Centre for Caring Horsemanship
Phone: 01647 231636

News / Penny's Thoughts

Helpful Horses September 2013

We would love to expand and offer you such an amazing experience working with our horses.

We meet once a month on a Friday morning.

Helpful Horses offers a very special experience especially people who are struggling.


Sometimes life makes you feel less than able and knocks away confidence.

Today l helped 3 ladies who had never had any experience with horse in their lives. They were funded by a local Housing Association to offer them an experience of a very non Judgemental morning.

The Ladies achieved many personal challenges and felt good about that. They left with high hopes for their futures. You see they were so out of their comfort zone but grew in confidence asking the horses to do things for them. Perhaps a first for many!

Horse can make changes. One of my ladies from our Helpful Horse day has now got a job as she felt confident enough to have a go after her morning with the horses.

A very warm welcome will await you.

I need at least 4 people for a morning. Please get in touch as seeing is believing.


Helpful Horses
Centre for Caring Horsemanship

Spring news

I have decided from September to change and cut back on some aspects of Caring Horsemanship. The ponies are finding new homes so l will not be offering any more tuition for children. We have had a wonderful time developing young riders but the time has come to stop. In regret l wish Horsemanship was more main stream for colleges to teach and at best grass root level. In my travels l witness so much unnecessary stress in horses when ridden under such restriction and relentless pressure. I guess until the Old Guard retire it will still be there. I don’t know why having a better approach through feel is so challenged by the main body of Instructors in this country. We Horsemanship inspired folks will have to keep plugging away.

I am however very impressed with Pony Club Stable Management tuition, as a former PC human it has stood me in good stead for all my horsey career so far. It’s a pity about the riding!!

We are starting Horse Agility once a month with Sarah Davies here at Caring Horsemanship. We plan to meet on a Tuesday morning with our own horse or one of mine. The aim is always to get a better connection and have some fun with exercise and to learn a new skill with your horse. Please get in touch if you are interested.

I would also like to develop the Helpful Horses further. The results are amazing. To work with horses is so beneficial to humans at whatever stage you are with your life. So many of us through no fault of our own find ourselves not quite on the path we intended, feel trapped unwanted lose confidence. A kind non judgemental friend who knows us inside out in 3 seconds, who listens to your heart beating or broken takes you to a different place. I see it daily. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to make this something everyone could have access to. The Social Services would love to do more with this and have expressed a real interest as they have seen the results. But it is funding and getting the money to the right place. Any Suggestions???

I am sure it would save the Government masses of money, making people happy and functioning again. Horse change lives every day.

Cinch Club Camp in August is sold out. We are lucky to have Judith Hubbard WES trainer, Jo Corringham WES Trainer, and Mike Aylmore a Classical Dressage Trainer. We intend to have a very busy Week End.

And finally times are a changing, True Horsemanship is progressing, the Spring is Springing as we saw some Swallows today. Keep spreading the word, you are the ambassadors’ to make a change.

Enjoy your horses.


Helpful Horses
Centre for Caring Horsemanship

Autumn news

Firstly I must thank you all for the support we have had this year. It has been a busy one, with foals being born, Jo and Russell getting married and having their reception here, CINCH club camp, oh and the rotten weather! Pete’s knee op, which understandably put him out of action for a while and my recent kick to my leg resulting in numerous stitches and a reluctant rest from work.

New horses coming and going ( part of running a business) and ongoing change. As you may know we have re structured the horses and were worried about the impact this may have had, but we need not have worried, as things seem to be okay and working out as we hoped.

I like to think that caring horsemanship stands up on its own, a chance for interested horsemen at whatever level or ability would feel comfortable coming here and sharing what we do.

Which brings me on to CINCH club which has been running for a year now, with numbers growing, we were once again delighted to have Sophie Cotton at our most recent event, I believe we had 30 rider sessions – amazing! Sadly I got kicked during a session but was ably taken care of by everyone involved , especially Sophie with her quick thinking first aid and the NHS as a whole from rapid response to A and E, I feel lucky. And recovering (not as fast as I would like- not naturally patient!) although sore I want to be doing more.

