Karen and Tango

I had been having lessons with Arran with my horse Henry and making progress even though I found him challenging! Unfortunately he had had several lameness issues and back in 2010 when the vet diagnosed him with a ligament injury, which could take 6 months to heal, I had to ring Arran to say I might not be doing anything for a while. He told me about a horse he had at his yard which might suit me but at first I dismissed it as I hadn't ever considered getting another horse. I could not get him off my mind though and eventually went to see him at Arran’s and fell in love! When I eventually got him home in November 2010 I realised how much work we had to do together. He hated being ridden in the school and although was lovely to hack out with others he was not keen to hack out on his own and had a lot of baggage about taking any instruction about where we should go. If he didn't see the point he was NOT going to do it! Riding in the school was frustrating at times and near impossible at others. We could just about walk and trot ( sometimes) in a halter but canter was out of the question. I knew a little of his history and know he had probably been overtrained in pursuit of a dressage career so I had no expectations of ever competing him, I just wanted a happy horse to ride. Gradually the opposition diminished and canter was possible . I used everything I had learnt from Arran and eventually we were both enjoying ourselves. I could ride him bareback and bridle-less (something I never thought possible at the beginning) hack him out on his own wherever I wanted to go and began to start to ride him in a bridle again. I recently had my first lesson on him with Arran and with Arran’s knowledge of bio mechanics and psychology had him beginning to use his body more effectively without causing any brace in either body or mind. Lots still to work on but I have just been out to our first dressage competition together and although the weather was diabolical with hail and rain we hopefully both enjoyed it. I am so looking forward to continuing the journey with Arran’s invaluable help and maybe realise just some of Tangos massive potential.

Lucy Middleton and Lily

My horse, Lily, and I have been training with Arran for five years now and the transformations in that time have been overwhelming. When I bought Lily, I had no idea where to start in fixing her issues; her fear made her dangerous and unpredictable, and all she knew was to evade any pressure by running away. I couldn't catch her or lead her safely and she bolted with anyone unlucky enough to sit on her - she was the perfect prey animal.

From the first time I met Arran to the present day, his tuition, support and knowledge shared has not only helped me create positive changes in Lily, it has also totally changed my attitude for the better. Every day with Lily is fun and we have achieved many milestones I didn't think would ever be possible with a reactive horse, such as; liberty in large open spaces, bridle-less riding, hacking out and even a little bit of jumping.

With a solid foundation, we are now working steadily on collection and flexibility at higher levels, which is something I have always dreamed of. Arran has helped expose and foster the great qualities in Lily (and myself) and provided strategies and insight that were so crucial for building confidence and harmony in my partnership. Having Lily trot over when she sees me is clear feedback that she is just as glad as I am that we found Student of the Horse!

Lindsay and Finzi

I never thought my veteran (15) ex racer Finzi would be where he is today but after a year with Arran he has progressed fantastically.

My only goal with Finzi to start with was to ensure he built his top line and become a little more flexible to help him though his older years but he has come on leaps and bounds and seems to be enjoying it as well as putting his heart into everything I ask of him. Our lessons are great very productive, informative and I always feel we have made a step forward at the end of them. No lesson is ever the same even if we are working on the same area Arran helps us find new ways of approaching it. I don’t ever feel that Finzi or I become bored or stuck with what we are doing.

Considering Finzi has never really done much schooling in his years he has adapted to it really well, with great guidance from Arran I feel Finzi’s mental attitude is the best it can be. We have days where he feels lazy or quite the opposite and acts like he is 5 again but Arran has taught us how to deal with all of the different behaviours. We take small steps each day sometimes a few backwards ones but we eventually get there!

Finzi’s main issue to start with was flexibility and suppleness, we have taken it slowly using different methods such a shoulder in, leg yields and moving round the menage in different patterns to help him stretch and use these new muscles he never thought were there. Through doing this we have helped build his top line and become soft and supple through his body and calm in the mind!

