TSB author Kerry Thomas and his Thomas Herding Technique (THT) system, which he describes in the book HORSE PROFILING, have recently been featured on the BloodHorse.com and HorseRacingNation.com. We are all hoping that Kerry’s ideas for “emotional conformation profiling” can be key in changing the way horse racing in the US is currently handled and viewed. Kerry is a proponent for embracing the horse as a horse first, and an athlete second, and his methods focus on finding ways to match the right horse to the right job, and then training the horse in ways befitting his nature so that he is more likely to succeed and stay healthy in mind and body while doing it.
Kerry’s methods have already found footing in the Thoroughbred racing industry because of his study of herd motion and herd dynamics—it finds very natural application in a “herd sport.” But how can his horse profiling techniques help us motivate equine athletes in other horse sports?
“Having profiled nearly all of the various equine athletic disciplines over the years, I have found that for my clients who own and train eventing horses and hunter/jumpers, an evaluation of their horses pre-purchase or as an ‘in-training athlete’ is an extremely valuable tool,” says Kerry. “The owner/trainer has much to gain and glean from an Emotional Conformation Profile—the tool I use to analyze horse behavior and with it, identify hidden potential.
“One of the core earmarks within a profile of any horse is identifying the way in which the horse interprets both visual and audio stimuli—the efficiency within the translation of environmental stimuli will govern the horse’s efficiency of motion. Among the key discoveries I made in the course of my research, first with wild horse herds in Wyoming, and now in performance horses in various disciplines, is that Patterns-of-Behavior translate to Patterns-of-Motion. Whether in the dressage ring, approaching a complicated question on a cross-country course or combination in the hunter ring, or cutting a cow from a herd, the performance horse’s Patterns-of-Motion dictate the performance outcome. Therefore, understanding his behavioral tendencies in and out of the herd can predict his ability to perform in all manner of situations, and provide the rider/trainer the insight necessary to successfully increase the horse’s ability to perform his very best more consistently.
“Among the things I look to find within the ingredients of the horse’s ‘psychology’ is how well, and how efficiently, he interprets stimuli. How well too, does the horse ‘read’ the intentions of the rider? The horse’s ability to swiftly respond to the intent of the rider, communicated via subtle body language and pressure, has a powerful impact on the horse’s efficiency of motion. Imagine approaching a tricky combination and needing to make a quick adjustment—successfully clearing the obstacle(s) depends on the horse’s ability to ‘read’ that adjustment, or even anticipate it, as soon as the rider thinks about it. The horse’s ability to read the rider’s intent is directly related to his position in herd hierarchy—and again, a profile can provide valuable information in this area.”
You can read the piece about Kerry Thomas profiling Ebloussainte—Zenyatta’s half-sister—on BloodHorse.com by clicking the image below:
Check out the piece about the new THT Partnership on HorseRacingNation.com by clicking on the image below: