Fred and Rowena Cook own and run Equine Management and Training (EMT) based in North Cambridgeshire. The business name is very appropriate as EMT provide a complete and very thorough management and training service for the equestrian world. With attention to the most minute detail which may impact on a horse’s health, well-being, ability and willingness to perform, every aspect of a its physiological, psychological and physical welfare is assessed and addressed where necessary as part of its training programme.
EMT train horses for most equestrian disciplines and have gained a wonderful reputation for starting young horses along the training path and for their skills in resolving issues when things go wrong. Such is the demand for their services that it is not uncommon for clients to join a 3-month waiting list. Whether commencing initial training, progressing schooling, jumping training, carrying out rehabilitative and remedial schooling, correcting so-called poor behaviours or misdemeanours, prepping horses to go into training, or retraining ex-racehorses, the EMT philosophy is always to ensure that, apart from being physically ready and able to do as he is asked, a horse is also actually mentally capable of coping too so that training is always a positive experience and never a negative one.
It is however perhaps racehorse retraining that Fred and Rowena are most well-known. They have worked very closely with the Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) Charity since its inception in 2000 and as the Charity’s Training Consultants, also run its Helpline. So it is not surprising that at any one time it is now ex-racehorses that comprise the larger proportion of the yard residents.
As if training horses isn’t enough to keep them occupied, as well as working with RoR, Fred and Rowena are also Retraining Consultants to Greatwood Charity, UK Agents for the Ardall Safety Rider and Ambassadors for Sprenger, Harry Dabbs Saddle Makers and Neue Schule. They also do a considerable amount of promotional work for FMBS Therapy Systems, Saracen Horse Feeds, Equiami, Equi-grass, Equine Science Horserail. This couple must run on Duracells as around all this they fit in managing their own website, writing articles for the equestrian press, studying (as they constantly strive to expand their technical knowledge of matters veterinary, etc.) writing their second book and not forgetting attending training clinics and competitions with some of the horses.
Recently they have set up “A Life After Racing” but we will find out more about this in future writings.
Everyone who meets Fred and Rowena readily picks up the passion they have for what they do and find their boundless enthusiasm very infectious.
When questioned they will both say that although the job can be challenging it is extremely satisfying whether starting youngsters, helping horses that have lost their way, physical rehab or racehorse retraining – it is all so rewarding.
So what do Fred and Rowena have to say about what they do?
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 large proportion of our residents are horses out of training and there is a tremendous satisfaction in working with them and teaching them new skills. Many of those that 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 so rewarding.
On the other of the scale we prepare horses for racing as well as work with those that have incurred an injury. We are well-kitted out with therapy equipment and have access to some of the best practitioners in the country so there is basically nothing we cannot cope with.
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.
Obviously as with every yard we have a basic routine and although a day has to be structured around any visits from the farrier, chiropractor, EDT, etc., whether a client is coming, is it a training clinic or competition day we keep the horses’ working routines as varied as possible.
Training horses is not just about teaching them acceptance of the aids, how to behave under saddle, how to jump and so on but also ensuring that every aspect of their physical and psychological welfare is also addressed. We assess each horse and every aspect of its management in very minute detail – absolutely nothing is over-looked, addressing where necessary what may seem to others to be inconsequential issues but which all actually play a part in affecting a horse’s capacity and willingness to perform. . Management and training go hand in glove and we like to think that we provide the complete package. 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.
However training horses is not just about teaching them acceptance of the aids, how to behave under saddle, how to jump etc. but also ensuring that every aspect of their physical and psychological welfare is also addressed. Hence we place a very great emphasis on assessing, and addressing if necessary, every aspect of management as all too often the basis of a so-called problem lies in a matter of management which has been overlooked as being inconsequential. Management and training go hand in glove and we like to think that we provide the complete package.
Whilst we are well-used to writing articles for magazines and websites, writing a blog is a whole new experience for us but we love a challenge so please bear and we will do our best to provide you with an interesting read.
Fred and Rowena
RoR Training Consultants
Retraining Consultant to Greatwood Charity
Equine Management and Training
UK Agent: Ardall Equine & Rider Safety System
Authors: “Re-Educating Racehorses – A Life After Racing”
Founders: “A Life After Racing”