I am very lucky to have a horse with a lovely personality he is a incredibly patient, loyal and hard working, we are now participating in local dressage classes which I never thought we would do!

Arran is a great teacher with lots of patience and has a wonderful understanding of a horses physical and mental ability I can’t wait to see how far I will progress with Finzi in the future with Arrans help.

Danae and Louie

Three years ago, Rachael my daughter bought Louis, a 2 year old Welsh sec D and she has done the majority of the work bringing him on. He is now 15.2 h …nearly, and a delightful, intelligent character who would be quite happy if all that was required of him was to eat and play with his field mates. I decided I would like to get to know Louis better so that we could all work happily and have fun together. We found that asking Louis to "just get on with it” was not having the desired effect (!) and Arran’s help was sought. We really liked his approach which is from the horse’s perspective - it made sense, we saw how it worked and we wanted to learn more. I booked myself on to one of Arran’s 3 day clinics and during those 3 days started to learn how to connect both mentally and physically with Louis. I could feel the improvement in Louis’ attitude immediately both on the ground and in the ridden work; it was such a rewarding and confidence building experience and we haven’t looked back. Everyone who attended the clinic had different situations and Arran helped us all individually. He teaches you to think "outside the box” which gives you the tools to work in partnership with your horse. I top up with lessons when possible to keep on track and in between I practise the many aspects of communication both in-hand and ridden - as a result I am thoroughly enjoying the challenges of my new role as a student of the horse and reaping the benefits. Thank you Arran for giving me the confidence to happily get back in the saddle.

Hazel and Forest

After recommendation from my vet, I decided to see if Arran could help Forest. Forest was very unhappy and every time I put him in the field he would fence walk for hours and hours, he would not eat or drink, just pace up and down the fence. We were both so stressed, something had to be done. First off Arran put him in a field with other horses and left him out 24/7. No fence walking and a much happier horse. Arran told me not to put him in a stable again, he would rather be out all the time. Forest was also really frightened of plastic bags, sprays etc. Arran spent time in the arena showing Forest that these things will not hurt him and so he soon allowed Arran to rub him all over with a plastic bag. Anyway, I am just giving you a very basic overview of what goes on there, Arran’s work with Forest was a lot more intricate and involved than I have spoken about here. Every horse is different and requires a different approach, but Arran knows exactly what to do. He is, I think at one with the horse. That is the only way I can explain it as I see it. He is calm, helpful and very patient. Forest is back with me now. A new start at a new yard, out 24/7 with other horses. I am looking forward to working with Forest through the teaching of Arran. I can't fault the work that has been done. We have been treated with kindness at every stage and everybody is happy and helpful. If you find yourself in a similar position, then give Arran a ring. There is no pressure at all and you just might find someone to help.

Debbie and Charlie

I came to Arran's stud for a long weekend, having being a novice I quickly learnt the importance of groundwork & this inspired me to learn more from the horse within, gaining the confidence and respect needed to build a solid foundation to able me work with my horse from the ground and in the saddle. The place is so calm my horse immediately was so chilled out, which reflected in the training. Arran is so helpful & his knowledge is inspiring you can really see the horses respect him & he them. Thanks Arran will be seeing you again soon.

Melanie and Vigilante (Lante)

Vigilante was bred to be an endurance horse out of my PB Arab mare by a premium Arabian endurance stallion who I chose for his laid back temperament and performance record. Lante was rejected at birth but he was a fighter from the start and despite a series of infections and being hand reared he thrived, sadly his dam did not do so well and 3 months after his birth she lost her battle with life. 

Lante has a very active mind and needs lots of stimulation so to keep him out of mischief. I encouraged some behaviours and shaped them into tricks which are put to good use when we do demos and workshops at equine therapy centres. I always need to be one step ahead of him and I felt that I needed some fresh ideas and a new direction so I booked my first lesson with Arran although I had no idea where it would take us.

