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Tracy Courtney


We can't change things by fighting the existing reality,

it's time to build a new model that makes the old model obsolete


People have been conditioned through generations to believe that horses are always the problem & to search for external sources for blame, explanations & solutions. The fault always lies with sounds, movements, tack, other people & objects. What if I told you that your horse is a mirror image of you? What if you could recognize & understand what your horse was thinking & feeling in every moment? What if I could show you a way to listen & have discussions with your horse as simply as you speak to other people? The things we have learned & methods currently used don't include these fundamental understandings, therefore a significant piece of the puzzle is missing to enable us to connect with horses at a much deeper level.


When we believe that certain things have to exist or occur in sequence for other things to function correctly, we are trapped & cannot move forward. We alone, are choosing to indulge in thoughts, activities & habits that give us a false sense that these things are needed for other things to work or be ok. We must be willing to step outside of our comfort zones and set aside everything we think we know and believe in, to open a new doors of possibilities. We must be willing to shift our normal and comfortable rigid thought processes of assumptions, comparisons and judgements into an open and inquisitive mindset. We must let go of the stories we believe about how things have and should work. These ideas only serve to create confusion and frustration.


Language is only a medium for communicating one's thoughts to another. It is only called in after the thoughts rise - which creates a delay in what's being perceived and our responses to it. It allows for negation or misinterpretation of the original communication. Quiet is ever speaking, it is beyond words and thoughts. It is a sophisticated form of communication that is interrupted by speaking. I consider language to be composed not only of verbal, but mental & emotional noise as well.


An effect must be preceded by an immediate cause. Feelings and emotions are fluid & they're always changing. We don't decide that we're going to feel happy or sad for an hour, look at our watch and then change our emotions to fear or worry. Horses base their thoughts, feelings and emotions on the immediate environment, not on what happened previously. We have to learn to become fluid with our thoughts and be prepared to respond to what's happening in each moment through listening, patience, respect, asking questions and understanding.


We do not need to overcome things that hold no importance or significance for us. How quickly this new process of thinking is adopted, depends on the rigidity of the walls of belief we've created & our willingness to let go.

We are not creating anything new during this process, but merely uncovering what's been hidden in plain sight all along. During our time together, the horse becomes the teacher & we become the student. Learning how to recognize & understand the root causes of all unwanted behaviour & how to bring these unbalanced thoughts & emotions to the surface for release & balancing, as well as how to recognize & understand the effects of mental & emotional imbalances on the physical body.


Like an iceberg, the bulk of behaviour's mass is found below the surface. It is what gives rise to what's visible. When we learn how to look below the surface of the physical attributes of behaviour; the tip of the iceberg, many new doors open that were previously hidden & unavailable.


As we're learning how to understand the natural language of non-verbal sensory awareness, our horse will begin to reveal hidden & sometimes deeply rooted aspects of us that we were previously unaware of. Are we ready to face the uncomfortable change of shifting our focus to become the best us that we can be? It's time to change the way we see and interact with our horses. When we understand exactly what they're thinking and feeling in every moment, it eliminates the surprises, the unknown and leaves no more room for unanswered questions.


"Your horse's body is a mirror image of what's happening mentally, emotionally & physically in you" 

- Tracy Courtney

Parameters Overview

Parameters

Creating The Connection

Parameters is a reset button. This is where we begin to build a new language with our horses by changing the Parameters of our current relationship. The foundation of understanding & changing unwanted behaviour begins with a mutual, magnetic connection which is normal between horses but often lacking between horses & their humans. Different words have been created to try to understand this connection such as energy. How do we define energy? Is it something invisible & out of reach like Wifi? Here we learn how to qualify & quantify these vague understandings into a practical & actionable process, through 5 simple steps. We will discuss how this foundation affects our relationship in predictable patterns & has a huge impact on our ability to perceive, understand & solve problems.


