Welcome to Fern Valley

Here in central Alberta prime farm country,my husband Martin and I work together raising beef cattle and Appaloosa horses. Fern valley appaloosas have long been known for their quality of temperament conformation and color.I have recently rediscovered a love of writing and have published 2 collections of poetry. "Telling Tails" and Tails Trails and Campfire stories" . I look forward to a future spreading my wings as an author and as a horse woman .

Monday, 14 January 2013

When Opportunity emails

Hey all, glad to be home, I noted there were lots of comments on my last post asking for a recap of the weekend and more specifically of Temple Grandin's  presentation. I am not withholding, there was  just so much to digest and it is hard to figure out  just what points I can coherently share.
First and foremost it was awesome!!!!
I did not have an opportunity to speak to her at length or ,better said maybe did not take that opportunity. There were 200+ people there vying for attention, and her time was limited. Also I have to admit to being quite starstruck and shy , taking only a moment to thank her and tell her how very pleased I was to be there . Some folks were very able to approach her and speak freely and at length  about what they wanted ,but for me ,I tend to feel that the presenters are there for all, not just me and would be overstepping somehow to do so(I guess my old shyness still creeps out ) . Had she had a booth there , as in other cases, I might have tried to find a moment to talk with her quietly, so many things I would have liked to ask!
That all said, I did get this !

On to her presentation;
What I got out of it first and foremost is ,anything you can lay your hands on be it papers ,books, or videos by this lady ,GET THEM!! She is wise beyond measure and serious in her research and studies. She quotes scientific data, to back up all of her findings that she can, and reminds us that those she is unable to back up scientifically  would require her to do awful things to animals and she WILL NOT  so her info then becomes anecdotal.
The presentation was on animal welfare and equine behavior specifically but she references several different animals and issues of human behavior as well .
Memorably the fact that she thinks in pictures and often as Alzheimer patients progress and lose language they are  better able to communicate through art .What does this have to do with equine behavior??
I give you this excerpt;"
*A horse trainer once said to me "animals don't think they make associations " I responded by saying "if making associations is not thinking  then I would have to conclude that I do not think" People with Autism and animals both think by making visual associations . These associations  like snapshots tend to be very specific .

This statement and others pertaining to how  a visual thinker might see things does certainly make sense with  dementia and Alzheimer's  in my experience pictures, albums, and simple drawings, as well as tactile items have been a far more helpful way of communicating  with those who have lost or are losing language skills .

Back to the animal behavior though she discussed a few cases where she was able to help a horse owner with a difficult behavior ,by tracking back to the root of the issue , fear or seeking behavior, and how we must look at the whole picture . Not just "my horse freaks out" but my horse freaks out here in this situation with these variable s. Be specific! to see the actual issue.
Because of how she sees and thinks , she is better able to see the small detail that might cause an issue . a situation where a  whole building was proposed to be moved due to  cattle balking , she identified a simple flagpole as the issue suggested it be moved and the problem was solved . I could go on and on  but as I said earlier , read any and all of the literature  you can of hers!
The only other thing I  will mention, from her presentation  was a simple but powerful statement regarding animal welfare laws and guidelines . REMOVE VAGUENESS, have specific measurable guidelines to care . Remove words like SUITABLE and ADEQUATE , and  replace with clear specific terminology and measurable outcomes.

As I said there is so much more from the talk I could touch on, but I suspect each person there took away some different info, not to say she wasn't clear, but there was so much  info in a short time, I think each persons specific needs were different and if you spoke to 10 that attended each would have taken some  thing  different in depending on their  current needs, level of expertise , past and personal experiences .
Excepting of course (forgive my little rant ) those who were there to challenge the professor and boost themselves by trying to talk down to her (yup had one of those) or others who felt it was a good time to chat . Sigh . That really irritates me ! visit over coffee, I am there to learn so please  kindly hush up and let us hear the presentation. If you are bored or uninterested LEAVE.

 I also attended a presentation by Dan James of Double Dan Horsemanship , but I guess that will have to be the next post . I hope I did  this  recap  justice so far, there is just so much to say but...
Anyhow if Opportunity ever emails  you  something like this , go !!!!
Stay safe my friends


Reddunappy said...

She is very fascinating!

aurora said...

So cool that you were able to hear her words of wisdom first hand!

GoLightly said...

Hey, the words "suitable and adequate", do they ring any bells for you?
Yes, it is the same words the OSPCA used to describe a horse caged in a garage...

I'd have stomped on anyone's toes that tried to talk down to the good Dr.!!

You were so lucky to hear her speak!!

