he has trouble backing, trouble turning, there are a lot of issues in this horse. I have been watching him work with him and making progress. But she had plateued out. Desenisitization process; rob him here, click and treat, rub some further, click and treat, she made progress but it plateued out. I was watching her work, she was called away to another horse with something she needed to attend to, she asked me to hold her. This is a mistake. Do not hand me a horse that I have been itching to play with if you want the horse back any time soon. So she gave me this horse and I just had a ball.

There's a couple things that I want to point out here. My use of language is deliberate.  You go into an arena and you have a training session and a work session. But because she was having a work session, think of the files in a computer, the files that were available to her were work files. So the solutions that she came up with were standard issue solutions, they were already the ones that were tried and true, the normal this is the books telling you what to do solutions. I was just playing with her. I couldn't tell you how much time passed because one of the characteristics of play is that you lose track of time. I was in a play state with him. I came up with creative solutions.

I didn't do a standard issue workround with that horse. This was a more playful engagement with him. Where I started, what I wanted to do was , I wanted to start with body part targeting. He knows how to target to an object, I wanted to get him to target his ear to my hand, never start with your goals. There was no way that he would bring his ear to my hand. But I could target his chin to my hand. So the first question I had him was can I touch you, can you touch me, can we do some body part targetting. This is edited, this is edited highlights out of several sessions, I did not film the first session. I wish I had the first session on film. I wish I did but I didn't.

The problem: ear-shy. here's what it looks like.  This is progress- this is not what we started with. But still, not a horse who is at ease or comfortable with having his head handled. So I just wanted to ask different questions. So we're going to start with the body part targetting. So first for his nostril, his chin, he gets clicked and reinforced, pause it there for a second. Part of his reward package; he's getting the food, but then I scratch his neck and telling him he's just so clever and smart. In the work session, he had his neck scratched, and it preceded the click. So there's this guardedness still. And I have this bubbly demeanor, he can lay his guard down because I am not in work mode. I am in the "you are the smartest thing in the whole wide world" mode. Where you place things.. that's part of the 1% that Kay was just talking about.

I had one hand on his nostril, one hand on his chin, I didn't have enough hands to hold his ear. You can access some files that you hadn't thoguht about. In 1983 or 1984, she was wroking with a llama and they are super skittish, they do not like to be touched. Your hands are fairly friendly if you go with.. the palm of your hand toward an animal, that is more threatening than if you go with the back of your hand. But, which is less threatening is your head. She was doing her body work with her forehead. It was a neat session. That was 1984. And I remember that file came up and I hadn't thought, I don't normally work horses by using my forehead in this manner, but part of the art of training is that these things that you see, these video clips or someone working an animal is going to come back and you're going to re-constitute and you're going to put it in different combinations or pieces, which is creative or new for that species for that individual or that species in your work. So I just started using my head.

The game was "can I sneak it a kiss", can I give you this lovely hug, and can I sneak in a kiss. So I have my hand over its nostril and I'm waiting for an exhalation. Clciking for breath is a great behavior to go after because you know it's going to happen. Imagine working with a sperm whale.. you don't have to wait very long for your animal to take a breath, and you can click and reinforce on that.

What I want you to think about is the click I showed you, the youtube clip, because now I am really starting to ask questions. What I'm looking for is this release.. he tends to hold his pole area... I am.. some damage there in his spine because horses this ear shy, it's possible he's been jerked around a lot, maybe he was knocked to the ground. You don't know what's going on in the horse's spine. What is the health of this equine.. when I put my hands here, I'm asking those same questions of how does he move, how can he turn, how can he give. I am not just demanding that bring me his chin forward, that's not what I'm looking for, I'm asking questions.

And now I'm building choice into the system. When I stroke down his back, one of the things he starts to do, I click and reinforce that, and that's his way of telling me.. and I really want to go into his hindquarters. This guy had huge do-not-enter signs all over his body. His head lowering was his way of letting me know that he was willing to move on. So he gets clicked and reinforced for. I've done body work without a marker signal. You get a different quality of response, it is much more similar to the body work that you get when you're working with a human. That's one of the things that I love to drop out there in the community of grad students looking for thesis and all the rest of that because there's some interesting pieces in here that need to be explored.

Now what I want when he drops his head, I want him to release into the bin, into the side that I'm on, and you'll see that in a momentwhat that looks like. There's the give, the additional stretch through his spine. They become so aware of what they are doing. The previous day, when I had stroked under his stomach, he humped his back up, if he had been under saddle it would have been a buck. There are these huge do not enter signs. So I'm setting up a system that allows him to let me know when he is ready for me to move on.

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So then the next visit I continued and I took his basic setup and I began to build basically a chain. A chain of expectations where I wanted to go was to his tail. He was holding so much tension in his hindquarters and given the problems we were seeing with the way that he backed and turned, I knew that we could not resolve the ear shyness, but that was just a symptom of what was going on in his hips and spine and his tail. I was not going to go to his tail directly without this horse giving me permission because I like my kneecaps in tact. So I set up a series of expectations, beginning with a hug, not just a hug, but you're looking for this release in the spine, and then that lovely stretch out, and then I could stroke his back, and then he would tell me when it was okay to move further on, and then eventually I could get to his tail. So we will just watch what this looks like.

The nice thing about my work is that I get to hug horses. You will see his initial reaction. Watch his reaction. That startle.. that's part of the whole issue with what's going on with his spine. Same process done tactilely and done with the marker signal. What can you release that would allow this part of your spine to let go.. the question is did we get a chiropractor in. For those of you who know the team work, what he's done now is that he's given me permission to go in and work his tail. Gets clicked, reinforced. And there we are.

If you know the questions, it will take but a minute. How do I feel it in my hands? Where does the movement begin? Where does it stop? How does it stop? When does it stop? How does it begin again? What changes with repetition? Is it the same on both sides? What changes under my hands? What is the lesson? Is there another way that you can find to do this movement?

We start with people with their feet together. Feet parallel. You will see all variations on the theme. When they step out, they are not catching their own balance. If mid-way through stepping you wouldn't be able to freeze, you have to land before you could stop yourself. But with a horse; with what we want to be able to do, we want to sustain our balance throughout so that there's never a loss of balance. They are forgetting about how a foot works, how to roll up on the ball of your foot and to step out in balance. So the precursor behavior that we're going to work on is just to roll up on one foot and then roll down. You are all observers of this. You are going to observe and fill out.. I don't want a novel, because time is limited. What did you see, where does the movement begin, so just visually observe, then you are going to observe it and write it down. Don't verbalize it.. if you observe something it changes it; don't verbalize it. I don't want you to change what you're doing based on what you're hearing. So what did you observe? I know it's hard when there is a room that goes length-wise for everyone to see, so the people right in the middle have the best vantage point. Maybe you want to close your eyes. When you added in tactile information it changed how you perceived overall. The tactile information gives you richer choices and input than if you had just observed her without that. There are a couple of places that we could go with this and this sort ... oh we're out of time. So thank you.