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Further information about Barry’s training services:
Barry Hook – Horse Training Services
Barry takes horses for breaking to harness from 3 years old onwards (i.e. their first birthday has passed, not 1st January). If he feels that a horse is not mature enough physically or mentally to complete training and start a full-time driving career, in these cases he breaks them lightly and advises that they are turned away to finish growing, then come back for a refresher course later on. Barry takes stallions, mares and geldings for breaking of any breed from Shetlands to Shires (as well as donkeys and mules) and for any driving discipline including pleasure driving, commercial work, driving trials, agricultural work and showing. He also takes youngstock in for groundwork training such as learning to tie up, have their feet picked up and rugs on etc (he will not break them to harness at this age).
It normally takes Barry 6 – 8 weeks to train horses up to the standard seen on Youtube videos (i.e. working confidently at all paces, standing still calmly, going through water, working on grass surfaces without getting excited, being driven in heavy traffic, working on town and country roads, going over bridges, doing the hazards in the arena, doing cones and obstacles etc., all in a soft rubber bit). However as every horse is an individual some may take longer, others may take less time. Normally in their first week here Barry will assess them and let you know approximately how long he thinks it is likely to take, so then you have the option of whether to continue their training or not.
Prior work/previously started horses
Barry prefers horses/ponies to come to him untouched (preferably no mouthing/long-reining/harness on at all). This is because if anything goes wrong when people attempt things at home, for example the horse gets tangled in the long-reins and panics, he has to start from scratch and sort out any problems that may have arisen, building up the horse‘s confidence again before beginning his training – which can make the whole breaking process take longer. In his experience he can progress with his training quicker and more effectively if he has a “blank canvas” to start with.
If you have already started your horse and ask Barry to finish them off, he will always go back to basics and start the horse from the beginning to ensure there are no gaps in the horse‘s education. To ensure he produces every horse to a high standard, he needs to ensure that all groundwork is done to his standards.
For re-schooling enquiries or horses that have a problem (i.e bolting in harness, kicking, traffic accidents etc), it is always best to call to discuss your personal requirements in more detail. Barry has successfully re-schooled horses that have had serious issues, but these cases are done on a week-by-week basis and he cannot give an exact timescale for completion as this depends on the individual horse.
Barry breaks horses to drive in soft, flexible rubber bits, so they are soft-mouthed and responsive on a light rein contact. He uses his own carriages and harness so you do not need to worry about bringing anything with your horsewhen it comes. However you are welcome to bring your own carriage during the later stages of your horse‘s training so Barry can set up it up for you ready for when you get home. Barry does not sell carriages or harness as this allows him to remain unbiased, but he can discuss what would be suitable for your requirements and offer advice on reputable manufacturers and where to buy equipment. Barry has various facilities on site including an arena, fields and off-road tracks. There are quiet country lanes to drive around and also a busy town with several industrial estates, so he can train horses to cope with a variety of different driving situations.
A film is made of every horse that Barry has in for training, which will be uploaded to Youtube page http://www.youtube.com/barryhook2, so you have a record of what they have achieved in their time here. Before they go home Barry advises that owners spend some time with him, watching their film and driving out their horse, so that you have the opportunity to ask any questions and make sure you are happy before you take them home. Driving lessons can also be arranged for clients with horses here for training (subject to time/availability).
Barry has a purpose-built yard specifically designed for training horses, which includes stables with automatic drinkers, a hot-water wash down area, clipping stall, all-weather arena, grass arena, driving trials obstacles including a cones bridge and 24hr CCTV. Clipping is charged for due to the time and equipment involved – please inform him on arrival if you require your horse to be clipped. Please note large dogs run loose in the yard at all times and visitation is strictly by appointment only.
Barry is based near Stockbridge in Hampshire. Horses are sent to him for training from all over the UK and abroad; HDP can liaise with transport companies regarding suitable or flexible shipping dates and as he lives on the premises he accepts arrival and collection of horses 24/7. Barry does not transport horses himself – if you are using a transport company to move your horse please pass his contact details on to them so they can speak to him direct if needed.
Shoeing is charged separately if horses require being shod here – if horses are coming already shod by their own farrier then Barry prefers them to be shod all round with road nails (not studs). Our farrier is very experienced with shoeing first time shod horses, difficult to shoe horses and those who may require specific or specialist shoeing.
Barry is fully insured for the business of breaking and training horses. However he cannot insure individual horses for any specific value so he advises people to take out their own insurance on their horse before its arrival, and to notify their insurance company that their horse is with him for training.
Due to demand, Barry has a waiting list for clients. Spaces are sometimes available at short notice due to shipping date changes of horses being transported to/from abroad, or horses completing training early; if you can bring your horse with only a few days notice please let him know and he can add you to the short list. If you require a date to be arranged well in advance due to competition schedules for example then he can arrange this and add you to the main list.