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Equi-libre Horses

Positively coaching the art & science of horsemanship and equitation; enabling you to bring your equine dreams to life



Testimonials

Testimonials

“Oh Jo, you have no idea how powerful the How Horses Learn, Feel & Communicate course is. You have this amazing ability to gather a lot of information and then put into a format that makes sense of it all in a way that is easy to understand, but the subject matter is still huge! You literally compress it into bite size chunks for us to digest at which point it expands. You are amazing!”

Heather Richardson

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“This is one of the most crucial elements of positive reinforcement training and this is what I tell my colleagues about your work Jo, as you’re one of the few trainers who understands and achieves this.”

Debbie Busby – Equine Behaviour Consultant

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Although I had been clicker training my horse Gamble for around a year I had been experiencing problems with relaxation around food along with aggressive behaviour around my other horses, family members and my dogs.

Along the way, I had also lost focus and was training just about everything and anything with no plan.

Jo has been an amazing inspiration and has supported me throughout our journey to change Gambles emotions around food. It’s been extremely difficult and we’ve had days when we would go backwards but Jo has been there to explain why this behaviour is happening and the training required to help Gamble relax.

I would highly recommend the online Academy of Positive Horsemanship; for me its identified some missing steps in my education. All the videos are professionally filmed and are full of information. Jo has thought of everything and fully explains the finest detail.

I would also recommend taking advantage of the video reviews it’s amazing the details Jo picks up on. Jo has a lovely nature and instantly puts you at ease, she is extremely knowledgeable and her enthusiasm is infectious.

I am looking forward to progressing through the academy’s courses and see this as a long term progression for my relationship with my horses.”

Sue Fletcher

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Being a member of Jo’s Academy has been indispensible for all of my horses lives! One area Jo’s Academy stands out which puts her way ahead of many other +R trainers, is how she has broken down her video tutorials. Step by step instructions which never fail even for dummies like me!

I am having to go back through the whole lot recently due to a new addition to our herd. It seriously is and has been invaluable learning for every single horse that we currently own and every single horse that we come into contact with in the future!

You can tell Jo has spent many, many hours putting together very clear instructions that never fail, they will leave you “jaw dropped” when you put these into practice with your own horses. I will remain utterly grateful for finding and being a member of the Academy for the rest of my life, not to mention the confidence I now have that I can cope with the most difficult of situations us horse owners can find ourselves in. – Emma Hartley

Emma Hartley

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I found Jo Hughes and Equi-libre Horses when I was looking for someone to help me with my ever-increasing herd of horses, many of whom came to me because of their veterinary and behavioural issues. Having previously worked with traditional horse training methods and various forms of natural horsemanship, I felt that I needed to find someone that would understand my desire to work with my horses in a holistic, empathic way in order to improve my communication with them and ultimately to build a deeper and more authentic relationship with each and every one.

With her wealth of experience, pragmatism and endless patience, Jo has helped me to expand my knowledge and broaden my horizons for me and my horses by introducing me to the world of positive reinforcement and clicker training. However, Jo is so much more than a “clicker trainer”; she has a knack of identifying the core issues for each horse and will develop a bespoke training programme with you to address these issues and overcome them. I have found Jo’s approach to be not only extremely effective but also challenging, stimulating and thought provoking. She has given me a new insight into horse behaviour and learning theory and has inspired me to explore new ways of being and working with my horses. I highly recommend Jo as a trainer for all types of horse in any discipline, whether you have young, inexperienced horse, a misunderstood horse displaying unwanted behaviour or a competition horse that you are looking to improve performance with. If you have an open mind and are looking to improve your relationship with your horse on any level then I am confident that Jo Hughes will be able to help you.

Michelle Hitt

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Thank YOU, Jo! My world with horses has been changed forever with your excellent teaching and support! You are a year round gift to all of us! And, you have touched many more lives through me then you know of. :). Both two-legged and four-legged. This is truly a wonderful place to be! Merry Christmas!

Kim Strauss

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I am really enjoying working my way through Jo’s tutorial bundle in the Academy! They build on SO well from the foundation basics lessons. Its great to truly work through and improve on stuff when tutorials as good as these come along. They build so seamlessly towards using these concepts, and it is so clearly and simply laid out, it is really coming alive for me!

Carolyn Jenkinson

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Seriously SO grateful to have found you and your work Jo – it’s totally changed everything for me and Itsy. She is just getting better and better!

Amanda Bradley

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I really recommend Jo Hughes Equi-libre Academy for online support/training videos etc….The online support you get is incredible! I really, really recommend you study with Jo Hughes and her course ‘How Horses Learn, Feel and Communicate’ It’s an incredible online course that will really put you in a great place to assist you with training your horse. You will be so clear on body language signals and the emotions of the horse and Jo is a fantastic teacher.

