Horse Behaviour Problems
Struggling to find a satisfactory solution to your horse's unwanted behaviour? 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.
In order to rule out, or work with any medical issues, I work on the referral of the veterinary surgeon. If you haven't been referred by your vet then I will seek their permission before taking on your case.
During an initial phone consultation, I will take the horse’s case history and identify whether the problem is complex and requiring an in depth behavioural consultation, or relatively simple needing a shorter re-training approach. *The cost of the initial phone consultation is redeemable against further behaviour and training packages.
Complex behavioural problems
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.
The next stage is implementing the program. This can be done under my instruction and coaching, or in some cases I do some of the training myself with the owner joining in once the new behaviour is becoming more established. Many owners find their program simple to follow because they join in with me in clearly setting out what changes need to be made to the horse’s management and interactions with people: always specific to each horse and owner’s situation.
Back up support
This is essential to helping you and your horse develop new skills, habits and emotional responses. As every horse and owner is different, follow up support is also tailored to suit you (price list – link):
Written behaviour modification programme (included in cost of behavioural consultation)
Messenger and email for simple queries and progress reports
Telephone and Skype coaching and mentoring sessions to help with more complex support
Follow-up visits are also available to help you with skills training and other practical aspects of behaviour modification where you need hands-on help
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.