Is this course for you?

Safe approach and fully adaptable to your unique situation

  • Safety First

    This course is designed to ensure the physical safety of all involved and their emotional well-being too. So, no force, no pressure, set your own pace.

  • Holistic Approach

    Using the science of behaviour to work with equines and humans combining elements such as trust, patience, shaping, resilience and working with emotions

  • Fully Adaptable

    Your situation is unique, so this course follows a diverse holistic process that allows you to create success by adapting lessons to your animals and environment.

Solving Separation Distress

How to safely resolve separation distress in horses, donkeys and mules

Separation Distress is a common problem that affects so many horses, donkeys and mules. It brings fear, panic, anxiety and often injury to the lives of many horse owners. Unfortunately, traditional approaches to working with the challenge of an animal with separation distress are often distressing, risk severe injury and usually make the issue worse. I am so excited to bring you this course on Solving Separation Distress because I have been working for months to bring my 23 years of experience working with equine and human behaviour to create this course.

Separation distress is complicated. Your horse's experience of separation distress is unique to you, them and your environment. For example, you may have horses who can't be separated from companions by a gate or fence, while others can't be left alone but ride out with you. Some are reliant on a particular horse, others on just any horse. Some can't reduce their distress even if you are there with them.

To make things more challenging, you may have horses at home, in a livery yard or barn; They may be stabled or out 24/7. The hardest of all is when you have to rely on the goodwill of others to help your horse stay calm, waiting for you to get there before they bring their horses in. I hope you can begin to appreciate the complexity of our equines' situation and the challenge we have in finding a solution to the issue.

Because of the wide range of situations and ways that separation distress exhibits itself that we can't just go to the problem to solve the problem. We shouldn't do that with any problem but certainly not with this issue. So we need to start far enough back in our approach that we can keep them and us safe and that we build natural resilience and long term solutions.

This course will allow every participant to work through the contents to build safe, strong foundations. I will give you the knowledge and confidence to develop a plan that fits your unique situation. I want to reassure you that your safety is a priority for me. Any work on separation distress is based on shaping behaviour, correct stretching of the comfort zones, and keeping the animals under their threshold to ensure the physical safety of all involved and their emotional well-being.

I have planned a holistic process that will teach you to think about your situation and unique animals and environment. You may need every element or be more familiar with some parts if you have worked with me previously. Then, depending on the levels of distress your horse experiences, history, environment, and relationship, you will build your path to a calmer, safe future. 

There is no magic bullet, or one size fits all approach. Instead, we must use a holistic approach working on various areas such as trust, patience, shaping correctly, resilience and working with emotions; this way, we can build a comprehensive approach to solving separation distress.

For total transparency and equine welfare, please consider that separating your equines might not be the right thing for them. I would love you to check out the free lesson on Just because we can, should we? Then, carefully consider if your animals' lives could be enhanced by reducing separation distress. Are your goals for separation suitable, achievable and practical.

I promise that the learning you receive can be applied to all your training and equine interactions, not just separation distress, and your horses, donkeys, and mules will benefit from undertaking the program in many other areas of their lives.

The course registration closes on 29.5.22 a pre- recorded live session to introduce you to all the elements of the course and explain in more detail the process we will be working with to help you and your equids feel less anxious and more relaxed when separated from their companions. The live sessions have been recorded from the first course so you can get started straight away. 

As soon as you sign up, you have access to the introduction module and an essential first module called, Navigating your path to success. This module will prepare you to succeed. Navigating your path is jam-packed with ideas for productivity, creating the perfect plan, avoiding the pitfalls that might stop you and understanding how to prepare for change and why change can be a challenge. The more thoroughly you use this element, the greater your chances of overall success.

Keeping up with the content and having time to absorb and explore the lessons are vital parts of the success process. I don't want anyone to feel overwhelmed in an already busy world. Applying the lessons to your unique situation and doing the exercises brings success. To ensure you have the best chance to succeed, work through each module in order just one a week will give you plenty to work with, no need to be overwhelemed.

