Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Force Free Horsemanship?
In short Terms, it's exactly what it sounds like. The idea behind force free horsemanship is simply that we educate our horse without the use of force, escalating or aversive pressure, and that the horse is allowed to say "no" at any point during training or "working" with humans.
Q: But won’t my horse always say “no”?
When you first start giving your horse the choice to say No, many horses will say “no” all the time, but once they realize that their “No” is respected, they very quickly, say “yes” more and more and become very enthusiastic about participating in their education.
Q: How do you deal with “problem” behaviours?
First thing we always look at are any potential physical or welfare reasons causing the behaviour, once those potential causes are eliminated. We focus on what behaviours we want instead, and make those more preferable to the horse.
Q: Is Natural Horsemanship the same as Force Free Horsemanship?
No, Natural Horsemanship utilizes pressure and release to teach the horse, in Force Free horsemanship we use positive reinforcement (giving the horse something they enjoy, usually food, for the correct answer) instead, and avoid the use of Pressure and Release
Q: I heard using food will make my horse pushy/nippy. Is this true?
No, food manners are a fundamental part of force-free horsemanship and it's the first thing we work on when transitioning any horse to food rewards. Even food aggressive horses can be rehabilitated using food in a Force Free manner. So fear not, your horse will be well behaved around food, if not better than before!
Q: Do I need my own horse & equipment?
You will need your own horse & equipment for a remote consult.
For personal lessons where I travel to you, you'll need your own horse but equipment can be provided for you.
For lessons at my facility you may bring your own horse & equipment, or we can provide equipment and one of our demonstration horses.
Q: Can I still Ride with Force Free Horsemanship?
Yes riding is absolutely possible with Force Free Horsemanship! However, keep in mind that it is possible that once you give your horse the choice to be ridden or not, that there may be a transition period where riding is not possible.
Q: Does it take longer to train this way?
This depends greatly on the horses learning history, and the previous training that they are used to, and their humans commitment. A green horse will usually learn quickly with this approach. But, if we’re working with a horse that has prior negative association, it will take extra time to change those.
Q: Do you travel for lessons?
I can travel for personal lessons anywhere on Vancouver Island BC, depending on the distance there may be a travel fee for fuel expenses. If you're out of my service area, a remote consult may be better suited for you.