Have you ever wondered what your horse is thinking?
It’s a question that I asked myself many a time before I found this fulfilling road. Once you know everything has a possibility and a solution, the amount of joy to be experienced with your horse is insurmountable.
You have probably heard the term 'soul mate' within human circles, but have you ever thought you could have the same partnership with your horse? There is no better feeling.
This is just one of my reasons for following the road I have found myself upon, and I wish to share my knowledge with as many people as possible ... for the good of both horse and human.
Every single service highlighted below revolves around the behaviour of the horse. Whether there are existing handling or ridden challenges that you need assistance with, whether you want to prevent certain behavioural patterns from manifesting in the first instance, or whether you simply want to ensure that your horse remains physically sound and at less risk of suffering injury and, therefore, behavioural changes (those two always go hand in hand) ... it all comes back to behaviour at the end of the day. The more you understand about what makes the horse tick, how they learn and how they think, the more balanced your relationship will remain.
Soft ribs, soft mind ... a balanced horse is a happy horse ... happy horse, happy human!
With this in mind I offer tuition, development and support in many areas; developing a communication through trust, respect, understanding and consistency, and always with an open mind, open heart and open hand; working with the whole horse mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
Some of the areas I can assist with are expanded upon below - click an item in the list to jump to the relevant section:-
GROUNDWORK / COMMUNICATION / PARTNERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
Groundwork really is where everything begins. It is where the communication begins and where some of the biggest, most significant changes are made in the relationship between horse and human. I cannot stress enough how valuable and important learning even just the basic groundwork communication is, as it plays such a fundamental part in the ridden communication and leads to limitless performance possibilities.
Here you will learn how to be in control of the horse’s feet, to move them around you and, in doing so, to build trust and respect. Understanding how the horse learns and what makes him behave the way he does helps you to become more understanding of him, and sets you up to be able to teach him in a way that makes sense to him and that he can understand in return. Energy control and direction plays a huge part in the communication so you will learn how to affect your horse just through breathing, thinking and feeling.
As you progress together you will start to help the horse become more supple and balanced in the way he moves, and you yourself will become more confident and fluid in your movements and directions.
TUITION USING WESTERN & CLASSICAL RIDING TECHNIQUES
Learn techniques to improve your horse’s way of going, whatever your level or end goal. We all need someone on the ground from time to time to help us change and improve the things that perhaps aren’t working quite right, or that we cannot see or feel ourselves so well when riding. You don’t have to entertain the groundwork if you really are not that way inclined - although my recommendation will always be to learn and teach your horse the basics as much out of safety as anything else. It does also improve the results you get when riding too as you start to gain an understanding of how the use and direction of your energy can influence the horse.
Build your horse’s confidence in you (and you in your horse) and learn practical strategies to help you stay in control of your horses feet, such that you are able to enjoy safer, more pleasurable rides out together.
GENERAL HANDLING ISSUES
The most common reason I find people seeking my help is due to handling issues of some description. I will not usually, however, directly address the issue straight away (for example saddling/bridling problems, leading/loading problems, farrier difficulties etc), first I work on building a communication on the ground such that I can move any part of the horse on request, for example move the shoulder or hind quarters over, have the horse back up with lightness, etc. Then I have the basic tools and strategies in place to be able to address whatever the particular handling problem is. I often find that basic handling problems such as leading, standing still on request, and in some cases loading problems etc, are resolved during this initial process.
There are many ways we can help our horses become calmer, smarter and braver. The desensitisation techniques I use will help the horse to cope with flapping objects, different surfaces, narrow gaps, the feeling of pressure and entrapment, and various sounds and noises in his space and general surroundings, to name but a few things. Working through the desensitisation exercises helps the horse to react less to things when he is being ridden out, schooled, led around, at shows etc. Whilst we can never truly stop the horse from initially reacting to something, we can help to set him up such that he thinks more about the situation instead of reacting violently to it (bolting, rearing, bucking, shying etc), and, therefore, comes down off the adrenalin in seconds rather than staying on high alert.
These techniques are invaluable when producing a safe horse and I use them without fail when working with ponies being prepared for use within the RDA (Riding for the Disabled) when it is of paramount importance that the ponies are pretty much unflappable!
CONFIDENCE BUILDING FOR HORSE & HUMAN
Losing your confidence when riding or around horses in general can be devastating when you are so passionate about this majestic animal. It is certainly nothing to be ashamed of – at the end of the day the horse is a living, breathing being with a brain of his own and horse riding is a dangerous past time. However, I can help you learn strategies that will not only help you be safer around horses but can help you rebuild your confidence so you start having fun again.
I have first hand experience of confidence loss and so I am well placed to understand the thoughts and emotions that are encountered when in this situation. I was never able to find anyone to help me get through that tough time and this is one of the reasons I started looking at alternative ways to work with horses. I worked through the problem on my own but I would have loved someone to help me who truly understood how I felt inside.
I don’t think I will ever truly understand why a horse will allow himself to be put inside a moving box! It is against all his natural instincts to go inside a cave, let alone a moving one. This just goes to show what trusting, trying, genuine beings they truly are. So it comes as no surprise that one of the most common handling problem I am called upon to help with is that of loading.