Rebekah Marshall

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I would like to write a small testimonial about the value of the benefits that me and my horse gets being members of Jo’s Academy. We are based in South Africa, and with the exchange rate my monthly Academy fee is rather steep!

However, that being said, I cannot even imagine my life without Jo, the Academy and the wonderful, amazing members.

Just about a year ago, I stupidly went out and bought a 3-year-old OTTB filly. I know nothing about horses, had a crash course on how to handle them, be in charge, be the leader, and brought her home. Train her with Natural Horsemanship, everybody said. Its how they learn, everybody said. Its kind and not violent, everybody said. So I got books, watched videos, spent HOURS on Youtube, and “trained” my horse. 3 months down the line she would strike out at me, rear, kick out, I couldn’t lead her anywhere and I was terrified of her. Riding became an absolute no-no! One day, after another particularly bad lunging session, I looked at my horse, she looked at me, and I could FEEL her talking to me. I could physically hear her and she was PLEADING with me to find another way. One where she’s not constantly terrified!

I belonged to a bitless Facebook group, and they suggested I join ANOTHER group called Empowered Equestrians, and this is where I found Clicker Training. Once again, I Googled, and YouTubed, and bought a book. I started immediately and for about a month or so I was in clicker heaven. Everything went perfect according to me and my horse and I was much happier! Or so I thought. Until one day, when I took her out for a walk and she almost killed me, or herself, or both of us. My Facebook group gave advice, which I followed, but nothing helped. My beautiful girl became aggressive, rearing and striking out at me again, she mugged me, and I was terrified of her all over again. At this point I actually advertised to sell her. Horses were obviously not meant for me and I was going to get seriously hurt.

Enter Jo and her Equi-libre Academy. For a small monthly fee I was promised all sorts of things that I cannot even remember anymore, and because I was desperate, and even in our currency the fee was not TOO pricey, I joined immediately. I CONSUMED the video library, did not touch my horse for a few weeks, but just watched, and LEARNED, and slowly things started to make sense. Jo’s video content is so incredibly detailed, it is structured and informative and if you don’t understand something, all you have to do is ask, and Jo will explain. Not only Jo. As a member of the Academy, you get access to this absolutely amazing group of people who are the members of the Academy, who have a wealth of knowledge of there own, and are incredibly supportive, even if you make mistakes!

In the last 6 months or so, my horse has become calm and happy, and I can enjoy her company without even being a LITTLE scared of her. I wish I could do all Jo’s courses, but that will come with time. In the meantime, I have learned an incredible lot about my horses emotions, emotional control around food, how to keep her happy and calm, how her environment has an enormous impact on her stress levels. With the help of the Academy, I could change that for her, and because of all this, we became SO close that I cannot imagine my world without her. We have a VERY long road ahead of us still, so Jo, her Academy and its members will hopefully be a part of me and Heart’s life for quite some time still.

If anyone out there feels there is a better way to train horses, and are prepared to put in the time and effort, to build this wonderful relationship of mutual trust, this small monthly fee is worth every penny.

Heart and I would hereby love to sincerely thank Jo, and every member of the Academy for the last few months. Without you, I would be without my beautiful girl, and goodness knows where she would have landed up. We wish you and your horses a very Merry Christmas. – Ilene, South Africa

Ilene Barrington, South Africa

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A huge thank you to you Jo Hughes for creating such a perfect place for us all to learn and develop our equine skills.

Just finished the How Horses Learn, Feel and Communicate course and it’s given me everything I need to help me understand Teddy better and I highly recommend it to all horsey people.

As a dog trainer I have a fair understanding of positive reinforcement training and for me there’s no other way to train any animal, it’s kind, caring and nurtures each animal allowing them to develop at their own pace, and in so doing it creates magical relationships.

My horse journey began just 2 years ago and I was lacking knowledge of Teddys body language. I tried a couple of trainers but they weren’t for me as I found myself questioning them all the time.

I have 100% trust in Jo Hughes and the Equi-libre Horses Academy methods and have never felt the need to question her methods. Within such a short time of making some small changes in my training I have noticed huge changes in Teddy, he’s calmer and much more confident and as a rescue who was terrified of his own shadow when I first got him this is so amazing to see, I was doing ok with him but now things are great and I am looking forward to continuing our journey with the Academy.

As a trainer Jo is kind, thoughtful offers great constructive advice and her lack of ego is humbling. The Equi-libre Academy is such a non judgemental supportive group of like minded people it’s a pleasure to be a part of.

For anyone considering joining go for it! You will learn so much and the online structure has been so well put together it just works. I’m just so glad I found the Academy and am so excited for mine and Teddy’s future as I know now we can achieve everything I dreamed of and more. THANK YOU!!!!

