Monday, September 04, 2006

Quantum Horses

EoR is always amused when disparate woos join in unholy wedlock. Like "quantum" and "natural horsemanship" aka Quantum Savvy. This "fabulous" programmme, based on "heart and desire" is founded upon a crucial principle:

As prey animals (animals preyed upon by predators) horses instinctively push or fight against pressure in order to find freedom and escape. As such they have learnt that comfort or release is the desired outcome. We see evidence of this daily with horses doing whatever is necessary to escape confinement or pressure of any kind (just think of horses that pull back for instance). At Quantum Savvy we recognize that horses learn by when comfort is offered or by release and our whole programme of working with horses - Release Focus Training™ - is based upon this crucial principle.

Which is a shame, since their unique "principle" is nothing new. Here's Alois Podhajsky (former director of the Spanish Riding School) from 1973 (Alois Podhajsky: The Riding Teacher):

For thousands of years the maxim has been maintained that "The art of riding is based on the judicious administration of reward and punishment." Today we note with regret that, vis-a-vis the age-old principle, the administration of punishment has been observed much more than that of reward. [...] And if we remember to reward [horses] at any appropriate moment, then not only will we riders experience the happiness of this world but our horses, too, will be happy creatures.

Or James Fillis from 1902 (James Fillis: Breaking and Riding):

A pat on the neck should be given at an appropriate time, that is to say, immediately after an act of obedience on the part of the horse, in the same manner as punishment should promptly follow disobedience. The moment he yields, give him his proper reward by patting him on the neck and slackening the reins, which will greatly facilitate the process of breaking. To obtain its full effect, a pat on the neck should be accompanied by the voice. A combination of these two soothing means will produce the best possible effect and, as a rule, will accomplish its object.

Or Xenophon from c. 400BC (Xenophon: The Art of Horsemanship trans M H Morgan):

If, however, you reward him with kindness after he has done as you wish, and punish him when he disobeys, he will be most likely to learn to obey as he ought. This rule, to be sure, may be expressed in a few words, but it holds good in every branch of horsemanship. For instance, he would receive the bit the more readily if some good should come of it every time he received it; and he will leap and jump up and obey in all the rest if he looks forward to a season of rest on finishing what he has been directed to do.

There are various articles and videos on the website, but unfortunately these all require signing up to the website to access them - something EoR wasn't interested in doing. Nonetheless, the forums are publicly accessible. They're full of people singing the praises of Quantum Savvy in an almost religious fervour.

What helped [...] Beleiving in the programe, that Quantum would not ask anything of me which I wouldn't be able to do, thanks guys. [...] Keep it up are doing a fabulous job of following the programme and Im so glad its really paying off for you. Thank you for being such a terrific student. (got that blue string and badge warming up for you!)

This reminds EoR of other organisations that require you to "follow the programme". Amway? Scientology?

Then there's the "dream" of training a one eyed horse, where the answer inadvertently implies that the followers of this wonderful way are also one-eyed:

Hi Zoe.....we have had lots of horses with limited vision or only one eye do the programme with every success. We have also had many students in the same boat also achieve their dreams.

When the devotees mock themselves so well, it's like shooting the proverbial fish in the natural barrel...

There is also interesting information about how Quantum Savvy works in the latest newsletter:

The QA programme was designed to build emotional fitness.... all you have to do is to have some faith in the programme and just keep ticking those boxes.

And paying for all those courses and certificates. And, like all good natural horsepersonships, the whip is loathed, but specially named replacements are not only available (for a price) but are also de rigeur for the correct effects of the magic:

A horseman's stick is the perfect answer [...]. Because it is rigid it does not have the sting of a whip. This also helps us with accuracy and timing - it starts when we want and quits when we want - and it is easier to aim than a rope. Made of polyester, it's strong and won't splinter, it is light-weight with the weight in the handle end for balance so it doesn't wear your arm out. The handle is rubber for comfort and grip plus you can attach your horseman's string to the end for extra reach.

Which is funny considering whips are often rigid, are made of polyester, and have weighted handles made of rubber. If you really want to, you can even attach "strings" to them (in reality, marine grade rope sold at a premium).

Sadly, EoR couldn't find any information about why this particular subschool of reallocating your money is in any way "quantum". Unless it's the quanta of money you need to keep offering to the gurus.

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