About this course
Alphabet Album Webinars:
Unlearning: Leggo Your Ego
Recording Available NOW!
( Kirsten Neumann Stephens and Andrea Harrison presenters/ Ayoka Bubar moderator)
What is unlearning you ask?
Join Kirsten and Andrea to explore the ways unlearning can challenge you, excite you and get you doing some of your best training. Horses, dogs and humans all benefit from unlearning and letting go of firmly held beliefs and practices. How do you balance what to keep and what to let go? Specific actionable techniques to apply to your situation along with the most up to date research and understanding of the topic! Join this interactive and exciting webinar to learn more!
This webinar was an amazing dive into both the theory and the practice of unlearning. A great conversation wrapped it up!
Read on - Kirsten's bio lays it all out!!
I’m Kirsten Neumann Stephens. I’m a positive reinforcement enthusiast who works with horses and my dog. I came into horses later in life and something about traditional training methods never really resonated with me. Perhaps it was my late start or my deep connection with animals, but whatever it was pushed me to find a better way to connect with my horses and my dog.
I’m a secondary school educator and in my 20 years of practice, I don’t think I’ve ever successfully had a student learn something from me by offering the same repetitive, boring, or worse, frightening experiences. I did not teach my children to use a spoon by smacking them each time they stuck their little fists in their food. Traditional horse training asks us to teach using fear, punishment, and endless repetition. It just feels wrong to punish my horse when he clearly communicates his fear, his confusion, or his frustration.
In the summer of 2017, I adopted a four-year-old, off the track harness racing Standardbred. He came to me trained to pull a cart but had never had a human on his back. A person might think, “With all the horses in the world, what possessed her to pick a young horse with zero experience?” I spent my first few weeks asking myself the exact same question.
I came upon positive reinforcement after a trip to Iceland left me a little obsessed with Icelandic horses. I hit upon an Instagram account that showed videos of a woman in the United States doing things with her horses that amazed me. She suggested that new positive reinforcement learners should have a look at Alexandra Kurland and Shawna Karrisch’s work. After that, I was hooked on positive reinforcement. It was as though a light went on and it illuminated all of the dark corners of my relationship with horses.
It dawned on me that I have nothing but time. My ONLY aim in owning this horse was, and remains, fostering an equal partnership with him. I am not interested in competition in any form. My goal is connection and doing things together that we both love. So far, he’s shown me those things are clicker training, horse hiking, and trail riding.
To get to where I am today I had much to unlearn. There was work to do emotionally. I had to let go of my ego and all the baggage that goes with carrying that burden. That unburdening sometimes felt like dropping a suit of armour, but it also felt like leaving one’s clothes at the front door of a party. Being exposed and vulnerable has taught me to be brave in defence of what I believe in when it comes to horses.
Join Andrea and me as we discuss this process of unlearning years of traditional horse training to get at the heart at what it means for me to work with an equine partner. (And you know general unlearning - in life, trauma and our canine friends will come up too!)
As futurist and philosopher, Alvin Toffler once wrote: "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."
Looking for more information about the webinar series this is part of - and links to the specific individual webinars (or the whole album)?