Please absorb the lessons, do the exercises and progress at a pace that suits you. It is okay if you want to take longer and go slower, but I don't want anyone to go faster, skip steps, or rush ahead. 

The content for each week will be released each Tuesday for you to access and explore. 

Introduction to the course

Navigating your path to success

Week one - What is separation distress – What is happening, why it is normal and natural. Developing your approach to your situation

Week two - The role of emotions - How to use them to your advantage, in all your training

Week three - The principles of working with separation distress

Week four -  Shaping behaviour – Why two minutes is too long, the essential element to avoid accidents, injuries and distress. How do we shape patience

Week five - What their behaviour is saying -  The need to build trust first. How do we gain trust and build confidence?

Week six - Live session.The shaping plan for separation distress. How to use it and the importance of following the steps

There are opportunities to ask questions and discuss progress with me and fellow participants through the course site and the Facebook group available to course participants only.

The course content will be available for five months from the start of the course to explore and revisit. The shaping plans and downloadable content are yours to download and keep forever.

If I rerun this course, the cost will be at least £99. however, just this time because of the way the world is right now, I feel I should try to help you out, so I have decided to reduce the price by 30% saving you £30 and offer the course, this time only, at £69.

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Welcome to your course

  • 2

    Navigating your path to success

    • How to Navigate Your Path to Success

    • The importance of mindset

    • What's your challenge?

    • What are your two things?

    • Blank relationship wheel

    • How full is your willpower tank?

    • Why you really need to be able to delay gratification

    • Can you really change your habits?

    • How do your emotions control your behaviour?

    • Where are you on the change cycle?

    • What is double think and how can it help you succeed?

    • The Zeigarnik effect!

    • Why visualization doesn't work

    • How to create a perfect plan

    • The most powerful word in horsemanship

  • 3

    What is separation distress

    • Live session recording week one

    • What is separation distress - Welcome and let get started

    • The need to bond

    • What are the effects pf social organisation?

    • How does it affect your equine?

    • Social structure rank and dominance

    • Exercise - How does natural behaviour effect your equines?

    • Early bonds

    • Exercise - triggers

    • The role of character

    • Exercise - making it personal to you

    • The difference between choice and force

    • Exercise -setting two important goals

    • What solving separation distress requires from humans

    • What is separation distress conclusion

    • Ways to combat Hyperbolic Discounting

    • 5 Steps to Problem Solving

    • Overshadowing Explanation

  • 4

    The role of emotions - How to use them to your advantage, in all your training

    • The role of emotions - What's in this module?

    • The emotional mix

    • Spotting the signs of slipping into a negative state

    • Why your horse is prone to negativity bias

    • The value of seeking behaviour and how to do more

    • The importance of play

    • Emotional triggers

    • Emotions exercise - training

    • Exercise - Emotion and separation distress

    • The role of emotions conclusion

    • Balance - 50 Elements of Horsemanship

    • Enrichment ideas to increase seeking behaviour

  • 5

    Shaping behaviour – Why two minutes is to long

    • Why two minutes is too long.

    • Introduction to the elements of shaping

    • Shaping and Generalisation

    • Putting the Elements Together

    • Practical Shaping Demonstration

    • Successive Approximation - Step three of the 6 keys from Putting your horse first.

    • Adding shaping to your work this week

    • More information and resources on shaping

  • 6

    Keys to creating successful training sessions for separation distress

    • Welcome - what's in this module?

    • First step- Grounding yourself

    • Why Positive reinforcement?

    • Facts About Positive Reinforcement PDF

    • Positive reinforcement - from putting your horse first

    • Food v Scratches as rewards

    • How to make food rewards work for you

    • Communication Negative reinforcement

    • Facts on Negative Reinforcement PDF

    • The playful approach

    • How to start and end sessions

    • Why is staying under threshold so important?

    • Comfort Zones - Please Don't Pop The Balloon

    • If I "Pop" The Comfort zones, can trust be rebuilt?