GoLightly said...

Oh, and yes, if you haven't read anything by the good Doctor, you are missing out on all kinds of AHA!! moments.

Shirley said...

I think I'm going to have to look for her books. I sure enjoyed the movie about her, it really made it clear how she thinks in pictures. Makes total sense to me! I hope I get the opportunity to hear her speak someday.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I'm the same way about lectures, presentations and meetings. If I do have something to say, I question if others would benefit from it. If not, I let the speaker speak. If I absolutely have to stand in line afterward to communicate something to the speaker, I make it quick. I'm always astounded by people to raise their hand, and then ask ten questions, so that the entire lecture becomes about answering their questions, which are personal to them and my not have anything to do with anyone else in the audience. Or people who hold up lines by shooting the breeze with the one person everyone is waiting to speak to. That usually happens in the post office, at the deli, and in the supermarket checkout lines here. I just feel like jumping up and down waving my arms like the little Whos in Whoville saying, "We're here! We're here!"

I'm glad you got a chance to hear her speak and get a picture with her.

Cut-N-Jump said...

I watched not only the movie, but the lengthy commentary afterwards. Sooooo much good stuff in there to soak in. She certainly thinks outside of the box, not only in pictures, but literally as well. Maybe more of us should?

I am betting this is one of those life events you will remember for a long, long time. How awesome is that? I am so glad that you were able to go.

C-ingspots said...

She is an extraordinary woman!! Super intelligent, just thinks and communicates differently than a lot of us do. What a wonderful opportunity you had!! The movie is awesome, and I've read some of her cattle behavior research papers, but would love to read some on horse behavior. Will have to check into that! Love your new header pics!! Love it!! Who is the horse in the upper right??? He's gorgeous!!

Sherry Sikstrom said...

C-ing spots , the horse in the upper right is FV Catch a Dream , better known as Cat/the Fat Baby/WHoa Dammit LOL she is a sweet girl , just started under saddle this year, and she is wonderful !
Nuzz Muzz, yup some folks are waay too impressed with themselves
And Yes GL,Suitable and Adequate,need to be struck form the language of animal welfare

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

When I had the opportunity to speak with Temple in person, I had no agenda of asking her questions or taking up but a couple minutes of her time. I asked her to sign the books that I bought from her booth and asked for a photo. But because I chose to visit during lunch, when pretty much all of the other people chose to go eat lunch, Temple Grandin only had a handful of people standing in line to meet her.

I was surprised when Temple engaged me in conversation by asking me questions, first of course, being, 'why was I here, and how old is your daughter' (who has Aspergers or high functioning Autism)
Temple was so easy to talk with, and when she learned I was a parent of a child who has autism, and not a teacher or medical professional (which was the majority of those who were in the audience that day), she seemed genuinely interested and relaxed and spent at least 15 minutes with me. And I mostly listened, because she was offering so many wonderful ideas, tips and advice on what learning techniques worked for her as a child with autism.
But we also talked about some funny things, too...and she really made me laugh. I enjoyed learning about what movies she had recently watched and what her touring and traveling schedule was like, and how she wished she could have some pets, but her schedule didn't allow for it. And how she wished she could still ride horses, but had balance issues that didn't allow it.
I was so touched by Temple and was so honored to have that time with her. And thankfully there was no one waiting in line behind me to speak with Temple.
And Temple seemed to enjoy chatting with me just as much as I enjoyed chatting with her, so I feel confident that I wasn't overstepping or stealing her time away from anyone else.

I'm glad you had the opportunity to meet Temple in person. She is indeed a very special human being.


Sherry Sikstrom said...

Lisa, I am sure when folks like you approach her she must be so happy to talk and share info. The individual that irritated me at the conference was being both deliberately obtuse is questioning the language of a statement Dr Grandin had made, and far too full of herself to realize the fool she was making of herself. While there are moments in life to correct or challenge even the wisest of professors that was not it!
The statememt was about watching a young horse for signs of rear and or confusion and stopping before they were unable to stop the blowup. She talked about tail swishing which most of us took in the context of tail wringing . The individual in the audience called her out and said tail swishing is a behavior of a spoiled horse that when you put pressure on is being "pissy" and requires immediate discipline .Had she simply asked for clarification,the discussion could have been appropriate and reasonable , but that appears not to have been her goal, as she challenged every statement made in that interaction and continued on singing her own praises while others had hands up waiting to ask Dr Grandin a question. Class act...NOT

Janice said...

Glad you got to go,sounds like it was a trip worth making.

Crystal said...

Sounds wonderful!! You are very lucky to have met her.