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Horseytalk.net Special Interview
Michael Peace
"Mike has a fundamental understanding of the psychology of the horse. He gave me a training system for work on the gorung that I use on a daily basis and which I use to train my students and staff - he is excellent"
 
Wayne Channon

"Thanks Michael...... the trainers here at Imber Court really appreciate your visits and have learnt a lot from you"
Inspector Alan Hiscox of the Metropolitan Police

"There is no question that Michael Peace is one of the very few people that I would allow to work with any of our horses. Michael is an extraordinarily talented and sympathetic horseman and a totally genuine human being"
Carrie Humble MBE

"The subtlety in Michael's techniques sets him apart from many other horsemen and I therefore recommend him to anyone needing help with starting a young horse, or for the solution to an established problem"
Heather Moffat of Enlightened Equitation
 

 

Frankie Dettori called him The Curer.
He prefers to call himself a trainer of young and problem horses.
He is Michael Peace.

Some people call him England’s answer to Monty Roberts.
Others compare him to Pat Parelli or other famous American celebrity horsemen.
He disagrees strongly.

“I disagree because I don’ t see myself as part of the natural horsemanship thing. I never have. I don’t understand the comparison.

Michael Peace

Those guys are in a different business to me. what I do is help people with their horses. That’s how I make my money not doing shows.

The term horse-whisperer get banded around a lot these days and I suppose its just a point of reference for the public - but in fact it can be incredibly confusing.

He is Michael Peace.

I sometimes get calls from horse owners who ask me to talk psychically to their horse. Its bizarre. I have to explain; that’s not what I do.

“What I’d like people to know is I’m Michael Peace. I wasn’t trained by anybody and I don’t affiliate with any body either. I’ve had a lot of experience training thousands of young and problem horses around the world over the past 25 years and it makes me who I am. It’s a vocation and has brought me to where I am today.”

 My methods are sympathetic and very effective and my whole ethos absolutely sound I’ve never had to back track and whenever I discover something new it just seems to fit nicely onto the stuff I already do.

I’m not evangelical about horsemanship. I make the world a better place for horses by default but it’s not my mission. I just do what I do. I’m not here to police the horse industry and nor do I want to conquer the world. I just enjoy what I do and always have.

I guess my job is mostly that of a mediator between horse and owner. I see the gap in the relationship and bridge it with the correct dialogue. I put things in perspective for both sides and move things on.
Wherever you are in the world there’s always the man down the road who can fix your horse for you and these are the guys who have inspired me over the years and who I’ve hung out with. I suppose now I’m that man down the road in the UK.

Not only are more and more people turning to the man down the road in Oxford to help them solve their problems with their horses but more and more people are also saying he is simply one of the best horsemen in the country.

Within seconds, they say, he can look at a horse and tell whether it has been badly treated or not, whether anyone has done it any harm or whether it has been subjected to the wrong treatment.

Michael Peace - handling
Michael Peace - Riding

Within minutes, he can be leading horses into trailers and boxes that have previously refused to be loaded.
Within days, he can be riding horses that were previously not only unrideable but also unbackable.

As if Michael Peace is not already remarkable enough, what makes him even more remarkable is the fact he comes from a completely non-horsey background.
He was born in Newham, East London. His father was an engineer. He has an older brother and a young sister. He puts his interest in horses down to spending time with ponies on the beach in Devon where the family used to go for their summer holidays as well as playing with ponies in the field the other side of the chain-link fence surrounding his primary school,

It was while at his secondary school, St Edmund’s College, Hertfordshire, the same school as former champion jockey and trainer, Walter Swinburne that he’d take one of the biggest decisions he has had to face in life. Rugby or Riding. He chose Riding.

“It was the only way I could get out of rugby,” he says. “It meant  going to the local riding school in the village one afternoon a week. It was only for an hour. But I loved it. I couldn’t get enough of it. When I was 13, I wanted some extra money so I went to some trotting stables nearby. I used to muck out, do some driving, some racing. At 16, I left school. I didn’t like it. I wanted to have a career with horses.”

Against his parents’ wishes, he went to the British Racing School in Newmarket and from there he went on to serve his apprenticeship with the famous Newmarket trainer, Michael Jarvis. It was there, he says, he began to learn the basic skills that have made him the horseman he is today.

“It was basic survival,” he says. “In order to survive the day, I had to adapt to every horse I rode and I quickly learnt that if you don’t you spend a lot of time dusting yourself down and tending to bruises! you either work with them or they’ll work against you. So I learn’t to listen hard and interpret what was going on in their heads and that’s where the seeds of what I do today were sown.

Michael Peace - Loading
Michael Peace - Shoeing

At first it was very much trial and error but through necessity I managed to work it all out.

In 1986 Michael Peace moved to another Newmarket trainer, Luca Cumani. It was there that he looked after and rode Kahyasi, a two-year-old colt, which went on to win the Epsom Derby two-years later. He also met a fellow trainee jockey, Frankie Dettori, who used to call him “The Curer”.

“We were in the bottom yard where we’d have the green horses or anything a bit quirky to ride. That’s where I looked after Kahyasi briefly. He was very, very lazy and nobody would have guessed he’d have gone on to do so well.

From Luca Cumani’s yard, Michael went to Witney College, Oxford. There he took a three-year Thoroughbred Management Course and was awarded the Student of the Year Award.

From college he went to the United States where he worked for champion trainer Noel Hickey, riding up to 12 horses a day and increasing his knowledge and understanding of horses more and more. He moved to Australia. Worked for more trainers. Rode more horses. Increased his knowledge and understanding of them still further.

In 1991 he was back in the UK. He was Head Lad for Matt McCormack when he had the biggest win of his career when Prince Ferdinand won the Royal Ascot Jersey Stakes. Two-years later, Michael decided to become a freelance trainer. He became a part-time lecturer at Witney College. He also started writing articles and books about horses and his philosophy about horses. He did a lot of big demos touring Europe and ran many courses on his Think Equus philosophy. “Eventually I got board of travelling and living out of a suitcase and I’ve got to the point now where my home is nicer than the hotel rooms I stayed in. I’d rather be at home with my family”

Michael Peace - Clipping
images of Michael Peace
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Today he chooses to work from his stables in Oxfordshire training about 100 horses for clients throughout the year
 “I’m happy here,” he says. “It’s the best place in the world for me, my wife and three children. If when my children grow up, they want to follow me, I’d like them to and at least I’ll be able to share some of my secrets with them which will make it easier for them.

I know I’ve established my reputation now. I know I can deliver better results than anyone else in my field. I’ve never met a horse I cannot help so I’m happy with that.”
And so are thousands of horses, you’ve handled during your life.

Thank you, Michael. The man down the road.
A true horse Man of Peace.

 

Want to know more about Michael Peace and his philosophy about horses?

Read his books available in the Horsetalk Shop

Think like your horse Understanding Your Horse Understanding Your Horse
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