Equestrian Background

Sunny trying School halt

I have always been passionate about horses, – ever since I was a child and despite parental anxieties about my safety!  I was brought up in a musical and artistic household, but horses were always my obsession. I begged and got riding lessons from a very young age, and then acquired a nice little Irish bred black mare who belonged to a friend who I rode competitively for a few years. After this, I bought a lovely part bred chestnut TB x NF 6 year old gelding from a meat dealer, riding him bareback everywhere and falling off often but gradually getting him to become less nappy (which was why he was at the meat dealers yard). I sold him to a showjumping family eventually as he loved to jump and bought a 5 year old chestnut TB x mare who lived with me for 25 years, competing regularly in unaffiliated dressage and cross country when she was younger.

I trained with dressage trainer, Tricia Douglas – latterly taking my chestnut mare 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 curious about Positive Reinforcement training to teach tricks to horses. I traveled to Menorca and mainland Spain many, many times discovering the delights of Andalucian horses – and I became utterly in love with the Spanish horse.

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

I became fascinated with Straightness Training for a while, and passed many evaluations within the system but it evolved in a direction I did not want to follow, so  I moved away from it and concentrated on learning the Academic Art of Riding by Bent Branderup – which was the original source of Straightness Training. I remain still utterly 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 help.

I took lessons with clicker trainer Shawna Karrasch and Ben Hart and both of these wonderful people have had a terrifically positive impact on how I choose to work with my horses.

I decided to learn The Equine Touch in 2017 and am delighted how much it compliments and helps my horses and me to work out how to progress their training in a sympathetically appropriate and gentle way.

“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 ride a lot, but I also really love working horses from the ground as I find that the work in hand, sympathetic advanced lunging communication, long reining, and AAoR groundwork using a single line closer to the horse, is so good for our horses education. I also believe that Manolo Mendez has a wonderful ethos with his horses and follow his work closely, finding it very compatible with AAoR work.

We an use work from the ground to help with

Correcting asymmetries

Suppling and gymnastic exercises the horse without the burden of a rider

Refining the aids

Introducing lateral movements

Developing collection

Starting a young horse

Maintaining and improving an older horses suppleness

Teaching the horse a more detailed language of the aids required for ridden work

Training small ponies without needing to ride

Variety within the training

Relaxing the horses back muscles

Rehabilitation of the horses body

Rehabilitation of the horses mind

Long reining Uralita

Sunny Piaffe

Fox in hand