EquiHorse is just the name we came up with for our domain name back in
1998 when we started out on this venture. The ordinary
names for "horsey sites" were already taken so we did a little
brainstorming. By simply putting "Equine" and "Horse" together we came up with EquiHorse.
The purpose of EquiHorse Communications is to provide
a vehicle to share Bob Dickinson’s system of teaching both horse
and handler/rider how to communicate in harmony as well as safely.
Bob has developed a system of consistent cues to teach the horse both "on
the ground" and "under saddle". His methods work to prevent or correct commonly encountered problems we face as we interact with and educate our horses.
Meet Mary Delton
Mary competes in the horse discipline of eventing and is pictured with one of her homebred Connemara-TB crosses.
Teaching an "Old Dog" new tricks ...
Mary has had a varied and interesting career path. While teaching Chemistry at Mount Holyoke College, her students
talked her into taking riding lessons. Of course, she loved it and within
a year she purchased that special, first horse. "Rimmy Jims" (named after a small town in Arizona). He and Mary spent an enjoyable 23 years
together, and he is buried on her breeding farm.
Marriage and several relocations brought Mary to Rochester, NY and Eastman Kodak Company. She initially worked in the clinical chemistry division but after 6 years became a photographic scientist. And because "Rimmy" was now 15 yr old, it was time to buy a second horse. Mary found a TB mare and competed
her for several years, before building a barn and starting a small, breeding
business. Working full time was wonderful in that it paid for the barn
and indoor riding arena (a must in western NY winters) but left too little
time for the horses. Breeding and starting young foals was certainly a
new experience and relying completely on common sense wasn't quite enough. She got by but knew that there was a lot she needed to learn.
Fast forward to 1995
Mary bought a 4 yr old horse that had never been taught to trailer
load and also had learned that he could run away (meaning bolt!) from anything he was afraid of. He was a sweet and talented horse so it was worth putting the time into retraining him. Since this was completely out of Mary's expertise, she sought help and Bob Dickinson was recommended.
She liked the way Bob interacted with the horse and he explained things exceptionally well. After teaching the horse to trailer load, Bob also taught him to have less of a fear and run away response. The philosophy of how Bob worked with the horse was logical and made sense.
Bob also worked with the young horses Mary had bred. He was gentle,
yet firm and the horses always were calmer and happier after one of Bob's lessons. And they remembered what they were taught! And they were easier
to handle! And the transition from ground work to under saddle work was
EquiHorse is born!
Mary's quickly recognized Bob's skills as a teacher. With her own teaching
background, Mary though they would make a good team so she asked Bob if he
would be interested in working together on a horse training program. Bob
thought that was a great idea especially since so many of his students
had been asking him to write a book or make a video. So in 1995, we started planning
and organizing the topics we felt needed to be covered and then in 1998,
Mary lost her job through down-sizing (some of you surely identify with
this!). Fortunately, Mary got a re-training allowance that allowed her
to start learning the skills for her third career
Mary's last 6 homebreds were started using Bob's methods from the time
they were first born. You will see some of them in the videos we've produced.
Meet Bob Dickinson
How does a guy get hooked on Horses?
Pretty much like any other horse-crazed teen would
hours mucking stalls in exchange for a bit of
actual riding time.
In the Army with Horses?
Bob was drafted into the US Army shortly after graduating from high school and belonged to the "98th Army Band". By chance, the band
barracks were right next to the "Fort Rucker Riding Club". Naturally,
Bob was drawn to the stables daily; the end result
being the purchase of his first horse, "Rex", from then Colonel
Graham (Father of international event rider Jim Graham).
From Easy to Difficult
Bob survived his first twenty plus years of horse ownership without any
major mishaps. Then, in 1988, Bob purchased his current mount, Schonbrunn,
and found out that horses were not always easy! "Schon" turned
out to be nothing at all like Rex. Instead he was so strong-willed that
he couldn't even be bribed into doing what he didn't want to do. Methods
that worked with other horses just didn't work with him. It was clear
that something was lacking in the communication between horse and human.
What to do?
If it doesn't work, try something different
In '89, a friend asked Bob to attend a symposium given by a trainer from
Colorado named John Lyons. Bob immediately saw the value of the principles
he learned there and successfully applied them to his interactions with
Schon. When others witnessed the complete turn-a-round Bob did with his
horse, they sought his help in communicating with their horses. Bob was
on the road to a new and exciting career!
Go Horses Full Time!
So in 1994, after 22 years of operating a BMW motorcycle dealership, Bob
decided to work with horses full time. He's now expanded his teaching
from just "problems and problem horses" to all aspects of horsemanship
(ground work to riding) working with horses of all ages and levels from
foals to competition dressage horses...even mules on occasion. Bob is
continuously developing and improving upon his own techniques and methods
and has developed a very consistent and easy to understand system of teaching
horses and their owners how to communicate in harmony with each other.
Today Bob struggles to find the time to take on new students while continuing
to work with his long-time students who describe him as:
"The best kept secret in Western New YorK"
Bob and Schonbrunn were invited to perform a ground work exhibition for
the American Trakehner Association in Columbus, Ohio in 1991 and for the
NY State Morgan Horse Club in Syracuse in 1998. They have also done many
clinics throughout New York State for a variety of organizations including:
The Cornell Cooperative Extension, several 4-H Clubs, the Western NY Dressage
Association, and the Arabian Horse Association of NY to name a few.
In 1998, Bob he was invited to lecture at the Northeast Horseman's Conference
in Rochester, NY. During the conference, Bob demonstrated ground work
and mounted communication in classroom seminars. The conference was highlighted
with a panel discussion in which he participated with Bruce Davidson,
Captain Mark Philips, and Lendon Gray.