I was very fortunate the other day to meet a man, who was born without hands, just think about that for a minute? He wanted to ride a horse and was interested in the caring horsemanship ethos and liked the idea of combining that with western with weight control aids and minimal need for rein pressure. Well, he rode with us and was amazing, nothing fazed him at all, he tied the reins to his arms and got on with the riding, I gave him a few ideas about how to do things and he was away! Inspiring. So we got chatting and I asked him what he did, so many things, mending car engines was just one of his jobs. I commented that he must have endless patience, 'yes' he said 'I have had to learn patience to survive'. A forced patience perhaps, but he gets the job done. Maybe we all have to remember patience in our lives. To each other as well as with our horses. We all tend to go too fast, I have certainly had an insight into patience this week, on many levels! The saying goes 'patience is a virtue, process it if you can, seldom found in women, never in a man'.


Helpful Horses
Centre for Caring Horsemanship

More autumn news

A wonderful Cinch club camp was held here by us in August. We had 20 campers, tents, lots of horses and WES instructor Sophie Cotton to teach, Penny doing ground training, horsemanship and bareback riding to music and jo helping with a trail course in the field, taking trail rides out and providing assistant to those wishing to work in the round pen with their horse. Pete keeping everything together, handyman and organiser and Jane as always providing sustenance for all the hungry campers (ably assisted by Pam).

We started proceedings with a fancy dress on foot gymkhana, great team spirit showed by all, even though apple bobbing got everyone soaked!

The weather was kind and our improvised dining area made a wonderful venue for our guest singer, Glen, who delighted us with cowboy songs and comedy on saturday- I laughed so much I fell off my chair( no drink involved- I am tee total!) we had a chimenea to keep us warm and toasted marshmallows on it for authenticity!

We finished on Sunday with a barrel racing competition, everyone had a go-so competitive! The times were brilliant , the eventual winners were Teresa and bobby for the grownups and Molly with Jasmine for the kids, such good fun!

We had such a good time we are thinking about holding two camps next year, early spring and late summer! Can’t wait...


Helpful Horses
Centre for Caring Horsemanship

Caring horsemanship is moving on yet again!

We are very keen to keep the horsemanship work alive, to help horses and people. Whether you are a beginner, looking to get back into riding, or moving into a different way of thinking with your horsemanship.

We are offering much more in the way of whole day tuition, weekends and staying B and B to get the most from your caring horsemanship experience. Good horsemanship is our passion, and the more we do and learn with the horses, the more we want to share these experiences with you!

So, as we are growing and expanding in horsemanship, sadly, we have decided to stop our children’s riding lessons from the end of September. We have found suitable homes for most of our ponies( although we have three still, to re home) we have been teaching children for many years and have enjoyed watching our young horse people grow into enthusiastic caringhorsemanshipper’s, but we need to pursue a few of our own horsey dream’s now! We also have found at times, difficult to compete with the many other activities and clubs on offer to children and riding is a huge commitment!

We feel that sometimes the traditional teaching of children at horse/pony clubs differs so greatly from our ethos and teaching here and our ideas of horsemanship, we hope that the kicking and pulling of ponies may be viewed differently now by those children who have learned horsemanship with us over the years.

We really enjoy using the western saddle as part of our approach to horsemanship teaching, not only for learning Western moves, but encourages a closeness, a feeling for the feet of the horse, to this we add music which harmonises horse and rider improving rhythm and timing. To dance with your horse can be wonderfully uplifting!

Our cinch club will continue as normal and we will be sending out info RE future events. We will also be doing more with our ‘Helpful horses’ groups, horses are amazing therapists!

Jo and I are very keen to help you with your own horse, teaching, ground work, schooling and also continue our work with young horses, starting and riding on.

As always have fun with your horses, they can give you so many wonderful experiences and take you on some really special journeys!

We remain fully licensed and insured, please ring to book.


Helpful Horses
Centre for Caring Horsemanship

New 'Adopt a Pony Scheme' Coming Soon

We have eight lovely ponies who are looking for friends. By adopting one of them you will be assisting the Centre for Caring Horsemanship to give them a good home and also help provide educational courses, training for horses and riding lessons.


