Dialogue and Consent
Inviting Your Horse into Partnership and Relationship
Would you like to create a harmonious and lasting bond with your horse?
Are you curious about how you can become more mindful and show up in relationship authentically and naturally, just like the horse?
Would you like to have your horse catch you instead of you catching him/her?
Are you stuck in old patterns or training styles that don’t feel congruent with your practice or the kind of person you wish to be with your horse?
Do you value your horse’s natural expression, wants, and needs?
“Your clinic helps to create a partnership between horse and human, not a human-dominated relationship. After only one day being more mindful of Storm’s body language, he led with no biting and no attitude!”
- Peter, NSW, Australia
Breaking Old Patterns of Relating to Horses
Many people love their horses like their own children. However, often they bring their unaware patterns to the relationship with horses. Significantly, when it comes to training a horse, people often fall back on training styles based on dominance, fear, pressure, and the horse being made to follow the request or instruction, whether they like it or not.
Physically and emotionally healthy horses are a key ingredient to a successful relationship with humans. We value the horse’s unique expression of nature and freedom and strive to listen to their wants and needs.
Based on the I-Thou relational model, the primary intention of Laura's Dialogue and Consent approach is regard for the horse as a sentient being with his/her own feelings, wants, and needs - above all training goals.
I-Thou is when two beings open to each other, when they really “see” each other, and become open to being influenced by the other.
Develop a Harmonious Relationship with Your Horse
In Laura's Dialogue and Consent clinics, you will learn how to:
Build a lasting bond and harmonious relationship with your horses based on trust, communication, and consent;
Apply the I-Thou relational model to working with and honoring your horse as a sentient being with his/her own wants and needs;
Become more mindful and body-aware when working with your horse, setting and embodying clear intentions;
Invite your horses into training using a consensual, collaborative, and play-based leadership style and knowledge of equine behavior;
Facilitate mutual learning with your horse without the use of whips, bits, gadgets, fear-, or food-based training methods;
Ensure safety for your horses, yourself, your family, and your clients through honoring the relationship above all other goals; and
Honor your horses’ boundaries, needs, and wants without letting them overstep yours.
Two- and three-day clinics will also include demonstrations and discussion on:
Transition a horse to bitless riding safely and seamlessly;
Integrity and managing the horse's natural expression and your energy in mounted work; and
Integrate holistic horse care principles to ensure happy and healthy horses.
Dialogue and Consent riding clinics can be arranged at special request. Learn how to maintain consent-based connection with your horse while mounted.
Participants in all clinics will have an opportunity to practice these skills with horses in a supportive environment.
“I feel empowered now to trust my natural instincts when interacting with horses, because Laura has confirmed for me that the things I have been taught in the past aren't necessarily the best way to do things.”
- Hasanka, New Zealand
A New Paradigm for Inviting your Horse into Training
In Laura’s approach, the primary intention is regard for horses as living beings with wants and needs through the I-Thou relational model. When true connection is the foundation for our equine partners, horses are not used as a tool, but are honored and invited to co-create with their humans.
We love our horses, but how we show up - energetically, in our bodies, and in our minds - are not always aligned with that place of love and compassion from which we truly want to connect with our horses. This training will help you become aware of all that, give you tools to deal with emotions when you are frustrated, and allow you to explore letting all your layers be as one. Through practice, you will learn to show up in relationship authentically and naturally, just like the horse.
For practitioners of equine-assisted growth and learning, the relationship we strive to model to our clients applies to our horses as well, whether we are engaging with our horses for clients or just interacting with them day-to-day. Being one way with our horses in equine-facilitated learning sessions, while clinging to old patterns of dominance and I-IT relating at other times is simply not congruent and can cause stress and even injury to our horses, our clients, and ourselves.
With the basic attitude and approach you will learn through Dialogue and Consent comes the possibility for profound connection and growth. You cannot go unchanged in a connection like this, and neither can your horse.
“I have a whole new perspective around my horses and the herd as whole."
- Penny, New Zealand
Driving Miss Daisy: Film on Dialogue and Consent
Dialogue and Consent with Daisy
Encountering another being in the space of possibility
What is I-Thou?
The I-Thou relational model was first described by Martin Buber, a 20th century Jewish philosopher and theologian. Buber wrote that human life finds its meaningfulness in relationships which ultimately bring us into relationship with the Divine - the eternal Thou.
I-Thou relations are seeped in love, caring, respect, commitment, and responsibility. I-Thou is a way of recognizing the intrinsic uniqueness and value of the other with his/her own wants and needs.
In an I-It relationship, the other being is treated - or used - as an object or viewed through the filter of judgment, past experiences, and intellectual process.
I-Thou is encountering another being in the moment, while offering the sacred space of possibility for meaningful growth.
I-Thou was first brought into equine-facilitated learning by Meg Kirby of the Equine Psychotherapy Institute (EPI Australia) as a focus of how practitioners need to be relationship with their horses. Laura received her certification training at EPI in 2014.
The Dialogue and Consent approach is Laura's way of bringing the I-Thou principle into the arena of horse training. She has expanded the model to include honoring personal boundaries and discovering new ways to inspire horses and invite them into partnership with humans while honoring the dignity of each.
Dialogue and Consent Clinics Calendar
“The workshop didn’t just apply to horsemanship: it explored relationships in general, the content is just as applicable to the way we interact with people as well as horses. I would recommend Laura to anyone interested in experimenting with this new way of being with horses.”
- Michael, NSW, Australia
"Thank you for such a special and life changing day. You have left me with some exciting changes to make. When I arrived home in the dark last night my mare walked straight up to me for a hug. She never has been so forthcoming!"
- Amanda Allen, NSW, Australia