“Connie has that natural empathy with all horses that ensures they bond with her straight away whether they are youngsters or older ones. They return from her feeling confident, enjoying their work and ready to go on. I cannot recommend her 'no frills attached' approach more highly.”
Jane Holderness-Roddam, BE Accredited Trainer and Olympic Team Gold Medallist
“I have 4 home bred horses, so far 3 of them have been to Connie's for backing. The final one will go this year (2020).
I have the luxury of learning about their characters over their first 3 years, Connie seems to be able to accurately assess them in 3 minutes!
Connie's yard is busy, but all the horses are relaxed in this environment. Connie and her staff are so good at developing confident and happy horses.
All the horses develop at their own pace without pressure, with the emphasis on hacking. This is wonderful for my horses to see the big wide world, having been brought up at home with me.
I highly recommend Connie and her team, I certainly wouldn't send my horses anywhere else.”
Claire Speer, British Dressage Accredited Coach, British Dressage List 2 Judge and BHS Stage 4 Senior Coach in Complete Horsemanship
“We wouldn't trust anybody but Connie to start our young horses. We know that Connie and her team will handle our horses sensitively and give them the best start to their ridden life. All our young horses have come back with lovely manners and have been carefully backed. We also take any of our 'problem' horses that we have bought over the years to Connie and she sorts out any behavioural problems. We can't recommend her highly enough.”
Philippa & Martin Clunes
“Connie is, for me, the best horse whisperer that I have met and know. Over the years, I have sent all of my yearlings to Connie to form and mould. A number of the horses that we sent Connie were not easy to handle with a slightly hot gene! She loved them and helped them on their journey to the race course, undoubtedly easing their path to adulthood! I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Connie to anyone who wants help with their horses.”
David Young, Folke Manor
“Skilful Connie Colfox and her charming, cheerful, assistant Lottie worked wonders on Koto. To say he was a reluctant loader is a massive understatement. He was 17hh of panic. They cured him of his phobia, trained us to their methods and followed up on the phone if we hit any problems in the ensuing weeks. They have removed huge stress from ours and our horse's life and we are enormously grateful. Our issues involved loading without company but present them with any behavioural problems and they'll work their magic and bring calm to your life.”
Sibylla & Perdie Whitmore
“Connie has done fabulous work with various horses I have owned who have been challenging in different ways. If I come up against something where I just feel stuck and frustrated and a bit unnerved I call her.
The first she had was a young Arab / TB / Connemara cross - a beautifully bred horse who was inclined to spook unpredictably and rather violently. He didn't stay with Connie long and was soon tranquil and easy. The second was an exceptionally talented but alarmingly flighty pony who came with a host of anxieties especially around being mounted which we were having considerable difficulty with. His default was to run at speed. I think in the old days he would have been called a bolter. Anyway, it wasn't great. By the time he left Connie he was lining himself up happily at the mounting block while any old person was scrabbling on board casually. And our third nervous number who visited Connie more recently was a small racehorse who suffered from panic attacks when turned out in a field. He was institutionalised and once he left the safety of his stable he would run madly at the fence - with or without a companion - until he was either injured or retrieved. I had spent a number of lengthy hours grazing him in hand and feeding him in small paddocks with gentle nonthreatening companions after overdosing him on calmers but the minute my back was turned he'd be in a white sweat hurtling towards the fence. Connie worked out what was happening in his head and used a technique that would simply never have occurred to anyone else and he was cured! He's still a worrier but he lives in the stable at night and in the field during the day and is making steady progress. She seems to be able to work out the complexities of a horses mental state and find a way to get through to them. It is all done calmly and kindly but manages to be anything but wishy washy. It is simply effective. What more could you want.”
“I bought Ziggy as a just broken four year old with the intention of putting her in training as an event horse. She obviously had had a nasty experience during this process as she was terrified of the school, napped badly, and continuously box walked. It became clear straight away she was not ready to go into training so I sent her to Connie for assessment and help. Connie’s early assessment was of a very tense and temperamental horse who needed to start right at the beginning again to gain confidence and to enjoy her work rather than be frightened. Throughout the process Connie’s professionalism and patience turned this horse from a hopeless case into a thoroughly progressive and exciting prospect. Ziggy’s temperament, attitude and ridability improved no end until Connie encouraged me to find a trainer for Ziggy to go on to. Since then Ziggy has risen through the ranks to BE intermediate level, finishing this season with a 4th in the intermediate at Barbary International and 6th in the intermediate at Gatcombe. I would highly recommend Connie if you have any type of problem with your horse.”
“I love riding horses that my Godmother Connie has broken in and I've done really well with Inca.”
“I really am so very grateful for the work you have done with Cider. Even though I have not spent very much time with you, I have learned something wonderful from you during the time I have observed your methods. My only regret is, that when I was backing and training young horses myself 40 years ago, I did not know then what I have learned from you in the past year, about the joy of training horses with positive reinforcement, rather than correcting unwanted behaviour with negative reinforcement. When I brought the bolshy 2 yr old to you in July 2017 I really never imagined for a moment that I would be riding him myself at my advanced age, and feeling safe doing so, by the following autumn. Anyone who will listen has already heard me say that I was finding Cider a difficult 2 yr old, but after 5 weeks with you I collected a completely different horse, who a year later still remembered everything he learned with you. Then after another 5 weeks with you this year, you gave me back a sane and sensible 3 yr old that is calm, happy, and tries to please, and feels safe to be handled and ridden! Thank you.
What I love so much about your training methods (as I see it through Cider) is that the horse's own pleasure at knowing he has made the right decision is more important to him than the praise/food reward that he anticipates/receives. The more time goes on, the more the horse's own pleasure (and his confidence and relaxation) seems to come from knowing what to do and then knowing he's done it right. So different from what most people wrongly seem to think, that you are just bribing the horse with titbits.
Having told all my local horsey friends about your work with Cider, mentioned he was a wuss about the river ford, and clearly frightened of the water, which led to me politely declining several offers of 'help' - eg "I can get behind him for you, with a lunge whip, and really belt him" - that sort of thing. TODAY - HURRAH - RODE HIM THROUGH THE WATER! No pulling, no smacking, no pressure - his decision. I hardly had to ask him, he knew what to do and seemed pleased with himself to be doing it. So very rewarding for both of us. It's thanks to what I've learned from you that I have been able to help him achieve such a mental turn-around without pressuring him. He has been confident entering unfamiliar water ever since.
I am so grateful for what you have done for my horses and I tell everyone I meet (especially everyone who admires Cider) what a genius you are.”
“I have always admired Connie's natural empathy and ability to improve a variety of different and often difficult horses. Connie has a unique gift to gain a horses trust and bring out the best of its potential in a short time period. I would unequivocally recommend Connie to anyone looking for their horses to be started, produced or re-trained. With her correct, firm yet patient approach and having ridden horses started by her you can rest assured that your horse will have had the very best possible start for its career.”
Stefanie Thompson, German three day event Team Rider and BE Accredited Trainer
“I have recommended clients to Connie over the years with fantastic results and will continue to recommend her in the future.”
Micheal Peace, Remedial Horse Trainer & Author of "Think Like Your Horse"
“The horses we have sent to Connie to break have always come back sane and sensible and ready to go on with. I would thoroughly recommend using her.”
Totty Shaw, Winning point to point trainer and permit holder
“As racehorse owners/breeders we consider Connie to be our secret weapon. With her personal knowledge and sympathetic approach she not only breaks in all our youngsters in a totally stress free way, but she also sorts out any behavioural problems that can arise in horses of all ages. She has our unreserved recommendation.”
Derek & Judith Newall