General behaviour issues:
"Julie has spent the last two days working with a number of horses at our yard in Brookby, south-east Auckland. Julie ..... assisted horse and pony owners with a variety of equine issues such as rearing, napping, fear of wormers, difficulty picking up hooves, being lead, being sprayed, or ridden issues such as being too strong or llama-like. Within 2 days (in fact usually within a single session) we saw a vast improvement in all of these areas. But wait, there's more! Our horses and ponies now work in a far more relaxed frame and are much more responsive to aids. The behaviour and manageability of our equine friends has within 48 hours undergone something of a transformation. How cool is that? Julie is attentive, personable and encouraging. She also has a great sense of humour which makes her sessions immensely enjoyable. She's left us with the skills and knowledge to carry on our training, and we owe her a huge thanks. I can't recommend Julie enough, we can't wait to have her back next time she's in the country."
"Fantastic, disciplined approach to horse training and we saw immediate results. Dealt with bridling, pulling on the lead, spraying, rearing and standing still. Using pressure/release and clicker training (Alicia is a pro). Wish we could have more! Thanks Julie. Hope we can get you back next year."
"I can't thank you enough Julie. This is the turning point for us in a very long journey and it is down to you and Equitation Science, I can't wait to see what else we can achieve!!"
"You are a star - thank you, thank you, thank you."
"It's now a week since I had the privilege of Julie being at our place to help me with my horses. My 2 horses are ex-racehorses with limited general riding experience and had developed a lot of behaviours difficult for me to handle. 3-4 sessions with Julie they became as light as a feather to cues and no hint of previous issues. Despite no further practice through the week due to my work & weather I have been able to ride and handle them and the lessons learned from training remain. I am so thrilled and fortunate to have been introduced to this training system and look forward to learning more. Thanks so much Julie."
"Took Glenda for best ride ever - thanks!!" Nicky, Borana Lodge, Kenya.
Julie "showed us techniques for dealing with issues that had been causing us real trouble (we had given up on one horse) and also gave us a much greater understanding of how to go about training our horses. After half an hour ... you could see a real transformation in their behaviour, it was all very impressive." E and J, Devon.
"I was so excited to find Julie, here in the U.K. I needed to understand why my partially backed young horse was behaving as she was. I was beginning to think I had made a massive mistake with regard to her purchase. I felt that she ... was a ‘nice’ horse but her rearing, bucking and dislodging of rider and her tension was overwhelming. I had enrolled the services of a professional and experienced backer/starter.
Julie came to the rescue. Julie delivered a number of geared training sessions to address the conflict behaviours, starting from scratch. I could see very quickly why I was in my current situation and why my mare was so confused.
At the end of the first session she was already transforming and by the last session I had the horse that I knew I had purchased. Calm, relaxed, and waiting for cues.
All through the process Julie delivered the training sessions in a clear and precise way, with demonstrations and explanations as to what she was going to cue my mare to do and what response she was expecting to get, and what she would do if the response wasn’t correct.
Julie then watched, and corrected me when necessary, as I repeated each process. All the training was ethical and my mare’s welfare always considered. Julie was also very happy to answer my umpteen questions and has provided me with follow ups in writing.
Julie will be back to continue re-backing.
If you don’t want to ‘just deal with’ your horse’s behaviour, or think that your horse has always done such and such, then retrain it so that you never have to ‘just deal with it’ ever again. Julie is the one to do this."
Under saddle D is happy to stay in trot without constantly wanting to canter when out hacking which is a big achievement and when we do canter he is much easier to slow down and stop. He is much more pleasant to ride, we are having heaps of fun out and about and I know he is enjoying his work so much more because the boundaries are very clear. G has put some work into his horse, Z and is constantly amazed at how well it has worked! This horse would trot or jog if he got left behind, but in just one session G got this sorted out, under my careful instruction of course! Now he can walk and keep up with D and he also doesn't break into a canter anymore until asked.
