MY EQUESTRIAN BACKGROUND
HORSE RANGERS ASSOCIATION, HAMPTON COURT, ENGLAND
I first started riding at the Royal Mews of The Horse Rangers Association. Similar to a cross between Girl Guides and USPC, Horse Rangers is a registered charity based in Hampton Court, Surrey, providing horse riding, horsemanship, and stable management skills to children of all ages and all backgrounds. I attended weekly Saturday sessions throughout my teen years. I then became a volunteer instructor and continued my commitment and passion for the Association for a further 13 years until leaving England for the USA. As an instructor, I led hacks in the Royal Parks for up to 15 horses at a time; when weather prevented this I taught those same numbers in the indoor arena shared with the Metropolitan Police, as well as teaching small groups and individual lessons also. I gave lectures on all aspects of horse care, and supervised the riding stables on Saturdays with my fellow instructors.
LK SPORTHORSE, HERTFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND
I started show jumping with Deborah King of LK Sporthorse, having lessons on their retired Grand Prix jumper - Quick de Darmen. I then purchased my first horse, Zaire (Poppy) with them, and set about training this green Dutch Warmblood with the help of Deb and her son Louis King. We enjoyed many hours together in the fields, barn, arena, and even competition ring, before I left for the USA. Unable to part with her, I loaned Poppy out for a couple of years keeping her on livery with LK Sporthorse, until I was able to import her to join me in the US. I now have the fortune to host clinics for Deborah King here in California.
AMADO EQUINE HACIENDA, AZ
My first port of call in the USA was to Arizona, where in 2012 I lived and worked on the Amado Equine Hacienda as an apprentice to the dressage and pasture-boarding facility. Here I learned all aspects of farm work and care for approximately 50 horses. I exercised my allocated (usually up to four) horses daily either in the dressage arena, on the cross country course on the farm, or out on trail further afield.
I received natural horsemanship lessons from Gus Amado and dressage training from Bobbi Lehman, and was fortunate to accompany Bobbi to a number of dressage clinics and shows. In addition, I learned to ride western and helped to sort and drive cattle across desert and mountain terrain.
EVENTING NATURALLY, SC
I spent five weeks learning natural horsemanship from Michelle Donlick, and how she applies this to eventing. This entailed Parelli-style exercises, and encorporating them into dressage riding, jumping, and cross-country. I worked daily on the ground and in the saddle with my allocated horses (usually 3 per day), plus provided feed and basic care for approximately 25 horses, in addition to providing groom duties at local eventing shows when Michelle competed. I received lessons in dressage, cross country jumping, and natural horsemanship while there.
I was fortunate to watch my trainer receive tuition from experts such as US Eventer Doug Payne, and also to watch Doug Payne receive tuition from David O'Connor. I attended the Parelli Dressage Summit in 2013 with Michelle - a two day clinic with legendary masters Christoph Hess, Walter Zettl, and Charles de Kunffy.
RIDE ANDES, ECUADOR
I then took a volunteer position with a reputable horseback touring company in Ecuador. I assisted with bringing horses back to fitness in preparation for tours into the Andes mountains around Cotopaxi National Park. This involved daily care and exercise for 17 horses - approximately 5 hours per day in the saddle: a mixture of schooling and riding out for hillside training, stamina training, & altitude training. This experience was second to none - with the farm being in a remote location in the hills of Ecuador, resourcefulness, stamina, and horsemanship were all key ingredients to success. The tack was traditional english bridles, mixed with US Cavalry saddles covered in local sheepskin. The most comfortable ride I have ever felt! The horses were a complete mixture - from Arabian crosses through to local hardy mountainous breeds. Many of the rides were with one or two horses being "ponied" in hand also.
BAROQUE FARMS USA, KY
Jean Philippe Giacomini, known as "JP", studied dressage with Master Nuno Oliveira in Lisbon, Portugal and worked as an assistant trainer at the National Portuguese Stud of Alter Real. JP has produced international champions in 3 day eventing, dressage and show jumping, including the Lusitano stallion Novilheiro (ridden in Grand Prix by John Whitaker).
I lived and worked on JP's Baroque Farms USA - an Iberian Breeding Farm in Kentucky, for 9 months in 2012. I was riding four young horses daily, starting them under saddle at two years old, training them in groundwork with natural horsemanship methods, classical methods, endotapping, and training them in basics of classical dressage. I received training in classical dressage by JP Giacomini and his assistant trainer Cedar Potts. I consider myself most fortunate to have enjoyed many hours in the saddle on Istoso and Hipogrifo, two of JP's Grand Prix level Lusitano stallions. In addition, I assisted in the Iberian breeding program at Baroque Farms USA and was also responsible for computing work such as forum design, online marketing, and social media for JP Giacomini and Equus Academy.
BRIDGES EQUESTRIAN, CA
I was an instructor at Bridges Equestrian, based in San Juan Capistrano for one year. I provided lessons for groups up to 4, however I specialised in privates and semi-privates - and in particular for those new to, or returning to, the sport. For Bridges, I taught classic English riding with a hunter/jumper twist. I enjoyed the mixture of young and old clients, and gave lessons to all ages from 6 to 66 year olds. I encouraged my students to have a passion for all aspects of horsemanship rather than just riding. I was also responsible for taking the school horses out on trail for their wellness in body and mind and for a rounded training. I ran trail lessons in addition to the arena lessons.
OAKMONT RANCH, CA
For six months I worked at a wonderful thoroughbred rehabilitation and training center in Murrieta, Riverside County. I was everything combined - rider, trainer, and groom. Working daily with several thoroughbreds and a few warmbloods - either starting youngsters under saddle, or retraining racers off the track to give them a new lease of life as a dressage prospect, jumper, or trail horse. From here, I was fortunate to be gifted two OTTBs to retrain as a start to my own business.
WORLD RENOWNED, TX
I have taken four untrained horses through intensive training courses for clinicians in Natural Horsemanship and Colt Starting with a world-renowned international Horseman and Trainer.
SABO EVENTING, CA
Alongside my own training and teaching operation, I am excited to have the opportunity to work with a fantastic eventing facility, US Pony Club, and riding school: Sabo Eventing in Newport Mesa, owned and operated by Brian and Lisa Sabo. The Sabo's have created a wonderful school of riders with aspirations all the way to Olympic level, in a family atmosphere reminiscent for me of my days at Horse Rangers. I continue to instruct a limited number of private lessons as part of their team, and provide cover for instructors on an ad hoc basis. I have also headed up weeks of their Summer Camp program, responsible for a safe and fun educational experience for up to 21 children at a time, and I have been fortunate to audit a clinic by top US Eventer Boyd Martin, hosted by Sabo Eventing.
Since 2017 I have had the fortune to enter into the world of Therapeutic work . Not therapy for the horses - but using horses to help humans heal. This led me to a whole new level of relationship with my horses, and a deepened understanding of horses in general. I have completed training with Pegasus ECT, I have membership with PATH Intl, and I provided sessions contractually for Pegasus ECT helping adults find sobriety. My private therapeutic sessions are designed for individuals with learning difficulties, mental health disorders, or needing to reduce anxiety & stress.