Adriana Renaut

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Thanks Jo, for an amazing riding lesson yesterday. Wow, I had a real breakthrough – not just in understanding the importance of a correct seat and lower leg position but most of all in feeling the difference and the impact this has on the horse’s balance and suppleness. Coming away from the “driving seat” into a classical seat with my lower legs correctly positioned below my hip has made me much more balanced, I am able to engage my core properly, therefore my lower back is supported and my shoulders and arms are looser and can be more giving and best of all – all this has transferred to my horse, who was as a result also much more balanced, relaxed and rhythmical just from the seat and seemed to have enjoyed the session as much as I did. Can’t wait to build on this now.

Steffi Thomas

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I second Jo Hughes’ HHLFC course – I did it last year – it goes into SO much depth – so much support from Jo – it really does empower you to be able to observe your horse’s body language and emotions – and the theory section is fantastic too. I would thoroughly recommend this course 100%…along with the rest of the Academy!

Carolyn Jenkinson

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I find the instructional videos very useful and of course the How Horses Learn, Feel & Communicate course was great!

Nancy Sheppard

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Why am I not surprised – you are an amazing teacher – missed you today!

Jackie Angus

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“Jo Hughes, you know how much I love being part of your Academy and everything I’m learning. But one of the best things is sharing what I learn in a practical way as I teach lessons and train. Very much like ripples in a pond. Even better is when I have the opportunity to reach the next generation of horse keepers.

You have been working with me to help a couple of my horses gain more emotional control when using food rewards, which was a huge gap with some of them when I met you. The other day I was teaching a 12 year old about this. After a short teaching session with the clicker, we ended with an “All done,” and the horse walked over to the hay box we keep in the arena and began to nibble hay. Previously, he would have nudged us and investigated us for more treats. She turned and looked at me with a big smile and said, “He’s calm, relaxed and doing what horses do naturally.”

Not only are you teaching me, but teaching others through me. And the horses are the big winners. 🙂 Thank you again!”

Kim Strauss

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“Jo helped me with a tricky young horse who was extremely resource guarding, leading to aggression with both other horses and people. This was causing problems when she was fed, or given hay in the field.

Jo was excellent, she was knowledgeable, explained things clearly and gave me a plan to work towards between sessions. She was very positive with me, and helped me to notice both small and large improvements in my horse’s behaviour. I and others can now feed her, and replenish hay without the problems recurring. She has even been able to be turned out with one of my other horses.

I would highly recommend Jo for any horse training you need, whether it is to resolve a specific problem, or to continue your horse’s education.”

Karena Gomez

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Seconded! Jo is experienced in classical equitation, understands biomechanics, learning theories, ethology, thresholds and body language, has enough knowledge to take a critical overview and is developing a structured training programme that others can follow. Her ethical standards are high; no hesitation in directing you to her for more information on an “R+ programme”

Debbie Busby – Equine Behaviour Consultant

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What Jo has managed to do with this course (How Horses Learn, Feel & Communicate) is extraordinary! She has pulled together a huge amount of information, providing the student with a lot of information, in a format which is logical and helps to make sense of a very complex subject. Not only that, you are provided with the truth…the science behind how horses learn, how it feels to them when different training methods are employed and whether you are helping them to become confident and happy in all aspects of daily handling and ridden work.

For me personally, this course has connected the dots between the various things that I have learnt over the years, empowering me to make informed choices for my horse with regards to training methods and behaviour modification. It has also enabled me to see with more clarity exactly how a horse might be feeling during training and/or everyday events.

I truly believe that there is no other course quite like this currently available. If this course became mandatory for all horse owners/trainers, the horse world would become a very different place!

Heather Richardson

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I am up and running on the course. You have done a wonderful job! I’m thrilled with your first module. Tutorial for the heart of the class, supplemental videos, supplemental articles, books to guide a deeper pursuit and comedy illustrating the lesson. Fabulous job – I am so happy to have found you 🙂

Kim Strauss

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“The ONLY trainer I trust with my horses! If you’re ever looking for a journey like no other with your equine, I highly recommend Jo. I took nearly 2 years to find the right person who would help the magic happen. The knowledge she shares is beyond imagination. Can’t thank you enough Jo!”

Emma Hartley

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Well, the 12 week online course “How Horses Learn, Feel & Communicate is over :-( – it has been an amazing learning experience with so much information and in such depth in Jo’s video lectures for each module – access to additional learning materials via links to web pages that meant we could delve as deeply as we wished into each topic; however the video tutorials themselves were so clear and packed with information that for many will be plenty deep enough to allow for an excellent grounding in helping us to prepare for training our horses with an understanding of learning theory, the emotional circuits of the brain, the ethology of the horse and how to read and understand their body language. The forum allowed for more discussion via various assignments designed to motivate deeper thinking and questioning of our understanding of the subjects, culminating in a quiz on each module.