We have discovered we are enjoying our riding so much more because the training takes out all of the frustrations we were feeling when we were working against the horse, now if they don't give us the correct response we just ask for the right one and we know they will get it right. Yesterday we had to take D to the vet. He was such a trooper, without Z for company, other horses around, a strange place, standing inside getting xrays, ultrasound and I lost count at the amount of needles that went in, then getting lunged on his sore foot but he took it all in his stride and was super well behaved even impressing the vet. Before ES training he would have been quite hard to handle in a situation like this, and we can only attribute it to the training and we are so grateful for it. D has gone from a bolshy, anxious, sometimes dangerous and very strong to ride to becoming a lovely calm, and happy horse who enjoys his work. We know we still have a lot to learn and this is exciting to think what this could mean for us and our horses, but even with what we know we are confident that we understand our horses so much better!! We cant wait for you to come back to NZ so we can have more lessons. Kind regards. L''
"Hi Julie, thanks so much for working with me and my horse last month. Previous to this I had read books and watched the DVD series, teaching myself the basics of ES groundwork, and I had made great progress but I was missing a few vital pieces of the puzzle. After you worked with us there was a huge leap forward in our progress, D is much more attentive, and I can keep his focus really well now and his stop, back and yield has improved rapidly as has picking up his feet which he now does very politely. D is due to be shod just after our next training sessions so 'I'm really excited to see how this will go. Thanks again Julie, you have made a huge difference to our partnership!"
"Thank you so much for the great training session with my young gypsy cob. It worked beautifully, was so clear and precise she got it all in a jiffy and was foot perfect the next day too! I so appreciated you taking the time to come my way. Count me in as a regular and come and stay next time! I will organise a local clinic."
"Oh you are just amazing – can’t wait for tomorrow"
"I got the chance this morning to use over shadowing on my horse that likes to run to the point of exhaustion at the sound and sight of helicopters. After about 20 minutes I had her standing still, head down when I asked, and listening to me not the heli-monster. Thank God for ES! I am so relieved I have the knowledge to train my horse out of her panic attacks. The technique worked and we're on the road to 'recovery'! It was so cool. Knowing how to tackle the issue is such a relief after watching her dripping with sweat every other time there's been one working in the area and hoping like mad she wouldn't go through a fence or fall over! Thank you, Julie!"
"We both thoroughly enjoyed our lessons on Sunday. I really appreciate your teaching style, you are very patient when needed but tell me where I am going wrong while suggesting better and more effective ways of training my horse. I love your sense of humour, it kept the lessons light and we certainly had a few giggles, even though there was so much to learn.
It was really interesting and helped a lot with my learning to watch you riding and training D, and it has certainly accelerated his learning. I have never seen him offer a lowered head and lengthened stride before and was surprised that you achieved it!
I did an in-hand session with him today and his go is much slower and controlled as a result, and his yielding has improved too. I'm looking forward to our first riding session, to continue with the exercises you showed us.
I can't wait for another lesson when you return to NZ, I know it won't be soon enough!"
"You are a super star with the horses and it works." Ali, Kenya.
"This is my third session with you. I've found the training really good so far, my horse is really responding and gets on the float like a dream. He is so much softer in his work and I'm really enjoying the techniques as we both seem to know where we stand now."
"Thank you Julie, you have showed us a new, effective and totally fascinating way of working with my horse!!"
Retrained severe biting (big bruises!) for 45 minutes and here is what the owner/handler/rider has to say about it:
"Thanks Julie, since coming to see you on Sunday M is no longer scared of being bitten by Aladdin, we have tacked him up a few times since with no sign of biting. We are also using the techniques you showed us with the other horses so soon we will have the best behaved horses! Thank you look forward to your next visit to the Bay. T & M."
"Had a fantastic session with Julie during the week with T, a hard to catch very frightened pony. After only one session he was coming up to me and letting me touch him, by the end of the second session I was able to halter and lead him without any hassles. What a breakthrough for me as I had been trying to do this for a year with mixed results. Now each time I'm with him he responds very positively towards me. Thank you Julie!" K
(I can see) “how totally absorbed you are in your work and how much pleasure you get from it. I do get it though because you are effectively giving each horse a better life which is pretty cool and remarkable!
I have looked at your links and your article on lowering the Friesian head carriage and it’s all amazing. Having watched you work at Borana Lodge that morning (for which I thank you from the bottom of my heart!) I am transfixed by equitation science!
