Fred and Rowena Cook own and run Equine Management and Training (EMT), based in North Cambridgeshire. Everyone who meets them readily picks up their passion for what they do and find their boundless enthusiasm very infectious.

What exactly does Equine Management and Training do?

The business name of Equine Management and Training (EMT) is absolutely perfect as Fred and Ro provide a complete and very thorough management and training service for the equestrian world, including commencing a young horse’s initial training, further the training of an older horse,  jumping training, carrying out rehabilitative and remedial schooling for horses that are recovering from of illness or injury, addressing behavioural or misdemeanours, prepping horses to go into training, or retraining ex-racehorses, as well as providing constructive and practical advice on management programmes to suit individual temperaments.  EMT have gained a wonderful reputation for starting young horses along the training path and for their skills in resolving issues when things go wrong.

Nothing is overlooked; every aspect of a horse’s care and training is looked at in the most minute of details as something which too many may seen insignificant can impact on a horse’s health, well-being, ability and willingness to perform. Every aspect of a a horse’s physiological, psychological and physical welfare is assessed and addressed where necessary as part of its training programme.

It is racehorse retraining that Fred and Ro are most well-known.  They have worked very closely with the Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) Charity since its inception in 2000 and are now heavily involved in welfare aspects. They also work with the BHA and the racing industry. So, it is not surprising that at any one time it is ex-racehorses that comprise the larger proportion of the yard residents.  However, at the other end of the spectrum EMT prepare horses for racing as well as working with those that have incurred an injury.

What do Fred and Ro to say about the work they do?

When questioned, they will both say that the job can be challenging. But that is why it is extremely rewarding, especially when helping horses that have lost their way, or producing a sound horse from one that has had physical issues to overcome.

“Our philosophy is to train horses so that they enjoy what they are doing. We work with their character – a cheeky horse is a happy horse – we like to produce polite, enthusiastic workers, not brain-washed robots.  Our training ethos is to ensure that a horse is not just physically ready and able to do as he is asked, but that he is actually mentally capable of coping; training must always be a positive experience, never a negative one. As our website clearly states, our philosophy is to train horses in such a way that they enjoy their work – so that they are keen and enthusiastic; this is not just achieved by correct training but also by attention to every element of a horse’s life.

“Life here is very varied as we work with horses at all stages of their training for various disciplines, but particularly eventing and dressage.  A growing proportion of our residents are horses out of training and is gives tremendous satisfaction to teach them a new set of life skills.  Many of the horses we are asked to work with have lost their way with their new owners, so setting horse and then owner back on the right path together is also extremely rewarding.  We see a considerable number of horses that have incurred some form of pelvic injury during their racing careers, but with the right kind of schooling work, in the vast majority of cases this doesn’t present an on-going problem.”

As if training horses isn’t enough to keep them out of mischief, Fred and Ro are also Retraining Consultants to Greatwood Charity and ambassadors for Harry Dabbs Saddle Makers and Neue Schule Bits. They also do a considerable amount of promotional work for FMBS Therapy Systems, Equiami, Equine Science and now Castle Horse Feeds!

They will readily get involved in welfare and safety campaigns and somehow also find the time to throw themselves into charity fundraising activities! People say that they must run on Duracells, as around all this they fit in managing their own websites (3), writing articles for the equestrian press, studying (as they constantly strive to expand their technical knowledge of veterinary matters etc.) and are about to embark on writing their second book – and we mustn’t forget attending training clinics and competitions with some of the horses.

The last year has seen the formal setting up of “Rehoming Racehorses – A Life After Racing” and we look forward to hearing more about this in future writings.

Hardly surprisingly, EMT are in great demand for their services and it is not uncommon for clients to join a 3-month waiting list, so if you would  like Fred and Ro to work with your horse you best get in touch!

More information can be found on their website: www.equinetraining.co.uk

Fred and Ro have kindly agreed to provide Castle Horse Feeds with a monthly blog of their activities at EMT. Ro says “Writing articles holds no fears, but blogging is still a new concept for us. But we love a challenge, so please bear with us whilst we get into the swing of things and we will do our best to provide you with an interesting read.”