Hillydale Equine Training and Sales

Horses and ponies for sale

Education and Retraining

Our training philosophy

Our philosophy of horse training is that anyone with a bit of knowledge and patience can train their pony (or horse) without the need to be a technically advanced rider or buy expensive gadgets or products. 

Using Learning Theory, the science of how animals learn we consistently get the same results time after time because it is soundly based on science, not dogma, mysterious horse whispering or fear. We don't worry about getting a horse's respect or making sure we are its leader.  we simply use the horse's responses to our cues as a guide to whether they understand what we are asking or not.  If they get things wrong, its because we haven't made it easy for them to get it right.  We never blame the horse for not behaving the way we want. 

We don't believe that horses are arrogant, disrespectful, rude, bossy, lazy or nasty.  We do however believe that horses are often confused and fearful about what we want from them and this shows up as unwanted behaviour.  Much of that unwanted behaviour is annoying at best and downright dangerous at worst.  When working with a horse displaying unwanted behaviour we start by considering what rewards that behaviour and what causes it.  By seeking to understand the answers to these two questions we have to tools to begin retraining the horse to offer the correct behaviour. In so doing, we end up with relaxed, calm horses who respond reliably to light cues. 

 We don't do anything special or even original, and what we do is not spectacular, but it does work because it is firmly grounded on a scientifically proven training method that utilises the innate abilities of horses, to train them to be calm and obedient.  

Learning Theory has given all horse owners and trainers some incredibly powerful tools to interpret and analyse the causes of unwanted horse behaviours as well as providing simple techniques which retrain the horse so that it reliably and calmly offers the correct response. The techniques we use can be applied to any horse, in any situation because they are soundly based on a thorough, scientifically verified understanding of the cognitive abilities and psychology of horses. 

We are continuously upgrading our knowledge and skills by attending riding lessons and clinics as well as reading widely.  We are also engaged in cutting edge horse behaviour research the results of which will be presented at the 2012 International Society for Equitation Science in Endinburgh. That said, we don't believe we have all the answers and if we think we won't be able to make a difference to your horse due to we will be very upfront about it and can point you in the direction of other trainers whom we have a very high respect for and who use the same training methodology.  We do not take on practiced buckers or rearers but can recommend trainers who have the skills to safely retrain these behaviours.

What we do know for sure is, you don't need to be a professional horse trainer or a super confident rider to make huge strides in your ability to train and ride your horses or to assist your children to do the same.  And best of all, irrespective of the discipline or sport the techniques we use will improve your performance.

Pony Starting

Got a young pony you'd like to start riding, but don't feel confident to get on that first time.  We offer a full foundation training service which results in quiet ponies who are ready to begin their ridden careers.  The process generally takes about six to eight weeks, depending on the temperament and past handling of the pony.  

Using learning theory we quietly and gently get your pony ready to accept a rider by working through a series of in hand tasks.  When the pony is light and obedient in hand we first ride it bareback and then introduce the saddle.

We move forward in small steps each day and ensure that each step is consolidated and the pony is happy and relaxed before asking for more difficult activities.  At the end of the foundation training, your pony will be able to walk, trot and canter quietly and responsively in a large paddock and on trail rides in company. We encourage you to view your pony throughout the process and we like owners to ride the pony a number of times before it goes home.  Once your pony is back home with you, we continue to offer a full support service, including visits to your propertyif required to assist you through the crucial first few months to ensure good habits are established.


Float Loading Training

 We can assist you to train your horse or pony to enter a float without gadgets, violence or frustration.  We can come to you and work with you so that you can be confident that you can not only load your problem horse, but have the skills to train other difficult loaders.

Remedial or Retraining

Pony has a hard mouth?  Too forward, too lazy off the leg, doesn't want to go through water?  Won't stand still when you get on?  We can help retrain your pony to go and stop from light aids resulting in a calm and obedient pony that is easy to have around.  Best of all, we will show you how to produce the same results in the future so that you will be well equipped to keep your pony light and soft as well as train others to do the same.  Our approach is so simple, doesn't require the use of any gadget, gimmick or product.  Armed with a snaffle bridle, a well fitting saddle and a dressage whip you will be empowered to ride and train your pony without fear or tension.  Contact us for rates and options. 02 4844 4354 or email: farm@hillydale.com.au

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