Welcome to my website. I have been working, training and teaching
with horses for over 30 years and never stop learning.
I have been very fortunate to meet and train with many brilliant
teachers and trainers. They have all taught me so much and have
complimented each other with their training. Combining what I have
learnt from them all over the years, has been invaluable and I am
very grateful to them all.
I was inspired to learn more about body awareness and the Alexander
Technique by Mary Wanless over 30 years ago. I have found this
knowledge has given me an ability to really understand what riders
need to learn, but, is often not taught. When I teach, I work on
both the horse and rider together. Riders must be prepared to work
on improving themselves and then the horse can progress confidently
too. Itís all about understanding how the horse and rider balance
together to become a harmonious trainable partnership.
In 1987 I became a life member of the Training the Teachers of
Tomorrow Trust. The trust was set up by Tom and Jennifer Sewell
to give instructors the opportunity to really learn about Classical
Dressage Training and to train with top international trainers. Back
then, it was very difficult, so the trust was a unique place for
learning with continuity and had a busy annual programme of clinics,
lectures and demonstrations. The TTT has given me 30 years of training,
support and friendships that Iíve been very privileged to have had.
Sadly the TTT closed after 30 years on 31st December 2017.
Living very near the 'Training the Teachers of Tomorrow Trust', has
meant I have been able to train with and watch :
Stephen Clarke - FEI International Dressage Judge
Arthur Kottas - Former Chief Rider of Spanish Riding School of Vienna
Charles de Kunffy - FEI Dressage Judge
Herwig Radnetter - Senior Rider of the Spanish Riding School
Miguel Ralao - International Competition Rider and Trainer from Portugal
very regularly over the past 30 years. Having access to these trainers
regularly has been a real privilige and given me much knowledge to pass
on to others.
The Trust has also had a selection of in-house trainers who have given
super clinics regularly every year. Alex Cookson, who carried on the
trust from her parents, will hopefully continue to teach at East Whipley
Farm, home of the trust. I have enjoyed training with them all, especially
I have also been fortunate to attend training seminars with Gerd
Heuschmann, an expert on equine biomechanics. His seminars are always very
interesting and Gerd is always bringing new research to his presentations.
In 2015 on a seminar in Munich, I met Manolo Mendez, he was one of the six
founder members of the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art and itís
second in command. He was amazing to watch working with the horses and Iíve
been lucky to have continued to see him annually since then on his visits
to England. My trip to Munich inspired me to learn about Acupressure. The
late Dr Kerry Ridgway and Manolo worked together for two days and the
results were amazing.
I trained my first horse from a just backed youngster to PSG with the TTT
and Andrew Day. I did compete regularly with my mare up to advanced level
and had a fun and successful time. Since losing her I have found myself
with horses that needed remedial training to recover from injury or bad
training. Not intentional, life just took me that way. So competition has
not been my priority and I have not been competing as regularly for some
years. It is more important and rewarding for me to have a happy,
comfortable horse in training than to be out competing. But, I would do
more if I had the right horse.
Classical dressage training is the progressive development of the riding
horse, using a proven system that has been passed on through generations.
The combination of this training and also the knowledge I have gained from
having a horse that needed much remedial help to recover from a serious
injury, has given me a very holistic approach to my work.
Dressage is referred to as an 'art' because, when well done, the horse is
transformed by the rider. It looks more beautiful and moves more gracefully
and the horse and rider move together in harmony. Most people will be riding
as a hobby, sport, recreation, but, however you look at it, we should all try
and learn to ride in a way that enables the horse to move comfortably and
without detriment to its body.
It is important to me to train the horse to use its muscles in a way that
enables it to carry a rider and develop gymnastically without force or gadgets.
When a horse is comfortable in its body, you can see and feel a softer and
more supple movement in its back and limbs. A horse moving with a stiff back
and joints is not just uncomfortable to ride, but is 'breaking down'.
The rider has to develop a quiet, supple, harmonious seat. They must have
good self awareness before they can hope to train a horse and feel what it
needs. The rider must 'hear' the horse through their seat. When I teach I
work on helping the rider to develop these skills.
Discomfort, soreness and pain in a horse is often misinterpreted as 'bad
behaviour'. People have described their horses as naughty, stubborn, fresh
etc, when I have found it is just saying Help!
Riders with position problems or badly fitting tack will have great difficulty
in getting their horse to work well, or, sometimes the horse is suffering from
an unsoundness that has not yet been detected.
I aim to teach riders how to 'listen' to their horse and understand how to
train them in a way that they can both enjoy being together.
I teach people who do dressage to compete, but, also many more who event, show
jump, or just hack out. They all want the same thing - a horse that is nice to
ride, feels happy and has a better chance of staying sound and healthy.