Level 4 UKCC Equestrian Coach
"The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential... these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence." Confucius
The only UKCC Level 4 Western Coach in the country
British Horse Society Accredited Professional Coach
Member of British Equestrian Federation (BEF) Coaching Development Action Team
First Aid at Work
Chairman of BEF Research Sub-Group
Assessor and Tutor for Coaching Certificate qualifications
From pony mad schoolgirl to List 3 British Dressage Judge and British Reining Open Hi-Point Champion – I think I’ve tried most things during my equestrian career!
Originally a dressage enthusiast, I was an early member of The Training the Teachers of Tomorrow Trust where I was lucky enough to train with the likes of Arthur Kottas and Charles de Kunnfy. I was a coach and judge for all levels of rider and as Chairman of Hadlow Riding Club, I introduced the now popular Test and ReTest competition for riders who needed a bit of critique and help with their test riding. I competed up to Medium level dressage on my magnificent Dutch warmblood, Iredo before I was forced to step back due to health issue.
As my health improved and having undergone yet more back surgery, in 2000 I discovered western riding and found I was able to pick up my boots and get back on board! The slower pace and amazing temperament of my American quarter horse, Dorito, meant that I was back in the saddle and enjoying every minute!
Never being one to do anything by halves, I started reining– a rather speedier version of dressage!! I had to compete as an Open Rider, even though I had never ridden western before but by using my dressage background and some good western coaching from a friend and mentor, Jeannine March, I found myself the British Reining Open Hi-Point Champion in two divisions in my first year of competition! I had managed to beat off many experienced and long term western riders in the process and qualified for the European Championships in Sweden the following year. I have to admit that it felt good!!
Sadly my crumbling spine meant I was not able to ride at the Europeans but my friend Jeannine took the ride to finish fourth in a strong field of competitors and I was able to travel to Sweden as proud owner and spectator.
My continuing back issues meant I had to give up reining and ride at a more leisurely pace. Dorito and I used to attend demos for local riding clubs, showing how responsive and soft a horse can be without the use of the reins! Dorito also loved to show English riders some fancy tricks – usually from a standstill – and many riders converted to western after a five minute sit on the legend that was Dorito!!
Sadly, Dorito and Iredo now live in the great pasture in the sky and I found myself with no horse for the first time in many, many years. I was busy coaching, judging and developing the United Kingdom Coaching Certificate (UKCC) for western coaches at the British Equestrian Federation (BEF). This was the first time that western would have its first nationally recognised coaching qualification to stand alongside dressage, jumping, eventing etc. I loved helping riders and candidate coaches achieve their goals but when I tuned 60, I decided it was now or never!
Hence, I am now the proud owner of Taylor, an American Paint horse, who carries me around the Kentish orchards and humours me with a bit of schooling!
My journey with Taylor has not always been plain sailing! He had been in a field until the age of four when he was ‘persuaded’ into a trailer and delivered to Louise McKnight at Broadway Quarter Horses. Louise and her husband John, worked with Taylor until the time came for me to visit them for a ride. A more comfortable horse I have never sat on in all my years with horses! That and his affectionate nature had me sold from the beginning.
A few weeks later Taylor arrived but his lack of early education soon became apparent and he showed he had a very good talent for bucking!! Luckily, Louise was happy to take him back for further schooling and with her help we slowly built up the partnership we have now – minus the buck!!!
Taylor and I have great fun making the training videos for the member pages on this site and Taylor especially likes the part where he is allowed to do it ‘wrong’ so I can demonstrate a correction!
"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man." Churchill