Can I squeeze in another session and bring up my super-keen niece who arrives from England tomorrow? She would give her eye teeth to see you work, Julie.” B - Borana, Kenya
"Hi Julie, thanks for coming over on the weekend. Me and P got so much out of it. Had a ride today and she has certainly processed a lot overnight and is very responsive (love the latent learning aspect - humans do it to). Look forward to getting on with our homework and seeing you again soon." G
"You have certainly helped M and I more than I could have dreamed possible. He just keeps improving!! Looking forward to learning more next week." P
"I have been noticing big improvements when out riding her. She is much more relaxed and her head carriage is way better. I'm really enjoying how she has been. Can't wait to have my lesson with you" R
"She was such a good girl, her shying at things is way better ..... didn't even bat an eyelid. Before this training she would have gone flying across the paddock. Thanks again for showing me how to train my horse." R
"An unrecognisable horse at points!! I can't thank you enough! I will keep up the hard work, I promise! I feel very motivated and full of enthusiasm to get back to the yard and go it alone for the first time with my new tools (hopefully without the rain!!). Thanks for fitting me in (it can't have been easy!!), from me and S!! Have a wonderful holiday, look forward to seeing you and showing you our progress when you get back!"
Student feedback after two sessions with a horse described as 'Walks all over us, no ground manners': "When I walked him back to the paddock he tried to eat, I then vibrated the rope and he didn't try again and he walked nicely beside me and stopped when I opened gate and didn't move until I asked him! We certainly learned a lot. Thanks again."
"You and H look fantastic. I rode him for first time since the intensive with you. He was fantastic! Great long and short walk, trot, and we even cantered!! I can't wait until you are back in the spring. Thank you for all that you have taught me and H. Cheers, K".
"Everything we learnt today was great. We had a lovely walk back to the paddock practising park for the 4 gates we had to travel through."
"Thanks again, I'm so happy to have found this training system and I'm really excited for the future with her. I'm enjoying her so much and it's wonderful to have such clear exercises to practice at home."
"Got back from holiday yesterday and hopped on E for the the first time in over 2 weeks. I went through the groundwork exercises first and I was AMAZED how well she went. The difference in her after just one session with you is very noticeable and I am so positive and excited about our future now."
"3 sessions with Julie. B's taking it all in. Julie rode which was really great as what I thought was light, was most definitely not! Nice to watch Julie show what is needed and to see my horse responding positively."
"H and I learned some great techniques today. When we got home, we practised lowering his head and relaxing. He did this really well and didn't even lift his head above his withers despite his aunty running around neighing. Thanks, Julie. We will practise our homework ready for our next lesson." K
"I'm really impressed with this way of helping my "sensitive" horse. Now the challenge is to train me to use it correctly........! "
"Such a good lesson tonight on S with Julie. S finished the lesson light and responsive, head down with correct bend. The plan is for me to practice again tomorrow while still fresh in my mind."
"Thanks for the lesson last Saturday. The turns in a small square are paying off ..... he responded to the aid really well after Sunday's session. He is now going much straighter and is starting to turn on a dime. Love it!"
"I must tell you how much S and I gained from your sessions. The most helpful learning of all has been being so much more aware of my hands while riding, from having realized how significant my hands are with her on the ground. I never thought about or knew what I was doing to her or what I was "saying" negatively to her when walking her on the ground. It used to be a pull-pull game, but now she takes that step and goes with me with only the slightest hand, and halts with the same, while remaining aware yet relaxed.
Perhaps the most rewarding thing of all is that I am beginning to canter with her for the first time in two years! It's largely in part to feeling confident that she does slow down when I give a "tug-tug" on the reins when not pushing with my legs. Your training has helped me to put into practice what I've heard so often, but never connected with physically with my hands, until learning how important the very basics of the ground work are - and that is, "giving/releasing is as important, if not more important, than taking."
"You have turned her life into a better and fun filled one not a bitter, grumpy one. You should be proud, your training is great and more people need to learn it so all horses are happy in what they do." R
"Well, Julie, I just had to tell you that B was brill ..... put on saddle 6 times with no fuss not even tied up, then clipped her - usually have a fuss about that and she was fine and she let us clip her like a lamb. Also bumped into the girl with the Arab from last week's training and she said she has been great at standing for getting on and off. I have been really delighted with the results from your training, so many thanks." D.
