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Equine Testimonials: "Whole Brain" Rebuilds

Would you like to talk to someone who has worked with us?  Owners are happy to talk with you!  Please tell us your story and we'll set you up with a past client who was in a similar situation and went through the Willing Equine process.


"I got on a website about 'training to preserve your horse's individuality.' 

After reading most of that expert stuff I STILL think that YOU do it better!" 

-Tammy Lamphere, Hopkinton RI


Directional and Speed Phobia. Guilford, CT


"A winning race horse, fresh off the track.... who would not budge. Huh? That's what I got. All bets were off in the saddle; he was a "no go". The world of crops was his life on the track, so any amount of pressure on this horse and he would turn into a boulder that would not budge, 'untrainable' I think is the term they use. His fitting name was Solo. I have rehabbed many a horse in my day and even the "Natural" advice and books and clinics were not solving Solo. What is different about Casey's approach more than anything is that she thinks. It's not a system, step 1, step 2, step 3, it's not degrees of pressure or who's moving who. She has in depth knowledge of how the mind works across species. Its about watching the horse at liberty - how does he choose to move? What changes when the rider gets on?


I was her puppet on Solo and I did what she asked, which means I personally did all of what was done. So it's the mind, quite simply, that Casey works with. She avoided everything that would bring about a mental brace. She went to his brain and did not insult him. We got the walk by asking him to solve a puzzle. He couldn't trot counter clockwise because he was afraid of past fights so we let him re-live his memories. As the gaits quickened the reward system turned into ambrosia for the boy; he is now looking to please. He is crossing over into the world of seeking because he knows there is something for him there. This rehab project is not over yet but I now have a horse that can self-manage stress, which is huge. He moves forward with his own character and confidence intact... "


"One year later: Solo is so much fun to ride. To the unimaginative rider who trots around in circles goes the unimaginative horse that feels lobotomized. To the creative and energetic rider/trainer goes the creative and energetic horse who asks "how far and how high?" I can teach Solo anything now, and I'm not exaggerating. He even picks up my gear and hands it to me. I'd rather teach through positives and respect than force and coercion (which is how I learned Algebra and I don't remember a lick of it.) You may not feel it now, but you are lucky that your horse requires more out of YOUR BRAIN! The picky horses make you better!! I wouldn't be where I am now without Casey, and without Solo."
-Jennifer McDermott, Summer Kitchen Bake House, Guilford CT

Needle and Vet Phobia. Hopewell Junction, NY


"Thank you for taking the time to listen about my horse's needle phobia. Hooking me up with Tara for the long drive to meet you was very thoughtful.  It was so wonderful that I was given the opportunity to audit her training sessions with you.  I learned so much by just observing you teaching someone else.  It's given me a new point of view.


I was always taught treats make horses nippy or sour... That release from pressure is a reward... To be the herd leader and dominant...  Now I see that all those things aren't undisputed fact and that the traditional training methods are not the only path. With new eyes I see a way to have a conversation with a willing participant.  This is the relationship we dream of.  A horse moving freely, unencumbered by halter and leadline, doing what you ask willingly and joyfully. 

We have accomplished in days what could have taken months.  The key is he's willingly participating and enjoying the sessions.  He looks forward to our time together and does not want the lessons to end.  Now that we are able to communicate and have a dialog he doesn't want to stop interacting with me LOL. It's incredible how he's changed. Malik does everything I ask in such a playful energetic way it's comical.  If I move to the mounting block he will do a little rear and trot or canter over and line himself up for me to lean on his back.  It's hysterical. 

People at the barn are no longer afraid of Malik and see how friendly and mushy he has become. He tries to communicate with everyone passing by his paddock, they find him so comical.  The best yet is the praise from my vet.  He can see how much he's changed.  He just thought the vet was a new friend LOL.
I can't wait to see how far I can get with the information I gathered from my audit. Thanks for giving me your time and introducing Tara and I.  Changing my perspective has created positive changes in my horse.  These methods are starting our wonderful journey together on a better path. Thanks a million.

-Annie, Hopewell Junction, NY

One word... Ema.
Brooklyn, CT

In early 2013, I was struggling with the fact that my 8 yr old paint mare, Ema, had gotten very aggressive and had severely bitten her farrier of a decade for no obvious reason.  I was also unable to find anyone to care for my animals if I needed to be out of town, as everyone was scared of my mare.


