In our continued attempt to live up to our name: Horse Resource Network we have networked to provide training resources and answer your questions regarding horse behavior and training issues. (How was that sentence? I thought it was pretty clever, if I do say so myself. 😉 ) If you’re having an issue with your horse or have a question about behavior or training, we’d like to encourage you to send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, without further adieu, we would like to introduce you to Lorraine Pelletier of Tranquille Farms located in Lake Country, BC, Canada. HRN will be working with Lorraine to provide answers to your questions. Lorraine is a Certified Western Coach and has completed the Monty Roberts Introductory Course. She believes in non-violent training methods and getting horses to a “neutral” place where they can then proceed in training in whatever discipline they are best suited for. We did an email interview with her to provide some background information on her experiences and her theories.
HRN: Can you tell us a bit about your history? What trainers have you worked with/learned from?
LP: I started, of course, taking my first horse experiences from my Dad when I was about 5-6 yrs. old. I continued to gain valuable training/riding tips at a young age from a wonderful old neighbour, Mr. Wren. I was then encouraged into 4H and local western shows. I enjoyed the competition into my teens. When I focused on the equine industry as a career, I studied many trainers from Canada and the U.S., of which included Parelli, John Lyons, Doug Mills, Chris Irwin & Monty Roberts concepts, namely Tom Durocher (Certified MR Instructor). I consider myself to be open minded and I wanted to see who and what had the best results. I feel there’s always something to be gained by working with more horses, different situations and using concepts that work.
Other training included more than just from the equine industry. I have extensive business management and administration skills. Travel has added life experiences that books don’t teach. I have included many small courses to add to a variety of abilities in order to develop my overall teaching skills I share with all.
HRN: What have you learned from the Monty Roberts course?
LP: When I found Monty Roberts, I was intrigued by his concepts from the beginning. The methods used, worked! It was simple, natural, and again, worked! I saw immediate results in the horse, they are the teachers, the best trainers in the world! First, I sought where the closest MR trainer/instructor was and found him, Tom Durocher, in Alberta. I read all the books I could, watched videos, and started practicing these wonderful concepts. I had Tom come to my farm for private training sessions. When I began studying Equine psychology, I found invaluable lessons in equine behaviour, etc.. Working with wild mustangs was an experience no words can explain. Real life horses, real issues, and real solutions were realized through taking/practising the (ongoing) courses and training. I like to encourage others to live the working concepts and not the names per say.
HRN: What are your goals and aspirations with training horses and riders?
LP: My goals are ongoing. I keep thinking, “ok, this is the tip of the iceberg.” I realize there’s so much to learn that it’s simply ongoing! I became a Certified Coach in 2007 as I felt the need to help riders ride better. I had something to share. Then I saw that horses needed help, too. I had students taking lessons on horses that weren’t ready, nor at the same level that the rider was. Remedial issues are not dealt with in the National Coaching Curriculum. Coaching is about helping people improve their riding skills. I felt I needed to help both in order to make the ‘package deal’. Its team work that has multiple needs.
When my marriage ended I was raising four kids on values, morals, and life skills which I concluded to be based on trust, respect, and communication. How I work with the horses all fits in with the same concepts. There is no value (and nothing gained) in abuse or violence. It is not necessary and I can prove it. The proof is in the horses.
HRN: What kind of problems do the horses in your remedial training sessions usually have?
LP: For the most part, I am finding that the most common issue is trust. Once the horse and I have established the basis of communication, the rest begins to fall into place. I focus on the grass roots first. Get back into ‘neutral’, forget the past and build on the now, the positive that takes us into the future. I don’t dwell on specific issues like biting, kicking, disobedience, etc. As I have learned from Temple Grandin, autistic similarities between humans and horses are uncanny. It amazes me to watch the horse simply ‘loose’ the undesirable traits as we work together over a period of time on ‘positive praise’ methods. That time, when asked, is the horse’s time. Not one day or two. When you act like you only have 15 minutes, it will take all day; if you act like you have all day, it will only take 15 minutes. Some horses have taken years to become conditioned to their situation.
When you enjoy doing something that has value, the outcome is always good. The horse needs to be taken to where the owner can continue ‘the package deal’. I insist on interaction and have the owners watch and even participate when possible in continued education as a team effort.
HRN: Why did you choose the Monty Roberts method over other similar programs?
LP: I continue to practise theses concepts because I haven’t found anything else similar.
The horses are the proof and people are the proof, both showing positive results. Feedback from owners of all ages confirm my convictions. Horses are a wonderful animal that we don’t have the right to dominate, rather enjoy! Being safe and keeping the fun in any discipline or sport causes a willing, healthy partner. When we find a good thing, go with it; it’s about time we relax and see the tranquillity that is available to all of us, if we choose to allow it in our lives!
A Note from Lorraine:
When working with horses, please remember that situations can be dangerous. There’s no such thing as a bad horse born; just as there’s no such thing as a bad child born. People condition horses to form issues. When you have a problem, the first place to look is in the mirror. Then seek help from someone that has extensive experience in dealing with that particular issue. You are not alone, we are here to help. Call anytime.
For more information on Lorraine and Tranquille Farms check out her website at www.tranquillefarms.com