How will your horse be treated?
I think the most worrying thing about sending your horse away for any sort of training is “are they going to be treated kindly” This was my biggest worry about sending Maddie as she’s very sensitive. Melanie asked me to visit for the day and have a good look around, she also said if Maddie did come for training they would also want me there as often as possible. (This I found very reassuring) Maddie did go and she settled in really quickly and was teamed up with another pony called “Penny” that was Maddie’s companion in and out of the field the whole time she was there. She started training on the very first day and was learning how to clicker train ( What is clicker training?) which took her a while to get but Melanie was so patient with her.
Maddie was there for traffic training and because it was not rushed, she quickly built confidence in her own time. She became so brave she would actually take food from the back of Melanie’s tractor that was switched on and really loud. Then she would touch it all over with her nose, targeting the tractor- this targetting is what Melanie has taught her to do.
Maddie would stand while tractor drove around her, calmly and she would also follow tractor. Then onto the roads! They go out to graze near the road with traffic zooming past. Melanie even drives the tractor out onto roads with you as well, with Maddie following and then being overtaken by the tractor.
My last day was me riding Maddie up the busy main road while cars, vans, bikes, tractor etc. went past her and she didn’t bat an eyelid. If something looked worrying she just stopped for a second, realised it was fine and carried on. She has learnt this from Melanie, how to regulate her own emotions instead of fleeing. AMAZING.
I will keep in touch with Melanie and all her staff because when you are there you become part of the yard and made to feel at home. All the staff that work for Melanie are really professional and lovely. I will definitely be driving down for a catch-up.
Lisa and Maddie