Lante has not got the best conformation, he has got rather long legs, he is short in his body and being croup high his natural response is to trail his hind legs out behind him making canter in particular a very difficult and uncomfortable gait. I knew that I would have to put time and effort into improving his way of going in order for us to enjoy a long and injury free life of activities together. When I contacted Arran I had been working on his flatwork and although we had seen an improvement in his top line I thought that we had reached his physical limit.  How wrong was I. From my first session with Arran, I could see my horse starting to change shape and feeling so different. A year on and the changes are incredible, it’s like riding a different horse, he’s more forward going, tries harder and is offering some lovely movements at liberty, but for me the most exciting improvement has been his canter.  He is now able to rock his weight back onto his hindquarters and as he gains the strength it just gets better with each ride. 

Seeing such improvements has fired my enthusiasm to learn more about the horse’s biomechanics and to practice the techniques so that, in conjunction with my hoof trimming experience, I may be able to help other horses.  I’m currently working with two young horses, including one who has a history of asymmetry through her body.  She is responding well to the exercises and my level of understanding is expanding as I am searching for answers to the problems she is experiencing and by listening to the feedback she gives me I know that we are now on the right track.

After each session with Arran,  I feel we move onto deeper level of understanding as the horses begin to feel what we are striving for and are able to find and hold onto it for themselves.

Jacqui and Monty

My horse was on his last warning. Monty, my 3 year old Appaloosa was a nightmare. There was no other word for it. He was very close to being sold as I could not control him and felt no bond, despite owning him since he was 6 months old. A friend recommended Arran and we duly trekked down to Shropshire on a snowy December day. Even unloading was fun with Monty barging me out of the way, merely interested in where his friend had gone who had travelled with him. I'm sure Arran remembers the session that ensued in the round pen. Monty was completely disinterested in me and more interested in anything else going on around him. Trying to convince him that I really was fun to be with was a joke with Monty continuously rearing on the end of my long line. Despair really doesn't sum it up! I'm sure Arran was thrilled when I asked him to start Monty for me several months (a few lessons later) later! Mind you, at this point, I did at least have a calmer horse, that would back up and do some nice groundwork. ..and here I am, 3 years later, still with Monty. He is a character, that's for sure. We hack out in our rope halter, much to the amazement of most people passing by ('You're riding your horse in a piece of string!') and have even done a dressage test at a local yard (OK, only one, but it's a start!). I've never had a trainer like Arran before. Arran has displayed the utmost patience with Monty & me. I don't think I'm the easiest person to teach. I get uncomfortable with new stuff like Monty does and it's so easy to get frustrated, especially with a dominant youngster who quite often thinks he knows best. Sometimes I find it hard to grasp the image that Arran is describing, but he is ever patient in reframing ideas or just going back to the beginning and is always happy to take the reins and demonstrate. My journey with Monty & Arran I hope is far from over. So far it's certainly been a voyage of discovery

Gemma and Goldie

I had only owned Goldie for a couple of weeks before I contacted Arran to help me with the problems and bad habits that Goldie had. From not standing still when tied up to always running to the gate in the school, Goldie was certainly testing me. With Arran's guidance, both myself and Goldie soon learnt so much in our lessons. A couple of months later, Goldie went to Arran for two weeks of training while I was on holiday and then we never left Broad Oak stables as we both loved it there so much! We then went on to learn more liberty which helped our partnership so much. Our ridden work has gone from not being able to trot a circle to Goldie being happy and willing in his work and even riding bridle-less. His transformation has been amazing and thanks to Arran we now have a great relationship and I can't wait to see what the future holds for us.

