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Tracy Courtney

What Makes FEARLESS Different?

Many people would be quick to make statements like "no method will work for every horse". But what if I were to say that Fearless will work for every horse? We must understand the basis of common methods in order to understand what Fearless is not.


Method Training - 


According to Google dictionary, "the action of teaching a person or animal a particular skill or type of behaviour". "Undertake a course of exercise & diet in order to reach or maintain a high level of physical fitness, typically in preparation for participating in a specific sport or event".


On the Seaworld Parks & Entertainment website, under "animal behaviour & learning" the definition of behaviour is as follows; "behaviour is anything an animal does involving action &/or a response to a stimulus. Blinking, eating, walking, flying, vocalizing & huddling are all examples of behaviour".


They also list the "definition of a stimulus" as follows; "a stimulus is a change in the environment that produces a behavioural (physical) response. It may be an object or event perceived through the animal's senses. Stimuli may include the sight of food, the sound of a potential predator, or the smell of a mate. They may also include such daily events as nightfall & seasonal events such as decreasing temperatures. Animals respond to stimuli. Each of these stimuli elicits specific behaviours from animals.


Process Teaching -


Fearless is not a method, it's a process of changing our own habits of thoughts & beliefs & learning how to shift roles, where horses become the teachers & humans become the students. This new process focuses on understanding that there are 3 separate components that make up behaviour, not just focusing on the physical attributes as the physical aspect is the third component. 


These common & widespread beliefs shown in the quotes above are the perfect example of why we focus only on physical attributes of behaviour & look to external sources for cause & effect. Nowhere is there any mention or consideration of the mental or emotional aspects of behaviour, which are component 1 & 2. The Fearless process shows us how to understand that stimuli is no longer a factor once the first two components are brought into balance.


Method Dictation -


We are always telling horses what to do & the only choice or opinion we allow are to answer yes or no to our requests. 


Process Dictation - 


We are learning how to have mutual discussions with our horse & allowing choices & opinions to be expressed without judgement. We are learning how to allow our horse to lead these discussions, so we will be able to ask the right questions. We are also learning how to look without linking & creating a magnetic connection.


Method Action -


We are taught that we must always be doing something with our horses. There must always be an agenda with a goal at the end.


Process Action -


Initially we learn to do nothing & see how behaviour disappears all on its own, without having to be addressed individually or directly. This is to show how to create a magnetic connection & begin to listen to what you horse is trying to teach us. We are learning to settle & balance your own thoughts & emotions which will allow us to communicate with our horse through a more subtle & sophisticated language of non-verbal sensory awareness. We are learning how to recognize mental & emotional imbalances & how to allow expressions so they can be brought to the surface & released. We will go back to teaching your horse specific actions eventually, but it will happen in a much different way.


Method Mental Boxes -


Being serious in the arena but relaxed on a trail ride & spending all of our time in thought processes of the future & past. Step-by-step plans of action & deeply held beliefs. These plans & normal thought processes eliminate our ability to see what's really happening, severely limits communication & connection.


Process Mental Boxes -


We are learning how to understand & eliminate all of these boxes in order to be in the flow of the moment with our horse.


Method Drilling -


Repeating single behaviours until they are executed perfectly.


Process Drilling -


Working on an assembly line day after day really sucks! We will understand new concepts & tools to shift these habits & beliefs. Drilling will be replaced with Variables, which will allow us to teach many more things in a shorter period of time & eliminate the accumulation of stress & anxiety.


Method Force -


Making horses do things without choices, opinions or discussions doesn't allow the growth of a partnership. Many have been conditioned to believe that gadgets are a necessary & normal part of "training" horses. Some even go so far as to believe these things are beneficial.


Process Force -


Once we can have mutual discussions with our horse, know what they're thinking & feeling in every moment & we understand the root causes of all unwanted behaviour, we will understand that these things are not necessary.


Method Micromanagement -


Dictating every thought & movement. Believing we have to think for our horses, like where they place their feet during trail rides. It's common to see people yanking on their horse's halter constantly while standing & having conversations with other people. It's such a habit, that we aren't even aware we're doing it unless it's pointed out.


Process Micromanagement -


We will learn how to share the responsibility in the relationship, to help our horse develop reasoning skills, relaxation, self-control & problem solving skills. Our horse will watch their own foot placement to keep us safe.


Method Fear -


Pushing horses to do things too early & before they're ready, & becoming angry when they ask for help or a minute to think. Lack of exposure.


Process Fear -


We will clearly understand when to ask for more & when to provide guidance. Emotional balancing will eliminate all worries & fears.


Method Gadgets -


Many methods encourage the use of bigger bits, whips, crops, tie-downs, draw reins, circingles, spurs & all other forms of force & control.


Process Gadgets -


We will learn why none of these things are necessary & how balancing the 3 components will eliminate the need for them all together. Some things, such as spurs can be implemented for higher communication but most people don't understand how to use them correctly & instead, use them to force horses to do things they're otherwise unwilling to do.


Method Time Limits -


Expecting perfection & compliance on a schedule we dictate.


Process Time Limits - 


Allowing our horse to set the schedule in the beginning will open new doors & speed up results. When we know what our horse is thinking & feeling, it dissolves all questions about behaviour & creates & babysitter horse.


Method Perceptions -


Choosing to believe behaviour is lazy, defiant, stubborn & a personal attack. Believing behaviour must be addressed individually & directly. Looking to external sources for blame, sources, cause & effect.


Process Perceptions -


We will learn to understand the root causes of all unwanted behaviour & how simply it can be redirected instead of corrected. Having this wisdom will lead to the understanding of how to be proactive & prevent unwanted behaviour completely.


Method Planning -


Creating a list of what we want to teach & how to carry out the steps to accomplish these goals.


Process Planning -


Replacing these habits & beliefs to be in the flow of the moment with our horse. Eliminating steps to be memorized & sequence of order.


Method Habits & Beliefs -


Thinking we know the answers & not leaving room for expansion & growth. Making excuses for our failure to do what's necessary.


Process Habits & Beliefs -


Allowing our horses to become our teachers & opening our minds to learn something brand new.


Method Correction -


Telling horses they've done something wrong or unacceptable.


Process Correction -


Understanding & redirecting behaviour as thoughts, before they escalate & become actions & learning how to prevent unwanted behaviour completely. When we understand what our horse is thinking & feeling in every moment, it eliminates the need to ask others for potentially unhelpful information & allows us to have discussions with our horse to create immediate & lasting solutions.


Fearless is the opposite of everything you've ever learned about horses & is the next step in the evolution of working with animals.


"Mastery is not found in the pursuit of becoming, but in the realization of unbecoming" - Tracy Courtney

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