Q&As

Questions

We are just about to publish some of our most frequently-asked questions. However, should you need to ask us a question, please do so by filling in the boxes below.

Hi Arran,I was hoping I could ask your thoughts on in an emergency me keeping Daisy and Misty in the same stable (one of our big ones?) It's just we have lots of liveries which is great but leaves me with only two emergency stables Thanks Arran and see you soon.Claire

Hi Claire, Looking forward to seeing you guys on Sunday. Horses all seem to vary in terms of how much personal space they need as individuals and as a group, and this changes again when challenged by environment or circumstance. Some horses share space really well when completely calm but then when trapped get stressed and feel the need to lash out. Often causing the other horse to get injured because it couldn't get away. Usually because of anxiety brought on by them gaining a concept of time i.e. it's getting light, so soon the door will open etc. The safest way to test this is give the horses a choice, make a run from field to stable, use an open field shelter or mobile canvas shelter and see how close they are and how much time they spend in each others space, then observe how much their anxiety builds as you take the control away from them by reducing their ability to flight.I hope this gives you some ideas, enjoy observing your horses. Arran :-)

Hi Arran , Do you offer work experience placements, Thanks

Hi, thanks for your question we do offer work experience placements. Our working student program offers a unique opportunity for someone inside or outside of the UK to stay with us for a minimum of 4 months where you will together with the other students and staff take care of the horses and their different needs around the stud. You will be a part of the regular trainings in the arena, as well as having the opportunity to be a part of our regular clinics. There will also be the opportunity to have regular private coaching on your own horse or one of ours. Although English is the predominant language spoke on the yard and in training we regularly welcome foreign students wishing to improve their English skills.Once Students have completed there 4 month internship there are often opportunities for the right candidate to progress into a more long term position within the team.Whether you have a passion for horse development, care, stud work or equine business management there are many short and long term roles available for the right person. If you require further information please get in touch, Arran

In some of your images, Oakley is wearing a Spanish cavesson. What do you think are the benefits of the Spanish cavesson over a rope halter or bridle? Thanks.

Hi great question, all the equipment you mention in your question works with different parts of the horses body and each horse responds to aids differently. I try when working with different horses to ask myself the question “what am I trying to say to the horse and which aids are going to convey my message in the clearest most stress free way?” For some horses the cavesson can aid a more correct rotation of the neck spine by bringing the upper jaw over the lower jaw, so can be a great way to develop bit less in-hand and ridden aids that are as correct and similar in action to that of the bit. There are many lines of communication we can use to connect with our horses in the clearest most straight forward way possible, so for more information on any of the above do not hesitate to get in touch or attend one of our rebalance clinics where many of the above and similar topics are covered in great detail. All the best, Arran

When you’re working on something that your horse finds difficult and they start to ‘play up’ at what point do you change what you were doing with them without them thinking that playing up is the way to make you stop?

Hi thank you for your question, I feel sometimes that a change is as good as a rest. When we are training our horses it is useful to offer positive reinforcement such as a rest to let your horse know when he is matching your intention. However there is a fine line between rewarding your horses “try” and teaching your horse to demand that you quit. Try to advance and retreat from something that your horse finds easy into a his version of a movement or exercise that he finds difficult, then back to the easy exercise (so not quitting but smoothly linking into a similar but less challenging version of your goal, before he feels over challenged.) This way you can stretch his envelope without pushing him over the edge. Remember that it is more important for your horse to feel he can maintain a connection with you than it is for him to achieve your goal. If you can extend your horses “try” rather than train him to make you quit the end result will be more effortless and enjoyable for both of you. In my tack room I have a quote by Robert Louis Stevenson “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” Bearing this in mind has really helped me with my horses and I hope that it helps you to. It is tricky to give specific advise not knowing exactly what you are working on, so for more information please don’t hesitate to get in touch. All the best, Arran.

