Horse for Demo?

Do you have a horse suitable for demonstrations?

Do you have a horse that you would like to put forward for a demonstration? All Behaviour problems welcome! Can’t box, can’t ride, can’t shoe, can’t catch, can’t clip, difficult to mount, or maybe you’ve just got a nice youngster for starting?

If you do CLICK HERE to Download Demo Horse Application form, fill it in and send it to Intelligent Horsemanship, Lethornes, Lambourn, Hungerford, Berkshire, RG17 8QP or email it to

There are basic guidelines for the selection process of horses for demos which are detailed below by Kelly Marks herself. Please read through the selection process and are happy with it before submitting your form.

Horse Selection Process for Kelly Marks Demonstrations

By Kelly Marks

My first priority in the process of selecting horses for my demonstrations is that I have no personal contact with the horses, the owners or the people recommending the horses. My organization puts in place a representative to organize the calls and assess the problems. This representative does not discuss the individual horses with me.

Four Types of Horse:

We typically have four categories to provide horses for. The starter should be a normal horse that has not had saddle, bridle or rider before. This horse should be sound and healthy. It can be filly, colt or gelding. The type of horse should be the most typical for the audience we have.

The second category is for horses that have problems while the handler is on the ground. Biters, kickers, horses you can’t catch and horses that will run away from you when you try to lead them are often used in this category. We also take horses here that are spooky, head shy or difficult to clip or shoe.

The third category is for horses that have problems while being ridden. These problems are often bucking and rearing.

The last section for an evening demonstration is reserved for the horse that is difficult to load in the trailer. Oftentimes these horses are ridden to the demonstration.

What Happens next?

We try to have at least two horses for each of these categories and there are many reasons for this. Each event is set up so that I meet with the owners in the afternoon. I explain to the owners how the evening works, and I ask them if their horses are healthy and sound. I ask them if they have given any medication in the last twenty-four hours. And I explain that their horses will be examined in the round pen for approximately three minutes. I tell each owner that if their horse is chosen they will need to address the audience about the horse, and I want them to tell a truthful story about why the horse is there. I do not go near any horse, nor do I even go in the enclosure with the horse during the examination process. While the horse is in the round pen, I sit with a veterinarian and the owner.

I utilize a scoring system that is designed to achieve for me the best and most educational demonstration that I can provide for my audience. It is at this time that the veterinarian gives an opinion on the health and the soundness of the horse. Immediately after this session, I tell the owners which horses will be used on the evening.

Why Don’t I Choose One Horse per Category?

I am often asked why don’t you just take one horse for each category and not look at them in the afternoon. This would be an incredibly irresponsible decision on my part. Many times horses just don’t show up or one reason or another. What if I had one horse for a segment, and he wasn’t there? My audience would then have three segments instead of the four. I have had owners tell my organizers that they have a normal starter, and then when they come, they have a pony smaller than my rider. This would not make a very good starting demonstration. At virtually every examination session, the veterinarian will ask me not to use one or two of the horses. Most of the time it is because of unsoundness, but many times it has to do with unhealthy conditions. The horse may be too thin or may have an open wound, skin disease or a cough.

I remember one demonstration in Verden where a horse went through the process and was accepted. We only trotted the horse and did not canter. When I began my demonstration, it became obvious that the horse had a serious breathing problem when it cantered even for a short period of time. We now ask each horse to canter, and the veterinarian listens carefully for his condition.

I have never used a horse that the veterinarian suggested against using. I have never used a horse that we suspected of having some sort of medication. I have never medicated a horse for a demonstration, nor have I asked anyone in my organization to do so. I have my reputation and without it, I have nothing. I have studied the use of substances in training horses while at my university in California (California State Polytechnic University). I concluded more than forty years ago that the use of substances to aid you in training was unnecessary and not very effective.

Why Put Forward Your Horse?

I love to work with horses, and I have fun improving their performance whenever I can. I try to leave my owners with a better chance to succeed with their horse after I am gone. I often recommend that the owner attempt to follow the same procedures that I have used. Wherever possible, I recommend that the owner seek advice from one of our approved Instructors in the area. If I have no Instructors near them, I attempt to assist the owner by answering their questions by letter, email or telephone.

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