Alfonso is certainly a pioneer in applying the basics of ethology (the study of animal behavior) in horsemanship; in the daily handling with horses.
Alfonso is not a “big show man”. He likes to work with his horses humbly and explains and teaches in the same way. In order to learn from him you must observe closely and listen. Alfonso’s explanations are clear and to the point and designed by him over many years to help horse and human connect and communicate.
The horse does not need to be dominated but should “learn to learn” from the human, how to handle difficult situations and find solutions. This is why Alfonso always offers the horse tasks to grapple with the situations and teaches the horse to find the correct solution. If you don’t give the horse this opportunity it will act only as a reaction of the fear of the trainer.
How exactly the course will proceed, Alfonso will not foreknow. He will shape the clinic to the horses and participants according to their needs and desires. It is of paramount importance for him to show that if you customize the exercises to fit the specific horse and person you will achieve remarkable changes in the horse’s behavior in a short time span. Alfonso always explains the basics and advanced in great detail. He strives to give every participant in his clinics the skill they require to continue working and advancing at home on their own. The spectators also gain a great deal of knowledge from observing different people and different horses using different approaches to achieve a goal.
In recent years Alfonso has focused his attention to the concept of “stress” and stress management. Some basic questions he posed himself where: When does a horse feel stress? How can we measure stress levels? How does a horse handle stress?
The cardiac frequency meter helps Alfonso get an objective view of the horses real stress level. Alfonso’s experience with the cardiac frequency meter has shown that the behavior of the horse is not always an accurate index of his stress levels. A horse that might appear nervous could be internally really calm and a horse that looks behaviorally calm could be stressed and just about to burst out a big reaction. A horse’s previous experience could have taught him to hide his real stress levels and could be hard to read even for the skilled horseman.
Therefore Alfonso started to work with the cardiac frequency meter since the year 2000. In the year 2003 the Swiss National Stud Farm in Avenches asked him to develop a program for identification of horse-characters. He used his program with the cardiac frequency meter and made a field test with 15 stallions of different ages to be qualified for breeding. This program is still in use to select future breeding stock.
Such tests are very attractive for breeders, because they recognize horses with wanted or unwanted characters or behaviors for selective breeding in an early age. With the normal selection it can take years of training until you find their character. By this stage the owner usually invested a big amount of money. Testing both the mare and the stallion would bring the best results.
Alfonso is not only known through his hand on courses world-wide, he is also a welcome guest speaker at universities like Davis in California, Texas A&M, UNAM in Mexico, Göttingen in Germany etc..
His topics are: the behavior of horses, the correct handling of horses, how to use the bosals, how function different bits.
He frequently takes part in most famous horse-fairs as the Equitana in Essen, the Bea in Bern, the International Horse fair in Leon, the Americana in Augsburg and the Hansepferd in Hamburg.