Conference Creates Change
Through helping people to help more horses
10 Year Challenge Conference with Dr Andrew McLean & Friends
In January 2019 I decided to turn my vision to help more horses into reality. I had experienced the best team: Dr Andrew McLean and Reasheath College Equine in September 2018, so I knew I had the dream team to help horses by organising a 3 day conference at Reaseheath College for horse lovers to learn and have fun!
My conference was always going to be different. More than applying the latest in evidence based knowledge, content and community to support and empower delegates to be the change. My purpose to be the change our horses need, created the 10 Year Challenge Conference. 5-7th July 2019. International and National delegates arrived Thursday for a long weekend of safe, supportive and out of comfort experiences, helping more horse lovers be the change our horses need.
The vibe was fun and learning through being out of comfort. Finding delegates 'sweet spot' that place where we grow and therefore change was the conference challenge. Exploring and challenging our existing beliefs, seeing different, trying new behaviours to make it more likely horses progress towards a good life.
Back To The Future
Day 1 Dr McLean took delegates on a journey, back to 1998... to see what had and had not changed in horse training. Discussing changes and lack of, moved us nicely into understanding and identifying laterality, or sidedness. Delegates observed laterality in the afternoon, seeing the challenge of ambidextrous training, exploring 'training tools' to optimise athleticism through improving physical and mental well-being.
2019 Delegates: 10 Year Challenge Conference
"The start of Equitation Science was trying to find some sense in the world"
Dr Andrew McLean
Delegates enjoying Friday pub evening meal
"As delegates enjoyed each others company, over a casual pub dinner Friday night, I knew the weekend was going to be extraordinary"
Day 2 started with an exploration of Positive Optimal Tension or POT - discussing longitudinal, lateral and vertical flexion. Dr McLean explained what it is and isn't demystifying that over used and poor understood training terminology
"inside leg to outside rein"
We were then treated by the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) who immediately offered, and stepped up so solve my challenge after an unexpected horse change to the programme, arriving Saturday with two horses for the first afternoon demonstrations of Positive Optimal Tension. GMP Horses and riders smoothly demonstrated the application of learning theory to optimise mental and physical well-being. It was a real privilege to see how the Police apply learning theory to over-come the challenge of multiple riders and therefore potential for confusing signals. Congratulations Mima Manning and her team at Greater Manchester Police for proofing your stage of training at the conference and giving delegates another example of how different organisations are 'walking the talk' in equine welfare.
The final day for me was the 'grand finale' to this my first conference. The need for change for our horses is now being positively influenced by the current impact of public perception of equestrian sports or to explain in more general terms, the public spotlight is on our Social Licence to Operate (SLO) horses in equestrian sports. It was inspirational hearing the latest in SLO from around the world by Dr McLean.
The afternoon then opened with Andrew explaining his charity work, improving Elephants lives through applying learning theory across Asia and India. Go to
www.h-elp.com to learn all about how you can help the survival of elephants through training the mahoots to train elephants safely, effectively and ethically.
As only an organiser knows ;-), I squeezed my own workshop due to our time constraints. My fault for packing so much into the afternoon! My session was to support delegates in being the change. How? By understanding why and how positive reinforcement is not just for horses! Delegates worked together, getting to know each other, exploring our own behaviour to make it more or less likely to help more horses. Case studies from Stop Equestrian Bullying in Horse Sports http://www.theequestrianalliance.com - thank you Hannah :-) gave delegates the opportunity to engage in discussions to decide on actions of horse lovers, in person and online, that will help or hinder more horses. Knowing what was waiting for delegates in the indoor arena I apologetically closed my workshop to enjoy conference rider and horse Monika Barna and Meg, training by me and ESI graduate BD Novice 34 dressage test, bridle less. See video below. Well done Monika and Meg for being the change our horses need.
Shaping the next 10 years for our horses is our challenge. So delegates learnt how to apply the ESI Judging Scale to rider Lindsay McCallum and Lissie Medium 64 test and Jo Titterton and Billy's Advanced Medium 85, with Dr McLean coaching the riders between first and second time riding them.
It was so lovely to see delegates valuing how we are the change our horses need.
Dr McLean, in the shortest time, made small adjustments through positively reinforcing each rider's current skills, getting the most from both riders to offer more comfort and therefore more freedom of expression from both horses.
Truely a masterclass in both human and horse behavioural change.
And that was it. Closing remarks epitomised the vibe - I got to spend 3 days learning and spending quality time with the most caring, compassionate, thinking and fun equestrians I have had ever had the pleasure of enjoying - thank you for travelling from France, Sweden, Ireland and all around the UK to make this, a small start in our shared challenge of helping more horses.
You Are All The Change Our Horses Need
I am humbled to have been a small part in everyones first Equicoach Conference experience. See below all the delegates anonymous comments, with 90% of respondents saying they were very likely and 10% likely to attend next years!
So what next? I build on this years! Your feedback signposts me to know exactly the direction you want me to take 2020 Conference in, thank you.
The 'Happy' Athlete: Horse and Rider will amplify this years vibe, giving you more of what you have asked for - expect even more learning, support and FUN!!
This really is an equestrian conference with a difference.
Be sure to come and experience for yourself the most kind, compassionate and thinking delegates choosing to connect and collaborate through...
'Doing the best we can, until we know better. Then when we know better, we do better.'
More information about the 2020 conference will be released shortly.
If you want to keep up to date and be informed when early bird conference ticket release date, subscribe on to Equicoach.life now via the website.
Humbled to be able to support all of us to be the change our horses need
What did delegates say about the conference?
"Well organised, brilliant people and fabulous learning :-) "
"Excellent speakers, very well organised and good venue and very pleasant socially"
"Inspiring content. Excellent facilities Bringing together of a great group of people"
"The gargantuan amount of information - the vibrant and varied community - Lisa's energy and positivity - the profound drive and determination of the delegates - the impeccable organisation - the location - and Andrew who has this wonderful way of always making it about the horses and the people and never about himself"
"Great SLO update and opportunity to see Andrew work with horses at a higher level of training because it helps me work with similar horses at home."
"It was welcoming and inculsive even if you are new to ESI things became understandable"
"Friendly atmosphere, interesting content with a mix of theory and practical"
"Size allowed excellent communication between everyone. Felt informal yet extremely professional. Really good inclusive vibe."
"Great conference content, attention to detail, quality of the presentations and presentators, and the welcoming atmosphere means Ill be back in 2020!"
"Loved how the theory was so applied, discussions and the information given about how things are moving forward and what we can do to aid this"
"I enjoyed the theory, practicals, the people and the sense of empowerment that I felt throughout"