Instinctive Horse Training has its base nestled in the centre of the village of Skidby in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Started in 1985, we have become part of the very fabric of village life and I am one of the main employers.

Sadly Sophy has left us now to become a mum! My team consists of my Head Girl Sophy, who has been with me for nearly 4 years now. She originally came as a client with a dangerous young horse whose behaviour she inherited when she bought him. Having used 2 other trainers who failed and Harry’s behaviour on the increase, the family eventually sent him to me. Sophy was present every day and she loved the way we trained. Harry became calm and ride-able and she started to hack him out- something never possible before. I saw real talent and empathy in Sophy and asked if she wanted to work for me- the rest is history as they say. She is now a wonderful trainer in her own right and is the perfect harmony for me. I now have several part-time staff who work on different days. They all help with the training side of yard life and have all gained brilliant experience. Its quite some team

I usually have a student apprentice with us for the start of their working lives with horses and several regular part time girls who help get the yard/land work out of the way so we are free to train the horses. I am often visited by Students from Animal Behaviour and Training Degree and Masters courses from across the UK to watch training or gain experience. I have Veterinary students and Veterinary Physiotherapist students come for the same reason- to gain experience working with horses using ethical force-free methods as well as hands on work experience.

I obviously have training horse owners here for training themselves and to participate in their horse’s emotional journey with us.

It is a calm, happy and settled yard where all my horses are given the right to be horses. They are turned out in social groups all winter, every single day! There is forage available out in the winter turn out so horse ever gets hungry or miserable. During the summer and autumn all the horses live out 24/7 and come in for training/riding/farrier/vets/pampering etc.

The 2 sides to my yard life are my livery horses who we care for all year around on a full livery basis and there are the in-house training horses. As far as caring for their horses, the owners need care and support from myself and my staff. I have 1 livery (Pam) who has been here with me for 28 years this coming summer (2018) Ali for 16 years, Jackie for 13 years to name but a few! How wonderful that they find life on my yard for their horses as well as themselves so complete they do not wish to leave (especially as my immediate geographical area is swamped with livery yards.)

The training horses tend not to mix with my livery horses for turn out. I keep the settled herds separate so as not to cause stress. I use my own rescue ponies as company for the training horses. Both are calm individuals with very different natures. Toby Pony is super calm and never gets ruffled hence is perfect for fearful, nervous or stressful new horses. He brings them into an lovely emotional place where they feel safe very quickly.

Magic Pony has a high play drive and loves to groom and be groomed. He allows new horses to interact in a caring way, displaying great herd behaviours of mutual play, mutual grooming and feeling fulfilled.

My actual yard area in set inside a Plant hire business, with tractors, road sweepers, diggers and all the paraphernalia which goes alongside. It is just the most perfect set up for large traffic training in a very safe controlled way. I use these vehicles to help train horses who are already fearful or for young horses to habituate and accept big scary stuff as normal.

We do our very best to get all horses settled in very quickly. The fields are peaceful and the yard itself is on the main street. Horses get to see village life while being in a safe place and at a safe distance.

I have an open policy whereby people come to visit often and where local villagers can bring their children to meet horses in a safe way.

I have 2 friendly dogs who run about all the time (great desensitising and habituation training for the horses) and a fat, rather useless yard pussy cat who feels that being decorative is way better than being a hunter of vermin! We love him dearly all the same!