At the age of 8, I had to make a choice – ballet or horse-riding. I chose
I had weekly lessons and by the time I was a teenager, I was spending all my weekends and holidays helping out, watching and learning. I was small, so I also got to back and ride
I left school at 16 and became a working pupil at a riding school/livery yard/stud and took my BHSAI a year later. I spent a season working in a leading showing yard but I soon returned to teaching and was the head girl in a riding school/livery/competition yard for a while. I then decided I wanted a “proper job” so that I could, for the first time afford my own horse, but continued to teach freelance in my spare time.
In 1991 I took my BHSII and by this time I was starting to compete regularly in anything and everything on my own and others’ horses. My interest started to focus on dressage and I was more drawn to the classical training methods but still enjoyed competing. Over the following years I remained a keen student and in addition to continuing the classical training, I also explored natural horsemanship.
All Change – The Graceful Philosophy
In 2010 Grace came into my life, a kind, gentle and affectionate horse, but also anxious and reactive and she was proving a challenge. She brought into question all the beliefs I had about myself and the way humans interact with horses. Since then everything I thought I knew about horses has been turned on its head and very soon I realised that in order to help my horse I needed to be open to making some changes myself and something I had always known deep down became my main awareness and the beginning of a new direction.
It’s not what you do that matters, it is how and who you are.
I had to ditch a lot of what I had been taught over the years, stop listening to those who labelled Grace naughty, dangerous or just plain bad, and start listening to her as she desperately tried to communicate to me that something had to change.
In 2018 I qualified as a Trust Technique Practitioner, which developed my own skills of being more fully present, and listening and observing from a peaceful place of non-reaction, so that I can help others prepare a strong foundation of trust and confidence on which to build their own future with the animals in their life.
Grace continues to teach me that focusing on how she is feeling in any given moment instead of continually searching for something else or something better leads to increasing harmony and dissolving conflict. Setting aside my own agenda and truly putting her first has been a huge challenge, requiring me to slow down and work at her pace in all situations.
How much more beautiful it is to have a willing partner than a reluctant servant.
How can I Help You?
Mindfulness – just be with your horse (no doing), slow down, find peace and clarity of mind, calm focus, and learn to observe behaviour and work at the horse’s pace to develop a listening state and mutual understanding.
Groundwork – from haltering to classical work in hand – take the lessons from the mindfulness practice into action, developing a calm communication that can be transferred into ridden work if you choose.
Riding – from basics to collection – all ground and ridden work is based on classical principles, training for mental, emotional and physical well-being.
Video calls (Skype or WhatsApp) or video lessons are available for those who are not nearby.