Claire Mitchell aka. Claire Mitchell Equine Therapies
IH Trainer Claire Mitchell, based in Chorley, Lancashire, has years of experience working with horses. Claire takes on a wide range of clients for a variety of reasons including; starting young horses, loading, napping and general desensitisation work with spooky horses. Tailoring induvial training plans for each customer.
A Q&A with IH Trainer Claire Mitchell
(The Intelligent Horsemanship Magazine)
How long have you been involved with horses? And how did you get involved with them?
My very first experience with a horse was so vivid. I was 2yrs old on holiday in Wales and my 2 big sisters had gone off on a hack over the peninsula and beach on these (what looked to me at the time) massive horses! I was wondering around the yard waiting and looking at these lovely horses, someone clearly felt sorry for me and said they’d tack up a little Shetland and lead me round the car park. I was hooked forever!
What is a typical day for you?
A typical day for me is getting up, letting my greedy chickens out, letting horses out (or mucking out if its winter!). I’m then on school Lunch duties followed by logging on to my work laptop before commencing the school run.
I work for a childcare software company 9-5, mainly home based and my role within the company is to establish what to build and why. Much of my learning and skills have transferred into the horse world and it’s unbelievable the similarities. I have to work out the problems I want to solve, the easiest and quickest route there and ultimately what does the customer really need/want and what will help them save time etc.
I have to break things down into small iterative releases – just like I do when working with horses! Deliver the MVP (minimum viable product) which translates to what is the easiest thing I can help the horse with – set them up to win.
End of the working day, I’m off to walk the dogs/sort the horses, ride and then often in an evening I’m off to visit clients. Once home it’s the usual household chores and making tea and putting chickens away so Mr fox doesn’t have a tasty treat!
It’s a lot to juggle and took me a while to find my rhythm but I’m there with a good balance now. Typically I have one client once a week evening and then one client at the weekend so I still have family time. I don’t ride my horses as much as I’d like but my daughter does. I don’t stress over this because I know they are happy and well looked after. So, make sure you don’t put any unnecessary stress on yourselves. It’s okay for you and your horses to be okay. I’ve accepted I’m not an elite athlete and nor are my horses.
Why did you decide to qualify as a Recommended Trainer?
I bought a youngster and backed him using Monty Robert’s techniques and then started to research things more and found Kelly Marks, the demos etc and knew I had to help open other people’s eyes to this way of working with horses. My yard (at the time) was very old school and I had to turn a blind eye to some things which makes me so upset.
What’s important to you when you see an owner and their horse for the first time?
Making the situation calm and relaxed so that everyone, horse included, feel at ease and stress levels are down. Ensuring I have as much information as possible about the past and present so that I can help make informed decisions and help guide horse and owner.
If you could change one thing in the world of horses what would it be, and why?
Aggression from humans to any animals. I foster rescue dogs as well and I have no idea why people think it’s okay to hit/beat a defenceless animal. If a human is retaliating due to the animals aggression then they need to understand why?
IH Trainer Claire Mitchell is based in Chorley, Lancashire.