If there was one word Hannah’s students would use to describe her training it would be: CREATIVE. Usually said with the accompanying “I would never have thought of that.” Hannah’s brilliance lies in coming up with exactly the right solution for that horse in that moment. It’s might be off the wall, and it might take a couple of tweaks to get there, but somehow, the horse goes “Oh, you mean do THIS!” and the owner’s jaw drops with delighted surprise.
Which is all very well if you have Hannah standing beside you while you’re working, but how does that translate to online learning? Well, Hannah has put together the Connection Training Courses with many examples of real people training real horses, just as it went. That means that sometimes the video quality is a bit wonky, but the training results are always perfect. She’ll show you three different ways to train the same thing and then have another video on common problems and how to deal with them. And, if you still need another idea, just pop a question on the forum and she’ll give you one…or ten. And the ideas will keep coming until you’ve achieved success. Because that would be the second thing her students would say…”Hannah really wants me to be successful and she keeps trying as long as I do.”
Creating Connection Training, with its complete suite of Home Study Courses to teach you to train your horse positively, has been a long-term dream for Hannah. She started planning it back in 2010, filling her wall with post-it notes, with all the courses and potential videos listed on them. In 2012 she launched Hannah Dawson Equine, with Clix College as the first version of what has become Connection Training.
Hannah was practically born in the saddle and started riding aged 3, spending her childhood haunting the stables and got her first pony, Toby, when she was 10 (yes the same Toby who stars in many of the vids! He’s been Hannah’s teacher and partner for nearly 20 years, though is enjoying an easy retirement these days). During her teens, Hannah began to explore alternative horsemanship along with traditional British riding and competitions. With Toby, she gained her Parelli Natural Horsemanship Level 2 at the age of 13 (the youngest in the country then) and rode at clinics with Lucy Rees, Marthe Kiley-Worthington and Jayne Lavender. She studied equine nutrition with Jane Van Lennep (Simple System) ; Saddle design with Les Spark (Free’n’Easy Saddles) and clicker training with Alexandra Kurland.
In 2006, due to Toby’s ongoing physical issues, Hannah trained as an Equine Touch Practitioner, becoming a skilled and sensitive equine body worker. At the same time, she was training extensively with James Shaw and his tai chi for riding. She began to teach his work and to incorporate reward-based training into her teaching. The combination of this approach gave her students a unique advantage as she could identify whether problems lay with their bodies, their horse’s body, how they rode or how they motivated and explained things to their horse. Hannah had solutions for all aspects and, with her famous creative approach, her students found they were achieving success they’d only previously dreamt about.
In 2011 Hannah started to learn horsemanship with Philippe Karl, the famous French Classical Dressage instructor, who is passionate about healthy movement in horses. Hannah loved the results he obtained and his belief that all horses can (and should) learn great self-carriage via lateral work and jumping.
Hannah then took these exercises to train horses to move brilliantly and applied the marker and reward principles to it to train horses classical dressage with choice, joy and plenty of targets!
This unique combo of skills, combined with Hannah’s creativity and passion, have come together in the Riding with Connection Course. She hoped this would be able to be learned at a distance with her training films and has been delighted to see great results from students around the world who have learnt it remotely with her courses. This is a true testament to the power of reward-based training and to Hannah’s teaching skills.
Hannah has now taught hundreds of people how to train their horses in a fun and positive way. She has also worked with equine professionals and is respected by them as one of the best in the business, who can bring a creative solution to any situation.
Hannah co-founded the Equine Clicker Conference in 2012, with Rachel Bedingfield, bringing the world’s most prominent reward-based horse trainers together, both live and online, to share ideas and discuss approaches to this ground-breaking work. It was through this that they met Shawna Karrasch and they discovered a mutual approach and so the three of them pitched together to create this amazing resource for you and your horse.
Find out more about Hannah through her Youtube videos: