Frequently asked questions

Why must the initial session be two hours? Can’t it be shorter?

I have found that at least two hours is needed for you to tell me about your horse, for me to see and assess you together, and for us then to begin working on the areas that most concern you. I will explain what I advise, both how to do it and why, always with the aim of leaving you with the tools and techniques to continue the work after I have left.

Isn’t two hours too long for my young horse?

Two hours is too long for an intensive lesson for any horse. We will not be hands-on with your horse for the whole time but will give him breaks so that he can rest, relax and think about what he is learning. During those breaks we can continue to discuss how to progress, and cover the techniques best explained and practised away from your horse.

Do you guarantee to solve my problem in the first visit?

I make no guarantees. An initial visit allows me to assess the situation and explain how I propose we work to resolve all the issues. I do not offer ‘quick fixes’ but aim for a long-lasting improvement. However, clients usually see improvements quite quickly.

I haven’t any particular problems with my horse; why would I want a session with you?

It is true that many horses are easy-going and cause no problems, but imagine how much better your relationship could be if your horse really respected you. A session or two with me can greatly improve your horse’s already good manners, make him light and responsive on the ground, and give you insight into the way horses ‘tick’. You will also gain a greater ability to handle other, less cooperative horses. Similarly, a session with me before you buy your first or next horse can smooth the way, give you confidence to meet potential challenges and get your new partnership off to the best start.

I’m nervous and I’m worried that I’ll be pushed into doing more than I want.

I have worked considerably with people new to horses, those relatively inexperienced, and people who are nervous either instinctively or because they have lost their nerve suddenly. I will never press you to do more than you wish, and you can stop at any moment.

My approach is to explain how to ‘read’ horses so that you can begin to predict what they will do, to understand how horses see the world and how to communicate effectively with them, and I have developed techniques for keeping safe and building confidence. This provides anxious people with the best chance of progressing, either on the ground or in the saddle. However, if on the day you decide to concentrate on theory and leave practice for another day, that’s fine.

What equipment and facilities do I need for a session?

We will need a safe, enclosed area with good footing in which to work – a school is ideal but a small paddock is also fine.  If your field is large or has other horses in it, perhaps a small corner can be fenced off temporarily, for example with electric tape if your horse understands this. We will also need somewhere your horse can be comfortably left for a break, preferably with some hay – his stable or his usual tie-up place would be ideal.

Four or five ground poles will be really helpful. If you don’t have poles, something similar, for example fence rails, would be fine. When long-lining, three or four cones, buckets or plastic jump blocks are very useful.

Do I need to buy a Dually halter?

No. Dually halters are very helpful and we will probably use one, but I will be bringing my own.

Should my horse be in the yard or out in the field when you arrive?

Preferably your horse will be in and ready as this saves time. Even if catching your horse is an issue, it is best to begin groundwork before moving on to catching strategies. However, if you simply cannot catch your horse to bring him in, I can work with you on ways to achieve this.

What if the weather is foul?

While light rain and wind is fine, solid downpours and howling gales hinder learning, both for humans and horses! Also, frozen ground or deep mud is not safe footing, and I do not drive in snow or fog. I am happy to reschedule at short notice if the weather turns bad, and will rely on your local knowledge on the day. I only ask that you let me know before I set out.

If the weather is patchy, we can work hands-on with your horse in the better spells and retreat under cover for the person-to-person work.

Will you guarantee to load my horse?

I make no guarantees regarding loading. In any case I believe that simply getting a horse on board a trailer or lorry is only a short-term measure and does not mean the horse will become willing to load in the long term. I prefer to split loading jobs into two sessions, beginning with groundwork away from the vehicle. I will leave you with ‘homework’, and if all goes well, will return a week or two later to take the horse to the vehicle.

My horse sometimes loads easily and other times won’t load at all, especially away from home. Can you help?

This is not an unusual issue and a session or two with me usually sees it improve. The lorry or trailer is unlikely to be needed.

I need help with loading but don’t have access to a trailer or lorry. Can you still help?

Yes. The preparatory work is always carried out away from the vehicle anyway, and there is much information and help I can give you that will probably enable you to load your horse easily next time.

You are my nearest Intelligent Horsemanship Trainer but you are still a long way from me and travel costs are too high. Can you help me?

I appreciate that travel costs are high over large distances, and in any case a long drive each way leaves less time for the session. I therefore offer a remote service whereby you give me detailed information, perhaps including video footage, and we then arrange a telephone call. This will last approximately one hour and will enable me to give you advice fine-tuned to your specific case. The fee for this service is £30.