Learning Horse

September 2018 Start Learning Horse UK !

While in the last decennium animals as sentient beings have become a topic of broader attention, our basic education and habits towards non-human animals are still deep-rooted in an old paradigm. One can talk about animals as subjects, as sentient beings, but taking into account that they should be owner of their own life is not so easy in practice, as it requires to let go of an anthropocentric worldview that is not easily recognized. 

In the equine-human relationship the development has mainly been in a change of expectation, a change of activities, but still focussed on a human-result, developed within an equestrian dimension. People look for the possibility to develop specific behavior, specific responses in their training and daily activities with the horse. But connection is not a method. Coexisting does not follow a formula. Evolving in our relation with horses requires a different study path, a different knowledge. 

Learning Animals brings a complete change in paradigm in the way human look at, and understand, nonhuman animals. 

  • Studying the Human-Nonhuman animal relationship from the knowledge of nonhuman animals and their cognitive abilities (the Learning Animals Socio-Cognitive Learning model).
  • Studying and develop an understanding of the perspective of nonhuman animals, animal minds and evolved animal ethics, in interaction with human, and the experiences of both, to improve a reciprocal quality of life. 
  • Understand subjectivity and agency, not as projection but as compas in your own interaction.
  • The Learning Animals studies offer a framework in which new values, knowledge and evolved animal ethics find their place. Students are therefor fully and individually supported in their understanding of the study-content and their personal growth.   

A sound and pure relationship is based on dialogue - not on results - in which all involved can express their intention. Understanding what the dynamics are for both human and nonhuman animal in a relationship, understanding how this is different from what we are used to, and understanding the elements to be able to live and enjoy this approach in your own relationship(s) is what the basic Animality study "Learning Horse" will focus on.

It is one of the programs developed by Learning Animals and the knowledge, experience and passion of Dr. Francesco De Giorgio and José De Giorgio-Schoorl and it will learn participants how the performance-based approach of equestrian activities (and not only) can make room for subjectivity, social learning and sharing of experiences. It is not what you achieve, but how you go get there growing together.

Provide the basic tools for everyone who wants to improve knowledge and understanding of the horse, his/her behavior and the relationship between horses, and between horse and human. Dialogue, cognition and reciprocal relationship are key words. Following the program you will develop competences to understand and know how to facilitate such a relationship and how to approach perceived problems. The overall objective is to ensure well-being through the understanding of the Horse's point of view.

Dr. Francesco De Giorgio; Biologist, Ethicist, Activist, expert in Cognitive Ethology, developer of the LA socio-cognitive learning model. Expert in Equine Cognition. A life experience in the relationship with horses and dogs, dedicated to share his knowledge translating it into practice to improve relationship dynamics, animal wellbeing and rehabilitation processes. “I’m for the free expression of animal intelligence, not for the conditioned expression.”

Ing. José De Giorgio-Schoorl; cultural-change specialist, teacher in Animality studies, specialized in facilitating personal growth, organization change and cross cultural collaboration, in particular to support people how to understand, how to live, and how to improve the relationship with animals from the animal point of view. “The interspecies relationship is a world to discover, to study, to live and especially to preserve.”

2018-2019 UK Edition 

This edition will have a number of online modules - interactive appointments in a virtual classroom dimension - four weekends in the UK for theory and practice experiences (Petersfield  / NewForest region) and one weekend directly in Italy, to learn from the Family of Cognitive Horses to see what preserving the socio-cognitive mind means and to experience an emancipated interaction, will all the nuances that brings. 

Structure and Study-fee

  • 15 - 16 September 2018 [Online]: Start Module one. Saturday 15th | 09:30 - 13:30, Sunday 16th | 09:30 - 13:30  
  • 13 - 14 October 2018 [UK]: Module 2 and practice with Francesco De Giorgio. Saturday and Sunday | Morning 10:00 - 13:00 Afternoon 13.45 - 17:00   
  • 17 - 18 November 2018 [UK]: Module 3, Saturday and Sunday | Morning 10:00 - 13:00 Afternoon 13.45 - 17:00   
  • 14th December 2018 [Online]: 2 hours – Integration, and an Individual support session to be planned in December/January for each participants for personal growth and practical application
  • 18th January 2019 [Online]: 2 hours – Integration
  • 23 - 24 February 2019 [UK]: Module 4, Saturday and Sunday | Morning 10:00 - 13:00 Afternoon 13.45 - 17:00   
  • 30 - 31 March 2019 [Italy]: Module 5, practical experiences in Italy, Saturday and Sunday | Morning 10:00 - 13:00 Afternoon 13.45 - 17:00   
  • 26 - 27 April 2019 [UK]: Module 6 and Exam, Saturday and Sunday | Morning 10:00 - 13:00 Afternoon 13.45 - 17:00   

Study-fee: 2,500.- Euro (circa 2,225 GBP) included 3 nights in accommodation (with breakfast) in Italy - excluded other meals and flights. Those who participated the practice day with Francesco De Giorgio, June 23rd 2018, have a deduction of 160,- Euro (circa 140 GBP) and pay 2.340,- euro (circa 2.085 GBP).

Payment Instalments

  • 1st instalment - At registration: 300,- Euro (registration closes August 20th 2018) or 140,- Euro in case of discount as mentioned above. 
  • 2nd instalment - Due date October 1st: 550,- Euro
  • 3rd instalment - Due date December 1st: 550,- Euro
  • 4th instalment - Due date February 1st: 550,- Euro
  • 5th instalment - Due date April 1st: 550,- Euro

The program is based on a minimum of 5 participants (maximum 10)

Register here: Learning Horse UK 2018-2019 registration form

Content overview 
Exploring nonhuman otherness, from the horse’s point of view

Module 1: Animal Ethics in the interspecies relationship

The basic principles of Animality Studies, The meaning of relationship between animal and human, Cognition, emotions and relationship, The socio-cognitive approach, The horse today: new insights from the horse point of view, The human today: from a different point of view, Ethics, ethology and the Learning Animals philosophy.

Module 2: Principles of Cognitive Ethology

History and aspects of ethology and cognitive ethology, The cognitive ethology of horses, as subjects and as species, Horses and wild equids, Equine cognition, The dominance hierarchy myth: what is wrong? Herd dynamics and relationships , Nuances and details of behavior, Social behaviour: the affiliative dimension

Module 3: Cognition and Learning

What does learning mean, Elements in cognitive learning and the cognitive context, Emotional Intelligence, The significance of the latent learning, Experiences and learning, Sharing experience as a cognitive pillar, Zooanthropologic approach to horses: socio-cognitive learning in relationship with human. Learning Experience

Modulo 4: Dialogue and Relationship

Communication seen from the horse’s and the human point of view | Inner states and the influence on dialogue | Creation of shared moments – interspecies dialogue | Being yourself in interaction with otherness | Shared attention | Social dynamics | Expressions of ritualization

Modulo 5: Problem Experiences

Analysis and diagnosis of problem situations | Problem or perception? | Critical situations in social interactions or coming from social isolation | Disorders due to training | Recover socio-cognitive abilities | Herd facilitation | Problem solving approach and elements.

Modulo 6: Ethics and Coherence in daily life and Exam

Modern Animal Ethics – An introduction | The importance of coherence in daily life for yourself and for the horses | Relationship practices | Examples of the Learning Animals approach in relationship counselling | Case studies | Preserving new values in todays society – living the change

More Horse – More Human – More Together 


When you are interested in attending this education program, please request an intake.