I have added so many layers to my knowledge and my interest to study further has been nurtured and encouraged.

Thank you Jo for a wonderful course! I know how much you have put into this – and it shows. Excellent and I highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to further their understanding of these topics.”

Carolyn Jenkinson

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I concur with all of this! Loving the course but definitely need more hours in the day! I really love the Jaak Panksepp vids, he is something special. Love the course Jo – you’re something special too!”

Amanda Bradley

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“Wow, wow, wow, what a fabulous course! So much amazing information to take in and learn from. The way you have put this together suits me so well! I love the way the tutorials and videos were so informative and allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of just how horses learn, feel and communicate without having to spend hours and hours studying, which I just don’t have the time or inclination to do. However, if you enjoy researching Jo has provided endless additional learning material within each module so you can delve as deep as you want to. The quiz and the home study at the end of each module was brilliant too. You have added so many more layers to my knowledge.

I have taken what I have learnt within the course to my training and interactions with my horse and I can’t thank you enough for how much it has helped me – I understand him so much more :-)”

Alex Rayner

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“This course is really thoughtfully put together and packed full of evidence-based information, from basics to philosophical! Lots to learn for all levels of experience and interest.”

Debbie Busby about the How Horses Learn, Feel & Communicate course

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“Becoming a member of the academy of positive horsemanship has wide ranging benefits. Not only do you have access to extensive video footage of various training scenarios, numerous articles in the academy library and the opportunity to converse with like minded people on the forums, other services are available.

One of these services is the video review lesson. This is a fantastic concept and brilliant for people in my position who are located too far away to travel to lessons.

I initially uploaded 5 mins of my recent training to YouTube and sent Jo the link. She then watched the video, made notes and arranged a follow up call which can be done by phone or Skype.

On just 5 mins of footage, it was incredible how much feedback and advice she was able to give having studied my mares body language and reactions in minute detail.

I was able to watch the video while we were discussing the session and she was able to direct me to a specific reaction or point in the training where my mare was starting to grasp the concepts. I could then watch this back and see exactly what she meant. I got so much out of this lesson and will definitely be arranging another one.”

Amanda Bradley

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“We don’t know what we don’t know. Sounds simple doesn’t it, but we can never know things or discover things if we don’t have an open mind.

I didn’t know anything about website design until I went on a course, I had never heard of some of the programming languages – so how could I have hunted them out for myself?

Its the same with how we train horses. If we have never heard of operant and classical conditioning then how are we to know we need to learn about them?

Same goes for the emotional systems all mammals share – I studied biology and animal physiology at undergraduate level, but never kept up-to-date with neurobiology – I liked cardiology so was happy to keep abreast with that and respiratory medicine (as a critical care practitioner).

So if you have heard all the learning theory terminology but have no idea how they can be used with horses, or you don’t understand about the emotional systems and how training can affect them, don’t be afraid to learn more.

Social media is great, it allows us to explore topics we otherwise would not know existed.

Jo Hughes’ course “How Horses Learn, Feel and Communicate” is a good starting point. 12 weeks of videos, quizzes and lots of feedback and support.

The second one has just finished but I am sure there will be more in the pipeline. I may even do it again.”

Gill Langridge

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“It’s really through these last couple of modules that you start to clearly see the flaws in the natural horsemanship model. The training is used as a means to an end but the horses true emotions are outside the equation and submission is taken as partnership.

I remember when I was a little girl, I used to love the film ‘The Black Stallion’ and it was always my dream to be that kid having that relationship with that horse! Then you grow up, get taught to ride, the waters become muddied, you need to kick that pony to make it go, don’t let that pony take the mickey out of you etc. and that dream has been lost and consigned to a childhood affectation.

I feel that through this course, I am back on the path of that childhood dream and now know that those feelings weren’t childish or naïve.”

Amanda Bradley about the How Horses Learn, Feel & Communicate Course

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“I cannot imagine how many hours you have put into putting all the video and content together, plus all the time you have spent thinking about how to go about it so that students can understand what is actually quite a complex subject! But seriously Jo, well done, the How Horses Learn, Feel & Communicate course is AWESOME and I am already looking forward to the straight & supple one!”

Heather Richardson

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“I’ve just got back into the course again and I LOVE it! I’m very lucky to have Jo come out to me and my horse every week so I guess I have been lazy with the course and the forums as I feel I learn so much from my time with Jo, but getting back into the course again this week has just highlighted to me how much it helps and supports my practical lessons. My knowledge grows every day thanks to Jo.”

