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  • Writer's pictureRachel Kerr

Attending the Desert Circuit at Thermal, a beautiful place to be!

Author Patricia Lincourt

My mentor Shawna Karrasch and her host facility Via Nova Training in Santa Fe New Mexico, owned by the visionary Amanda Jay are sponsors at the 'Desert Circuit' big hunter jumper winter circuit in Thermal, CA. The circuit spans 9 weeks (until March 15th) with thousands participating from North America and Europe for big prize money grand prix prizes.

The mission for us at Thermal is to educate, network and consult with Hunter Jumper professionals and enthusiast on using positive reinforcement (R+ ) training techniques for the greater good. I have been joining the Terra Nova team on Mondays and Tuesdays at the Desert International Horse Park to lend a hand in getting the word out. Doing the networking and answering questions.

Shawna gives a talk in the afternoons and we also work with horses and trainers/owners in the barn isles. Getting them started on good practices while fielding questions about application and the science behind R+ practices. On that note, positive reinforcement training techniques are based on behaviour science and neurobiology discoveries that are ongoing. The study and scientific research is fascinating and getting more and more accessible to lay people. The art of the techniques is in the timing and creativity of the trainer/teacher/handler/owner.

Being a nerd at heart, I love to read all the science that is backing up my years of observing horses. The R+ practice requires timing and creativity to find ways to give clarity to the horse until he understands the behaviour I am looking for. This is endlessly entertaining for . me,BUT..... you don't need to be studying the books or even that experienced with horses to be good at this training style and benefit the rewards (you AND your horse). Having a basic understanding of the principles and an observant, creative nature is what makes the practice so successful and powerful.

Until recently R+ Training techniques have been most used in marine mammals training ie Marine World/Shamu fame, zoo and wild animal settings and Guide Dogs For the Blind are 100% R+ trained and managed. Clicker training term was coined in dog training circles where some readers may have had some exposure. Bringing this to equines is new and exciting place to be!

The Desert International Horse Park is swarming with beautiful horses and the depth of riding talent enormous! The weather amazing, along with the views of the mountains and the clear air. It is a wonderful experience, for me to be able to participate and help others is satisfying on a deep level and I recommend trip to DIHP for the great experience.

Coming up, Via Nova will be at the World Cup Competition in Los Vegas. If you are going, stop by the booth for info. Also, my barn, Lincourt stables will be hosting a clinic in Los Angeles with Shawna Karrasch June 19, 20 and 21st 2020. Tickets are on sale and there is an early bird discount available, you can find out more and buy tickets here.

This is a great time to get a great start on your training or more practice with a leading expert in the field so sign up now to join the fun and education!

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