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 horse. 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.
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 horse's emotional lives with consequence for their behaviour. In some cases very stressed and anxious horses benefit from medication that only your vet can prescribe. Your vet will need to refer you and your horse 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. Please complete this behavioural questionnaire and send me some video of your equine’s behaviour as directed in the questionnaire wherever possible. It will take you around 20 minutes to do so and will help me get a clearer picture of your horse’s life and problems. Once you have submitted your questionnaire you will then be asked for payment for your initial consultation.
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 set up your bespoke behaviour plan.
5. You receive your behaviour report, action plan and additional informational material, then we move on to regular communication on our agreed behaviour support plan and keep you moving forward.
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.
Initial Behavioural Consultations
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.
Follow-on Behaviour Training and Support
Each horse and owner are different and so are the problems that are presented. We will work out what form of training and support you need during our Initial Behavioural Consultation when the problem has been fully understood and we have learned what it will take to solve the issues. Support is often a combination of online, phone and in-person visits.
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 1 1/2 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.
All of my equine behaviour services are only available on veterinary referral. If you are having a problem with your equine’s behaviour it is important that you consult your vet first, just in case the reason for your equine’s behaviour is medical. If no physical problem is diagnosed, you can ask to be referred to me.