Working with a young horse
Owning, riding and working with horses should be a joyful, rewarding and fulfilling activity. Unfortunately though, all too often, problems arise that cause the experience to be frustrating and traumatic for both handler and horse.

Balanced Equine believes that the horse-human relationship should be built on trust, co operation and mutual respect. Joanna would like to help you enhance your relationship with your horse.

Before Balanced Equine starts work with a horse Joanna  requests the owner to fill out a short assessment form so that we can identify the key goals that you would like to achieve. Joanna will then work with you to devise a plan that suits you. Joanna likes the owners to be hands – on so that she can coach you for a successful future with you horse.



Starting a horse is the process of introducing the first saddle, long lines and rider. A true starter is a horse that has had very little done to it other than halter training. It is undoubtedly one of the most important and influential phases of the horses life. A good start can install good behavioural patterns and a willingness to work. Starting a horse is different to the traditional breaking method as it works with the horse mind as well as his body creating a bond built on trust. Also as the horse is encouraged to see the human as a leader to work with in partnership they become far more mentally stable and often their whole outlook on life is changed for the better.

Joanna has started a variety of horses from thoroughbred race horses, both flat and national hunt, to Irish and Scottish sports horses, Norwegian Fjords, and Spanish PRE’s.


Re-starters are horses that people have begun the starting/breaking process with and then experienced problems. Sadly many people underestimate what it takes to start a horse successfully and create a willing partner.

Remedial work can be done with many of these horses but unfortunately it takes much longer to undo undesired learned behaviour and to rebuild trust than it does to do it right in the first place. Remedial work can also be done with ridden horses that have developed an unwanted behaviour such as napping, rearing or bucking. These horses will undergo a thorough assessment, including physical soundness, after which an honest opinion will be given as to the quality of horse that can be produced.


Ground work is fundamental to any equine – human relationship. In the wild the only way one horse can assert authority over another is to move its feet. Therefore for you to be a good leader to your horse you must be able to control your horses feet.

Ground work can be done close to the horse on the halter or at a distance on the long lines. Either way it is a fantastic way to improve your relationship with your horse, teaching manners, respect for your space and it is also great for building confidence both in horse and handler. Above all it can also be great fun for you and your horse achieving things you didn’t know were possible.


It is surprising how many horses don’t load willingly into a trailer or horse lorry. Many may have what seems to be a good relationship with their handler, performing well under saddle and yet refuse to load. Balanced Equine can help with your loading problems whether they be into a trailer, lorry or the starting stalls. Joanna starts with ground work to build trust between herself and the horse and then assess what the horse is afraid of, be it the ramp or the horse may be claustrophobic. Then Joanna works with the horse to overcome this fear and get it confident about loading into and standing quietly in the trailer, lorry or starting stall


A spooky horse can take some of the pleasures out of riding. Particularly if out on a hack you have to be on super high alert just in case you come across a bicycle (ridden by a horse eating tiger of course), or Leprechauns in the bushes, or worst of all the dreaded plastic bag!! Balanced Equine can help by working with you and your horse to help him overcome these fears. We cannot guarantee a “bomb proof” horse as the horse is a wild flight animal after all but we can make a big difference to his confidence level when approaching scary objects

Other Services

Balanced Equine also offer a range of other services including, desensitizing the horse to clippers, catching, standing still for mounting and preparing for the vet or farrier.If you have a specific need or more information about any of the service listed do not hesitate to contact Joanna for friendly help and advice.

“I first met Jo on Sunday 1st February. She arrived at my farm to collect my three year old that had never been loaded and was terrified of the horsebox. Within an hour she had him in the box, completely relaxed and ready to travel. The following three weeks were the most enlightening experience I’ve had. The technique and professionalism shown by Jo towards me and my horse were exceptional… She is a credit to you (Kelly Marks), your teachers, and your organisation and to Monty Roberts himself. I would never again allow a horse of mine or anyone’s I know to be trained using conventional methods.” A. Norton, Carlow, Ireland