equine brains too: Testimonials
Would you like to talk to someone who has worked with us?
Trainers & colleagues are happy to talk with you!
All clinics are flat fee. Clinic hosts can set thier own prices for auditors and participnts to cover costs and even profit financially as well as intellectually! Email us for an easy clinic setup kit including all the tools you'll need to attract participants in your area.
"Casey's work does not force, however kindly, the animal to chose between one way to give itself up and another. Casey's work goes to the core of reconnecting the individual with the truth of itself, its will. Its right to be here."
-Candace K. Platz, D.V.M,
2013 US Nationals: Dressage Finals Placing Third in US in Grand Prix AA. U. S. Dressage Federation Gold Medalist.
USDF Regional Champion AA Grand Prix.
Upper Level Sports Testimonials.
"Casey's innovative shaping gets you to where you want to go by uncorking a fountain instead of reving the engine while the parking brake's on."
-Candace K. Platz, D.V.M,
2013 update: US Nationals: Dressage Finals Placing Third in US in Grand Prix AA. U. S. Dressage Federation Gold Medalist. USDF Regional Champion AA Grand Prix.
"Casey Sugarman's visit was one of the most profound educational experiences I have had in many years, demonstrating an approach to developing safe, rewarding and ethical partnerships with horses (and other creatures) which is stunningly effective.
Casey's work is pan-specific based on years of experience teaching aquatic animals such as fish, lobsters, squid and sea lions to volunteer for unpleasant medical procedures as well as the challenge of dealing with her own wild and abused alpha mare. Utilizing components of various disciplines including neurophysiology, operant conditioning and traditional horsemanship, Casey has developed a technique that is respectful, intimate, and empathetic without being anthropomorphic, sentimental, or dogmatic.
Like horse whispers and modern cowboy trainers, her work includes careful observation, but it differs in that she seeks to elicit creative choice rather than manipulate the student in order to achieve a predetermined outcome. Because of this, outcome is not limited by the teacher's perception of the student's capabilities, and because of that, her process is more potent and accurate than other training methods I have observed. A "conversation" takes place between student and teacher, brain to brain, as rapid and fluid as thought, through which her students teach themselves instead of being taught. Students are voluntary participants in their own education, stimulated and supported by a teacher who understands the power of creative decision making. 'Innovative Shaping' gets you to passage by uncorking a fountain, instead of by reving the engine with the parking brake on...
Casey's human students learn to stop focusing on result and instead learn to recognize and reward intent, which sounds much easier than it is. By releasing the need to be the alpha boss, would-be teachers learn to embrace creativity and discovery, developing partnerships based on cooperative will rather than hierarchy. This isn't easy, but it is fun, and students of any species can trust Casey to provide a calm, safe learning experience. Through focused, interactive, open-ended communication, fear is replaced by curiosity, resentment transmutes into desire for connection and phobia morphs into calm exploration. With results like these, who cares about being the boss?"
-Candace K. Platz, D.V.M, U. S. Dressage Federation Gold Medalist. USDF Regional Champion AA Grand Prix. US Nationals: Dressage Finals Placing Third in US in Grand Prix AA.
Maine Equine Associates, Auburn ME, U. S. Dressage Federation Instructor/Trainer, Torrey Hill Stables, Trustee, Riding to the Top Therapeutic Riding Center
Testimonials of Equine Professionals .
Saddle Phobia. Olema, CA
"Jesse is a gelding in our herd at Chancelor Ranch, Bodega Bay. He was not much use as a trail horse because every time you'd cinch up the saddle, the horse would go ker'plop! Right down flat on the ground he'd go.
I think we heard he'd been kicked in the gut by a previous owner when he didn't stand still for the saddle. On your vacation you donated two hours to helping Jesse with his problem; after those two hours I even cinched him up myself. I watched you the whole time and I still don't know exactly what you did, but the change in the horse was unbelievable.