    • Stretching Not Flooding

    • Stretching the comfort zones practical

    • Working with environmental negativity bias

    • What if it is not working?

    • What have we learned and can you apply it?

    • Questions on training and generalisation

  • 7

    What their behaviour is really saying - The need to Build trust first

    • Introduction - Why we don't go to the problem to solve the problem

    • Where to find the final live session recording

    • Problem-Solving Trust and Confidence introduction

    • Nature of relationship

    • What is Trust

    • True Nature the Foundation of Trust

    • What is Step Number Five

    • Why Use Obstacles?

    • Using Obstacles for Building Trust Confidence and Problem Solving

    • The importance of allowing not making

    • Making deposits in the trust bank

    • E-book How to get more trust -10 elements to understanding trust

    • Making it individual, its your plan after all

    • Practical example of shaping for trust

    • How to use a shaping plan

    • How small is small?

    • Shaping plan for trust, confidence and problem solving PDF

    • Going forward with Problem solving, trust and confidence

  • 8

    The shaping plan for separation distress

    • Working your shaping plan for separation distress

    • audio only - working your shaping plan for separation distress

    • The importance of generalisation - it is a must do

    • Repeat, repeat, repeat

    • What do I do if I go over threshold?

    • Some thoughts about using feed stations

    • Enrichment ideas and stable mirrors

    • Why we need patience

    • Shaping plan for patience

    • What if my horse is really anxious after all this training?

    • Final thoughts

    • Shaping plan for solving separation distress -download

Social proof: reviews

5 star rating

Excellent Course!

Sharon Stewart

So much thought provoking content. Even if you thought you knew stuff, you will see things in a different light. A lot of light bulb moments. Never though...

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So much thought provoking content. Even if you thought you knew stuff, you will see things in a different light. A lot of light bulb moments. Never thought of shaping plans in this detail. So all in all, a big learning curve. Thank you Ben!

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5 star rating

Solving Separation Distress - Absolutely Brilliant

Anthony Bolton

What an absolutely brilliant course, if you have anything to do with equines, why haven't you done this course already, it is an inspirational MUST DO, a tot...

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What an absolutely brilliant course, if you have anything to do with equines, why haven't you done this course already, it is an inspirational MUST DO, a totally enjoyable, positive, pro-active, engaging course to build an enhanced equine relationship through building trust, confidence and problem solving - simply brilliant, I can't praise, or recommend it highly enough.

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5 star rating

Solving Separation Distress course

vivien Watkins

I enjoyed every moment of the course and feel prepared to help my horse with their separation distress. There is a wealth of information that will help me wi...

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I enjoyed every moment of the course and feel prepared to help my horse with their separation distress. There is a wealth of information that will help me with all aspects of horsemanship. I loved learning and am enjoying the journey. Thank you Ben

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Meet your Instructor

​IAABC Certified Horse Behaviour Consultant, ABTC Registered Accredited Animal Behaviourist

Ben Hart

Ben Hart hates injustice and wasted potential, and he has more than 20 years of experience helping people understand the true nature of equines by using the honesty of the science of behaviour to help both animals and their people unlock their true potential. He firmly believes working with equines doesn't have to be complicated, dangerous or stressful and by helping people to understand the true and amazing behaviour of equines, he wants them to better understand each other to make life better for horses, donkeys and Mules. Ben removes the myths and dependence on dominance and forceful training methods and focuses on positive, safe effective solutions that centre on both the animal and the human. Ben's delivery of training is unique, ensuring an outstanding experience that is enjoyable and life-changing. Ben is also the author of several books on equine behaviour and clicker training, as well as the creator of online courses and a unique series of individual equine training plans. He has worked with horses, mules, donkeys and people all over the world: from mustangs and race horses in California, stock horses in Australia, pleasure horses in Canada and Europe, and working equines in Cambodia and Ethiopia, Egypt, Mexico, Kenya.

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