Hi. I am a riding instructor based in Wiltshire at my own training centre.
I have been teaching riding for more years than I care to mention!
I learned to ride in the school holidays near Worthing, where my grandparents lived. My favourite pony was called Apollo and was the first pony I rode ‘solo’ – off the lead rein.
I was a working pupil in my teens working for my BHS exams. I learnt to ride at Suzanne’s Riding School, Middlesex, and competed in local pony club and riding club events on the school horses and ponies. here I am with Bambi, one of the school ponies. I used to ride her in my lessons when I was about 10 years old.
After having a ‘proper job’ as a draughtsman for a number of years, during which time I bought my first horse, I ended up in Germany. During this time, I virtually re-learnt all I had ever known, spending hours on the lunge to improve my seat, under the tuition of Herr Hans Heinrich Meyer zu Strohen at the Landesreitschule, Hoya near Verden.
Later, I worked at the Reitverein Oberwesterwald training as a professional rider under the watchful eye of Herr Jurgen Duecker where I learnt how to train young horses.
here I am with Lizzie the goat who was ‘stable friend’ to Patou, one of the Grand Prix horses. She used to unhook all the head-collars from the stable doors on her horns and run around bleating. We would have to catch her and put her collection back tidily once we had finished the yard duties!
I was pretty good at show-jumping and got to grade A level, but after one accident too many, became hooked on classical dressage. I competed on the young horses in my care, and could ride the Grand Prix horses in the stable competently before I returned to the UK.
Here I am with Montan, a level S horse in both jumping and dressage, which we were lucky enough to ride sometimes.
I teach riders with the aim to improve their position and aids, which in turn improves their horses. I focus on ‘fine-tuning’ the rider’s seat to get the best from the horse. I have been teaching riders in this way for many years- here I am in Germany with one of my pupils.
I loved teaching Quadrille in Germany as well as riding in them.
here is a Quadrille lesson in progress….
and riding in one myself with horse Geannie. (I am in lead file on the left of the photo)
I compete when I have time- when I am not busy teaching everyone else! My horses vary in age and ability- some days it works, and some days it does not go to plan! The fun is in improving each horse day by day.
One of my first horses was Stumpy Duncan, a thoroughbred which I bought as a 3 year old at the Ascot Sales.
here he is on the lunge….
In trot ……
and jumping. (yes, I know- no hat!!)
I believe that training should be enjoyable for everyone to achieve their goals and take a sympathetic approach to training horse and rider. I think that lungeing and in-hand work should be part of every horse’s schooling.
Here I am with my Trakehner, Heinrich at novice level as a 6 year old
Heinrich three years later learning piaffe. We are now riding and competing at Advanced Level
I have trained with Arthur Kottas for the last 25 years at the Teachers of Tomorrow Trust in Guildford, Surrey. Previous trainers include Sylvia Loch (eight years), and occasional help from Jennie Loriston-Clarke.
Fine-tuning from Arthur in a lesson!
Other career highlights;
I teach classes as a qualified fitness trainer concentrating on good posture with The Fitness League. (www.thefitnessleague.com)
Here I am putting my Swedish students attending a clinic through their paces after breakfast, correcting their posture and suppleness before they all go out to ride. It is just as important for the riders to loosen up as it is for the horses!
Chief Instructor and Yard Manager of Orchard Cottage Riding School in Surrey, which was voted Horse & Rider Magazine’s Riding School of the Year during my time there.
I am a freelance trainer and author, and a regular contributor to equestrian magazines and have written several books.
I am a Translator of equestrian books from German to English including Ingrid Klimke’s Basic Training of the Young Horse.
As a Listed dressage judge I judge dressage competitions locally and finds that it is a great responsibility to send each rider home with a score sheet that makes sense, and aim to help each competitor to improve on their training for next time.
Here is Dangerous Liason (Norman) at his third dressage outing.
Here I am with my Grand Prix horse Amadeus in the Mary Poppins Quadrille which reached third place at the Quadrille final at Olympia in 2000
Riding as a group in a Quadrille is all part of the fun. Dressage to music is a popular request at clinics and at my yard.
A quadrille team in Sweden after a great afternoon!