Hi folks, I’m ‘J the trimmer’ (aka Jaime Hickman Equine Podiatrist) I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed working with Cathy, Cheryl and Tia.
I should note I’ve know horses all my life, am probably one of the most experienced ‘trimmers’ in the UK and that I have had considerable training in and do a little equine behavioural work myself (in fact I first met Cathy, many moons ago on such a course). A significant number of my client base are horses that “no farrier in the county will come out to any more” or “usually needs to be sedated” and even other EPs have handed horses over to me because they were “too much to handle”. So when I say that Tia is not an easy horse to trim, I do know a little bit about what I’m talking about.
We had reached a point with Tia whereby, although her behaviour had improved to the point that she was trimable and I was sure that I could do what I needed to do for her, we still had our ‘good days’ and our ‘bad days’ and I felt that this was probably as good as it was going to get. If I’m honest she was not a horse I looked forward to working on as, whilst I enjoy the challenge, if I or her handler made a mistake she was the type of horse that would bite or kick badly and that can put me out of work for weeks or months…
Having Cathy there did four really significant things for me.
Firstly it gave me another professional behaviouralist’s perspective on things (in other words Cathy, very gently but directly, pointed out things I was missing or doing wrong!).
Secondly it gave me a pair of eyes and a running commentary. It really made me realise how restricted my vision is when bent over, looking down and the ‘wrong way’ and this meant that I was missing many ques and attempts at communication from Tai. Often the first indication I had that she was not comfortable was an attempt to pull a foot away or a flick of the tail and of course by that time it was way too late.
Thirdly it reminded me to ‘take the time it takes’. With a horse like this there is always the temptation when you have the foot up and in your hands to get on with it whilst the going is good, to work fast when what the horse needs is for you to slow down or even to stop whilst they gather themselves. Cathy Taught Tia to ask me to slow down or to stop and then made sure that I wasn’t so focussed on getting my trim done so that I could hear her asking.
Last and not least it reminded me that however good you may think you are at something there is always room for improvement and that even when things seem to have got as good as they are going to get sometimes it just needs another dimension (in this case Cathy) to kick start the learning process again.
We have done two sessions all together now. With Cathy’s intervention, Tia is happier, I am safer (and better) and Cheryl is less concerned that I am going to get hurt or that her horse is going to be upset. That’s a pretty good job in my book, win, win, win.
Thank you Cathy.