Alex Rayner

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“I found the one on habituation and flooding brilliant too – really, REALLY opens your eyes to how misinterpreted this subject is, and how often these terms and their application are incorrect (either knowingly or unknowingly) to the detriment of so many horses. It does take time to learn to observe things and learning to read those subtle body language signals to understand where the horse is with regards to its personal thresholds and then what to do about it…all covered in the course…of course.”

Carolyn Jenkinson

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“My new horse arrived yesterday and though I am not new to clicker training and positive reinforcement training (approx 15 years of doing +R with my previous mare), my new horse is and I was a bit concerned that I might blow his brains with it!

However as an Academy member I am spending this afternoon going through the videos and articles and I have to say, wow! Jo Hughes you have been so clever with how you have put together all the information. I now feel able to incorporate +R right now in an easy and non stressful way! My new boy is a PRE Andalusian and they are renowned for being very quick thinkers, so you really need to know what you are doing but I am super excited about our future!! Thank you Jo Hughes!!!”

Heather Richardson

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“Thank you so much Jo for guiding us through all of this!

I was petrified of finding a trainer that would fully understand him and the direction we needed to go. I searched 2 years for someone I felt suitable and when you came that first day, everything just fit! Everything made sense and its been an amazing journey ever since.

This horse is so special as he really did not enjoy life with humans, there was zero trust and to think the only way he could cope was to go into full blown aggression was very upsetting. To see him now is just out of this world!

P.s you’re never allowed to retire! Lol xx”

Emma Hartley & Zeus

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“Loving the video Jo! Just watched it through for the first time – it ties in so well with what I have been studying in the psychology courses I have been doing online – and truly highlights where Jos has got all his issues from – long before I got him- and during my learning curve to where I am at now! Knowing why what happens happens – gosh – humbling stuff !!! – albeit now with a knowledge and ongoing plans to deal with stuff in a kinder and psychologically less damaging way !!!!”

Carolyn Jenkinson about the Module 3 in the Online How Horses Learn, Feel & Communicate Course

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“Love this article Jo Hughes, very balanced and great videos too.” – Suzanne Rogers Learning About Animals 

“….being as grass doesn’t run away from horses, they aren’t very genetically prepared to handle frustrations when trying to figure out how to gain their food rewards.” Haven’t seen it put exactly like that before, but quite so! Great blog Jo Hughes. – Debbie Busby Evolution Equine

Click here to read the article

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“I’m doing Jo’s course as a CPD refresher and the content so far is excellent although I’m afraid I’m a week or 2 behind as I’m so busy! There is a huge amount of varied information that suits different learning styles, from videos to academic papers, and if you have the time you can really delve deeply into the finer points of how horses learn and how they experience and act in and on their environment, but even if you have less time available and can’t go into those depths, you will still acquire a good knowledge in a structured way which will help you be a better trainer.

Jo’s also set up a really good discussion forum, whatever level people are at, they feel confident to ask analytical questions with open minds and everyone is encouraging and respectful, I haven’t seen one instance where anybody might have felt belittled or put down. So if you can join the next course in July, go for it!”

 

Debbie Busby – Equine Behaviour Consultant

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“I am studying the online How Horses Learn, Feel & Communicate Course run by Jo Hughes of the Academy of Positive Horsemanship.

This is an extremely useful course for anyone who has contact with horses, we all need to learn to communicate and ethically train horses. Horses are learning all the time – whether we are actively doing a training sessions or just taking them to and from the field and stable.

This course is a mixture of video presentations, articles from various websites and questions to get us thinking about why we do what we do and how the horse may feel about this. The scientific content is at a level anyone can understand.One example is looking at videos of flood desensitisation and assessing the possible emotions felt by the horse. Then we had to find videos to illustrate this technique. It was a bit daunting as sometimes it is difficult to decide what is or is not flooding. P.S flooding is not a technique that is recommended.

Jo is very patient and makes excellent videos presentations, she is always willing to answer questions, and assist in our training problems.

I can whole heartedly recommend this course.”

Gill Langridge

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“I have a couple, but one stands out in particular…..Jo Hughes for her passion. I’ve known Jo for many years now and have seen her progression as she has found her way, sharing her journey with great honesty.  She is so passionate about her training ethics and that comes across in her teaching. She is extremely personable and humble. It’s great to be taught by somebody that truly loves what they are doing. Jo has all the time in the world when it comes to good training, and I admire that about her.”

Lisa Rose

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“Awesome. Am ten minutes in to the discriminative stimuli video, loving it. Your psychology background is clear!”

“Your Academy’s great, I see it as becoming the equine version of Jean Donaldson’s dog training Academy.”

