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Your Happy Horse...From 'Here' to 'There' in 18 Months
A very exciting first blog post for me as the proud owner of Your Happy Horse. And although I'm a firm believer in looking forward, sometimes you just need to give a nod to the past. All too often we look back and focus on things we've not achieved. But the past year has been one of the best for me, and led me to where I am today. I'd also like to give a big thank you to all of you who kindly let me use your beloved horses and dogs as part of my case studies when I first set up Prana Partners back in May 2019. You were all amazingly supportive (and understandably very sceptical, but that's OK!).
So, how did the business get from Prana Partners to Your Happy Horse in less than 18 months? And why? Quite simply, it grew. And continued to grow. And as much as I love helping dogs, (plus a few cats and the odd rabbit here and there!), it's horses that need this therapy the most. Most dogs have issues that can be resolved with advice from a good Behaviourist and a lot of patience and time. But with horses, many of their issues remain untreated and the poor horse is expected to just get on with it.
The equine world is, in my opinion, still very outdated in it's methods. Positive Reinforcement is still not used by all Equine Trainers (and thank goodness for all those professionals who are embracing it and spreading awareness). Sadly, I still hear the words 'He's just being naughty....give him a kick...get behind him with a whip...he's spooking at nothing...you need to show him who's the boss...stop letting him get away with it..." I could go on for hours about this, but that's a whole other subject and one that I'll cover in another blog.
"Ride with your heart, not your ego..."
Horses suffer from many issues - mostly, I believe, due to the misguided way we treat them, and a lot of their mental and emotional problems are the direct result of fear, trauma and generally not very nice experiences. Just like us, they will build an association and one thing can trigger a response. And again, just like people, if the abuse or bad experiences keep re-occurring the horse will break down, or find a coping mechanism. These coping mechanisms are either in the form of 'naughty' behaviour, or stable vices.
Now if I say I love a good stable vice, please don't take that the wrong way! It is only in a scientific way, as I want to know how - and why - some horses have them and some don't. And how and why they have the one they have. Why do some box walk and others weave? There is so much unknown, and again I won't go into detail here as it's another lengthy subject for another blog post.
Although I set out to work mostly on stable vices, I found a lot of riders were having their own battles with their emotional and mental well-being. Fear of riding again after a fall, being frightened when their horse spooked or napped, or generally just losing confidence because riding as an adult is a whole different game to riding as a child. All these things were holding them back, and the relationship they had with their horses had deteriorated. So many horses had become expensive field ornaments, with owners ready to give up and sell up.
More case studies were undertaken to see how I could help. I put together a treatment programme that worked on both horse and rider together. The results even amazed me! Within weeks, these riders were back in the saddle, enjoying their riding again. Their horses were calm, the problems had stopped, and they had re-bonded. In the words of one of my clients "I have fallen in love with him all over again...I was about to sell him when I first met you, thinking he wasn't the one for me. But now I can't imagine life without him."
With that kind of feedback, I knew what I had to do. So, Your Happy Horse has been launched to carry on the equine work that Prana Partners started, and to help you to become the rider you've always wanted to be.