Do I need to have a consultation with another professional?
Clearly this is something you could spend a limitless amount of money on. There again, we could waste all the effort that we put into training a horse because of a nail sticking out of your saddle, for example.
Sometimes you really could use a body worker – there are a bewildering number of varieties of practitioner, just as there are a bewildering number of things that can go wrong – or saddler, equine dentist, hoof care expert or vet. Nobody can say they know or have spotted everything that is wrong, and we can never be sure that your horse isn’t having some trouble that we haven’t picked up on. We’ll never know it all.
It can be so humbling to come across clients who know and trusted their instincts in the face of vets, farriers, saddlers, and riding instructors (see Ch1 of Born to Whisper– a free download is available here). Professionals are often wonderful and they all get it wrong sometimes. People’s gut instincts are usually reliable. When you know, you know.
Then again, you might not think you have a gut instinct going on, and want to know what our opinions are. We can be more use than a specialist because we have had to learn about many different fields, and know what kinds of things to look for, and between Nicole and Adam, have the experience of training thousands of horses full-time for over fifteen years each. Sometimes the best thing we can do is tell our clients we think they need to look into something related to this or that. Other times we think they spend money they could have saved, or that could have been better used elsewhere: everyone could use a massage, couldn’t they? Occasionally we have also been asked out to see someone, but couldn’t do any work there because of a lack of facilities. They could have saved the call-out fee and Adam’s time, which would have been better used at Moor Wood.
There are considerations to be made about transport. If you can bring a horse here for “just” the cost of the diesel, then Adam’s travel costs of £30/hr can be saved. Then again, if you are paying for professional transport – which is a lot more expensive – you can find you’ve spent money on bringing a horse here, your own accommodation, and livery before you have got any beneficial training done. It’s got to be worth the journey, which it will be if we find we are hampered through lack of facilities at yours, for example.
These are difficult and important considerations even if you have a limitless budget. Most people do not. We have always considered it part of our service to try to address these aspects of a horse’s life and wish to help you to find appropriate people to help you, if you need them, and also, to help you economise as much as possible.
Take some examples. – A client called with a nappy horse. Out hacking it won’t go forward, seems nervous and sometimes rears. The client has her saddle checked and the back man out. But the horse is perfectly willing to go forward under saddle in the school. How could it not notice the saddle being uncomfortable then? Some more training time would have been a better way to spend the money.
– A young horse who has never had any injuries or any reason to have a back problem is being sent to us for starting. The budget is really tight and we are all aware that the horse would benefit from a lot more work than the owner can afford. But before it is sent up here, a session is booked in with a massage therapist. No doubt it would be nice for the horse, but if there’s any money left after training, that would be the time for this. Better still, ask us to show you how to do a massage while you’re here. In the meantime let’s not forget, you could need a lot more than a massage if you fall off because you didn’t get enough training.
– A young horse has a bucking fit when being mounted after it has not been long under saddle, backed by his owner (you). An Equine Podiatrist might find a bruised sole, imbalance and thrush and say he needs to go barefoot; a dentist some sharpness in the mouth and a little ulceration- was this the cause? The saddler thinks that although you had it made to measure it needs a new adjustment, and another saddler you call in thinks you need a new one altogether. The chiropractor, massage therapist, Bowen practitioner, reiki healer, osteopath, and vet all reckon there are sorenesses here and there that in various ways might be the cause. In fact, although we would never know this, all he needed was some time to run around and feel the girth and saddle, be long lined and be desensitised to it (i.e. he needed some training). When he blew up he bruised his sole on a stone, pulled a few muscles, bashed his mouth on the bit which pinched him as it slipped, and the saddle is only moderately comfortable. But timely training would have prevented the whole thing happening in the first place.
A call out or consultation with us is often the start of a process of enlightenment for people, and the beginning of a road to relief for a horse. Then again, we might not spot something either! In the end the whole lot of us could be wrong – and actually a deer was hiding in the hedge just feet away and you never noticed it the whole time! In other words, we may never know what is going on or what happened, and all the consultants have made up stories or found insignificant or unrelated issues. Believe it or not, Adam has witnessed a deer coming up out of a small patch of long tussocks in the middle of a large field, spooking two horses. One of the riders was bucked off pretty nastily, the other had a short but powerful bolt to deal with. The deer was a hundred metres from cover, and neither rider saw it run there. They would never have known what caused the fall had I not been watching from a distance. Then again, it could be the saddle also doesn’t fit…
While this page, and this whole web site is designed partly to stimulate your mind, and to avoid us having long phone calls which don’t generate any work for us (and often do little to help), we realise that this can be the best way for some people to begin. We welcome you to write us an email with your story so we can deal with it that way if we can, put you in touch with someone else if we think that is best, or call you at a time that’s convenient to us both if that’s the only way we can help. If the call doesn’t generate a call out, but our advice is helpful, we would appreciate being paid £44/hr for it, as some clients have done in the past (payment can be made via internet).