"..... thank you, I'm glad I went to see you and how you turned those horses around, it was inspiring to watch and see the difference."
".... it works a treat - he's a little monkey and that is the best result I've had in a long time. Thank you x" M.
"I got out on E finally and she behaved herself. She's had forward going issues and Julie came to do the training. It's worked on D too. I was so surprised to get home at lunch time as I've sat for hours refusing to get off and E backing up! " J.
"Thanks for for your time with G and me. I couldn't get to sleep last Thursday night thinking about what you'd taught me. I went and saw Georgie last night for the first time since your visit. The turns were excellent .... very slow walk, so that was good. Excellent park for grooming."
"..... horses have benefitted greatly." J.
"..... well done, the results were clearly visible and I enjoyed watching you x" L.
"I rode out yesterday and she led T's horse through a stream! Wow! She was forward going in walk. Thank you for training my horses and hope to see you next spring."
"So impressed with J's behaviour."
"Last night just had the best training session with L ever ..... I released faster and used lots more praise - not a grind in ear-shot and, unusually for L, a foamy mouth. I got ..... the loosest trot I have ever had and she did lots of nose blowing and stretching. Delighted ..... made the biggest progress ever."
"His behaviour at the vet hospital was excellent. He has never been there before so it was a new experience for him. There was heaps of distractions but I used the ES overshadowing when he came off the float and he remained settled. He did his trot ups and lunging perfectly and then Parked while the vet examined him. I am sure he would not have been so grounded and well behaved if he had not had the lessons with you over the weekend. So, not only does ES improve riding and ground behaviour but it also makes the vet and other treatment visits safe for everyone. Thanks!" K
"My horses and I are forever grateful for your passing our way Julie. X"
"Oh you’re a star. Thanks so much, Julie ..... for giving us a bit of hope and direction for our beloved horse."
"Thanks for your email, and for a intense 2 hours!! Thanks also for the follow up and further info, it's really helpful."
"Just thought I'd let you know that I've just got back from an hour with R, and think it was pretty successful! I trained him in his snaffle bridle, and think I got most things right. I say I think as most of it seemed pretty easy, so not sure if you worked wonders yesterday or whether I was doing it right!! He did really well with the Step back, Stop and Go. Head down was AMAZING! He dropped his head straight away, and had no issues with the timing of the release etc, he was just brilliant. He did start to slightly lift head so I corrected and he dropped again. Park was pretty good too - mostly I was able to dance around at the end of the lead rope (not literally!!) on all sides and in the arc without him moving at all. I also did work with the fly mask - he was brilliant. First attempt he didn't like, but not on the scale of yesterday! Then was fine, did a few go's without him flinching at all in head down, then had a 'moment' but did a couple more after that that were good too and finished on a good one! Also work in and out of the field. All good with control, slow walking, backing up through the gate etc. Did Park on the grass he normally eats - had a couple of attempts to eat but after the first attempt and my reaction he was very half hearted! So all in all, I think very positive. Thank you once again, I can see the improvement already and came away feeling very positive and loved working with him, so improving that bond is working already!! Best wishes, K
"Two naps of both types last night resolved immediately with the new method! Had no more napping for the rest of the ride!" M.
"Didn’t have any stroppy, confused moments of not wanting to go forward, he was forward the whole time. Made for much more enjoyable ride not being on his case the whole time and keeping it simple!"
"...... worked a flipping treat thank you - after that not another nap for the rest of the ride. Thank you x x"
"M has managed a ride up the hill on the drive. No rearing, and his attempt to nap was minimal, just backing up trying to turn, but only few seconds not being allowed to turn and a couple of stronger pressures to achieve turns and he was back going where I wanted, even going part way back down and heading back up multiple times which would normally set off major meltdown and rearing etc. Will do few more times before heading up the pines but pines are looking achievable in not too distant future".
Trimming and Clipping:
"Can I just thank you, Julie for helping C and me with H; it was the first time in 12 months that I had got to cut all his feathers without him having a tantrum."