Debbie Busby

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As a 40+ novice! I want to share what an inspiration Jo Hughes has, and continues to be. Although I am familiar with clicker training ( with dogs) transferring the skills to your own horse requires assessment, planning and knowledge. Jo is continuing to build these skills with Pepper and I in an open, realistic and encouraging manner.

Words cannot express the positive changes in my relationship with Pepper. Judging from the huge progress we have already made in 6 weeks, I am positive our future together has left the previous frustration, uncertainty and reluctance behind. Pepper is keen it interact and enjoys learning new things or developing his existing skills.

Jo has enabled me to work positively (using positive reinforcement and a clicker) with Pepper and there is no element of “doing battle” anymore, just working as a team!

I would recommend contacting Jo to discuss your needs and begin your journey with an initial assessment to establish an informed plan.

Then let the fun begin!

Lizz Dockerty (Canine Clicker Trainer)

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This reference was written in the summer of 2013 following Jo Hughes’ successful completion of 18 months of mentoring with Dr Helen Spence. It refers to Jo’s growth over the course of the mentoring programme. A full list of the topics covered is also available.

“During the course of the mentoring programme I have seen Jo grow in both confidence and knowledge. She has implemented much of what she has learned with her mare, Dancer, working through frustration and tension, coming out the other side with a calm mare with a super attitude to learning. This involved extensive systematic desensitisation and counterconditioning to a variety of cues that, for Dancer, had very strong aversive associations. She has applied her understanding of equine ethology, stress and welfare to improving Dancer’s management in a way that has helped enormously with her issues, including working through extinction of her attention seeking behaviours. She has also demonstrated how, with Dancer, she can transfer this process to work with a rider, at liberty (no tack), re-training lateral work and introducing new exercises such as Jambette, leading to Spanish Walk. Jo has an enquiring mind and questions everything, and this attitude has aided her in her quest to improve her understanding of learning theory and equine ethology. In the video lesson assignment she demonstrated that she could teach the initial steps of getting started with the clicker to a new horse and owner in a simple yet informative way, showing that she could apply shaping principles to people as well as horses, and showing awareness of the kinds of issues that a beginner trainer might face. I have seen her grow in her ability to make training plans and improve her ability to work calmly through any problems that might arise when training her horse. I look forward to seeing her develop as she gains experience applying her understanding of these principles to a wide variety of horses.”

Dr Helen Spence

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Jo, Thank you so much for your work on, and understanding of, the problems we have had with our thoroughbred mare, Miss Deeds (Missy).

Her nervous thoroughbred nature was combined with back pain problems, initially thought to be as a result of producing an over-sized foal, but now diagnosed as kissing spines, which made saddling and riding her very difficult.

After four years of struggling, you have in a matter of months taught us techniques using positive reinforcement and a clicker that have cleverly helped us to overcome these issues, bringing Missy to a calm, relaxed state where she is keen and really enjoying her training. The training is not only enjoyable for her but also systematically strengthening her body and back carefully through developing the muscles needed to carry the weight of a rider.”

Lorraine Bristow (Classical Equitation trained using Positive Reinforcement)

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“Jo has been teaching me for almost a year and throughout that time we have worked on a range of different aspects of my riding. Mostly, she has really helped me with my position and shown me that when you relax the horse relaxes with you. I am much more confident than I was before and I feel more comfortable to try stretching and bending exercises to enable the horse to become more supple. Thank you for all your help!”

Eleanor Jaines (Classical Equitation)

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“Jo is a brilliant riding instructor with a gentle and positive teaching style. Steffi and I are of different abilities and ride different types of horses.  Jo in a short time gave us the individual answers and details that we had missed leading to specific improvements in us and our horses.  Simply and clearly explaining the intricate complexity of correct positioning and placing the whole of my leg in the right place is making a real difference. We are looking forward to many more lessons together with Jo in the future”

Steffi and Richie (Classical Equitation)

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“I would definitely recommend Jo to anyone who needs help with their riding, she is an amazing teacher and I have progressed enormously since having her as my instructor. She is kind and teaches you in a nice way which is easy to understand. Since being taught by Jo my confidence has increased massively and I am now riding horses I wouldn’t have ever dreamed of riding. Thankyou Jo xx”

Keira Clarke (Classical Equitation including Jumping)

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“Having started riding some 7 years ago you would have thought that I would be a competent and confident rider by now.

I came into riding at the grand old age of 49 and as you know the older we get the bigger the fear factor involved. Jo came to work at the stables where i keep my horse – a beautiful welsh section D called Nipper. Her style of instruction is calm and methodical and we have been concentrating on my confidence, balance and position since she became my instructor in May 2013.

