While the world of magic and mystery continues to increasingly permeate the equestrian press as a proven fact, showjumper Tim Stockdale's column in the December 2005 issue of Horse and Rider presents a slightly different view:
As a professional rider, my job is to get as good a performance as possible out of my horses. And much as I am open-minded about many new methods and ideas, I struggle with the idea of some of these 'alternative' therapies.
If I thought any of these methods deserved any merit, then believe me I'd give them a go, as I'm always looking for that secret ingredient to help make my horses go that bit better - who isn't? But when a 'psychic' touches one of my showjumpers on the shoulder and tells me the horse is scared, I despair. According to the psychic, this horse - Mont Blanc - had, in a past life, been a battle horse who'd been stabbed and now he was frightened. What a load of rubbish!
A lot of these people just peddle in people's dreams and it's wrong, especially when they're charging the earth for their so-called advice. [...] Call me a cynic, I don't care, but some of these alternative therapists are just preying on people looking for a quick fix.
EoR would never call you a 'cynic' but rather a 'realist'. But only 'some' alternative therapists are shysters?
We were once sent a horse who wouldn't load even after an alternative behaviourist has spent nine hours at £200 an hour trying to solve the problem - only to tell the owner to give up on it. With us it went in after half-an-hour.
£1800 for no result? Of course not! The alternative behaviourist (what is alternative behaviour anyway? alternative to what?) should be able to retire to the South of France quite soon with results like that.