Patricia, did you like Mr. Mccleans book?
I learn something from everyone I read. McLean is trying to be a behaviorist. There is a lot to learn there. But the focus is on operant conditioning... well, AND seems to be interested in the behaviors that come out without conditioning. So I would say that McLean and AND are on opposite spectrums of horsetraining.
The effects of operant conditioning are unavoidable in any two party interaction. In fact they even work with only one person present.
The environment does it to us. Sit on a padded chair with a spring poking through. In time you'll get up and move.
Using the general rather than specific, "you."
You have just had the environment use negative reinforcement on you to teach you not to sit on seriously uncomfortable chairs.
We can ignore conditioning, even deliberately attempt to avoid it with our horses, but it will take place despite us.
I decided long ago, since I am effected, motivated, by conditions, and it's obvious a horse is, then I need to pay heed to what I use and how I use it to condition the horse.
The question for me then isn't DO I use it, but what is my ethical framework as I do so.
AND members, as I see it, spend considerable effort exploring exactly that. What is their ethical position, and how might they apply it with a moral perception.
I think, and I risk here that I'll be disagreed with, that AND also looks at other systems, philosophies if you will, and puts that same question to those.
Examining Hempfling's work for instance has clearly brought this out for us. We appreciate and are inspired by him, both his personality, and his work. Yet we might not choose, some of us, to use the amount of pressure we believe we are seeing.
I have to trust that is an ethical position being taken. It is for me, at any rate.
Even within that model, his, there is much that one might see as ethical. His extreme refinement of method lends itself to such quick reduction of pressure, that is immediate and sustained release, that it falls within what I would accept as a much more, by far, ethical treatment of horses than nearly the entire horseworld.
I have much the same feeling about Parelli, though some might disagree with me. He creates considerable softeness that he disguises a bit, or it's concealed by, his own showboating.
So to me, AND can encompass for some of us at any rate, a good deal of both deliberate OC (examples are in Karen's work, Brenda, my own, and others) and incidental OC.
In the latter case I'm more inclined to see much of Romi's activity with her horses (though she'd be the final arbiter of this) in this light. Incidental operant conditioning.
My own challenge with OC is to be disciplined and mindful while also taking time to play, knowing that both constitute for the horse, much of the time, if not always, conditioning.
We have a wonderfully complex problem here. Thank you for bringing it up and making me think more about it.
I've not read McLean, but I'm going to make a wild guess. There is something in his work that might be more pressure and less release, so for you AND is seen as being in opposition.
What did you find in his book. I'm curious.
There is so much reference work cited by AND members I've given up trying to get around to reading it all. So what an AND member says about it now determines more whether or not I take the time to read someone's work.
Best wishes, Donald R.