Jen Goddard has been training horses for over 15 years. At the age of 2, she took her first pony ride and refused to get off the horse. Throughout her childhood, she read every book on horses she could get her hands on and spent hours just going places to watch horses, especially those just turned out in large herds. Over the course of time she learned to ride in many disciplines, but was always more interested in understanding the ways in which horses communicate with each other and how we can better communicate with them by understanding their unique language.
She started working at a large trail riding barn in Acushnet at the age of 14 and had her first chance to work with an abused horse named “Apache”. Apache definitely had a history and Jen worked hard at hearing her story and helping her overcome her past. Apache was 6 years old, she bolted as you mounted her, would not walk under saddle, was deathly afraid of reins or lines around her head, leaned on the bit, and reared a lot. The farm had bought her at an auction for trail ride use and was ready to bring her back to the auction until the owner asked Jen to try to work with her. Being in school, Jen had only weekends to visit her. In 3 months, she was taking her out on trail rides alone. In six months, Jen was using Apache as her best lead trail horse and taking her to gymkhanas. The barn owner gave Apache to Jen and she now owned her very first horse.
Jen continued to work with all new horses at this barn for the next year and not one was ever sent back to the auction, and several were sold privately as good riding horses. This farm later closed as Jen was going into college. Before college Jen sadly had to sell Apache, and while in college she leased horses and got a few jobs helping people solve behavioral problems with their own horses.
Jen also was able to work at another barn in exchange for dressage lessons. Having mostly ridden western for several years, she thought riding in a ring would be a little boring but at least get her on a horse. Instead, dressage opened up more ways to her in how she thought about her training. She realized that teaching a horse how to carry itself and use itself properly helps the horse. For example, a balanced horse can respond to a rider’s cues better and more quickly whether changing leads in front of an equitation judge or while approaching a barrel in the NBHA.
After Jen graduated from Babson College with a BS degree in entrepreneurial studies(Wrote a business plan to run a Boarding Stable) & Finance, Jen started buying and selling her own training prospects. She got horses for free or cheap whose owner’s had given up on them mostly because of behavioral issues. There were so many good, sound horses out there that had become dangerous because of how people handled them, or young horses that people did not want to spend time or money to train. Jen’s goal was to “rescue” such horses from their situation, teach them respect, manners, cues, and resell them to better homes. Jen has dealt with rearing, bolting, bucking, biting, kicking, barn sour, separation anxiety, trailer loading, spookiness, head-shy and many other common issues. She is an avid follower of Clint Anderson and John Lyons’ methods. Jen WILL NOT break a horse in a weekend. Her process covers about 3-4 weeks or longer and includes "finishing" the horse so it is safe and rideable when training is complete.
Jen finally decided to start her own young Paint horse and bought Nixon (aka Milton McCue) in February 1998 at the age of 21 months. Today Nixon is her “perfect horse”. He has done everything from barrel racing to cross country jumping. Jen also bought a Standardbred ex-racehorse, Rali, in 2000 and retrained him to trail riding and basic ring work.
Jen has very specific philosphies about natural horsemanship and her training methods. She believes that horses benefit more when trained for about an hour each session 2-4 times a week than spending 2-3 hours once a week. The horse needs time to "soak" and take in what it has learned in each session as the training builds upon itself each day the horse is handled. Jen strongly stresses the importance of a good foundation. The foundation is based on respect, trust, and control of the horse's feet in any direction. A horse should know how to turn, stop, back up and "give to the bit" before moving on to any mounted work. Jen achieves all of this from the ground first so that the horse's first mounted experience is clear and simple and therefore, enjoyable to the horse as well as its rider. Jen will work with owners with their horses so they understand these philosphies as well and can continue them long after Jen is done training their horse. Jen has also recently shown her Dales pony at Intro level in Dressage with huge success and is preparing for Training and 1st level next year.
Jen is available for clinics and will travel reasonable distances to train your horse at your farm. Training off-site is $65 per session plus travel (if travel beyond 10 miles). On Site training is available monthly, weekly or daily. Rates vary and are flexible. Call for details.