Katharine and Bella

When I bought my beautiful Fjord mare, Bella, she was seven years old and had no brakes (and no other controls come to that). She knew how to go forward fast. She had no canter to speak of, she'd rather gallop. She had no lateral bend - she was stiff as a board. She was impatient and scared; especially of whips. She was ridden in a martingale and a Dutch gag and I knew I struggled to stop her. Then we bought Tigger, the sweetest 12 hand Dartmoor, rescued age 6, he was 8; he was scared too but in a different way. He was terrified of humans. You couldn't stand on his right side at all. We spent hours watching him canter away from us around the field as we tried to catch him. And when we finally corralled, caught him and tied him up, he would back away and breathe hard when we approached. We were in a fix. My son wanted to ride Tigger but we both felt understandably frightened. I already rode Bella but wanted a more relaxed experience and preferably some brakes, without all the devices. I called Arran. I asked him just two things: I wanted Josh to be able to share space with Tigger and could we have some help to catch the little tyke! This summer, just over a year since we bought Tigs, he and Josh have been swimming in the lake and going on 3 hour hacks together. Bella and I have quite a sophisticated language of leg aids and seat aids, we have back up, we don't panic at gates and we have graduated to a Neue Schule bit via a snaffle. My aim is one day to go bridle-less. Bella has longer and longer periods of relaxation when ridden and she knows not to be scared of the whip because it is a communication aid, it will never hurt her or be used in anger. I am learning to trust her to listen and be lighter with my hands, riding more from my legs and seat. I can't begin to say all the things that Arran has taught us. If I were just to say a couple; he helped me to see that a horse can change, with patience, consistency and a good teacher, you can use the horse's nature to create a better balance to be ridden. And just because your horse behaves this way now, doesn't mean she always will. With application you can both learn a common language and begin to work in harmony. It's a privilege to own a horse in the first place but to share moments where you are both of one mind, that's priceless.

Maya, Cai and Spice

I have always been interested in equine psychology and alternate methods of training horses so a friend recommended I contact Arran. We were in two minds as to whether to book a session with Arran – "What would he be able to teach us? We don’t have a problem.” Nevertheless we booked one and discovered that Arran doesn’t just help you to solve problems but improve you and your horse’s way of going whatever level you’re at. From then on we have learned new ground work techniques and we have grasped the concept of balance, both on the ground and in the saddle. Our walk and trot have greatly improved from the shambles they were before – Spice is round and can maintain his rhythm. It’s funny how, sometimes, you don’t realise you ever had a problem until you improve. Having recently participated in a three-day clinic, which I thoroughly enjoyed, we can ride leg yields and shoulder-ins. Although, I am most impressed that we have played with half steps and Piaffe; something I didn’t imagine we would ever do

I have even been able to take my horses swimming on a not-so-typical trailer loading session. We transferred the skills needed to ask the horse to move into an unknown space like a trailer to the pond at Broad Oak Stables!

 Spice had been driven prior to being broken to ride so he has always found canter very difficult. He would rush into "High Speed Trot Mode” or explode in bucking fits. However, we rarely encountered this as a problem because we just avoided canter. Having improved so much in our other gaits, I am really looking forward to working on the canter.

During my summer holiday, I partook in two weeks work experience at Broad Oak Stables. Despite being very tired by the end, I had a fantastic time. I obtained an insight into an equine career, observed the day-to-day handling of the horses but best of all, I watched Arran halter a foal for the first time.

Thank you so much, Arran, for everything you have, and I hope will continue to, teach me. 

Anne & Colin Lawson

We have just had another fantastic few days with Arran and two of our horses. He has helped us enormously and is able to identify exactly what we need for each horse (one very young and the other older with many longstanding areas for improvement). He provides clear and easy to understand instruction to help us move forward and within a very short time we were able to see considerable improvements with our horses and were able to notice far better riding style in ourselves.

Some of Arran's insights over the few days were nothing short of astounding and really helped to crystallise some fundamental issues. We both now understand our horses needs and behaviours far better and have some very clear strategies for helping us to all progress together.

Add all that to a good helping of fun and you have the recipe for a great few days. We look forward to welcoming Arran to come and help us again in the future.

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