5 year old thoroughbred for starting
"Sending a horse away from home to be started is probably one of the most difficult decisions I have made and one I knew I couldn't afford to get wrong. I visited several people and yards before deciding to send Bob to Stephen, I knew he needed the right person and, to be honest, I just knew that in the wrong hands he could be ruined! Within minutes of meeting Stephen I knew I'd found who I was looking for.
Bob is a homebred 5 yo thoroughbred, has a lovely nature and has been well handled since birth. He sometimes lack confidence in situations you would least expect and in a way that is hard to explain, especially given his generally laid back and trusting character. For example he will load in to a trailer / lorry no problem yet doesn't like the sound of his mane being brushed....hmmm.
Right from the start Stephen recognized that Bob was a sensitive soul and worked with him in a way that put Bob slightly out of his comfort zone but in a reassuring and confidence building manner. Bob had had basic groundwork at home - he had been lunged and long-reined and was used to tack so it wasn't all new to him. Stephen told me in one of his regular reports that Bob wasn't confident being tacked up. This was a surprise to me but demonstrated to us that Bob wasn't as confident in his new environment which was not entirely surprising, except that Bob's awareness of danger appeared to be much more heightened than Stephen would have normally expected. This got Stephen thinking.....
Stephen continued to work with Bob, gaining his trust and he was being ridden after 10 days or so. All the while Stephen had the feeling that there was something that didn't quite add up - a feeling I had had with Bob for a long time but couldn't pin point. It was after a couple of small incidents that Stephen had a eureka moment and became suspicious that Bob couldn't see much with his left eye and asked the vet to have a look. On examination all appeared normal in appearance except Bob had no response to the menace test on his left side, confirming a visual impairment - probably damage to the optic nerve somewhere along its path which Bob has most likely had since birth. I will always be grateful to Stephen for finding this out - after all I hadn't twigged after 5 years!!
The knowledge that Bob had limited vision / blindness on his left side has enabled us to have a much better understanding of how to ride and handle him. He returned to us after just 5 weeks with Stephen and has continued to progress in his training and confidence. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Samsara to anyone who has a young horse and wants to make sure it has the very best start possible. Stephen spends time with his horses and above all, he is a thinker and has the ability to adapt his methods because he is adept at recognising what is going on between those ears! ", Lucy, Leominster