Sarah Todd aka ‘Horse Behaviour Help‘
Nr. Bath, Somerset
Lecturer at Hartpury College, Glos so is unable to do client visits
07866 789770 or firstname.lastname@example.org
IH Trainer Sarah Todd is based in Somerset is fascinated by horse behaviour and non-violent training methods, with a heartfelt desire to work in partnership with owners to help their horses. The joys of seeing owners connect with their horses, achieve something they did not think possible, or seeing a horse understand something new, are always special moments. She has a strong academic foundation, plus many years handling different horses and ponies, together with a developing interest in donkeys.
Welcoming owners of all types from those interested in hacking to competition, she always recognises the importance of the entire network of professionals who support the welfare of any equine, from vets and farriers to physios and nutritionists and has a wide range of tools and techniques based on solid understanding of principles to help owners find a path that suits both them and their horse. She specialises in confidence building for both horse and owner; fears of clipping, loading, motorbikes and so on and working to establish an excellent base for youngsters to ensure long-term success.
Sarah combines her IH training work with studying for a PhD exploring attitudes and compassion towards donkeys and a continued passion for learning more about equine behaviour and training. She participates in the ‘IH Awards’.
Members read Sarah’s interesting 2016 Research Project on ridden horse behaviours i.e. head tossing, rein snatching, coughing.
A Q&A with IH Trainer Sarah Todd
(The Intelligent Horsemanship Magazine)
If you could change one thing in the world of horses, what would it be, and why?
I think it would be that people should keep learning, from all sorts of sources. It’s one of the things that attracted me to IH, that it is a hugely supportive ‘family’ with a willingness to look at what others are doing and to evaluate and select useful information from good sources. The webinar series is a great example: expert vets, bit fitters and more at our fingertips. People in the horse world need to learn and work together/build connections more for the good of the horse.
How long have you been involved with horses? And how did you get involved with them?
I’m not sure what first attracted me to horses, but I do know that I was around five and that it took me three years to persuade my Mum to let me ride (she was terrified of horses). I spent loads of pocket money on horsey books – including the one on Sefton “The Horse for Any Year” which I read cover to cover apart from the political chapter – Sindy horses etc, etc. My eighth birthday present was a riding lesson at a local riding school in Bahrain, where we were living. That was nearly 40 years ago now! I have been lucky enough to have ridden many different types of horse in many different places: heavy horses in Cumbria, classically trained Portuguese Lusitano stallions in Buckinghamshire, Icelandic horses in Iceland, Arab horses in the Emirates, horses from a stable that worked with the film industry, to mention a few. It’s given me a very broad background.
Why did you decide to qualify as a Recommended Trainer?
From the time I first became involved with IH, back in about 2002, I was in awe of these RAs (as they were then), but never thought I would be anywhere near becoming one, or indeed working with horses at all, although I had long harboured a desire to ‘do something’ with horses. Then in around 2012, about a year before I was due to leave the Royal Air Force after 16 years of service, I was starting to look at what I might do next. I considered Project Management and was lucky enough to be able to speak to someone in the industry. He asked me pertinent questions regarding my transferable skills and I struggled to string two words together – one of which was usually ‘ummm’. Somehow the conversation turned to horses and I was off. Half an hour later the realisation hit that perhaps I was looking in the wrong direction and I should take a serious look at ‘doing something’ with horses. So, I started the journey to becoming an IHRT, doing some of it as part of my resettlement along with a Level 5 BTEC Professional Diploma in Equine Behaviour and Welfare. It took me about 7 or 8 years from that first ‘maybe I ought to do something with horses’ to actually becoming an IHRT. Whilst I was researching my Psychology Project, I was able to draw on one of my lovely husband’s connections to contact University Centre Sparsholt regarding the possibility of working with them for some data collection. One thing led to another, and I completed an MSc in Equine Behaviour, Performance and Training through Sparsholt, with some great opportunities to make industry connections…. which has led to a PhD looking at human-donkey relationships, with a particular focus on human attitude towards donkeys. I am in my first year (part-time). I love learning about equids and the chance to help people and their horses is amazing, as well as the opportunity to be part of a network of people with the same goal of non-violent training. Even when I was putting together my case studies, on more than one occasion I thought ‘I love my job’. The satisfaction and joy of seeing owners connect with their horses, achieve something they did not think was possible, or seeing a horse understand something new, is a fabulous reward. I get an extra boost when people subsequently recommend me to friends and colleagues, helping to spread non-violent, sound techniques and ideas.
IH Trainer Sarah Todd is based nr. Bath, Somerset.