Well anyway, ever since you were here, we've been able to saddle and ride him out to the ocean again. He seems to like the job. He has a woman at the ranch too who loves to take him out."
-Will Whitney, Owner of Chancelor Ranch, Point Reyes Nat'l Seashore, Olema CA
"Casey, Thank you so much for your participation as a clinician in the University of CT Horse Symposium. Everyone loved your clinic!
-Dr. Nadeau, Equine Extension, Univeristy of Connecticut
"Behaviorist Casey Sugarman was on site for a fascinating two-day clinic (Dressage). The program began with an unmounted session with the goals of understanding the causes of frustration and anxiety in the “animal student,” learning to use minimal equipment respectfully and effectively, and increasing the level of safety and influence when working with horses. For the mounted part, each individual session was built upon what Sugarman observed and felt was needed to improve each individual partnership. The results were often both surprising and poignant."
-Vienna Farm, Gorham ME
My lovely 6-year-old Oldenburg mare was incredibly anxious any time she could not see my gelding in the next field. She would run the fence line, in an almost OCD trance, until she was lathered and then, literally frantic. It wasn’t uncommon to find her missing a shoe, with lacerations from banging the fence, and in such a state I was hesitant to have anyone but me bring her in from turnout. She would panic and become desperate even in the stall if the gelding was out of her line of sight. But then, a day later, like a flipped switch, she would be calm, non-plussed, and happy as a clam. Even under saddle, some moments she would be lovely and other moments unglued. It was a Jeckle and Hyde existence. Three accomplished trainers all had the same experience with her, so the rider was not creating the problem.
I met Casey Sugarman at an Equine Symposium and immediately appreciated her humor, intellect, and desire to help horses in distress. She was giving demonstrations of her "fish science-inspired" therapy. I’ll warn you, what she says may sound a bit quirky, but she is incredibly smart and intuitive and got amazing results from her equine volunteers. It was really a “no-brainer” to ask her to come to my farm to evaluate my mare.
Casey observed the mare and did an assessment in just 5 minutes. She informed me that my mare was probably just using the gelding to ground herself because her thinking brain was blocking out the entire left side of her body. “She had no knowledge of half of her body in space.” I had never heard of such a thing. While skeptical, still it started to make sense to me, particularly given the dropping of her left shoulder and her rule of thumb to ignore my leg on that side completely. I pictured something akin to the movie sets of old westerns, where there was a town on one side of the street, and then a flat, plywood fake town on the other side. My first thought was, “oh great, a single-sided, 1700 lb, 17 hand, psychological wreck…” now what?
I honestly don’t purport to know what Casey does with her OSCAR method (my husband asked what all the clicking and hand near but not on the horse, was all about…) although I can wrap my head around the theory. But as I watched every minute of the therapy, what I do know is that the mare was clearly riveted and enthralled by each of her four "at-liberty-in-stall" sessions. Casey actively engaged the mare’s own choice, allowing her to find her own path to the “OSCAR game” solutions. (and to feel so very good about it!) The mare looked obviously lost in space sometimes as she was, herself, trying to rewire or newly wire her own brain to include her entire body, not just the one side. By the end of every session, my very smart mare was mentally tired.
Thanks to Casey’s respect, and her brilliant ability to see what others haven’t yet seen, I have a happy, content, and eager to please horse, going on eight months now. The transformation was remarkable, immediate, and permanent. It was frankly so inspiring that I plan to have Casey work her magic (she insists it is brain science though) on another horse who has a physical neural issue... Then, if she is still game, she can take a stab at my own brain map as well!
The OSCAR approach that Casey has pioneered is genuinely effective and should change the way we address negative behaviors in our equine friends. I hope that Casey can continue to teach this method to many others (hmmmmm, maybe a fundraising effort for an “OSCAR Therapy School?!”) so that more can benefit from this unique and ultra-efficient approach – the nomenclature, “willing results” says it all.
-Cynthia L. Pope, Lakeside Farm