What is R+?
What is R+? What is here to explore, and where will the journey lead us? We are thrilled to finally share all our wonderful encounters and experiences with you. Over the past couple of years, we have been lucky to meet many of you in person, and now we want to celebrate our life with horses together with you! We want to share magic moments, and all of you are invited to participate. You are our biggest inspiration, and you are the reason why we are bubbling over with ideas and enthusiasm for R+.
Experience positive reinforcement with horses
R+ or positive reinforcement is a scientific term used in behavioral psychology. To us, it describes more than a scholarly mode of action. From this base we aim to develop a positive philosophy that encompasses us and all aspects of being a horse. Every one of us can become R+. We all can be positive (en)force(r)s in this world.
See the bigger picture with R+
R+ is a part of you. It is not about using method X or Y to train a horse to perform certain tasks. On the contrary, R+ is mostly about you, your love, your horse, and the unique bond between the two of you. A bond that forms through joint development and one-on-one time well spent.
For that reason, R+ offers a little bit of input, some inspiration for your mutual personal development, deeper insights into the findings of learning theories, aspects of positive methods for training as well as examples to develop your own ideas and lessons. Most importantly, R+ lives through your thoughts and ideas.
We have decided against publishing a lengthy magazine or even a book, and opted for issuing small bits of R+ on a regular basis as some kind of soul food. This is because the brains of humans and horses alike are built to gather information from many small and different sources and perspectives in order to create a bigger picture. We all want to create our own world.
In doing so, we find coherence and feel comfortable in this diverse world. By comparison, reading lengthy texts about “the one correct” method or about endless experiences others have had is less likely to help with creating your own world. We all learn best by developing noticeable enthusiasm for the subject, and enthusiasm can only develop when you click with something. What makes us click is particularly when small details reveal their true grandeur or when the whole shrinks to become a minute detail of something else.
RPlus is a journey of discovery
R+ wants to be the playground and the calm space to explore all of this. Be curious, and start this adventure that will open up space for you and your horse to experience yourselves, and to experience your innermost selves. Eventually, you will meet on an equal footing.
Furthermore, you will also find, literally speaking, blank pages in R+. They are here so you can fill them with your most exciting and most beautiful colors. You might also find and include new perspectives on your life with horses, maybe you will start to questions some of your actions, and you might start to comprehend yourself and us as essential parts of an interconnected world.
Who are we at R+?
We are Conny and Marlitt, two horse-loving friends who have found each other through their common interest in positive reinforcement. R+ is our brainchild, and we want to share with you what moves us deep inside. We want you to take part in our most interesting experiences, and pass on what we have learned.
We invite you to this common path, to share moving experiences, to pick up knowledge along the way, and especially to celebrate our personal aha moments together.
Everything is possible
R+ can support you to strike out to become a professional clicker trainer for horses…
…and to discover in intimate togetherness with your horse how your common horse-sense works, and how you are able to communicate better.
Discover your common path
We have devised R+ for all of you who are interested in positive reinforcement. R+ is for all, regardless of ideological background, who want to learn about life itself, and thereby about themselves and about horses. R+ is especially for all who have been uncertain about their personal way with horses, and for all who might have worried about being perceived badly, and have not followed their dreams so far.
There is no master at R+, there is no teacher, and there is no final truth. We are not at school where teachers are ultimate authorities. Here at R+ we are all the same, and we all see the same things. However, each one of us sees them a little differently, from a different spot in the room which makes our personal perception so unique. We will keep emphasizing all the different perspectives! We are not experts for your life with horses – only you can be the authority for that. But we are all students and seekers who want to share a few tricks, some findings, and our knowledge with you.
No petty clicking!
R+ has been devised for all who do not believe that clicker training is about the clicker itself but about the underlying philosophy. And it is definitely not about talking with final determination about the absolute necessity to answer petty questions about clickers.
We support you in following your longings
Our starting point, here at R+, are your yearnings, your longing for horses, and the profound desire to find unity, appreciation and love. We assume that you are magically drawn to horses, and that they entice you to come closer to them in order to learn about them, to better understand them, and to get active together.
Have you been called by a horse? Don’t think twice, and come along! Take a moment to collect yourself, take a big sip from our R+ spirit, take one of our R+ inspirations and realize your very own dream.
Discover your own way
Focus on the core of your dream to get to your horse. How can you establish this base with a first step so your dream can become true in time? Imagine what you want to do with your horse… and off you go. You have mastered a big step to become independent and creative in your relationship with horses if everything goes well.
You have also mastered a big step if things do not turn out as planned. You have learned something about your expectations, your personal dissatisfaction, and maybe about impatience. This knowledge can inform future approaches so that you might be more successful the next time you try.
It is important to leave a mark or the book of life remains empty.
Metaphorically speaking, it is about hitting the billiard ball with the cue instead of talking online about the best way to hit the ball. Don’t lament, don’t hesitate, because one thing is for sure: By hesitating and perfecting you might become a top procrastinator but you will not become a top billiard player.
