For a horse-human relationship based on reciprocal expression

The ethical face of the Other, a face that exists in a dialogue, without rewards or punishments, without gentle conditionings or obedient socializations, and for this makes me fully owner of myself and of my own learning, truly social, cognitively responsible for myself and for my choices. A face that does not leads to success or survival, but that facilitate the return to myself, homeward, as an autonomous entity and not heteronomous, and therefore definitely gives me the ultimate freedom.
The ethical face
The pic of the face of Amour is by Andrea Gaspardo, during the Learning Horse study program in Ethology and Zooanthropology, Italian edition 2015, at Improntamica Zooantropologia, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy

Learning Animals is coming to the UK !

The 15th edition of these world-changing study programs will be launched with the Learning Horse Human-Animal Study course in applied Zooantropology at HorseThinking, County Durham.

The course, which starts on the 16th May 2015, aims to improve the awareness and recognition for the animal as an emotional and perceptive being as well as improving the understanding of how a reciprocal relationship can be developed between humans and animals, with a particular focus on horses.
Zooanthropology is part of a global cultural change that puts the current anthropocentric relationship between animals and humans into question.
The course is comprised of six detailed modules which will be taught across two phases over a period of five months, and will culminate with a final exam. Upon completion of the course, participants will receive the certificate for applied equine zooanthropology. The course modules are set out as follows:

1) Animal Ethics in the interspecies relationship
(also available as single module)

2) Principles of Cognitive Ethology – Masterclass

3) Cognition and Learning

4) Dialogue and Social Dynamics

5) Problem experiences

6) Zooanthropology in practice

Course participants will learn to understand and recognise how the cognitive abilities of a horse can give depth an meaning to relationships and quality of life. The course will create the awareness of how the quality of life for horses is related to the ability to be able to engage in a dialogue with their own perceptions, their own experiences, emotions and cognition.
The course is being led by Biologist Francesco De Giorgio and teacher in applied zooanthropology José Schoorl. Please see biographies below.
If you would like to speak to either Francesco or José, they are both available for interview at your convenience.
To find out more about the Learning Horse Human-Animal Study course, call 07553475309 or email
About Learning Animals:

Learning Animals is a company based in the Netherlands, working on an international level to create awareness for the animal-human relationship, taken the socio-cognitive abilities of both into account. This is done by offering education programs, university guest lectures, student support in research regarding socio-cognitive abilities and the animal-human interaction, writing of books and articles, collaboration with animal-welfare organisations, individual consults and the organisation of conferences, workshops and seminars.

For more information go to or call +31 (0)644834881. Learning Animals Achterstraat 64, Nistelrode (Nederland)

Francesco De Giorgio is a Biologist specialising in animal cognition and with a life experience in the relationship with horses and dogs. He is a teacher in the understanding and appreciation of the cognitive, zooanthropologic model to improve relationship dynamics, animal wellbeing and rehabilitation processes. Francesco is a member of the Ethics Committee of ISAE (International Society for Applied Ethology) and unique in his insight in the dialogue of equids with the world around them.
José De Giorgio-Schoorl is a teacher in applied zooanthropology and personal growth facilitator. She specialised in the facilitation of cultural changes and is a consult in the animal-human relationship. José strives to improve the way humans understand the elements in their relationship with animals from their point of view and facilitates in-depth personal growth paths.

Horse MarionetteIn modern times, in the world of the interactions between humans and other animals, there are Behavioural Control Techiniques for all tastes: from dominant to gentle, from the scientific to the spiritual, from the ethnic to ethological, from positive to peaceful. Few people, however, are really aware of how these training techniques have a negative impact on the socio-cognitive abilities of animals.

Every animal has his own perception of the world, evolved phylogenetically and ontogenetically, with their own mental, emotional and social skills. In short, they are already ‘written blackboards’, they are already ‘vessels full’ in abilities, they are living beings already rich in their own innate wisdom. Due to the impact that Behavioural Control Techiniques (BCTs) often have on altering socio-cognitive skills, more and more often there are reported cases of animals that developed different sociopathic forms, intra-and inter-specific, more or less visible, more or less hidden: redirect aggression towards themselves, towards con-specifics or towards humans; aboulia and apathy; anxiety and depression; learned helplessness and other pathological states.

Recent research in the field of ethology and cognitive neuroscience and free thinkers linked to the fields of modern thoughts, begin to put under question with more and more strength every form of control of animal behaviour, not only because of the negative side effects caused, but also in recognition of a different status to the animal, as subject and sentient being, with his own rights.

BCTs have an anthropocentric value and are rooted in anachronistic interpretive disciplines such as behaviourism and classical ethology, that are disciplines under the critical  judgment of history, science, ethics and philosophy. Concept as Operant Conditioning and Dominance Hierarchy, as examples, at the basis for the development of BCTs, reduce animals, ridiculously and inappropriately, into categories and objects, applying reductionist models that could give rise to the alteration and modification of behavior, for anthropocentric purposes.

Ensuring quality of life, moving beyond the old concept of welfare, is to give appropriate attention to the world of perception of the animal, that animal, avoiding anthropocentrisms and anthropomorphisms, ensuring the quality of their thoughts, the quality of their emotions, the quality of their feelings, the quality of their social world.

Author: Francesco De Giorgio

Photos source: internet

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