Holistic Training Livery
Welcome to the herd!
Your horse can stay with us on a Training Livery programme, for example:
to give them a foundation of education for handling, leading, general care & vet care, trailer loading,
to train them to harness, riding, or any equestrian discipline,
to teach them specific skills, or to overcome a particular issue,
to help you bring them to a particular level.
Your horse's training follows the Holistic Horsemanship Training curriculum + any special requirements you may have.
See opposite for the different training packages that we offer.
All horses will live in the herd, outdoors 24/7 and must be barefoot.
Sadly we cannot accept stallions (entire males) over 12 months old on the premises as we are not set up for it. Mares and geldings only.
What to expect
We draw out your horse's training plan together according to your needs and estimate the duration of the training.
Depending on the length and intensity of your package you will receive either weekly or monthly feedback and we can reassess and readjust at any time.
You are welcome to come and watch your horse's training sessions when practical.
You will be expected to take some lessons (included in the package) to bring you to the same page and level as your horse.
All packages have a minimum duration of 4 weeks, payable in advance.
Prices include "basic livery": horses checked daily, and groomed + feet picked out once a week. Any extra care / feed must be paid for extra. T&C apply – please ask for the training livery contract for full details.
Holistic Horsemanship can be applied to any breed of horse, pony, donkey or mule, of any age or background.
The Mare & Foal School
Suitable for foals / fillies and colts from 0 to 2 years old
A 3 to 6 month plan where both mare & foal come and stay during the education of the foal: allowing the gentle and progressive handling and education of a little horse up to L6+* of the Holistic Horsemanship Training Programme.
This means: all leading, care handling, groundwork skills on the rope and at liberty taught in the natural way, at the natural pace of horses, with the comfort and security of Mummy's presence. A few handling sessions for the mare are generally necessary too, as well as the training of the owner to catch up on the horses' skills (included in the package).
It is possible to add more sessions to include the training of the mare as well and / or more lessons for the owner too.
* If you choose a 3-month plan your foal will probably get to L4 /5. Depending on the emotional needs and on the learning skills of the horse, 6 months of regular training may take him/ her further than L6 in the finesse of his/ her groundskills, on the rope and at liberty.
The same plan is also suitable to start any young horse even without their mum, or in some cases for a full re-education of an older horse, and of course for the training of wild horses too. For this option just choose one of the standard packages and specify the duration and goals.
The Holistic Horsemanship Training Programme
L1 – Trained by the herd
Horses in the wild are born and educated within the herd. Foals learn from a young age how to communicate and how to interact with other horses, and each horse has a place. A new arrival in a herd will be re-educated to those communication and social skills if need be – the most natural and efficient way to regain mental & emotional balance and learn some manners. We just let the herd do its job!
L2 – Connection
- Connet & interact respectfully with a human – Liberty
L3 – Basics: Building Trust
- Handling for general care, hoof & vet care
- Basic Desensitisation: tools & tack, simple objects, sounds & movements
- Calm & confidence in every move
L4 – Foundation: Building Skills
- Leading / Rope work
- Energy & Touch Communication: Responding to Feel
- Energy & Rhythm Communication: Responding to Intention
L5 – Advanced: Building Partnership
- Overcoming fear - Desensitisation: scary objects, sounds & movements, tight places
- Leading as partners / long lining
- Energy & Touch Communication: Responding to Feel
- Energy & Rhythm Communication: Responding to Intention
- Circles and long ropes
L6 – Specialisation
- Preparation for Riding / Work in Harness
- Preparation for hacking / road / unknown environments
- Preparation for your tailored specialised skills
L7 – Competence
- Riding Naturally (Freestyle)
- Working in Harness Naturally
- Specialised skills
L8 – Finesse
- Balance, Lightness, Calm & Harmony in all skills
- Bridleless Riding
- Taking the skills to Mastery
Depending on your chosen area of specialisation this may be in partnership with other trainers.
This outline gives you an idea of the progression of the training and the targets set for each level. Of course, the training happens organically and the order of specific learning outcomes is flexible. For example, preparation for Specialisation (L6) is already present in the Foundation (L4). Some horses who come to us might already have achieved Finesse (L8) in certain tasks but need to re-learn some Basics (L3) in other tasks.
There are also different levels of the same learning outcomes present throughout the programme.
The structure of this programme follows the horse's natural development and logic in their understanding of given skills. For example, they need to let go of fear before they can learn, and they need to understnad their relationships within the herd before they can respond to requests and directions. They also need to understand feel and intention on the ground before transferring them to riding, etc.
Without the appropriate foundation for each skill, there will be significant gaps in the horse's understanding and ability to respond, and therefore, ultimately, in your safety. It would be a bit like building a house without all the walls to support the roof... Here we're looking at building (or repairing) all the walls before putting the roof on top – and putting in insulation, too.