As with all handling issues I always start by building a communication on the ground such that I can move any part of the horse on request. This gives me the basic tools and strategies in place to be able to address the problem at hand. It also serves to build a level of trust, respect and understanding between myself and the horse I am handling.
Through principles of positive reinforcement, pressure and release, confidence building, trailer / lorry investigation and energy use, I work with the horse until he is confident to be loaded, travelled, unloaded and reloaded. I will then work with the handler so they have an understanding of the basic communication, before helping them load their horse and setting them up with various strategies to give them the confidence to know that they can always reload their horse.
FOAL & YOUNGSTOCK HANDLING
It is never too early to start working with foals and youngstock. All too often it is left until the horse is ready to be backed, but life for everyone (including the horse) can be made so much easier if a communication is introduced early.
Once weaned, I often see foals becoming pushy and bolshy as they test the boundaries with the other horses and humans alike. The other horses will put the youngster firmly in his place but if the same does not happen with the human (in a way the little horse can understand) then inappropriate behaviour can manifest and get out of hand very quickly. All too often I see horses that have been 'damaged' at this early stage in their life when such behaviour has been handled improperly.
I like to work with horses from an early age so that when it comes to backing it’s no big deal and just another new thing for the horse to learn about. This approach produces confident, calm, thinking horses that are a pleasure to work with and develop on into whatever sphere the partnership is aiming for.
The most efficient way of giving horse and rider a foundation is for me to work with your horse for several sessions (time dependent on the individual horse’s age and ability) to build communication, confidence, and partnership qualities, and establish the foundation. Then I will work with you, helping you understand how to use your energy and body language to communicate with the horse. Finally, I bring you and your horse together again. At this point I am on hand to support you both as you progress and develop together – guiding you through the next stage of your horsemanship journey as you start to build new layers and travel on into whatever your chosen area is, whether it is show jumping, dressage, endurance, reining, or simply enjoying safe and fun rides out together.
PROMOTING SOFTNESS & SUPPLENESS / ENHANCING PERFORMANCE
There are so many ways in which a horse’s performance can be enhanced giving you that competitive edge, whether your chosen field is show jumping, eventing, dressage, western pursuits etc. Building a foundation enhances suppleness and communication between horse and rider such that turns can be improved, shaving valuable seconds off the time when competing against the clock. Softness of ribs promotes softness of mind so the jumping arena need not be a battle ground where you and your horse go head to head. Imagine a horse that is soft, listening, supple, agile and can turn on a sixpence in the jumping arena or that is floating, responsive, willing and expressive in the dressage arena. Improve lateral moves and suppleness through the ribs so the horse is ready to respond to any request at any time, with the lightest touch from yourself - or even just from your intention .... imagine that!
CLINICS / WORKSHOPS / GROUPS / ONE TO ONE
Basic groundwork clinics are great as an introduction for those wishing to try an alternative method and see if it might work for them. Although I have a variety of other titles to run alongside the basic groundwork clinic, which include furthering the groundwork, improving balance, ridden foundation, ridden performance, desensitisation and lameness / pain recognition clinics. All clinics are undertaken with your own horses.
Workshops are great for a group of people to get together and work through something specific, such as rope handling skills, long-reining etc. Workshops are designed to be fun yet informative and full of useful tips and techniques for you to take back to your own horses. They are usually held using carefully selected horses depending upon what the theme of the workshop is.
Tuition in small groups (2-4) is helpful for those who gain confidence from learning alongside trusted friends. It also helps to keep the cost of tuition down! Group tuition is undertaken with your own horses.
One-to-One tuition gives you the opportunity to get to grips with certain areas you may be having trouble with. It is much more intensive than working within a group but an incredible amount can be achieved in a relatively short period of time. Some people find that they get very self conscious in a group environment and do not work at their best - one-to-one tuition removes that hurdle and can help you to focus better without that kind of pressure. One to one tuition is usually undertaken with your own horse.
If you would like to organise a Clinic or Workshop in your area, or book a group or one-to-one lesson then please contact me on 00 44 (0) 77 69 53 63 43 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We all need a holiday from time to time, but what happens to your horse whilst you’re away? Why not consider sending your horse to me during your holiday, or at any time when you are unable to look after your horse yourself, where I can offer a service tailored to your needs. I will look after your horse whilst you and your family enjoy your well earned break, knowing that your horse is well cared for and enjoying his or her holiday too! For short breaks your horse will live out and have his own paddock but will be able to see and interact with my own well settled herd. For longer breaks it may be possible for your horse to be introduced into the herd if you would prefer. During your horse’s stay he can either have a rest himself or I can work with him in whatever capacity you choose - ground work, schooling, hacking out, etc.
It may also be possible for your horse to remain in his familiar surroundings whilst you take your break / rehabilitate (or whatever your reason for needing assistance to look after your horse(s)). If you are situated in Limousin or the surrounding area then I would be pleased to look after your horse in his own home.
Please feel free to contact me to discuss your individual requirements.