Behavioural Services

I offer the following services:

Clinical behaviour consultations under veterinary referral
Behaviour assessments
Welfare assessments
Expert witness
Supervision/mentoring for new consultants

What happens at a behaviour consultation?

It’s not every day that a behaviourist turns up at your yard to help you with any problems you might be having with your horse, so here is some information about what to expect when I visit you.  Firstly, I’m very easy to talk to!  I understand that it can be difficult for you to seek help from a specialist, when we’re all supposed to be expert horse people; and I know I’m never the first person on an owner’s list of “who to call when things go wrong” – you’ve probably asked your instructor, your farrier, your vet, and no doubt you’ve had all sorts of advice from other people on your yard, whether you asked for it or not!  So, whilst my assessments and vet reports are based on good scientific evidence about equine behaviour and ethology, when I am with you and your horse my primary focus is to support both of you in helping you through the problems you’re having, so that when I leave the yard you will have some immediate and positive changes you can make for the better.

Before the visit

When you phone me to request a consultation I will take basic details from you together with a brief description of the problem.  I consult on behavioural problems only, not physical or medical issues, and I always work under veterinary referral from your registered veterinary surgeon.

I will send you a questionnaire to complete and return, where you can give more details about the behaviour problem and your horse’s management and history.

I will obtain a formal referral from your veterinary surgeon; this will advise me of any physical or medical conditions in your horse.  Veterinary referral is a legal requirement under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966, which lays responsibility with vets for the diagnostic health and welfare of animals registered in their care.

Rusty and me by Fiona 023

During the visit

My first consultation visit to your yard can last from one to three hours.  I will review your questionnaire with you in detail, covering:

  • daily/weekly routine
  • turnout, stabling and exercise regimes
  • medical considerations as advised by the veterinary surgeon
  • description of behavioural problems
  • horse’s ownership history

I will:

  • make an assessment of the behavioural problem and explain to you why it is occurring
  • discuss options that will work for you in your situation
  • work with you to develop a personalised treatment plan that you will be able to carry out to help resolve the problem
  • coach you in how to apply my recommendations correctly

After the visit

I will:

  • write to you summarising my assessment and enclosing a written plan and advice sheets
  • write to your vet with my findings, assessment and recommendations

The treatment plan I develop for you will be based on the positive reinforcement (reward) of desired behaviour.  It may sometimes, but not always, involve the use of a clicker (widely used by dog trainers).  I will not ask you to use force or punishment on your horse, or to make any changes that you feel uncomfortable with.  If you follow my recommendations you will see the positive changes you want in your horse’s behaviour.

I will give you ongoing telephone and/or e-mail support while you are working through the treatment plan, and follow-up visits can be arranged to make sure you are on the right track and you and your horse are making progress.

Fees and services

Full behaviour consultation under referral from your consulting veterinary surgeon: visit to your premises (typically 2 hours), full assessment of your horse’s history and management and training regimes, behavioural diagnosis and advice, detailed treatment plan provided by email or post as you prefer, 3 months’ scheduled follow-up by phone and email.  £180.

(Depending on the severity of the issue additional charges of may apply. Additional costs will be discussed at the time of booking so that you are clear about the cost of the appointment before it goes ahead.)

Follow up to behavioural consultation: Follow up visit to support you in the implementation of your treatment plan. £30/30 minutes; £60/hour.

Training/Centered Riding sessions £25 per 45 minute session.

Other consultancy services e.g. expert witness £95/hour.

Supervision/mentoring for new consultants: please contact me to discuss.

Travel expenses are charged at 40p/mile after the first 40 miles from SK9.

Sanctuaries and welfare organisations, please contact for details of reduced price consultations.

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