I’ve seen many of the big name trainers working with horses and I don’t agree with much of what they do or what they say. I don’t agree with harassing horses with ropes and flags or letting horses buck with the saddle or roping their legs or chasing them around until they’re sweating and distressed. I know there’s a far better way to train every horse.
So in 2011, I sat down and started writing my book. My only motivation was that I truly believe that horses deserve a better deal and I know there’s a far better way to train horses than what’s commonly sold. There’d be no point writing a book if I was saying what’s already been said. After all, there are plenty of books, videos and training programmes available out there. I simply thought that it was high time someone spoke up for horses.
Three years later, in March 2014, I found myself the proud owner of 2,000 freshly printed copies of ‘Fear-free Horse Training’. My garage was full of books and I wasn’t sure if the world was ready for my ideas. What to do next?
Initially, I tried the ‘old way’ and ran advertisements in horse magazines and rural newspapers. Sales were pretty slow. Everyone told me to try Facebook and the internet. No-one was more sceptical than me but I started a blog at my website, with links from Facebook. To my surprise, people responded in a very positive way and we now have more than 60,000 followers on Facebook. It’s growing every day and I’d like to thank each and every one of my followers.
Over the years, I’ve seen every horse training idea, every ‘method’ and every ‘system’ there is to see. I’ve heard every theory, every belief and every old wives tale there is to hear. Let me say here and now, I’m not interested in what ‘Jim’ or ‘Bob’ or ‘Julie’ or ‘Jane’ thinks or does. I’m not interested in debate. I’m only interested in seeing horses trained without fear and without stress. I’m only interested in what works best for every horse.
My blog and Facebook page are not forums for people to air their thoughts or ideas. This is not a discussion group. You’re welcome to comment but if I don’t agree with your ideas on horse training, your comment will be deleted.
Maybe I can’t change the world, but maybe I can make people think about the way horses are handled and trained.
Every week I get emails from people who’ve had their horse terrified by someone, in the name of training. Just recently, a lady wrote to say that she sent her confident young horse away to be started under saddle and he came back a nervous wreck. Her beloved young horse is now nervous and frightened and doesn’t trust anyone. She doubts she’ll ever be able to ride him. “It breaks my heart to see him like this” she wrote.
It also breaks my heart. I’ve seen far too many horses who’ve been frightened like this. That’s why I wrote my book and that’s why I write these blogs.