Equestrian Background

Sunny trying School halt

I have always been passionate about horses, – ever since I was a child – despite parental anxieties.  I was brought up in a musical and artistic household, but horses were always my passion. I drew them obsessively and begged riding lessons so I started riding when I was very young.

I trained with dressage trainer, Tricia Douglas – taking my chestnut mare Gem for lessons with her, but at first I was taught on her GP horse on lunge twice weekly  – working on my position for many months before I was allowed to ride him off lunge or bring my own horse to her for lessons.

I traveled to Texas to learn about trick training and became increasingly curious about using Positive Reinforcement training to teach horses. I regularly visited Menorca and mainland Spain for over 20 years, discovering the delights of the Andalucian and Menorcan horse – and this was how I became utterly in love with Iberian horses.

I learned much from Heather Moffett in Devon about the riders seat and use of the aids, and found her simulator weekend very helpful, going on to train with her many more times and have become a Level 3 EE Teacher.

I was interested with Straightness Training from the start of the online presence of ST and passed many evaluations within the system but it evolved in a direction I did not wish to follow, so  I decided to concentrate on learning from the Academic Art of Riding by Bent Branderup – which was the original source of early Straightness Training.  I remain both fulfilled and fascinated by The Academic Art of Riding by Bent Branderup.

Ylvie Fros has been a superbly helpful accredited and certified AAoR by Bent Branderup trainer for me since meeting her in Holland at her home in Lunteren. Her consistently good insights and detailed lessons have been immensely helpful to me over the years and I am truly grateful to her for her support.

Kathrin Branderup -Tannous has remained a repeatedly huge source of incites for me about AAoR seat training.

Kathryn Wallberg gave me some lessons with incredible detail and accuracy which I still refer to and found really helpful

Monika Sanders lessons help me to find ever more softness yet precision

Christofer Dahlgrens’ sense of fun and forwards was a refreshing series of lessons

Bent Branderups own lessons with me have been straight to the point and very accurate in defining the issues and helping to find the solutions. Each one has been a revelation.

I have taken direct lessons at clinics with Shawna Karrasch and Ben Hart who have caused progressions from thought provoking analysis.

I learned The Equine Touch in 2017 and am delighted to have taken this to Level 3 ET and I find it very much compliments and helps my horses in their training.

“Who am I in my horses eyes” is a phrase I have heard Bent say many times and this is constantly in my thoughts as I train.

I also have found that Manolo Mendez has a wonderful ethos with his horses which resonates with me and so I follow his work very closely, taking as many opportunities as I can to learn from him and I am finding it mostly in alignment with AAoR.

I love to ride but I also really enjoy working horses from the ground as I find that the Work in Hand, – AAoR lunging, Long Reining and Groundwork, is wonderful for developing trust and connection and education is almost a by product.

I am currently studying an Advanced Animal Training Course with Karolina Westlund Friman

I use work from the ground of varying kinds to help horses in the following:

Correcting asymmetries

Gymnastic exercises the horse without the burden of a rider

Helping horse to overcome stiffness

Refining the aids

Introducing lateral movements

Developing collection

Developing a more forwards posture

Preparation for ridden movements

Starting young horses

Re-starting older horses

Helping horse to become a “yes sayer”

Overcoming anxiety and tension

Improving the gymnastic biomechanics and posture

Improving hind quarters ability to flex and bend in all joints

Maintaining and improving older horses suppleness

Teaching the horse the language of the aids for ridden work

Training small ponies without needing to ride

Providing variety within the training schedules

Relaxing the horses back muscles

Rehabilitation of the horses body

Rehabilitation of the horses mind

Long reining Uralita

Sunny Piaffe

Fox in hand

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