Michael RichardsonSteps to Softness:
Improving Your Communication
Through a Quiet Dialogue with Your Horse

Philosophy:
After over thirty years of working with horses, Michael Richardson has evolved from using the common techniques of pressure and release and the use of aides to working toward a more subtle approach that incorporates listening and communicating with the horse from the horse's perspective and understanding.  Michael’s goal is to establish a line of communication and build a relationship with the horse by addressing the subtle changes in the horse expressions and body language.  His goal is to build a rapport with the horse rather than use aides for domination, control, manipulation or submission. Michael’s goal for the horse and rider is to achieve softness in both the human and the horse, a softness that is developed in the mind and is expressed in through body.  Michael’s approach will lead the human to become more aware of their own expressions and body language, which is the primary language that the horse knows and understands.  This language is the cornerstone of more advanced work using common aides and techniques.

Learning Outline:
The approach that Michael teaches begins with working with the horse at liberty and then progressing to halter and lead and finally under saddle.  Each horse and rider combination will have their own unique relationship, circumstances and history, therefore each horse/human couple will work with Michael based on where they are.  Success is measured in incremental improvements in the horse's ability to understand and process what the human is communicating without the use of physical attachments.   The goals are to assist the human in being in the moment with the horse and understand the nuances of the horse's expressions and movement and then to take that understanding and communicate to the horse without becoming physical or aggressive, as would be interpreted by the horse

Format:

The clinic will begin with Michael sharing what he has learned and applied in his dialogue with the horse.  Then each horse and human will join Michael at the round pen to watch Michael work with each horse at liberty.  The work at liberty is essential in that it provides a safe environment that allows freedom of expression without physical attachments.  Each rider will join his horse and Michael will guide you through a process of heightened understanding and awareness of the horse's language and your own.  Each horse and human will develop based on their own relationship progress, not based on a set schedule or performance objectives.  Therefore, you may work with halter and lead and under saddle, if it is appropriate.

Structure:
This program is designed as a 2-day clinic.  Each day, Michael will work with each horse and rider in the morning and late afternoon.  During the early afternoon the horses and riders will review and practice what they have learned with Michael under the direction of Tiffany Richardson

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