Hi Arran, quick question from our last lesson. I remember you telling me to put more weight in one of my stirrups on the circle to help with the bend but I cant remember whether you said to weight the inside stirrup or the outside stirrup! Do I also weight the stirrup when I'm asking for the bend but not on a circle? Thanks

Hi, thanks for asking this question as it is important to understand bending in relation to the rotation of your horses whole spine to achieve bend through the whole body and not just the horses neck. To achieve a bend which your horse can self carry rather than being purely aid dependent, your horse will need to firstly be able to bring his hind leg on the inside of the bend closer to the point of weight. During motion your horses will lower his inside ribs to allow his inside hind leg to swing through regardless of whether he is traveling on a straight line or circle. This will cause a lowering of your inside seat bone just before the inside hind leg leaves the floor. However sometimes as we use our inside leg to increase the bend or move from a circle to a straight line we may be tempted to lift our inside heel which in turn lifts the inside seat bone causing the horse to change the rotation of his spine in relation to his bend and the direction of travel. If you would like to find out more about this subject be sure to check out our re balance clinics where we look in depth at the horse and riders bio-mechanics. I hope this helps you in your understanding of this subject and I look forward to seeing your progress at our next lesson. All the best, Arran.

Hi Arran, would you advise the use of voice commands in the training of the horse? I'm wondering if it would be helpful to link the voice to a physical aid. I read somewhere that a horse can identify as many vocal commands as a dog can, do you think it could help the horse to understand us?Many thanks.

Hi great question, over the last few years I have found using sounds to be very useful in some of the more advanced horses particularly in liberty and distance training, when a physical aid may not be possible. However your auditory aid will only work as a bridge and you will need to be sure on how you will reinforce that bridge should your horse get confused. Its a good idea to build a solid foundation between you and your horse first before adding to many voice commands as body language will always be your horses first language, and your body will always be your best primary aid should your horse get lost in translation. If you can develop your understanding of the primary aids with your horse then the days of wishing and hoping with a "woahooo" could well and truly be in the past. However experimenting with vocal bridges can make a fun addition to your existing training aids. I hope this helps you and your horse connect in the best way possible for you. We will be looking at this topic in more depth in my Master Class so be sure to go to clinic schedules for more details:)

How does training your horse with horsemanship ethos to develop better ridden movement differ from using conventional methods?

Hi, Thanks for being the first great question on our new website, we hope it will be the first of many and a great way to open positive and constructive question answering that more people can benefit from than in a one to one training session. This is such a great question and one that I have been asked many versions of on my travels. Good and bad horsemanship has been practiced for centuries and this has often been evaluated by the qualities an individual trainer promotes and values most within the horse. In my opinion the horsemanship ethos that you mentioned is about understanding the theory behind the practice as without a deep understanding of the (theory) what, how, and why the practise often becomes un productive for both horse and rider. We have all watched styles of training that for some reason do not quite appeal to ourselves or our horses and this for me this is when you see people thinking of horses like a game of tennis, purely for their for human enjoyment. However because horse mastery in not an autonomous subject you can play the horse exactly by the book and it may not improve, because unlike tennis the horse has not been put there to make you happy and unlike a tennis ball it will have different ideas about the best way to respond/react from moment to moment. The feel and timing required to achieve horse mastery is something that people have been writing about for centuries and the challenge is in keeping the balance in you and your horse aspiring to where you want to go but respecting where you and your horse are at. Regardless of the many costumes people feel they need to dress up in to achieve great things with the horse the is really only one question you need to ask. Is the human bringing a level of intelligence to this horse that is enabling the horse to feel and become a more able version of itself? That when the bridle comes off does the horse stick around asking more questions or get away as fast as possible? If you and your horse can come together and be fascinated as if by a hobby, motivated like playing a sport and humbled as though witnessing an art form then you have a balance that both of you can grow in at.One.ment. I look forward to more great questions and I hope you and your horse continue to progress to be the best you can be together. All the best, Arran.

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