Using nothing more than a long rope, Parameters begins by analyzing all the ways we are currently disconnected from our horse, so we can recognize it moving forward & can make the necessary adjustments. We will list all current unwanted behaviour being displayed by our horse & rate these behaviours using an emotional scale that we will compare with at the end. We will then discuss & implement the first rule of the herd; personal space. We will practice the 5 steps from a new perspective,  where we will not ask our horse to do anything at any time & learn how to redirect unwanted behaviour instead of correcting it, beginning to use the physical aspects of behaviour as a diagnostic tool for understanding the deeper mental & emotional aspects. Through these steps, we will begin to learn how to allow our horse to express personal thoughts & emotions without intervention, in a safe & confidence building manner for both of you. This will prove in real time that behaviour does not need to be addressed individually or directly in order to be changed. At the end, we will have a calm, relaxed horse that offers both eyes & ears without asking, shifts all focus to us instead of the environment, ground ties without having been taught, stands quietly waiting for direction & is willing & responsive to our every movement.



Some of the residual, but not directly addressed effects of practicing Parameters are the elimination of common problems such as, kicking, rearing, ground/cross tying, biting, trampling, spooking, jigging, circling, bolting, balking, eating grass, dominance & aggression. However, you will notice positive changes in all aspects of interacting with your horse

Workshop time varies for # of participants & comprehension


Ground Rules 1

Lunging

Ground Rules 1 carries the flow of the connection, understanding & confidence established through Parameters into a different way of communication while lunging our horse. Here we will begin to ask our horse to do things for us, decode & understand basic horse body language to enable us to begin to understand what our horse is telling us in every moment & how to address this information correctly. We will also begin to explore our own habitual perceptions of the things our horse does or doesn't do & how this impacts our communication. We will compare & discuss the importance of checking in & creating a dynamic neutral connection moving forward. We will examine our own thoughts & body language, how this affects our communication with our horse & how we can unintentionally create problems that didn't previously exist, as well as solve any current habitual unwanted behaviour. Here we begin to create discussions with our horse, to allow our horse to lead the discussions so we can learn how to always ask the right questions.




Ground Rules 2

Practical Application for Solving Problems

We continue to carry the flow of Parameters & Ground Rules 1, through safety & greater confidence building techniques, by asking more of our horse & learning how to solve common unwanted behaviour on the ground. We will include uncommon topics such as feeding, blowing gates, buddy/barn sour, stall walking, cross tying & many other topics of interest. A solid foundation will be laid here to understand the real root causes of unwanted behaviour & our roles in the unintentional creation & escalation of these behaviours. We will delve deeper into reading & decoding of our horse & our own body language & how to apply a simple formula to solve all problems, through listening & guidance. This foundation of understanding & application will not only solve current problems but show how to avoid problems in the future.


This foundation will challenge us to move out of our comfort zones & analyze our current habits of thoughts, beliefs & actions. We will discuss & demonstrate why it's necessary to replace our current beliefs of creating boxes of blocks of time, steps, sequential practice, designated training areas, using gadgets & more. This process will allow your horse to become the only teacher you will ever need by asking the right questions & maintaining the connected flow of mutual communication for mental, emotional & physical balance.


Touch

 Understanding & Rewriting Physical Hypersensitivity



A horses natural instinct is to avoid & move into pressure. Unbalanced emotions will also lead to physical hypersensitivity. During this workshop, we will use listening to your horse & conditioning to help your horse become comfortable with handling from mouth to tail. This will solve many common unwanted behaviours, such as problems bridling, bitting, floating, handling ears,  legs & feet, cinching issues & much more.

Variables

Creating the Optimal Learning Environment



- The secret to habits and patterns for confident and unconfident horses

- Long and short horses

- When & how to apply sensitization & desensitization

- When & how to apply patterns & non-patterns

- Replacing drilling with Variables

- How and why Variables open the door to  the emotional flow system

- Replacing the chair in the seat of consciousness

- How to use energy to the benefit of both of you

- Timing, cues and refining body language

- The illusion of needing a problem-solving mindset

- Creating a cue to eliminate spooking and bolting

- Using obstacles, tricks & puzzles to create interest and deeper mental, emotional and physical balance & connection

- How Variables translate to the saddle


Parameters

In the Saddle


This workshop focuses on letting go & creating balanced mental, emotional & physical flow. You will begin by practicing Parameters on the ground to ensure you & your horse are connected & ready to move forward. You will receive new tools to help you release & balance any fearful emotions you may have prior to mounting. You will receive tools & understanding to solve common problems for horses that won't stand to mount & any other unwanted behaviour that may arise. After mounting, you will be guided through the necessary steps to learn how to maintain the mental connection as you learn how to use the reins as guidance instead of control. You will practice gaits & transitions with a much deeper meaning of how important the proper execution of these foundational movements are for the mental, emotional & physical wellbeing of your horse & everything else you do moving forward. We will circle back to concepts from the original Parameters workshop to provide new understandings of how to transfer these concepts to the saddle; listening, recognizing & releasing unbalanced emotions for both of you


