Despooking for the Dressage horse

I was at a dressage show with my daughter not so long ago and saw quite a few horses spook at some stuff just outside the competition arena. Unsurprisingly this had an impact on their tests, happening as it did just as they were about to enter the arena.

Relaxation should always be the prerequisite to the scales of training, it is the foundation for everything else. Relaxation happens when you have a horse that trusts their rider, is calm in their environment, remains focused and undistracted and can enjoy the job in hand.

So having a better understanding of why your horse might be spooky in certain situations and learning some tools that you can use that will reduce that spookiness is always going to be of benefit to you as a rider.

As a Clinical Animal Behaviourist specialising in equines, I do a lot of rehabilitation training and am also very keen on proactive work with young horses to build confidence and reduce the chance of spooky behaviour developing and I’m always very glad of the opportunity to share my expertise in this area.

Luckily for you it’s the right time of year for spook busting! On Saturday 15th October from 1pm to 4pm I’ll be running a workshop at Claire Ewing’s dressage yard (CS Dressage) in Aghalee looking at how we can despook the dressage horse. There will be some theory to help you understand what’s going on, but the main focus will be on the practical work. We have a limited number of places for those who would like to bring their horse or pony along, and room for a few spectators too.

As well as attending the session, you will get access for six months after the workshop to an online course with videos and exercises for you to do at home, plus 20% discount voucher to use towards a one hour one to one session with me (online if you aren’t within my normal travel area).

Cost is £45 for you and your horse, or £25 if you are attending as a spectator (remember this price includes access to the online course after the workshop and the discount voucher for a one to one!).

Booking closes at 11pm on Wednesday 12th October 2022.

In order to book your spectator place, please go to

If you wish to book on with your horse, please contact me via email or phone/ WhatsApp to 07773 157428. Horse places are limited so get in touch soon to avoid disappointment! I look forward to hearing from you!

Thank you

Helen 😊

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