I was considering the option of putting her down.  I felt as if I had run out of options, and my safety was in jeopardy anytime I was in her space.  As I had bred and raised her from a foal, out of a very kind and gentle mare and stallion, it was very distressing to even consider it.  However, once when I was just petting her neck in her paddock, she swung around and bit me thru a turtle neck, sweatshirt and thick winter coat so badly that she broke the skin and my arm was bruised from elbow to shoulder. 


She had always been expressive, but this biting seemed out of the blue.  She would be excessively aggressive,  and then she would be fine and not even seem to know that she just bit you. 


Then I went to a clinic at UConn to see Casey's demonstation, and I read her article on the missing brain map. (now called OSCAR Therapy) Casey's concept is that any brain will protect a body part that the brain doesn't believe it can use, even if they CAN and DO use it well.


Casey helped me see that every time Ema bit someone they were standing by her left shoulder.  I learned that this may correspond to Ema's injury of her left front hoof when she was only 3 months old and which she never fully recovered from.  


I still feel guilty for the scar that Casey has on her arm from her first visit with Ema, but I am so grateful for all she has done to help Ema become a respectful citizen again.  Watching the process of Casey finding multiple "holes" in Ema's own brain map was stunning to observe.

Finding and rebuilding Ema's ability to use her left front foot fully and correctly, was amazing because Ema trusted Casey to help her own brain.  There was one session where Casey was teaching her that she could stand on her left inside heel (the original injured foal location), and when Ema went to bear weight on it, she appeared to fall down many times in a row, as if her brain couldn't believe that it could support her weight. But until her brain was on the team, years of corrective trim work would not "take". (see video on home page)


Ema is now walking heel first after a decade of landing toe first.  This Thanksgiving (2016), when my dad was visiting, he said how amazed he was at how much Ema had changed and how quiet and well behaved she has become and that he was able to pet her and give her treats. Don't get me wrong, it was a lot of work, and Casey gave plenty of homework for me to do with Ema, but it was worth every penny and minute spent. 


Casey's ability to see equine behavior from a different perspective, to ascertain the smallest kernel that may be affecting so much of an animal's behavior is truly a gift, and I am so thankful that she is so willing to share her knowledge with anyone that has an open mindset.  

-Heidi Nottelman,

Balanced Equine Acupressure, across CT, RI

Unsocialized Aggression  Rehoboth, MA


"Casey has opened up a whole new world for me and my horse. I was a struggling novice horse owner with a young horse that had been orphaned, and I was dealing with progressively aggressive behavior. I read a lot of training books, watched a lot of training videos and was mixing methods which in turn confused my horse. I did not realize how significantly I was allowing my horse into my space which created this aggressive dynamic.


Casey patiently unlocked us and we are now communicating and my horse clearly understands what is expected. In a few short hours, she had my dangerous horse communicating and taught me as well. Casey empowers you quickly. I was impressed that she developed a plan, checked in on the progress, stuck to her plan and adjusted fine details as necessary. I have never worked with any trainer who set clear goals, documented progress with case records, and stayed focused on what needed to be taught and learned.


I am so glad I found Casey and look forward to continuing to learn how to apply to more advanced training. I even use this with the kids. I would highly recommend Casey for any communication problem whether it be 4 footed or 2! I see application as a manager of a large department to keep my staff focused and motivated to reach their potential. "
-Mary Craig, Rehoboth MA

Horrible Everything!​ 
Bridgewater, MA

"If you can get a halter on this animal and get him in the trailer, he's yours! That's how bad I thought things were between my horse and I. I read books, spent mega money on DVD'S. They all had some good information in them, but they did not have that one thing needed to apply what's in the books and videos to your horse. I searched for help, and I met Casey. She teaches you how to teach your horse. How to literally carry on a conversation with your horse. The confidence that you and your horse gain is absolutely amazing. She empowers you with everything you need to fix any problems that might arise, be it horse, dog, human etc., and it stays with you forever. You can pay someone else to fix your problem for you, but that does not help you when the next problem surfaces. Casey Sugarman is "that missing link" that so many of us are searching for! It's fun, it's easy to learn, and anyone can do this. A priceless education. "
-Debbie Best, Bridgewater MA



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