Ellie Harrison, founder of Wild Thyme Horsemanship is a busy lady. Not only does she work full time as a Territory Manager, she is a mum of a 3 year old and in her spare time teaches horsemanship with a focus on reading the horses body language and connecting, using soft subtle communication.
Ellie fuses traditional horsemanship with positive reinforcement and has a focus on creating a trust based relationship with relaxation at the heart before teaching specific behaviours.
With a passion for Liberty training, in 2017, Ellie won the inaugural Top Talent competition at Equidays with her Liberty ‘Lion’ Pony, Rosie. This sparked an interest in performing and since then Ellie and Rosie have performed at Equitana on two occasions and at Equifest in 2020.
Ellie has assisted many clients with their Kaimanawa horses but this is the first time she has trained her own directly from the muster. Ellie hopes to show a journey of trust and compassion whilst setting up her Kaimanawa for a successful transition into domestication. Ellie is documenting her journey through video diaries on her Facebook and Instagram pages- search Wild Thyme Horsemanship to find out more and follow along.
On a very cold Sunday evening, a bay Kaimanawa arrived in the dark, I don’t think I have ever seen a horse quite as shut down. We were informed that this Stallion was from Zone 20, an area that was pretty inaccessible to be able to document any horses and there was no history, photos or much known about the stallion that had arrived in our yards. The horses that had been documented from this area were all given Military themed names so with this in mind, we named him Mars. Mars stands for Modular Assault Rifle System and is also the God of War so the name seemed fitting.
It became clear early on that Mars was very much the internal type, one that was quick to go into freeze mode. He did, however, given a bit of time and space, show an inquisitive nature, and had a love of food. Using food as a reinforcer to win him over, Ellie quickly established rapport and trust.
Mars greets Ellie each day with a neigh, confidently puts his head into the halter, leads and understands pressure from the halter in all directions, can be touched all over, can pick up all four feet, has had his front feet trimmed, is working at liberty -walk, trot, halt and back up and has now been gelded, he continues to improve with each session.