I really benefited from the join up course with Caitriona. The atmosphere was encouraging & friendly making it easy for everyone to ask questions & learn. The combination of theory and practical allowed for a good grounding in the technique. I enjoyed doing the round pen work & achieving join up was fantastic. Caitriona was informative & positive giving everyone confidence. I would recommend this course to anyone regardless of their level of experience.
I really enjoyed the 2-day Join-Up course provided by Caitriona at her yard.
The location is idyllic; when you pull up to the yard you are presented with a beautiful thatched cottage, behind which are the well-maintained stables and yard.
The course itself was very well presented; Caitriona is a natural horsewoman and her communication with the horses seemed effortless.
Her classroom presentation was very well explained; Caitriona always kept our attention, and the classroom sessions were excellently supported by the round pen demonstrations and practical work.
I would recommend that anyone who is serious about communicating with their horse, and/ or who wants a proven non-violent method of training your horse (and yourself) attends one of Caitriona’s courses.
There is no question that these methods work well to help you achieve the best you can for both you and your horse.
Our new mare D took an instant dislike to being shod. After 2 very unpleasant attempts to get front shoes on, we knew we were in trouble. The general advise was that some horses need to be tranquilised but I couldn’t see that as a solution. How could I do that to her every 6 weeks or so? She was so smart, there were no guarantees that even that would work. I could have left the shoes off but then road work and grass jumping would always be an issue. I needed a fresh approach and a way of working with D that was safe and non threatening.
Caitriona came over to assess D and to do some initial work with her. Most of the initial work centred around our now most important piece of equipment, the Dually Halter. We watched Caitriona work quietly and firmly with D on this and saw D change from a bargy cob to a quiet cob almost instantly. After a short time D began to accept having her legs pulled about and lifted, her hooves picked out and tapped hard. The occasions when she tried to pull her legs back or paw the ground or rear lessened almost immediately.
Most importantly, Caitriona not only worked with the horse to change her behaviour, she spent a good deal of time working with us. This meant that we could continue the Dually work ourselves and I could feel confident that my 11 year old daughter could handle her. We watched with delight as D got her first set of front shoes with no bother from our new farrier David Gorry. The second time we had problems as we had changed yards, farriers and hadn’t kept up the Dually work. It seemed like we were back to square one. Caitriona was great, she came back to do some follow-up work and it was amazing to see that D seemed to remember the positive approach and responded very quickly. The next time David came, front and back shoes were on before Caitriona arrived!
D also had another challenge, she couldn’t stand the sight of clippers let alone the sound or feel of them. Yet Caitriona quietly and firmly worked with her over a couple of days for 15 minutes or so each time and D started to accept her ‘pressure and release’ approach. After just 2 days D was fully clipped for the first time in her life with no restraints, no fighting and rearing, no arguments, no one hurt.
Caitriona was incredibly flexible. She came to our place to work with us, she also worked with D at her own place. The approach Caitriona uses really works. Its so simple. When we use it our pony is manageable and everything is calm, controlled and safe.
Jane — Kildare
When I realised that my horse needed a completely different approach to the “normal way ” in order to be able to ride him safely I started looking for alternative methods. That was some 10 years ago, a friend lent me Monty Roberts first book and I knew that I was on the tip of the iceberg I needed.
I foraged for any information I could find trying to study and emulate the practice. Finding other methodologies and teachings along the same vain, I even travelled to the UK for an evening Monty Demo. Everything was slowly making a difference but I wasn’t sure if I was doing anything right. Eventually I came acroos the Join Up Course with Caitriona and wow! It helped to bring all the information I had together. I could feel the difference in having guided practical sessions and understanding the real theory behind it all.
Most of my course compatriots were relatively new to Join Up, as in they hadn’t spent years dabbling but they were all very proficient in the technique by the end of the course. We all got to work with different horses, with various ways of going and it was amazing to see our improvements in handling/communicating with the horses as we worked them the next day. Anyone can and should learn this work with horses, all you need is an open mind and to challenge the “normal way”. You will see a difference with your horse.
Karina – Meath
Grandson Pierce and I had a fantastic day with Caitriona yesterday where we learned the basics of joining up, first in classroom style and then hands on with Sha and Sin e. For me, it fulfilled a long held ambition to join up – it was like a spiritual experience: for Pierce, it was his first introduction to such a big animal and he too felt the wonder of the occasion – a day to be repeated with other grandkids…. will have to adopt an orphanage to justify it!! Thanks Caitriona for your inspired teaching – it was a dream come true!
Grainne — Dublin
I have just finished the Join Up two day course and I cannot wait for the next step! The course itself is great. You get a good understanding of the horse and how their mind works before getting loads of hands on experience. It was amazing how even the most subtle change in a person can make such a huge change in the horse and their behaviour. I’m so much more aware of what I’m saying to the horse now with my body language. Catriona is a great instructor. She was very encouraging. Everything was clear and she was very patient. This is probably to her detriment now because she is now the first person I will look to for advice! I really enjoyed the course and learned with a lovely group. I would recommend this course to anyone interested in gaining more confidence in their own abilities when working with horses and just to anyone who wants to learn more and build a better bond with their horse. Massive benefits for both horse and rider for learning this method making it what it should be – an enjoyable, stress free interaction.
Claire — Kildare
Just wanted to say thank you for a fabulous weekend. I just couldn’t believe I had one the place on the course – never win anything! I had no idea what to expect and deliberately didn’t look at any videos etc so that I would come with an open mind. I found Saturday tough in some ways but on Sunday it all began to make sense. Working with Sha (no idea how to spell her name!) was really special and something I won’t forget. Doing several join-ups with different horses gave me much more confidence. The theory part of the course was fascinating, and the discussion format was excellent. Hearing other people’s experiences really clarified many of the points. It is also great to go home with the manual to refer to in the future.
Working with a variety of horses was really interesting and for me a very important part of the course. It was also great to see other people working with my horse. Brilliant to learn the theory and then be able to immediately go out and put it into practice. I feel I have learnt a tremendous amount about communicating with my horse and I think it will greatly enhance my relationship with her. As well as Join-Up, I found the Dually work really interesting. As I told you, it will be really helpful in training my horse for TREC obstacles. You are a wonderful teacher, Caitriona, with your enthusiasm and patience in equal measure!
Your facilities there are excellent and I really appreciated being able to leave my horse overnight. The food was lovely and having tea and coffee available was great.
I would highly recommend the course to anyone interested in horses, and particularly to TREC enthusiasts. I would love to come and do a “refresher” course in six months or so to look at what I have learned and achieved, and to make sure I am using the techniques correctly. I would also be very interested in doing the long-lining course at some point. I didn’t mark the Intro course on the assessment form as I thought it meant taking a full week off work, but if it is possible to do long-lining separately and then do a weekend course, I might well be interested.
Thanks again for all your hospitality and kindness.