The training methods we use at Academy Bartels are inspired by the contemporary and traditional art of riding. In the so-called ‘classical literature’ is no attention to the psychology of rider and horse, learning by conditioning or the physical training program.
We incorporated contemporary insights and scientific findings in our training methods and outlined them in the standard reference ‘Ride Horses with Awareness and Feel’. We deal, among others, with:
– How to get a better relationship with your horse through the insights of natural horsemanship on communication with flight and herd-living species;
– How you can develop self-knowledge and self-control with mental training;
– How you can sit more independently with physical exercises and the use of the flexchair;
– How you can make your aids more effective by consistently implementing learning systems, and training with question and answer.
We strongly support the implementing of training teaching in equestrian sport. A horse does not have automatic buttons. You can even teach a horse to go into gallop by squeezing his ear. It just depends on how you have trained the horse.
It is therefore interesting to know how the learning process, with which you can ‘install the buttons’, works. It is your own choice if you let him go into gallop with your leg, your voice or something completely different; as long as you do it consciously. As a trainer/rider you have to get to know, understand and implement the different learning principles. The most important learning systems are:
– habit formation;
– classical conditioning;
– operant conditioning.
Operant conditioning means that you can train a horse by challenging him with pressure and reward him when he gives the wanted reaction. You can understand the essence best with the example of going ‘forward when the rider uses his legs’. Not the pressure of the legs but the reward of taking away the pressure when he is going forward is the essence. This training method is mainly based on the following four steps:
We prefer to describe operant conditioning as a ‘question and answer game’. That is what you want to achieve as a rider. In this way training leads to a pleasant ‘question and answer game’, and in due time ‘pressure’ is hardly necessary anymore. The aids can be further refined.