Helpful Horses
Centre for Caring Horsemanship

Role Models

Everyone has been touched and felt something about the riots in our country over the last weeks. Do they have a point? What are they trying to say? Or are they just so out of control and returning to a past as described in ‘Lord of the Flies’? Can we blame them for returning to their natural, greedy, hurtful instincts if there is no structure to their lives? Compared with the horse’s natural behaviour, we humans, being out of control, are way off the evolution track.

Horses live in the present future, although of course they remember the past but only when the pattern is the same and keeps being repeated. They also don’t bare a grudge and have much better acceptance of their role and who they are. Perhaps that’s because they like themselves.

In the herd there is order, boundaries, family life, play and friendships. No wonder trainers, therapists, helpers are using horses as role models to assist with changes of patterns in human behaviour and of course it works.


Helpful Horses
Centre for Caring Horsemanship

Hot off the press!!!

Caring Horsemanship have trained two Quarter Horses and they have been bought by the Government to go up to Aberdeen to Horse Back UK. This is a project to give returning injured soldiers a chance to discover the magical qualities these beautiful creatures have to offer. They have chosen the Western trained horse as there temperaments and softness and work ethic to be part and help the human world is over whelming. They will obviously ride them in the Western Saddle which gives greater support. Our horses then have gone to the project are 6 & 7 years old about l4.3 and mares.

Skip and Winnie left on Saturday with Alan Payne from Payne Performance horses. We are thrilled to be part of something like this and l know the girls will do a really good job in Aberdeen.

Any one wanting to know more about this project and the training we gave our horses please get in touch.


Ever felt down in the dumps, a bit burnt out, ready to give up? Yes these are often feelings I am sure we can relate too, including me from time to time.

I think these days it is hard to run a business, pay the bills especially anything to do with horses, there always seems to be a price tag, a hidden cost, because folks with horses we are supposed to be wealthy!!

I go into this winter this time with the burden of expensive feed, many hours of mucking out, cold wet and even snowy days to come... But there is such a plus side, the satisfying munch, the lovely smell, the greeting in the morning, and the re-establishing the wonderful relationship that is a bit lost perhaps during the Summer months. A time for planning , or just a time for being the Career. The high costs for me then completely out way the worry of life, but turn into enjoyment, something to get up in the morning for. A real positive creative time to gether.

So horse lovers, enjoy your horse this winter, they are worth it, and yes yet again they have that magic which captivates our souls to feel good.



Updates at Caring Horsemanship - February 2010

I have written an article on my thoughts as to the down side of Natural Horsemanship from the horses point of view. As you know, I am a complete and utter fan of the natural approach, brought in by the masters and indeed our ancestors - of course they had their down sides but they were great carers of the planet, and worked with the weather, and listened and watched their animals to see changes. They then could make decisions as to the work load done on the farm, to cut the grass or not, to plough or not and so on. The animals were their guides.

Horses (as this is my medium) were looked upon as very special and taken notice of, for every day life. There was huge respect on both sides in the main and indeed horses have furthered mankind more than anything in history - even up to this date.

So my opening paragraph, the downside to NHMS from the horse's point of view becomes very apparent when the basic need you gets watered down. This of course is my opinion.

I think you have to keep a handle on the realistic side of horsemanship. I know that everyone wants to do the best for their horses, but by waving a magical wand, and 'maybe's' can get in the way of the true path to communication. I feel there are a lot of bandwagon therapies which can prey on the vulnerable which leads to confusion, expenses and little results - what can the horse be thinking - we humans know, that health comes from good diet, a purpose to get up in the mornings, good friends and dare I say simplistic pleasures (playing with the dog, riding the horse) . Just being alive, what we have on this planet if life, realness, responsibilities, bodies, breath, emotions - all of this makes us real humans - we are here for a purpose to live an earthly life - what a privilege. Yes I can hear you say, perhaps not all have the same good experience - this I cannot answer.

I am a great fan of maintenance for my horses, we have a larder of natural cures, good diet, teeth, massage, backs, bare foot where necessary, and exercise, stimulation, partnership, horseness. The latter has to come from modern man - us. We have lost so much reality and earthiness, and true hard working living - watching the natural world, and being part of it. All the answers are here, miracles happen every day - a birth, a flower opening, the sun warming our faces, need I go on.

We humans have so much potential to get it right, and we can. Listen to your heart, it will lead you the right way, keep your life real and your horse will thrive naturally.

