gentle horse & rider workshop

‘The horse comes first’!

Here at Exmoor Riding we like to think about the 'whole horse' from health, diet, day to day management, training, riding and companionship.  Our holistic approach is based solely on our own personal experiences, and we have allowed our horses to teach us, whether their problems have been minor cuts, or major psychological issues.  We are still learning from them all the time, each and every horse is different as it brings its own history, learning and issues, and they are our greatest teachers.  

We can offer a workshop to help you work with your own horses (see below) taking you through the steps from going barefoot, to daily care and management, free-scholing and join up, to close contact inhand work, breathing, horse agility, liberty training and wild agility too!

If you have a particular problem you wish to work on either in-hand or ridden, or a horse who is pulling you around, or simply wish to learn and understand a little about connecting with your horse, then we can help in our individual workshop sessions.  Perhaps you have a fear of horses, or have lost your self-confidence after a fall; or even having difficulty with training a young horse, then we can offer some suggestions to help you overcome your obstacles.  All our methods are based on trust, respect and learning to understand - horses will tell you everything you are willing to hear when you learn to listen!



Workshop for individuals or small groups: £50 pp  (approx 2 hrs)

(If there are more than two people please ask for a price)

We wish to share our experiences with others, so that you too can try some of our tried and tested ways.  All horses are different, and all horses respond in their own unique way, so it is up to you to learn to listen to your horse in any of the areas that we describe.  These are simply 'tools' in our toolbox that you can cherry pick at leisure to help your horse along the road to health and happiness…..

It does not matter if you have no stable, no arena and limited facilities …. as long as you have your horse and you, a space for learning can be created to help him/her overcome the feelings of insecurity, fear and confusion that so many horses express.

As part of this process our ongoing training involves a lot of 'ground work' including in-hand work, liberty work, connecting with breath energy, free-schooling, long-reining, plus ridden schooling, dressage and hacking out.  This gives the horse a huge variety of experiences, and enhances their connection and bonding with us, their herd friends.

When you visit with us you can participate in some of our training techniques, to help you have a better trust-based relationship with your horses or those that you meet and work with, as well as some tips and advice on natural therapies that we have used, and a more natural diet which encourages a more gentle behaviour.

Discover how to connect with your horse with us!

Free schooling, liberty work, relaxation through breathing, horse pilates, calm and gentle close-contact in-hand leading, lungeing, horse agility, and wild agility.

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HALF DAY WORKSHOP - £50 pp 

Our workshops are designed to work around the needs of the horse.  Horses are herd animals, and most do not wish to be a herd leader, so they are looking to you to take that all important role.  Some herd leaders are bossy and aggressive - such herds are usually small and poorly connected to each other; whereas some herd leaders are quiet and gentle, leading from behind, and typically such herds have a large following, but all within that herd know their place in calm and gentleness.  We aim to help you become that passive herd leader, working with your horse, gently connecting in all that you do together…..

A typical workshop will include some of the following elements depending on your needs and expectations:


  • Discussion on your expectations and problems, day to day management, diet and exercise routine
  • Gentle moves to relax your horse and ask for connection through breathing and gentle massage; 
  • Gentle stretches to help improve movement and flexibility
  • Gentle leading - does your horse pull you around the field?  We can help you walk with your horse together on a light rope or no rope at all!
  • Free-schooling at walk, trot and canter followed by connection ("join-up")
  • Signs he can teach you, and signs you can teach him - connection through body language; yours and his
  • Horse agility, including free agility and wild agility along our private trail.


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It's easy, fun and above all helps you become the passive leader your horse is always wanting!

Our facilities:

  • Indoor working barn for bending, stretching and gentle work
  • Outdoor arena for loose work, lungeing, connection/join-up, ridden work, free jumping
  • Outdoor Agility Area


At Exmoor Riding we aim to consider the horse first with all our riding and training.  To this end all our horses are barefoot, they are usually ridden with gentle bridles without a bit  and often using treeless saddles, where you can feel the movement of the muscles of the horse beneath and ride sympathetically to its movements. 

 We also work with our horses in-hand with free-schooling (loose work),  horse agility and liberty work.   This is a great avenue to building connection with your horse, to stregthening weak musles, to assist in maintaining fitness, and establishing a partnership with the horse.  A horse responding well is a happy horse, who respects you, and wishes to be with you instead of running off or grazing at a distance on his own.  This is such an amazing feeling!

Paps has been our greatest teacher, following a couple of serious riding accidents when I totally misread what he was trying to tell me…. and I would not listen.  Horse Agility and Free Schooling has helped us through a painful stage in gaining his confidence, and gaining our own self confidence.  Paps now has an excellent connection with us, and trusts us implicitly - I would trust him with my life now!

Others too have come into our yard since - Mizse with a whole catalogue of psychological, health and behavioural problems brought out of Hungary - he too showed us above all else that we should listen to what he was telling us, that we should consider what he had been through in his life, and only then would he accept us as his herd leader as we understood his past.  Try and imagine a horse that had never seen a sheep or a car, a bicycle or a wood!  Life was so terrifying to a city horse, stabled most of his life, and blinkered as a driving horse.  Over several months he relaxed and enjoyed his last few weeks of life - finally he gave me permission to bring young Rio into the yard, when he said goodbye to me in his field with Tom.  How we had grown to love and respect this noble horse in such a short space of time.

If  you would like to join us on a workshop demonstration and working with our horses in our indoor barn, outdoor arena and agility field  then book into a half day session for an interactive and inspirational experience with us.  If you have a ‘project horse’ that you are struggling with, or not too sure what steps to take next, then we can help with ideas, confidence builders for both of you, and refinement of management and techniques, giving both you and your horse boundaries to work towards good behaviour, gentleness and kindness.


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If you would like to bring your own horse to work with gentle connection please give us a ring.

CATHY & ROD, EXMOOR OWL & HAWK CENTRE, WEST LYNCH FARM, ALLERFORD, MINEHEAD, TA24 8HJ 01643 862816 Exmoor Owls