Horse Behaviour Problems
1. Contact me to arrange a free, no-obligation 20 minute phone call where we discuss how I can best help you and your dog. You can reach me via my contact form, text or WhatsApp message, email, or a phone call. If you need to leave a message I will get back to you as soon as I can.
My aim for any behavioural case is to improve the quality of life for both horse and owner – through changing behaviour and promoting safety and welfare for horses and humans. This means I'll be helping you to:
Create and/or improve horse friendly management
Use evidence-based training methods that adhere to the LIMA principle: Least Invasive, Minimally Aversive
I’ll also help you to read and respond to your horse’s body language to communicate better.
By promoting you and your horse’s confidence through individually tailored least stress management, clear communication and reward-based training, I will help you avoid causing or increasing stress and fear.
Types of cases typically seen:
Handling issues: catching, leading, barging, pulling away, failure to cooperate with clipping, farriery and veterinary procedures.
Problems with loading and travelling, fearful or dangerous behaviour at shows and events.
Aggressive behaviour to people and/or other horses – biting and kicking.
Stress related behaviour, anxious and fearful horses, separation anxiety, and stable vices such as cribbing and weaving/box walking.
Ridden problems such as napping, bucking, rearing, bolting, nervous and spooky behaviour.
Weaning and socialising issues in foals and young horses. Problems with early training.
I also specialise in rescue horses and the problems that these horses can present, such as the results of severe trauma.
2. Get your horse, pony, donkey or mule checked by your vet (if you haven't already done this of course!). We can't train pain and illness and pain affect our dog's emotional lives with consequence for their behaviour. In some cases very stressed and anxious dogs benefit from medication that only your vet can prescribe. Your vet will need to refer you and your dog to me and forward their medical history via the vet referral form. In may cases the vets I work with regularly will have already done this by the time we first speak.
3. Give me some extra detail on your equine's behaviour. Write down in as much detail as you can, an account of all the issues you are having and send it to me via email. You can also send me videos of your equine on WhatsApp (07974 569407), but make sure you don't put you or your equine in harms' way with your filming. I'll believe you if he or she bites or puts you on the floor, you don't need to put you or your horse at risk to show me this.
4. We meet! This will either be in person (subject to Covid 19 regulations) or virtually in a Zoom meeting. Zoom meetings are really useful for getting the ball rolling for me to take your equine's case history, understand how and why they feel, think and behave, and get you started with the behaviour plan. In simpler cases the first meeting takes an hour, where the case is more complex we will spend up to two hours making sure that we leave no stone unturned and that all the important details are understood and accounted for.
5. You receive your behaviour report, action plan and additional informational material, along with your first 4 weeks of FREE WhatsApp and/or email support so we can continuously monitor progress and keep you moving forward. You can purchase additional Whats App and email support for £5.00 per month afterwards if you feel you will need the continued benefit of it.
6. We meet again, online or in person to follow-up on progress and to continue to tailor your plan to make sure it works at its absolute best for you. Like the follow-up on WhatsApp and email, the follow-up appointments can be continued for as long as you need them. In cases which can take some time and carefully staged behaviour modification to help, these follow-up appointments often prove invaluable. Examples are: aggressive behaviour, separation-related behaviours including napping, loading issues, and helping equines over their fears and phobias such as feral ponies, those with fear of handling, being caught and farrier/veterinary treatment.
I visit horse and owner (and anyone else involved in the care&/training of the horse who would like to be present) and formalise my assessment of the problem behaviour; by working up as full and accurate a diagnosis of the specific problem as possible. I want to make sure I properly understand the horse’s motivation, predispositions and factors that initiated and maintain the current problem. This way I can tailor the most appropriate and effective behaviour modification plan with you. This may involve management changes and/or specific remedial training depending on the case.
Some problem behaviours are very easy to diagnose and require a more training-oriented approach. These cases become apparent during the initial assessment phone call. In these circumstances the case history is easily taken over the phone during that initial assessment call, and the first remedial training visit follows with further training visits as needed, as well as access to the other forms of follow-up support described above.
Horses and ponies under the age of three years
It's not unusual for owners of young horses to experience problems related to the horse's age, often the result of foalhood and emotional and behavioural development through to puberty and on to maturity. Such problems may be related to unwanted attention seeking and playful behaviour from foals, and nervous or even aggressive or pushy behaviour from yearlings through to three-year-olds. Or you may wish to consult me about best practices surrounding weaning or training and socialising your youngster. Provided there aren't above average complexities to such cases, most owners and their young horses benefit from a specifically designed young horse consultations with the above follow-up services as necessary. The young horse consultation usually takes around 2 hours and covers the behavioural and emotional development of your youngster, as well as bespoke management advice to help them grow up emotionally well balanced and simple training in important life skills as per individual requirements.