"Just wanted to say thank you for all the work you have done with H. He travelled home well and he had to walk over a wooden bridge, up to the house and through the garden to get to the paddock - somewhere he has never been before. He was alert but walked over the bridge perfectly and continued calmly to the paddock, despite the others running around on the other side of the fence."
"When I turned him out this morning he was a star ..... H is really taken with how you did (the retraining). She has always said that she would like to be a vet but last night she said that it would be really cool to do what you were doing. You made a massive impression on her. Thanks again for your help."
"Had an awesome lesson today. Was good to get C out of her comfort zone, adding strange objects, and how to handle her when there are scary objects around. Very pleased with the lesson, as always:) Very happy. Thanks heaps. I look forward to using the tools I have been taught." R
"Had a great time at the clinic last weekend. It was nice to see tense horses enter the arena and leave the arena relaxed. This worked on all horses. Julie you are the best!"
"Just want to say thank you for showing me the insights of equitation science, I have really enjoyed putting it into practice. I have done two ridden sessions with , and it ..... was worth it as I got her to walk both ways in a nice walk. Then at the end of the session she tried to race out the gate so I made her go past the exit until I was happy with the walk and then she calmly walked through."
"Thanks for the training session with K. You certainly showed how the method works with calming a very tense horse, making life a lot easier for both horse and rider. Thank you."
"I very much enjoyed the session. Especially watching both P & R relax with you so beautifully."
"Today we took T out with L out on the road and saw a huge improvement, she was a lot calmer, and ..... worked well. She went passed a bus well, car with barking dogs, and crossed a busy road, and even past church with bells going, which before she would have had a mini breakdown, today she stood calmly. Her stand was great and waiting to walk on, only doing so on my command, even when she was unsure of her environment. After the ride, I worked with N who has an issue with go, especially on a ride, we have been unable to get her up the lane on her own, or in front, unless on the way home from a ride when she was happy to. She would spin around and rear and then plant her feet. So I did the Go, Stop and Park in-hand then, in the school practised this ridden, and in other areas of the field. Then I took her to the gate where I knew I could test it and ..... I was able to get her through the gate which I repeated until she was happy. Then went further and repeated it, then went even further. Mum has also used the technique with L, she got him to stand and park which is brilliant. I have never found a technique which works with more than one pony, but this does and I really enjoy it. It has increased my confidence and also my determination. I do not stop until I have the 3 repetitions! At a later point I would love to have some more sessions with you to learn more. Thank you for showing us the way forward with them, just wanted to share our progress." K.
"Following his stay with you and your training, I am so enjoying having him home, everything is easier, we are able to do the things we want to do, and most importantly, he looks 100% more relaxed, chilled and happier with life. Everyone has commented on how happy/relaxed he looks since returning. Your clear and consistent training for both him AND me (!!) which is simple and straightforward has suited us and been exactly what we needed, and are both much happier for it. Plus, your empathy with understanding how we were feeling with this and being on hand whenever needed was fabulous. I would wholeheartedly recommend you to anyone. Thank you so much."
"Hi Julie, just wanted to thank you for the session on Saturday. Wow, I had a ride on M today and was really pleased with how he has responded. I can feel a difference with his mouth already."
Lhen you came and did training with us, all these points helped, and now we box out with all our horses with no issues and it's brilliant. Consistency is the key, but pays off for sure" KG.
"My horse was a horrible loader - she jumped the chest bar and out the jockey door, destroyed the inside of the float and escaped out under the chain at the back, destroyed the partition and tried to jump over the back ramp to name just a few incidents with her.
The first trainer gave up and I had to bring her home in a stock truck after two months of him trying to train her. The second trainer managed to teach her to load, but only he could do it and she was still in full flight/fight mode and I couldn't load her when she was this dangerous still.
In desperation, I tried a third trainer, who was Julie Stapleton. We had three ground work sessions and two loading sessions in one day and I was safely and happily loading my horse at the end of the day. My horse was still a bit nervous, but not dangerous and since then we haven't looked back and she loads, travels and unloads like a dream.
