How animals learn – 5 day course

Immerse yourself in the world of applied animal learning  - for horse owners

Dates:  Sunday August 17th (group dinner evening only) to Friday August 22nd 2014 - bring a horse if you want to

Leader: Maxine Easey


This is 5 day course which can be attended with or without a horse.

We start the week with an introductory talk followed by a group dinner on the Sunday evening starting at 18:00.

Over the next 5 days we cover the basics of all animal learning and its progressive application to the teaching and training of horses.

This course is an opportunity to give yourself some quality time to focus on learning the theory and seeing the practical application of the laws of behaviour with horses at a steady but progressive pace. Plenty of time is allowed for everyone to have time to absorb new information, test their own understanding in group exercises and simulations, and to practice new skills in a safe and supportive environment.

Max’s aim is to give both horses and their owners more choice in their lives. She does this by introducing open-minded horse owners to ways of being with and teaching horses functional things that can dramatically reduce the amount of pressure to which horses are routinely subjected in training and handling.

This begins with a discussion of what is meant by learning and training. We look at the key ingredients required for any approach to teaching things that are beneficial to animals in our care. That includes the need for a deep understanding of the natural behaviour of the species, as well as the likes, dislikes and tendencies of every individual animal.

Over the week we look at how all animals learn by association (classical conditioning) and by experiencing consequences (operant conditioning) and how to apply these for practical purposes to teach animals beneficial things.

We look at the safest and most reliable ways that animals can be taught to confident with their environment, how we can reduce their fears and frustrations and how animals can learn to control their own emotions (non-associative learning / habituation). As part of the class we will work with each horse throughout the week to see this applied in practice to help horses with things that concern or frustrate them.

We go on to look at options we have for explaining to an animal what it is we want them to do and the pros and cons of each of those options. We use different scenarios and simulations to find solutions for teaching our animals to do, or not to do things.

We look at the basic process for teaching, how to put any behaviour on cue so that it is repeatable, and how to shape more quality or duration into behaviours by training each of the small achievable steps towards a more complex “finished” product.

We look at how to put it all of what we have learned together and where to go next with each of our horses.

The course is a mix of lecture, video, group and individual exercises and simulations and practical sessions with horses belonging to participants and to the host.

Who is this course for?

This course is for anyone involved with any animal, but particularly with horses, and who wants a long term solution that involves a significant reduction in the use of pressure to communicate and motivate.

This is for anyone who wants a relationship where the animal collaborates as a partner for what s/he has to gain, rather than because of the uncomfortable consequences of not doing so.

This is for anyone who is ready to come out of their own comfort zone to hear the truth about animal learning. That might involve some temporary confusion about new terminology, some regret about not having learned this before, some fear about whether you can change habits you have practiced for so long, some frustration if it takes a while for your animal to believe you.

This is for you if you are willing to let go of the idea that we must use pressure to motivate animals because you have been told that this is how they motivate each other. You will learn that humans have the ability to communicate with and motivate animals in ways that go far beyond that. You will see it done, you will learn how to do it, you will do it and you will get results. This is for you if you have a strong desire to improve, to know more, to use more sophisticated ways of training that make use of the brainpower of the human.

This is for you if you are prepared to reconsider your current methods with an open mind. Expect some methods and ideas to be challenged and some completely overturned on the basis of looking at the natural behaviour of animals through the lens of the “laws of behaviour”. This is for you if you want to understand why some of the things you have been doing are not producing any improvement – and never will.

This is for you if you are in a place where your relationship and the way the animal feels about his or her life with you is the highest priority for you.

This is for anyone who wants inspiration and hope that it can be better and different if they are really willing to do things on the horse’s timeline.

This is for anyone who really wants to have more choice and to give their animals the best choice possible.


£400 for the week (with or without a horse).

Students who have previously attended a 2 or 3 day course with Max anywhere in the country are also invited to attend at a “discount for dedication!” rate of £300 for the week.

Price includes all tuition, a post-course handout, light refreshments and use of the excellent Brandy House facilities.

Max also likes to have dinner at The Brandy House with as many students as can make it on the Friday night before the course and on the Saturday night.

Accommodation for you and your horse, and lunch and dinner can be arranged when booking. 


For further information and to book your place please contact Medina at the Brandy House or complete the form below

Your Horse Adventures

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Animal Learning Theory Courses

augicon.jpg5 Day Immersion in Applied Animal Learning Theory
18-22nd August 2014
Maxine Easey