Mistakes are opportunities
We at R+ believe that there are hardly any mistakes that are not worth making. Those who think they know everything might only be afraid of trying something new. There are direct and indirect methods, there are long and short ways to achieve something, there are straight or cumbersome approaches. Labeling one as correct and the other as incorrect, however, does not teach us much about the subject at hand.
Shape your life with your horses
Things are the way they are. You can learn from them, maybe you chose to act differently the next time, or you understand why you have preferred one method over another in a specific situation. You can only dispense with mistakes if you see them as nuisance and do not learn from them.
Listen to your heart!
Life is a bit like drawing without being able to erase. It is important to be courageous and leave a mark or the book of life remains empty. A first sketch can turn into something new; it can be modified, painted over, and embellished. You cannot go wrong if you follow the inspirations put forth by R+, and thereby follow your heart. Of course, there will be moments with your horse you do not enjoy or want to happen. However, these might be the moments that open your eyes, so you can see what the two of you really want. In other words, they might tell you something about your and your horse’s desires that have not been or have been poorly expressed and satisfied so far.
Origin art design: Designed by starline/Freepik
Space for criticism
Criticism is good and important. Therefore we have dedicated some space for critical self-awareness and to take down negative thoughts about your horse and yourself.
So, you can waste precious time and energy with finding shortcomings and inadequacies in yourself and others. Or you could look at this picture and understand that, according to R+, it is much more important to find and value one or many of the numerous positive approaches.
Success with horses
Sometimes a lesson goes as planned, and sometimes you can reach your goal. Other times things do not go so well, and sometimes you take a wrong turn. However, even a wrong turn might lead you to discover a wonderful place you did not even know existed. Our relationship with horses can succeed in many ways, and whether it is called successful or not often depends on one’s perspective.
Moments that are permeated with a positive atmosphere are what we call successful moments with horses here at R+. These are moments that reflect the hidden treasure of a partnership between human and animal, moments that encourage letting your horse in to see your soul. Actors and observers alike can sense the union, the WE, and that this feels good and right.
Give wings to your horse’s soul
Such moments might happen by chance; nevertheless, you can pat yourself on the back if they happen, and if you have been present. What is more, we believe that harmonious human-horse relationships do not depend on show moments that demonstrate a high level of technical perfection in Spanish walk, not even when treats are given.
However, a simple step human and horse take together in unison can shine with harmony; it can make visible how two souls share the magic of the moment in inseparable unity when they become centaurs. Eventually, sometimes small things, the one’s others might not value as particlarly important, are the things that let you walk without legs and fly without wings.
What can you learn from R+?
R+ is like a puzzle where the missing parts that we will talk about can be found within you. So, we want to support you in finding your own way to profit from the unique relationship between you and your horse, and in discovering the rich treasure trove of shared experience.
One thing is for sure: We will not define each step of a process, and tell who has to perform which task at a certain moment in time. It is not about using templates from equestrian professionals, horse experts or show horse trainers.
Mosaic of life
We do not want to produce yet another copy that replicates a certain image but lacks substance. We have a different vision of R+ because we want to go deeper and discover what it is all about: We want to create a mosaic of life that an be pieced together bit by bit.
Listen to your inner melody
We have a dream! We believe in developing your hidden skills that can lead you on a direct path straight to the core of the horse-matter truly dear to your heart. Outer appearance and shape are not what this is about but we are looking for the inner melody.
What does this mean?
Let us put it this way: A good text speaks to us, it plays on emotions, and sparks our imagination without wasting many words. A composition delights us if everything comes together to touch us emotionally. You can strum scales for decades without feeling the music or becoming a piano virtuoso. Equally, you can work with horses for years, and keep refining motion sequences. Ultimately, you might never find the innate perfection that lies hidden within the beautiful self of this very horse, and the magic that resides in this unique horse personality.
Do you know this kind of fascination you feel when watching a spectacular show and when seeing perfectly staged scenes online or in glossy magazines? This fascination comes within a whisker of representing the actors’ true personalities because the presentation does not arise from the heart. Consequently, many human horse couples, from beginners to professionals, appear a bit like empty shells. They try to portray something that is not in them, and become victims of their own pressure to succeed. Nevertheless, they are often presented as shiny example and sold as ideal image to the crowd.
Reconnect with your inner child
And then, there is this small girl you will meet every once in a while, or maybe she is the small girl that is in all of us, who does not care about appearance at all. She looks you in the eye, smiles, and truly feeling the moment shows her heart. She conveys her emotions to motions, and thereby to life itself. This girl is just there, and lets her horse be there as well.
There is a time for everything
Eventually, R+ means to discover your personal interpretation of this dream. There is a sheer endless variety of successful combinations. Admittedly, there are natural laws and basic rules, and it might be beneficial to know at least some of them. They should not determine your actions, however, and debase yourself. Do not let them pressure you, or interrupt your flow. Try whatever you need because we all are different, and we all have different needs at different times.
Think of it as pottering around, of spending time in a pleasant, relaxed and semi-active manner. You might be working on something without thinking about time or the outcome, maybe without ever finishing the task. In fact, there is no task because, in reality, there is no specific goal to your actions. It is only about pottering around, about celebrating the moment. You do a bit here, and then a bit there; just do whatever feels good for you and your horse.