March 16, 2022
Carola Colson Horse Training Spotlight
This month we speak to Carola Colson, horse trainer, instructor and coach. Carola helps owners feel more connected with their horses through live sessions, coaching and clinics.
Tell us about more about what you do…
In a nutshell, I train horses with a holistic approach. When I’m looking at a horse that comes in for training, I’m picking up clues about everything from their energy to their body language and how they are moving. For instance, you could find something physically wrong with a horse by looking at the wear patterns in the hooves, but horses can be emotionally unfit, not just physically. I’ve developed my methods in a way that’s grounded in skills and training but ultimately, it’s also kind and intuitive.
Were you always destined to work with horses?
I grew up in the Netherlands surrounded by horses. My childhood was pony clubs, traditional riding and then dressage. Although I always loved horses, I went off to study History and Italian In Amsterdam and then in Italy. I started studying for a PHD in Rome, but decided to go back to Amsterdam and ended up working with Dutch film crews as a location scout for film and TV. That journey led me to London and I’ve been in the UK ever since. When I was pregnant, I met two amazing Australian horsemen, who taught me a unique and different way of training horses altogether. Finally, I was able to fulfil my desire to truly understand, connect and communicate with these beautiful creatures!
What is it about horses that you love so much?
They are such intuitive animals with a very special, tuned-in energy field. When I’m around horses, I feel part of the earth – connected to nature and true to who I am myself.
You talk about the living conditions of a horse being key. What are the factors to consider when setting up home with a horse?
What you have to remember is that a horse is not worked by humans for around 23 hours a day, therefore you need to give them a herd environment in which they can feel happy, confident and healthy. Ideally, I like horses to be barefoot and able to roam. They’re used to foraging so they thrive on different types of ground and vegetation. Horses prefer being part of a herd because it offers them stability but at the same time you have to get the mix right and make sure your horses are content and relaxed in each other’s company.
What’s the best tip you could give to anyone wanting to improve their connection with their horse?
Look at your own energy first. Make sure you’re calm and relaxed and that will rub off. When you connect to them with calmness, you’ll see an instant change. If they’re slightly nervous, let them feed off your energy and not the other way around.
Tell us about your favourite off-the-beaten track location for a horse ride in Surrey.
I currently live on Thursley Common, which could not be more ideal for riding. It’s a really special place and offers everything a horse needs. I’m out on the Common most days. I’ve just written a guide to ‘Going Beyond The Arena’ about developing relaxation, softness and fitness out on the trail. There is nothing like the feeling you’ll find when out on a hack with just you and your horse.
Can you share your favourite local place where you would source horse supplies?
I don’t use normal tack, instead I import it from Australia. But I do get most of my other supplies from the wonderful AnA’s Pet ‘N’ Tack on Tilford Road, in Rushmoor. It’s a tiny little place with super-friendly, knowledgeable staff. I have special horse feed, which they order in for me. They couldn’t be more helpful.
And the best place for a cosy pub lunch after a long ride….?
It has to be The Three Horseshoes, just off Thursley Common. It’s a traditional pub that hasn’t given in to the standard ‘gastro grey’ makeover. I love its friendly atmosphere and the food is fantastic quality.