Think of it as a school system: L1 & 2 are pre-school; L3 & 4 primary school; L5 & 6 secondary school; L7 is College,: L8 is University; and Refinement is your Doctorate – carrying on refining to the level of your dreams.
Each horse is assessed acording to this layout of skills and whether we take it from scratch or simply fill some gaps, the goal is to achieve a solid and thorough foundation for the level you want her/ him to be at.
If your horse wasn't trained through a system of foundation to specialisation or through lightness of feel and intention (i.e. backed without groundwork, or bitted without halter training for example), expect him/her to have to go back to basics.
Does my horse need to have his own tack when coming in for training?
Yes, he will need at least the basic tack for himself: his grooming & care kit and a Natural Horsemanship halter and rope, plus any specialisation equipment that you need for your goals: i.e. saddle or harness if relevant. For yourself, a riding hat comforming wih current UK standards is compulsory for all riding lessons, and for children it is compulsory for grounwork too.
Please do not buy cheap / counterfeit tack as yours and your horse's safety and comfort rely on it – ask us for advice if you're not sure what to buy.
What about feed and extra care?
You will need to provide your own feed, supplements, and any medicine your horse might need, wormers etc.
The price of Basic Livery as part of the training packages is kept to an aboslute minimum in order to facilitate affordability, therefore only the most basic care is included so that if that's all your horse needs, you won't over pay. Any extra care or handling however (i.e. feeding, tending to wounds, exra handling outside training etc) is provided according to the horse's needs and charged for at an hourly rate. So please account for that when setting your budget!
When the herd is being fed hay the cost is split between all the horses and your horse's share is added to your bill.
If your horse needs vet care or her hooves trimmed while with us you will need to arrange and be present for that – although we will help where needed.
How long does it take to get a horse through the entire curriculum?
We recommend 8 to 12 weeks to train up to L7 on a standard package. It can take longer if your horse has some issues or if you choose a Budget training package, or if they have never been ridden before. It can also be shorter if your horse has already had a good foundation training and/ or is a confident and quick learner.
Remember that you will be learning too! To keep up with your horse's level you may need to carry on taking lessons for yourself after your horse comes home.
If my foal went through the Mare & Foal plan, how long to get her through L7 or 8 when he's old enough?
If your horse has achieved a L6 as a youngster, and especially if you have carried on handling her and playing with her in this approach after that, she will be very quick at picking up the Competence skills as they are only transferred from the preparation levels. Even if she's had a long break in between it will come back to her quickly: skills learnt at an early age are deeper ingrained and more stable than those learnt later.
For L7, typically count 2 to 4 weeks. For more solidity and confidence, allow more time (either in training or at home with you).
The duration of L8 will depend on your horse's natural ability for balance, and on what she's been doing in the meantime. We will discuss all this together when working out your horse's plan.
Of course all horses are different and some may need more support and longer learning time, but in all cases it is always most valuable to give them a sound and solid start.
Will my horse cope with the lifestyle at Horse & Heart?
Our herd lives together, outdoors 24/7 high on moorland ground, browsing on wild plants and drinking from streams.
After an integration period (1 to 5 days) guest horses run with the herd – although special arrangements can be made when practical. All horses who join the herd must be barefoot (you will need to have their shoes taken off before arrival if they normally wear them) and, of course, they have to be sound and healthy.
In the Spring & Summer, all horses should be able to live that lifestyle comfortably. In the Winter rustic breeds and health horses cope very well in these natural conditions too, but as often not much training can take place in the Winter due to the weather anyway we recommend keeping your horse at home then.
Why do I need to take lessons as part of my horse's training?
Your horse will be, in effect, learning a common language between horses and people: how to relate to each other in mutual trust and respect, and a series of subtle cues for given tasks to perform. You will need to learn the same language so that you can understand each other.
And most of all, the journey of Holistic Horsemanship is one of partnership: the language is only the tool to create a bond of trust and respect between you. As for horses only certain individuals in the herd are qualified to give others directions, you need to learn how to be that qualified horse so that your horse responds to you as well as she does to me.
Can my children take the lessons within the training package?
Yes, absolutely. They will need to if they are the ones who will be handling / riding the pony.
Do you use bits & saddles?
The entire curriculum is done in a Natural Horsemanship rope halter and at Liberty. You will never need to use a bit for riding if you do not wish to.
If you wish to use a bit, you will need to understand why and how they function and train your hands as well as your horse to the utmost level of lightness. Bits should never be used for control, only for precision in finesse, and should not be introduced before Refinement level.
We will help you horse transition from the bit if you are already riding bitted.
Horses are typically trained to be ridden using a bareback pad or whatever equipment you bring.
The welfare of the horse will be the priority when considering tack: a horse needs strong back muscles to be ridden bareback and some horses may need an appropriate saddle to support your weight if they are to be ridden – or more time to muscle up.
Why don't you accept stallions?
As stallions can procreate, we would need to keep them separate from our mares. We do not have the adequate fencing or space to do so effectively.
Are you insured?
Yes, we are fully insured.