Cami Hustead and Jasmine Piepho are Via Nova’s newest Assistant Trainers. They came to Via Nova just a year ago as Student Trainers and completed year one of our Priority to Positive® training curriculum. We congratulate them on their new roles, where they will continue to support Via Nova to improve our approaches in and out of the saddle!
Clockwise from top left: Cami and Jasmine as Student Trainers last year; Cami now with her new OTTB, Westley; Jasmine now with Leia, her western gaming mare; Sully, the adorable pup, learning in the tack; Meredith’s new son, Brodie
We are also overjoyed to welcome a couple of brand-new additions to the Via Nova family. Our Lead Trainer and Student Supervisor Meredith Ritter welcomed her first child, a baby boy, Brodie, in April.
We’re looking forward to watching and supporting Meredith and her future equestrian star in the years to come and can’t wait for her to return this fall.
Our Assistant Trainer Jasmine brought home her own bundle of joy this August when she adopted Sully, an Idaho Shag. With Jasmine’s skills as an R+ trainer, we’re expecting big things from this energetic pup!
Teach, Learn, Share
At Via Nova we prioritize education—for ourselves and for others. We want the traditional horse world to understand and embrace positive reinforcement. During these past few months, we’ve hosted training sessions, sponsored organizations, and participated in our own learning opportunities.
This summer, Via Nova hosted workshops for volunteers from the New Mexico Center for Therapeutic Riding (NMCTR) and members of the New Mexico Pony Club on positive reinforcement and horse behavior. The workshops introduced attendees to our Priority to Positive® principles, methods, and training program. We appreciated their feedback after the sessions and are excited to continue to educate equestrians about Via Nova.
After the success and interest from the NM Pony Club, we’re thrilled to announce that we’ll also be presenting at the 2023 US Pony Club Convention in St. Louis, where we’ve been selected to present two workshops, “Priority to Positive®: A Practical Equestrian’s Guide to Positive Reinforcement” and “When You Unlock Behavior, You Unlock Potential.” We hope to see all Pony Club members and supporters at the Arch.
From top to bottom: Gilly leading the NMCTR training; PORTL props and Jasmine ‘playing’ at the conference
In August, our Via Nova team went to Dallas, Texas, for the PORTL (Portable Operant Research and Teaching Lab) Conference to enhance their skills at training through reinforcement.
PORTL is a tabletop game that provides an interactive environment that teaches how to create behavior entirely through reinforcement and environmental adaptation and, importantly, gives the trainer insight into the role of the learner.
In September, members of our team also attended Dressage Science Camp with Alexandra Kurland, Michaela Hempen, Anita Schnee, and special guest Anja Beran. The virtual camp took a deep dive into balance and “connecting the dots from the foundation steps of [positive reinforcement] to the beauty of Classical Dressage.”
Attending, networking, and supporting these trainings and organizations are essential as we build our Priority to Positive® curriculum. We engage with expert and amateur trainers, behaviorists, and equestrians to learn from, collaborate with, and listen to in support of improved methods in horse training. If you have any suggestions for events for Via Nova to participate in, please let us know.
Via Nova applauds our barn’s dressage, eventing, and hunter-jumper clients who have been out competing this year. Stay tuned for a congratulatory e-newsletter devoted to their success!