Client’s Success Story
When I, Victoria Johnson, and my Fell pony Louis first came to Ingela Larsson Smith, I was looking for further training toward a deeper understanding of horse psychology in order to develop my skills as a horse trainer. Ingela’s training has taken me far beyond what I thought was possible. The following stories are about two challenging horses. With Ingela’s help, I was able to change the horses behaviour and build a successful relationship.
Ringo had become a very difficult horse who was only willing to cooperate on his terms and within his parameters. He had become a very bolshie and dangerous horse. When ridden, he would maniacally rear in an attempt to get rid of his rider. If the rider could manage to stay on, he would then try scraping him off on the wall, and if this didn’t work, he would attack the instructor. He was too difficult for his owners to handle, so they made the decision to let him go and gave him to me. I became aware that I would need further help from Ingela to help Ringo get to the root of his fears and be able to trust me enough to want to enter a positive relationship.
Underneath a very dominant and aggressive shell was a very scared and vulnerable horse with a strong defense mechanism. With my knowledge and understanding I had the skill to help Ringo become more confident in himself and in his surroundings, but I needed to take it to another level in order to really help him through.
Ingela took me to that next level with him. By working together with me, she gave me a greater understanding and awareness. She helped me move through barriers of fear that were keeping Ringo locked in a very restricted pattern of behaviour. This gave Ringo and I the chance to develop a real connection and trust, and for us to be able to look at the fears together.
As a result of Ingela’s help, Ringo and I are now dreaming big! We have been to our first dressage competition, winning the Intro test and being placed in prelim classes. Ringo is now totally willing and able to move out to achieve the things that he is well capable of.
Dan was also a pony that was beyond my capabilities when I met him. He was a bolter- he had learned to run and keep running to get away from his fears. Being held in a halter or bridle, he tolerated human contact, but as soon as there was slack in the rope, he would try to take off.
As well as I could, I worked through Dan’s fears from the ground. Dan had fear of noise, motion, touch, me and his environment, and all of this at a stand still! We progressed to where I was riding him bareback in walk and trot and starting to work in a saddle when I hit a wall – well literally I hit a gate! Even tho he was able to handle more motion and noise while being ridden bareback, I discovered that he had negative associations with being ridden in a saddle. Hearing noise or seeing motion while being ridden in a saddle still triggered the bolting response.
With Ingela’s help, we were able to overcome his fears and build Dan’s confidence immensely. He learned to stop and wait for his rider to help him when confronted with a fear. This brought him to a place where he could make good decisions and take an active role in partnership.
Only three days after an intense training session with Ingela, this unridable pony was featured in a demonstration at Blenheim Palace. Ingela helped transform Dan from a pony who would bolt, to a safe ride. In addition Dan and I now have a great bond. Dan lights up on a trail ride and now we are able to ride out for hours, connected and enjoying our time together.