I believe in the spirit world, and the wonders beyond, but I am also very realistic and in the now, your horse needs you to be grounded, in the moment, emotionally balanced, a leader and time to get it right.


Updates at Caring Horsemanship

Nancy, our gorgeous, surprise Paint filly, is now seven months old and after a slow and gentle weaning, she is living out with her new friend, Nazareth the donkey. She is doing well on the grass and hasn’t started to bray just yet! All the handling she had in her first few months seems to have paid off, as she remains so quiet and easy, even though we handle her much less now, allowing her to develop her ‘horsiness’ as a growing yearling. Her mum, Tizzy is also doing well, and really starting to make good progress in her ridden career since it was put on hold by Nancy’s unexpected arrival!

Fortunately the credit crunch has not made that much of a difference to us so far. There still seems to be plenty to do, where by in the past, difficult horses were, maybe, moved on, now more perseverance and commitment to finding a way through problems is becoming more commonplace- which can only be good for the horse!

This brings me around to giving horses a second chance, a different path.

As you know we are expanding along the western trail. We now have six lovely Quarter horses, who are just starting out in their ‘caring horsemanship’ careers and we will be using the western saddle to encourage a new look and feel to riding.

But we also have older horses at caring horsemanship; some well into their 20’s who are still in work but need to adjust their careers to keep them out of retirement. My daughters horse, Albi, is somewhere around the age of 28 now, and had a very full and energetic life. Successfully shown to a very high level as a hack, with his long, extravagant movement, then many seasons hunting on Exmoor, before coming to us about eight years ago, with a few issues that- thankfully, we were able to help him with.

Albi is a stunning, Anglo Arab welsh X, white and flighty, he loves fast work and spooks and prances at any opportunity (part of his charm, so Jo tells me). Although he had all this energy, a life of hard work was beginning to show, his neck was increasingly stiff and clicky and sometimes he could be slow to ‘warm up’. All the signs of a bit of arthritis due to wear and tear, we were considering retirement for a while even though he was still sound and happy. So, Jo gentled him along not ready to stop his riding career just yet, and started joining in on some riding lessons with Judith Hubbard, our western trainer. The difference in his body is amazing, he is much suppler than ever before, he can do flying changes, stop and turn like a youngster and is still improving in his western work.

Even though he is very high withered now, we have found a western saddle that fits him well, a synthetic wintec, which is much lighter too, than the leather saddles we predominantly use. Jo almost entirely rides him western now; it just suits him so well and keeps him going- and learning. I am sure there are many horses out there that would benefit from a change in the western direction, as Albi (and Jo) have.

Western riding can be an exciting way to progress and keep riding ‘alive’. We may not be quite like the cowboys, but we can certainly admire their skills and learn from them to develop our own horsemanship. We certainly feel here, at caring horsemanship that we are opening up a whole new path to explore, as do many of our customers, who too, are enjoying the western experience with us.

My young part paint mare, Dusk is showing great promise in her western work, and every day I look forward to riding her so that we can learn more together. If you or your horse are interested, why not come and give a go? There is so much to learn and enjoy with the horse. The Devon Western riding club is available too, for all you budding cowboys out there, with lots of events and fixtures over the summer.



I meet people with their horses with behavioural issues every day.  Some are easy to sort, others take a little longer.  But time and time again the problem lies with the human kind.  It is never done intentionally as most horse owners care deeply that their equines have everything they need to be happy.  Of course there is plenty of advice and plenty of products to be purchased, but the question I sometimes ask myself is, are we taking the Horseness out of the horse?

To be able to have a light, responsive, respectful, co-operative partner takes a great deal of care, timing, teaching, patience and horseness within us. 

So what is horseness in the domestic horse?

I would say keeping the natural instinctive behaviour alive to produce the follower, the horse, and the leader, you.  The current way of training can be  very robotic, restrictive, tiring, and of course very unnatural.  The horse then is excluded from forming a partnership which enables the natural behaviour to try.  They can become conditioned to the task.  So I say, where is the Horseness in this? Our partnership needs to be alive in the moment to respond to the task as a herd member would be expected to do out on the planes.

Unless we take the time to show, think, and help, they will never know what it is they have to do, and can make it up!!

