Too young to back? Why a two year old needs to be left to mature

Enthusiasm and a desire to develop a strong bond with your horse can nudge you to embark on the process of backing your youngster without fully understanding the potential risks involved. Backing obviously has to happen at some point in the development of a riding horse, and it requires careful consideration and expertise. Below IContinue reading “Too young to back? Why a two year old needs to be left to mature”

What’s in it for the horse?

All those equestrian activities that are currently the subject of social licence conversations, how can we even begin to know our horse’s side of the story? Or that of the partnership between horse and rider? As an equine behaviour and welfare consultant, I’m observing horses all the time, working out how they’re coping with whatContinue reading “What’s in it for the horse?”

What’s Changed Your Life?

My first equine behaviour course was the Equine Behaviour Qualification at the Natural Animal Centre (NAC), run by the amazing Heather and Ross Simpson, ahead of their time by about 20 years or more; I’m still seeing “new” ideas about behaviour and training now, that they taught on their courses in 2004 and earlier. ThatContinue reading “What’s Changed Your Life?”

“What do you do exactly?”

Interesting Event of the Day yesterday was being interviewed by a MSc Business and Marketing student about my role as a clinical behaviourist and the wider industry. Even more interesting when the John Lewis cafe lady told me they were closing half way through it!! Nobody was about and she let me stay to finish,Continue reading ““What do you do exactly?””

Dog loves vet collar!

Teach your dog to feel comfortable wearing an inflatable collar. Set your dog up for receiving veterinary treatment. For example, after an operation dogs often have to wear a collar to prevent wound licking or pulling stitches. Dogs aren’t born liking these restrictive and uncomfortable collars so it’s really helpful to get them to likeContinue reading “Dog loves vet collar!”

First Virtual Equine Conference – APBC

Next Saturday!! The APBC’s first Virtual Equine Conference with talks on: The psychology of horse training and behaviour – safety of horse and rider (Dr Helen Spence – Spence Horse Sense, ABTC registered Clinical Equine Behaviourist)Equine behaviour from a charity sector perspective (Anna Haines MSc – Mare & Foal Sanctuary, ABTC registered Clinical Equine Behaviourist)PositiveContinue reading “First Virtual Equine Conference – APBC”

Don’t chase my chickens!

What do you think of this video? (click to play) It shows a dog learning not to chase chickens. The procedure that is applied to achieve this is called desensitisation and counter conditioning (DS/CC). What a mouthful! In human psychology it’s usually called gradual exposure and relaxation therapy. Desensitisation = to make less sensitive; toContinue reading “Don’t chase my chickens!”

Caregiver responses to equine emotions

This study (link below) reflects an important stage in human behaviour change. Participants reported beliefs that horses have complex emotions including fear, pain and joy; however they also reported that they act towards their horses in ways that will cause psychologically negative emotions, despite stating that they wanted their horses to have a good lifeContinue reading “Caregiver responses to equine emotions”

Bestial Boredom

“Generalist (species) traits do correlate positively with boredom-relevant traits including neophilia and innovation at the species level… Further suggestive evidence comes from captivity, where it seems to be particularly neophilic, generalist species… that proactively seek – even aversive – stimulation in barren environments.” I came across this very interesting article while researching neophilia in horses.Continue reading “Bestial Boredom”