She very quickly realised that I’m very much a ‘why’ person  and has been very patient with me, explaining the anatomical and classical riding benefits behind the coaching. We have stripped everything back to basics concentrating on achieving a solid base and building from there.

As a result my position has improved ten fold which means I’m in balance with my boy. This has led to a more meaningful and trusting ridden bond between him and myself and in turn I’ve learnt not only to put my trust in him but also in myself. Things are starting to slot into place and become automatic and whilst I realise there is always room for improvement my confidence is such that I no longer shy away from the scary things. I will leave that to Nipper – I’m just going to sit it!”

Jackie Angus (Classical Equitation)

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“So recently I asked our mentor Jo to help me by writing a plan to continue my free shaping Glen to lunge around a round pen. I had got a certain way on my own but once I’d got him moving I then got a bit stuck and wasn’t sure of the way to move on with the behaviour. Jo wrote a plan which enabled me to move from the free shaping I’d already achieved (seen on the video) onto introducing a cue and then onto working with a variable schedule of reinforcement.

I’m pleased to announce that we have been successful. I’ve almost got the behaviour on cue, he’s definitely recognising it now and today I introduced the variable rate. I can really see him thinking and if I don’t click, he puts extra effort in, its so great. Thank you Jo. I will keep working on this for now and stretch the number of steps he’s doing.”

Julie Jordan

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“I hope everyone is feeling suitably inspired! Jo had to put a lot of thought into shaping this, and has done a beautiful job…can’t wait to see how it develops into Spanish Walk :-)”

Dr Helen Spence 

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“I might be partial because I have been trying to follow the classical path for quite a few years now, but Jo’s speech was really close to my heart. The videos presented of her mare were very clear in showing the process of teaching half passes or shoulder-in’s. Plus Jo was very nice to me when I approached her later and we had a nice chat.”

Miriam Barattoni (posted on TCTT group about The Equine Clicker Conference, September 2012)

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“I was there for Jo’s talk, and it was informative and spoken from the heart – it will be the key that unlocks the future for those of us that are passionate about classical dressage but cannot reconcile our newfound knowledge with the hundreds of years of knowledge from the Masters and for that I thank Jo Hughes and applaud her – and cant wait for more insights and developments for this noble art with the addition of a noble science. People like Jo Hughes have the vision and the skill – thank goodness! xx”

Carolyn Jenkinson (about The Equine Clicker Conference, September 2012)

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“You were brilliant, and I think did the most rounded and detailed talk that I saw!”

Jane Holderness (about The Equine Clicker Conference, September 2012)

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“Anyway, I really hope you know how much I support you and how genuinely grateful I am to you for changing my life and that of ***, ***, ***, ***, etc etc. You are one super lady with such a generous spirit. The way you share your knowledge is a true inspiration and I learn from you and your sites daily, even if I’ve been less active on the site of late. So this is really also just to say a massive thank you.”

Luisa Wengraf

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“Ditto ^^^^ I had such a great day, you and Dancer are an inspiration! xx”

Jane Holderness

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“Jo was absolutely fantastic, our first time at clicker training and thoroughly enjoyed it, shetland ponies included 🙂 THANKS Jo xx”

Bea Clark

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“I have seen these gals in action so I know how extraordinary they are…kudos to Jenni, Jo and Anita too!”

Shawna Karrasch

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“Jo, I think you are an inspiration!! You have such a great, questioning mind.”

Shawna Karrasch

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“We both had a lovely day, Lucy hasn’t stopped talking about everything, she is very excited about the prospect of clicker training all my other ponies!

I really enjoyed it and found it very encouraging, that it could be used in all aspects of training, calmly, stress free, and fun for horse/pony and owner, seeing how **** felt about **** at the beginning then how they finished was wonderful, and **** and ****, their liberty work and friendship is fabulous and that is definiely something to aim for.

We both found you very warm, friendly and approachable with so much information to pass on and your enthusiasm was second to none, your pleasure from seeing the ponies and horses react to different situations was lovely and the way you read their body language and can see a movement going to happen before it does is amazing! When you managed to get Bea to go in the lorry after a few minutes just shows what can be done without pressure, stress and force, just the icing on the cake really 🙂

Thank you for a lovely day and the start of my clicker journey, lovely to know you are just up the road too!”

Bea Clark 

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“My dearest Jo!

