Imagine having clients that want to do harm or even attempt to kill others. They don’t use a voice, yet one person knows how to communicate with them. She is often their last hope. Her success record is one worth mentioning. She’s worked with some pretty famous beings – Olympians, prestigious athletes and others that might have been left for dead. She communicates with their hearts. She listens with her soul. She sends them home better than they arrived. She is Chelsea Kolman, 4-star level eventer and compassionate trainer who specializes in horses with behavioral issues.
“Horses don’t speak through words. They speak through actions,” Kolman said.
This horse-loving trainer has spent the majority of her life observing horses, studying their moves and working to “speak” their language. She is a self-proclaimed “extroverted introvert” who would sneak away from the afternoon craft sessions at day camp as a child to watch the horses, study them and draw pictures of them.
Kolman’s passion only continued to grow over time. At 16, she and her family had rescued or adopted 10 horses. That’s also when she received her prize horse from her parents for her birthday. Dauntless Courage or “Dante” was 3 years old at the time and had come from Canada to Asbury College to be trained as a police horse. His training in the police academy wasn’t working; however, he and Kolman have become best friends over the past decade.
“You could tell he wanted to be a sweetheart, but he was a little scared. He had been bought by different people and returned. Long story, short, he took me to the junior Olympics in the three-star level and were on the fast track to the 5-star in Kentucky, and he contracted EPM. And I always put health first, so we took a break.”
Although she loves competing, Kolman can be found training and working with horses that have behavioral issues daily. She said that her clients are horses that have hit rock bottom and might otherwise be euthanized – either because they are dangerous to their rider or owner or because they are unwanted and unhealthy.
“One common thread of horses in my program – I’ve had horses in my program that have killed people. I’ve had horses in my program that have hospitalized people – the most common thing I’ve seen is that they are physically uncomfortable. I would say 85-90% of them, their discomfort is a digestive thing. So, I’ve always looked for products that would be appealing to the horses,” Kolman said.
She said that since a majority of the pain stems from the digestive tract, feed and water intake is important. It is vital that her horses eat feeds and supplements that appeal to them. She said more companies should consider that, instead of adding flavors or ingredients that appeal to humans, the companies need to think like a horse.
“One of the most attractive things to me with Vitalize® is everything is researched, everything is tested, and you can see results almost instantly,” she said. “I had my horses on Alimend® for two weeks, and everything changed. Their coats changed, attitude, appetite performance changed. That’s a big selling point for me that people don’t realize. When a horse is uncomfortable because of nutritional issues, everything is depleted so everything is lacking, including its drive, desire to perform, and coat shine goes away.”
Once Kolman gets her new clients on the correct combination of feed and supplements to give help ease their digestive upset, she typically sees a positive shift in their attitude. Then she can start the rest of their training.
“Psychology is intoxicating. It definitely solves problems, but it takes some time,” she said.
After she figures out why the horse is unhappy or uncomfortable, she is able to help heal it. But it all goes back to the communication. She listens with her soul, observes its actions and gets to the root of the challenges. Kolman said once she has the horses reconditioned, she also works with the riders and owners, so they can better communicate with their freshly trained equine partner. After all, each member of the duo must be able to trust and communicate the other.
Kolman said as long as the horses continue to stay on a quality nutrition program, like the one powered by Vitalize, they typically don’t have digestive issues. And after the digestive issues are cleared up, the behavioral issues are also reduced. Another thing she likes about Vitalize is that even with her picky eaters, she has never had a horse turn down a product from Vitalize.
“This is not a line of work that I could really prepare for, but I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
Kolman gives her entire heart to horses. They respond by giving her everything they have back. With products from Vitalize, she also gives them a #goodgutfeeling, and that helps make a difference too.