We are located in Ardrossan, Alberta. We are about 10 minutes east of Edmonton and Sherwood Park, and near where highway 16 and highway 21 intersect. Please call for directions and to book an appointment to come visit.
Can I watch training sessions?
You are welcome to arrange to watch a training session before booking your horse. Once your horse is here, we prefer if owners can come watch a few training sessions throughout the training. We also prefer if owners can take some lessons on their horse before taking it home.
Can I come visit my horse?
Yes, you may visit your horse during Hillside barn hours, although we do ask that owners respect some limitations as to what they are allowed to do with their horse so as to not set back training progress.
What tack and equipment do I need to provide?
Owners must provide a well fitting halter and lead rope. Owners may need to provide tack if the horse requires a special fit, or if the owner wants their tack used. For problem training, where they issue may be tack related, it is beneficial to use the horse's regular tack. If the horse requires special feeds, then that will need to be provided by the owner.
What vaccinations does my horse need before coming? Is there anything else I need to make sure is done before my horse comes for training?
All horses coming in for training require a 3-way vaccination within the last 12 months. We also recommend vaccinating for Strangles and Flu/Rhino. Horses also must have had their teeth checked within the last 12 months by a qualified veterinarian. If needed, we can arrange to have a dental check up at Hilside. Horses should be in good health and weight, with up to date farrier care. If your horse is coming thin, fat, and/or needing vet/farrier work please let us know prior to arrival so we can make suitable preparations.
What type of board and feed is offered to training horses?
Outside board is included in training, with inside board available at an extra cost. Horses are initially kept on their own, but may be kept with other horse's in training after the initial settling in period. All horses are fed hay 3 times daily. Grain/suppliments may also be fed upon request.
What training techniques do you use?
Our training philosophy is based on Classical Training Techniques and Equine Behaviour studies. Training starts with me getting to know the horse with basic ground work exercises designed to discover the horse's natural learning technique and personality. I also use massage techniques extensively to help isolate sore spots which can cause unwanted behaviour, and to help the horse learn to use the proper muscles needed to go correctly. Horses are usually started in an english saddle, with a western saddle introduced later if requested. I do not round pen. Check out our Compassionate Horse Training website for more information on my training philosophies.
What do you mean by Problem Solving?
Problem solving training is training targeted to a specific issue you are having with your horse. This can include:
Stopping at Jumps
Pulling back when tied
Difficult for the farrier
Being Lazy/slow to respond
It is important to understand that some extreme behaviours cannot be completely trained out of a horse, rather I help lesson the triggers to cue the behaviour, try to establish new reaction patterns, and help the owner address and lessen the issue on an ongoing basis.
I am not sure how long my horse needs to be in training, how do I decide how long to book him for?
The minimum time we take a horse in for regular training is 5 weeks. Usually in 5 weeks, with a horse that comes well handled, it can be started under saddle at walk and trot by the time it leaves. We recommend 9 weeks if you wish canter work, and/or trail exposure as well. 5 weeks is a reasonable time to start an already trained horse over fences, or start in basic dressage. We may accept a horse in for Problem Solving for a shorter period, depending on the issue to be addressed..
Do you train stallions?
We will consider training a well mannered stallion.
What happens if you aren't progressing with my horse?
If I feel my methods are not proving effective with your horse, or if I feel your horse's issues are putting me at risk, you will be asked to take your horse home, with remaining training fees refunded.
Will you train my 2 year old under saddle?
I do NOT ride 2 year olds. I do NOT jump 3 year olds.
Will you start my older horse under saddle?
I will start older horses under saddle providing they are at least halter trained and used to regular handling. I have started horses as old as 12 under saddle.