Friday, 16 May 2014

Animals or people?

If you had to choose to be on this planet with one or the other what would it be? Cannot imagine a planet that would be bearable without animals. Recognise this may be an insufficiency in me.  See, I dont need permission to feel when I am with animals. Not so with people.  Temper my emotions with people. An area in my personality t h at has been highlighted by my animal friends. Thank you for another lesson. In the likeness of God(-;

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Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Love my job.

Working with a rehab seal. Teaching Gru to eat. Nothing better than working consciously and seeing the results. Teaching him to eat in 4 sessions. With an awesome team of people who are all as excited as each other. And because we see the power of working to get him to understand what we want rather than let our fear and overwhelming love for him get in the way. Yay!!!!

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Sunday, 4 May 2014

Being present

Spent 2 days without distraction in the company of these angels. It is where my heart sings. No boredom. Just awe and awe. Thats when we know that our souls are in syn with where we should be. Surely!

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Thursday, 1 May 2014

thinking horses - the only way!

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-------- Original message --------
From: Gabby Harris <>
Date: 02/05/2014 06:46 (GMT+02:00)
Subject: thinking horses - the only way!

Training methods for horses: habituation to a frightening stimulus

J.W.Christensen, M.Rundgren & K.Olsson

(Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences)

Equine Vet J. (2006) 38: 439-443


Reasons for performing study: Responses of horses in
frightening situations are important for both equine and
human safety. Considerable scientific interest has been
shown in development of reactivity tests, but little effort has
been dedicated to the development of appropriate training
methods for reducing fearfulness.

Objectives: To inestigate which of 3 different training methods
(habituation, desensitisation and counter-conditioning) was
most effective in teaching horses to react calmly in a
potentially frightening situation.

Hypotheses: 1) Horses are able to generalise about the test
stimulus such that, once familiar withe the test stimulus in one
situation, it appears less frightening and elicits a reduced
response even when the stimulus intensity is increased or the
stimulus is presented differently; and 2) alternative methods
such a desensitisation and counter-conditioning would be
more efficient that a classic habituation approach.

Methods: Twenty-seven naive 2-year-old Danish Warmblood
stallions were trained according to 3 different methods, based
on classical learning theory: 1) horses (n=9) were exposed to
the full stimulus (a moving, white nylon bag, 1.2 x 0.75 m) in 5
daily training sessions until they met a prededined habituation
criterion (habituation); 2) horses (n=9) were introduced
gradually to the stimulus and habituated to each step before
the full stimulus was applied (desensitisation); 3) horses (n=9)
were trained to associate the stimulus with a positive reward
before being exposed to the full stimulus (counter-
conditioning). Each horse received 5 training sessions of 3 min
per day. Heart rate and behavioural responses were recorded.

Results: Horses trained with the desensitisation method
showed fewer flight responses in total and needed fewe
training sessions to learn to react calmly to test stimuli.
Variations in heart rate persisted even when behavioural
responses had ceased. In addition, all horses on the
desensitisation method eventually habituated to the test
stimulus whereas some horses on the other methods did not.

Conclusions and potential relevance: Desensitisation appeared
to be the most effective training method for horses in
frightening situations. Further research is needed in order to
investigate the role of positive reinforcement, such as
offering food, in the training of horses.