Emma is our trainer based in Essex, UK
I always wanted to ride as a child and my mum would make reins from dressing gown ropes and help me practice on the arm of the sofa.
On Sundays when I was around 8 years old she and I would cycle several miles (me with my hat and boots already on) to the local stables for me to have a lesson. Even then I was competitive and wanted to progress all the time.
I rode until I was about 13 years old then had a long break till I was 25 years old. I then started helping other people and part loaning until I got my first loan horse Ace a couple years later.
His owner lived quite some distance away so to all intents and purposes he was mine for 3 years. He was an amazing and beautiful animal and we had success at local level shows together.
When he was very sadly and suddenly put to sleep I searched to find another horse that might help fill the hole he had left.
I took advice from vets, trainers and knowledgeable people. My objective at that time was to buy a young horse I could bring on for dressage competition. I found a local woman who was retraining ex racers for riding and tried a couple of her horses for sale.
I was immediately drawn to Flynn as he seemed laid back but very friendly and gentle. I had a 5 stage vetting and my vet commented that I could not possibly find a more relaxed nice natured horse.
Very quickly, in truth before I even had him vetted, I felt there was something wrong with him but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I asked lots of people why he felt so strange to ride and I was told “that’s just ex racers” So when he passed the vetting I thought they must be right.Within a few short weeks of getting him home I knew there was definately something wrong. Flynn was starting to emerge from a shut down state, his behaviour was dramatically different and physically he felt terrible to ride.
The next 6 months involved trips to Newmarket, full diagnostics for lameness and treatment for grade 4 ulcers. Oh and a kick to the chest and crack to the sternum for me.
I changed everything I needed to change to get him physically well and he came sound and his ulcers went and haven’t returned (to the best of my knowledge).
However I was still left with a very emotionally traumatised horse that I had grown quite frightened of.
I searched for answers online and found clicker training and positive reinforcement. Back then I couldn’t tell the difference between good +R training and not so good.
He showed me over the next few weeks that my old ideas were going to get me nowhere with him, apart from a trip to A&E.
By this time I was expecting my daughter and I decided that getting injured was the last thing I needed so I contacted Max back to say that I was ready to do whatever it took and follow all her advice.
My first 6 months of +R I really struggled to let go of my competitive streak. I always wanted to rush ahead and get behaviour trained without really having the right emotions luckily my coach did not let me get away with this.
I had also started using +R with my old rescue horse Maggie and was making great progress with her on hoof handling and could see how much she enjoyed it.
I couldn’t tell you the exact moment everything fell into place for me but it did and now I know I could never go back to traditional training. I have spent alot of time reading the science and understanding how different methods affect the psychology of the animal.
I’m an all or nothing kind of girl, I’ve embraced a force free life with my animals as far as possible and I’m always looking to learn more, refine my own training and progress.
It was something of a distant dream for me to work for Max as a Horse Charming Professional. However I was very fortunate to be invited to join the team in February 2018 and since then I have been successfully helping clients and their horses both locally and around the world via online coaching.
I’ve also started applying what I have learned to train clients dogs. I’m involved with a dog grooming business as an associate force-free trainer. I became a Pet Professionals Guild accredited multiple species force free trainer in October 2018. I’m also a moderator for a huge online force free group called the Do No Harm Dog Training Facebook group.
Mobile number: 07580054177