Behaviour Consulting/Problem Behaviours
If your horse's behaviour is causing you concern for any reason, spending time with them can become stressful at least or dangerous at worst. The unwanted behaviours which are causing these problems are what can be defined as ‘problem behaviours’.
Fear and stress are frequently the root causes of the majority of behaviour problems arising in our horses in domestication. This can often be as a result of some of their species-specific needs not being fully understood or met. In addition, a breakdown in the horse’s motivations to perform desired behaviours as well as confusion and complications within the communication process between the horse and their human all contribute to a continual escalation of stress for the horse. Over time, this can significantly impact the horse’s physical, mental health and welfare.
The aim of any behaviour change is to help achieve safer animal behaviour alongside more satisfying human-equine relationships.
I will help you by:
- Managing and improving horse focused management
- Helping you to observe, read and respond to your horse’s body language communications
- Using modern, evidence-based training methods which adhere to both the Humane Hierarchy and the LIMA principle (Least Invasive, Minimally Aversive).
No matter whether your horse's behaviour is, for example:
- causing you concerns for your safety, or the safety of others such as kicking, biting, bolting, rearing, spooking or generalised fearfulness, reactivity or emotional arousal including aggression
- preventing you from performing tasks such as handling, separation from companions or field mates, clipping, worming, veterinary treatment, dentistry, trimming, leading, tying up, hacking or loading/travelling
I can help you to understand and resolve the unwanted behaviours.
I do this through one-to-one consultations where I provide a full behavioural assessment. This is achieved by going through as much as is known about the horse’s history and asking a set of questions that helps to establish the underlying causes of the unwanted behaviours. I can then make recommendations for a behaviour modification programme tailored to the particular needs of your horse, whilst at the same time, taking into account your personal goals and time constraints.
All full behaviour consultations require vet referral/permission. This is so that we can eliminate pain as the cause for any unwanted behaviours so I will work closely with your vet to make sure we are working together to support you and your horse.
The initial full consultation will normally take approx. 2 hours (home/yard visit) where we will go through a full history and other relevant information to fully assess your horse’s behaviour. We will then observe your horse and I will do a full assessment. In the session, I will help get you started on, and instruct you in implementing a uniquely designed Behaviour Modification Plan (BMP) which will ideally be based on a framework of positive reinforcement where possible as well as implementing changes to improve the environment and management to be more horse-focused. This will be typed up after the consultation and emailed to you.
Every situation is different so the structure and content of the BMP will depend on things such as livery arrangements, personal situations and time commitments. It isn’t necessary for me to observe the problem behaviours directly, especially if they are dangerous.
There will be some time commitment required from you to work with your horse going forward. The time required will depend on the complexity of the problem. Support is via phone, email, Skype and/or further visits as your needs dictate.
This is the most suitable format for allowing enough time to do a thorough investigation, create and begin to implement a carefully staged behaviour programme in one session.
I can also include a typed behaviour report which is sent to both you and your vet (for an extra fee).
If you would like to book a behaviour consultation, please contact Jo directly.