I hear the decision is now official…I cannot begin to tell you how much you brought to me and even more to my girl in this past year and a half. I have learnt so much by just being around, watching how calm and composed you always stay with your horses no matter what. Introducing your ideas in my work has been the most beneficial for both Soran and me, working on balance and the animal wellness, understanding her reactions and dealing with it in a different way than what we are generally being taught. Your influence has given me the chance to be everyday more amazed by my girl, in a way that very few people would ever be able to experience. You have been a true inspiration, probably the person that has changed the most my way of thinking and working with horses in recent years, just having had the chance to be around you and observe your ways of working. I definately hope that we won’t lose touch and wish you all the very best in your horsey projects and researches! Both you and Chris, and of course Dancer and Norman will be dearly missed. xxx”

Audrey Leyval and Soran

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“Thanks Jo for your lovely words. We have both been having such a great time and have really felt that we have progressed in leaps and bounds since our lessons with you! xx”

Heather Richardson

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“Fabulous day – thank you! I REALLY enjoyed the whole day – lovely people and great lessons. I feel inspired – its been a while since I could say that.

The fact that you are striving to assimilate clicker into classical is just perfect for me. I was resigned to having clicker lessons and working out how to integrate it – then along came you! A huge relief!”

Elaine Mariani

East Sussex, UK

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“Jo’s wealth of experience has been a huge help in sorting the problems I encountered with my young mare, through pointing out issues on my position as well as intricate details of her balance. By tipping me with simple exercises, Jo gave me the answer to many questions, and the improvements experienced since the first lesson are incredible. Jo has got tremendous teaching skills for which calm, patience and clearness are the main words, not forgetting her great ability to find tailored solutions for each horse/rider couple as an individual.”

Audrey Leyval & Soran

Newmarket, Suffolk UK

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“Hi Jo,

Just wanted to thank you for all your help with the video analysis of me and Raz. What you can spot and how you explained it was incredible.

The tiny details that I had missed but meant so much to Raz has completely changed how we communicate now. You have shown me how much my body language is influencing what Raz does and also what I was teaching her was not what I wanted because of previous issues we’ve had.

Having the videos has allowed me to go back through them several times and understand fully what you were teaching me. Your video consultation service is such a valuable tool.

Truly an inspirational teacher!”

Bryony Sinfield & Raz

Guildford, Surrey UK

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“Dear Jo

Thank you so much for the lesson you gave to Amber and I – we both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and learnt so much. This was certainly evident the next day, as Amber ‘took me’ to the sand school, rather than the other way around. She was very eager to get up there and find her mat!

We have been clicker training for a long time, however, the lesson with you was like a riding lesson but from the ground with the clicker. You gently reminded me to release sooner and reinforce more often – less was certainly more. As you were able to see the ‘bigger picture’ this really helped both Amber and I move on with our ground work.

Also, your ideas and remedies for various things that were going on were pure genius at times and thus enabled Amber to learn a new pattern easily and without correction or force. We both, can’t wait for you to come again!”

Heather Richardson & Amber

Equine Touch Practitioner, Aromatherapist & Reiki Master

Guildford, Surrey UK

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“Jo, you are actually amazing!

I don’t think there is anyone else I know who speaks such undiluted wisdom as you do. Many people say stuff I agree with, even if only in part… And many echo things I’d been thinking. But its only your words that give me the feeling of getting the whole truth. And actual answers. Proper, real and true ones.
Thank you :)”

Philippa Gort-Barton

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“I would just like to say a HUGE thank you to you for travelling to the Midlands to spend time with Gladstone and I, we are both truly grateful to you for helping us progress on our journey :0) Before you came I was kind of ‘stuck’ with what to do next and during the few hours you spent with us I learnt so much and at the time didn’t think I would be able to remember it all let alone take it to our training after you had gone. Well how wrong could I have been!!! I just can’t begin to explain how much we have come on and our relationship is just the most wonderful thing ever now, we can truly communicate, and I ask Glad’s questions all the time and he always answers me.

This is all thanks to you Jo, you really are a wonderful teacher and a HUGE inspiration to me. Can’t wait for your next visit!”

Alex Rayner

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“Jo’s depth of knowledge is absolutely amazing, but its not just that which impresses me! She has the sensitivity to communicate that knowledge at just the right pitch – I never feel out of my depth, yet my understanding grows in leaps and bounds when she’s there. It’s a delicate balance and a rare gift to have! She’s a great horsewoman and a great teacher. I could go on!”

Philippa Gort-Barten

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“Thanks so much – you are such an inspiration – just needed a reminder of my inner strength and there you were right on cue! You’re a star…!”

Tanya

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“I am keeping that picture of you and Dancer in my mind – that is much more inspiring for me.”

Helen

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“Thanks Jo…it really is great fun seeing him learn new stuff. We tried a corner of poles to walk and back up through as well, and he pretty much mastered that too, but will need a little more practice so he’s a little straighter and doesn’t knock the poles when backing up, but it’s amazing what he achieved in just one session. You really inspired me the other day and I am very excited about the whole Horse Agility thing now!!! ;0) x”

Lisa Mancuso

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