I would fully recommend Julie to anyone! Gail Morley, New Zealand."
"I have gone from dreading loading from the night before, not being able to sleep, worrying like mad and ending up crying when Diva has towed me back off the box or gone to rear and I have spent two hours loading and now I know I can load no problems, loose rein and she has been self loading as well!!!! Sooo nice.
I had to take her to the vet the other day and no problems, so its good to be able to load when you NEED to not just for an event!!" D
"I wanted to say how much I liked the articles on Equitation Science with Julie Stapleton. Julie helped me retrain my then new horse who had a really annoying, very destructive and potentially health damaging habit of pawing and stomping in the trailer. He was so bad he went through the thick rubber floor of his new, well known brand of UK trailer within 2 months. Quite often I was in tears driving home from an event as he was so obviously distressed, concerning fellow motorists, and worst of all , possibly compromising his long term soundness and health.
All the usual advice from fellow equestrians and experts had not been able to help. The stomping/fretting did not stop instantly, but with regular training, and continued use of the skills I learnt myself, I now have a horse who is a dream to load and travel. We go out several times a week in the trailer to events, treks and club meets without a single stomp or paw there or back. He loads quietly and calmly every time and I am the envy of many when it is time to load up and go home. This has made a big positive difference to me and my horse's life and I cannot stress enough how grateful I am to Julie for her help." P
"Hey Julie, just an update, took P out of the paddock today and boom, straight into the float, travelled to her other paddock, then unloaded calmly and slowly. She just gets better every time. And to think this time last year I had a damaged, unloadable horse. Love this method of training!"
"ES really does work! Went to help a mate this morning, her horse was being picked up by a horse transporter. He has been reluctant to float lately and has never been on a truck. I spent 10 minutes teaching him to park and go forward off a light whip tap. Mate tried to load him on the truck and he wouldn't, so I took over, two taps, two steps forward, stop, two more taps, front feet on the ramp, stop. Lightest tap in the universe, boom, straight up, on, into park. Stood calmly while I clipped him up and the driver shut him in."
"I went to Julie for lessons to help relieve tension in my horse I had recently purchased. On arrival, as I was unloading him, he turned to see where he was which twisted his body, dropping his hindquarters which then resulted in him slipping and he ended up under the bum bar stuck fast!
Julie instantly helped me not only to get myself together and pull him forwards which he responded to but after we tended his injuries she got to work teaching him to load back on the same float that had just totally destroyed his confidence and left him a shaking mess.
I got that horse home that night thanks to Julie when I thought he'd never go on a float again! I now have the tools to load and unload him calmly and safely and always rely on Julie's training when things need repairing. Lisa, NZ"
Student feedback about 6 months after training sessions, showing that the training lasts for as long as the handler keeps using the correct cues: "M loads and unloads ..... I get him to wait at different points getting on while I get under the bar etc. ..... we have worked it out now that he waits for me to move the partition over so I can walk to just behind his shoulder before I ask him to come back ..... you can see him physically relax with relief - it is amazing! It's like, ok she is in control now thank goodness! He then lets me guide him back a step at a time, in fact he quite often likes to pause half way down the ramp and just chill ..... which he never used to do before. My last trip out he didn't stomp once there or back - I am very proud of his improvement while loading and unloading."
"You are a star. My newly learned techniques have worked on the other horse and I had him loading and unloading onto a strange angle-load trailer after only 30 minutes training. I am thrilled."
"What a buzz it was to take P on her first trailer outing. She loaded like a pro both times and the world is our oyster now thanks to you and the method :) " G
"He was perfect to load and unload."
"Thank you Julie for four very educational days. P had such an intense retraining day on Friday and was successfully loaded and driven around the paddock three times! It was great to watch you in action with P and the others riders on Saturday and Sunday. I feel most of the participants really got it and light bulbs were going on all over the place. The icing on the cake today was the session with P's loading; we will be out and about in no time. After his ridden session yesterday, A loaded up T to take him home this morning and he went on like a dream. I love watching Equitation Science in action! "
"Thank you for today Julie. So amazing to have P in my float and driving around my paddock. Can't wait to jump on for a quick ride in the morning to feel the difference under saddle :) "