In 2005, Tom Bowyer founded Courses 4 Horses as an equine behavioural specialist and practitioner of applied equine podiatry. He later decided on the change of name to Only Tools and Horses as his business diversified to also encompass his love of all things wood.
“I’ve always loved the learning process, the time and the practice needed to become good at doing something. Woodwork is something that I’ve always wanted to pursue but never had the opportunity to before. When I was in school, because I was studying two languages, I wasn’t allowed to take woodwork as well and instead was made to do ‘Technology for all’ which was, in my opinion, the biggest waste of time and money imaginable! Once I had the means and opportunity of creating my own workshop space and discovered my passion for woodwork, it wasn’t then a huge leap to join together my two loves of woodwork and horses.”
Tom’s background is in working with horses.
“My sisters had horses when I was a very young boy so I got dragged around all of the local horse events and was bored out of my mind, I hated it with a passion! It wasn’t until my early twenties that horses befriended me whilst I wasn’t really noticing. Riding has never really been a passion and competing still leaves me cold, it was the relationship with the animal that lit a spark inside of me so I began studying horse whispering methods that could help horses struggling with phobias and vices, that kind of thing.
What I learned is that a lot of people tend to want you to re-train their horses for them so that they can carry on doing what they do. In reality what I do is to rehabilitate the horses and then re-train the humans. Horses are reactive so if you keep doing things the way you’ve always done them, they’ll keep reacting to you in the way they always have. Horses don’t hold it against you when you make a mistake, the important thing is to stand on humble ground and be open enough that you can learn from the mistakes you make.
“Buck Brannaman said that ‘Working with horses will make you better. It’ll make you better in ways that you never knew had anything to do with horses.’ I’ve also heard it said that a good trainer can hear a horse talk whilst a great trainer can hear it whisper. It breaks me to come across so many horses out there that are screaming and there’s nobody listening.”
After the behavioural training, Tom earned his diploma in 2007 from the Institute of Applied Equine Podiatry and then went on to complete further study to become an instructor for the institute in 2009. He has run courses and given lectures and demonstrations in the UK, USA, Australia and Sweden. Tom still maintains a customer base of both behavioural and podiatry clients alongside fulfilling the rocking horse based dreams of children and adults alike.
If there’s anything you like the look, of or a project that you have in mind, please don’t hesitate to contact me.