"The schooling of a horse cannot only be judged on the quality of its paces under the rider, but also the maintaining if it's natural attitude and personality. It is these fulfilled horses, ready to give the best of themselves in their daily work, that produce a stable and harmonious relationship between man and his horse. These foundations will be strengthened and developed through patience, a sense of psychology and frequent reward." - Philippe Karl
When someone says they have a training method they use I'm automatically under the impression that no matter who the horse is, where it's come from, or what the end goals are that the program is always the same. For example, they put all the horses through a set seven week program with criteria that must be met at the end of each session. Usually there is also a "eight step method" or something similar that is applied to every horse no matter what. The problem with this type of program is that in a lot of cases a horse ends up being rushed or forced to comply, even when they aren't ready yet. And if the horses don't complete the program as quickly or as well as they should have the owners are left frustrated and feeling like failures. It creates a competitive nature around something that should be based on complete and total understanding and patience. We are in fact working with live animals that feel, think, and breath on their own. Not machines.
So we've created a different kind of program here at The Willing Equine, if you can even call it that. It's more like a "way of life" or a "flexible system", with the well being of the horse being the primary goal. We pull from sources to create an individualized program just for you and your horse. There is no set deadline, no stress, and no pressure to accomplish any goal except for the ones you yourself wish to accomplish or the basics of accomplishing a pain free and stress free life for the horse. No two horses are the same, so no two training programs should look the same.
When working with any horse, regardless of breed, age, or discipline, our primary goal is to use science based training, focusing on positive reinforcement. We establish the basics of handling, relaxation, and manners through a patient and positive step by step building system before graduating on to fitness and physical rehabilitation or under saddle work. When dealing with behavioral problems we utilize professionals of every kind to find possible causes for the reactivity, such as veterinary doctors, equine dental specialists, saddle fit experts, osteopathic vets, farriers and barefoot trimmers, acupuncturists, massage therapists, chiropractic vets, and so many more. Once a horse is cleared of any pain we begin addressing behavioral problems with a positive and scientific approach, the goal being to fully rehabilitate the horse rather than suppressing behaviors through force and aversive training methods. Training through fear may temporarily fix the problem but at what cost? Here at The Willing Equine we aren't willing to sacrifice the horse's well being, mental state, or relationship with their handler for quick results.