My job is to improve both horse and human parntnerships, so when I take the rope to lead a horse and the pressure is pulled backwards, I know that this horse has not learnt to release from pressure from the very start. As soon as this is taught the conversation can begin and the horseness can start.

Some times I have said to me, "My horse has never cantered on the right lead, ever, not even on the lunge.  Now the horse is 10 years old so all the competitions have been missed out on due to this. He just can’t, so the training works around the cant."  How restricting and frustrating for the owner, and the horse, not  to go out and do more. This horse, he was so athletic, a super trot that there was no way he could not canter.  I showed him a few tasks and showed him how to rebalance, and after working  for 30 seconds he was cantering on the right lead.  Not just once but many times. She and I were thrilled, so hopefully she will be able to take him out to do some dressage.  It only took the time to show the horse how.

Conditioned training teaches your horse not to think, so rendering their instinctive behaviour useless, taking the horseness out of the horse.  Keep your horse a horse! It is amazing how human this makes us.

Keep it natural.


Surprise, surprise Nancy!

Nature never ceases to amaze me, and isn’t that wonderful! You can’t package it up and write a rule book for her. She knows best, and fixes her time clock good or bad for us humans to work with.

So, as I said surprise, surprise Nancy. We are blessed with having some wonderful horses to work with, some young, some old, some borrowed and some new. One of our new quarter horse mares who had been bred by a dear friend and found her way to me had previously been sent away last autumn 07 to be started which happened to be at  a stud, not the breeding season but a time to start youngsters, and breeding to stop-so you would think! My little mare spent some time there, running along side a smart Paint stallion, divided by a high stallion proof fence with electric tape across the top. It was assumed that both kept to their side, but somehow it appears that passion took over and a romantic liaison occurred through the fence! A secret encounter, that no-one was aware of!

newborn foal

My friend then sold her to another friend who then sold her to me in April 08. ‘Tizzy’ now a three year old. As you know the summer has been wet and trying and we have undergone some major changes, so the young horses had been turned away until the autumn, when we would seriously start their careers.

I wanted to start Tizzy’s education again at the beginning, lots of handling, re-acquainting her with tack, long lining and sitting back on again, all of which were coming on well. Her largish tummy did not concern me, she had done well over the summer as had her companions who were all a similar size, I had no reason to think any different, let alone that she may be in foal.

One Wednesday a few weeks ago, I was quietly long lining Tizzy, I needed to adjust the stirrups which brought me to look closer underneath her tummy and then to her udder which was stirring to a shape, still not thinking of a foal, perhaps a hormonal flush, a sore or bite? So we put some cream on her put her back in the field for the night and think again tomorrow. As I walked her out her belly just wobbled, quite aggressively, not once but four times! I think she was letting me in on her secret.

Some detective work had to be done, so I phoned my friend and we discussed the possibilities and decided that she potentially could be in foal, but probably not to foal for a while as she wasn’t very big and her udder was fairly small, we would wait and see- but not for long.

Our quarter horses live in a herd with a donkey called Nazareth, and on occasions he can be quite vocal, this Thursday morning was no exception, I think everyone in the parish could hear him announcing our newest arrival. So there she was in the field a lovely palomino Tobiano filly, with mum close at her side, both the picture of health, and ‘Nancy’ the image of her suspected father!

foal with mother

As I said, nature does what it feels is best sometimes, against all the rules,

1)     Covering over a fence

2)     Not letting anyone know she was in foal until the last minute

3)     Not much udder and no waxing up

4)     Completely out of season

Nature is determined to carry on regardless breaking rules and changing plans. It is so much bigger and far more powerful than we are, we need to be careful of this, she can and probably will, have the last laugh, she certainly has with Nancy, and we are delighted!

Look out for the photos of her, we will keep you updated on her progress.


Centre for Caring Horsemanship
"What we do is only worthwhile if it is done in a spirit of joy and adventure, for ourselves and our horses..."
Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling
"We have had the most uplifting, profound and inspiring experience this week, largely thanks to you and your human and equine team mates."
Louise & Fil Hall
"I have been on a magical horse, talking to it in my mind. I was breathing in and out and the horse moved when I wanted it to."
Angela Watson