- Maintaining the connection

- Where, how & why to begin

- Learning curves revisited

- Creating confidence & relaxation in explosive & aggressive horses

- Decoding body language/behaviour

- Transferring the redirection cue

- Revisiting phases & sensitization

- Using the reins as guidance instead of control

- Choices & opinions, maintaining a dialogue with your horse

- Redirection instead of correction

- When, why & how to quit

- When your horse fully trusts you, there's nothing they won't do for you

Ground Rules

In the Saddle

This workshop focuses on becoming the flow & one with your horse. You will begin by practicing Parameters in the saddle to ensure you and your horse are connected & have a balanced mental, emotional & physical flow. We will address any mental, emotional or physical tensions before moving forward. This workshop will focus on moving from the mental connection with your horse to a much deeper physical connecting which can lead to the elimination of the bridle if you choose to work toward that goal. You will learn to begin communicating effectively with your body as your horse begins to understand this new language & learn to connect with all of the parts of your horse's body



Ground Rules 2

Problem Solving

During this workshop we will focus on common unwanted behaviour experienced in the saddle & work directly with any behaviour experienced during our time together. You will learn how to transfer what you've learned on the ground into the saddle. How to allow your horse to lead the conversation so that you can ask the right questions, listen to what your horse is trying to tell you & help your horse become mentally, emotionally & physically balanced. 



Optional Full Day Double Workshop

For those interested in details of decoding the equine mind & body


PIE (Physical Indicators of Emotion)

Decoding the Psyche

Most people who drive cars aren't interested in how the engine works, they just want to get in, 

start the car & drive. PIE & PID are for those who are interested in the details of how the engine works & are ready to roll up their 

sleeves to get their hands dirty. PIE bridges the communication gap by showing you how to understand what your horse is thinking 

& feeling in every moment. It's about moving beyond the common physical aspects of training, which are only 1/3 of the equation 

& adding the mental & emotional aspects to create whole balance. Our choices are governed by our emotions to a larger 

degree then we realize. Emotions strongly affect learning, they are intertwined with perception & attention & they interact 

with learning & memory. Emotional stimulation has a great bearing on the association & retention of memories. Emotional 

elevation over-rides our ability to think, be observant & rational. You will learn how emotional elevation affects you & your

 horse in dramatic ways & will answer problem behaviours.   We will cover topics such as:


- Bell Mare teaching process

- Decoding more advanced body language & what your horse is telling you

- Mental & emotional thought processes

- Emotional & resistance scales

- Effective dominance without conflict; the Bell Mare way

- Non-verbal sensory awareness

- Matching intention, not emotions

- Forward & reverse thinking processes

- Local & focal tracking

- Perceptions; scanning vs panning

- The preservation loop; welling up & physical hypersensitivity

- Opening the closed emotional flow system

- How emotions affect the body; clustering

- Mechanics of rewriting natural instinct

- The importance of investment for maintaining the connection

- Environmental & taught habits

- Incompatible behaviours

- Progression regression, habit escalation & the box of habits


*Attendance of prior workshops a prerequisite*


PID (Physical Indicators of Dis-Ease)

Decoding Health & Wellness


This workshop will revolve around the effects of unbalanced emotions on the physical body. Through specific movements with your own body, you will see how unbalanced emotions are responsible for common health & wellness issues & see how your horse feels at this moment.  We will discuss this topic in more detail & examine your own horses body, posture & movements. You will understand the cause of common myths relating to how your accident prone horse is really not accident prone at all, why horses trip & stumble,  common chronic lameness issues, colic, ulcers, weight loss, cribbing, weaving & hunter's bump, among others can be prevented. We will also use the photo in the background to demonstrate how the health issues experienced by this horse are all evident in the photo. This double workshop will facilitate a deeper understanding of how health & wellness issues are created & rewritable. You will never look at horses the same way again