Horses have been my passion since I was old enough to know what one was. A childhood pony whose habits included bucking, shoulder dropping, butting, refusing, napping and all the other behaviours "character building" ponies exhibit, failed to dim my enthusiasm by one iota. (And he's still going strong at 33 years old....rather proving avoidance of work confers longevity!).
At 16 I left school and went to be a working pupil at Elvaston Castle in Derbyshire for a year. What a shock! Mucking out 6 horses before breakfast, sweeping a cobbled yard till it gleamed, catching and leading in 4 large horses at a time, structured riding tuition from a tough taskmaster - it was a far cry from bombing round the countryside on my pony. I took and passed my BHS Stage 1 and 2 that year, and then headed to Bishop Burton College for a B.Sc. in Equine Science. Those 3 years were invaluable in offering me an understanding of the physiology, anatomy, nutrition and management of the horse.
After graduating I took a variety of positions as I pursued the rest of the BHSAI qualification. I was a groom in Wales, a trainee instructor at Millfield School in Somerset and an instructor back home in Scotland at Ayrshire Equitation. Finally, with my AI under my belt, I was delighted to be offered a position as coach at Gleneagles Equestrian School. There, thanks to the excellent training, I was able to successfully take my Stage 4 and IT (Intermediate Teaching), giving me the full BHSII qualification.
A couple of years travel followed, although horses weren’t entirely on the back burner. I was an event groom for an Olympic short-listed rider in Northern Ireland, worked on a pre-training yard in New Zealand and groomed for a husband and wife team, who had each represented their country in showjumping and dressage respectively, in Australia. Working with the colts and fillies on the pre-training yard was a real eye-opener. Dealing with riding school horses and even fit event horses is nothing like working with 2 year old thoroughbreds! It was a real learning curve and at times, when I had to gird my loins just to lead the powerful, testosterone fuelled colts to and from the walker, I felt like I knew nothing about horses. With hindsight this humbling experience taught me a lot, but at the time it - and the 5am starts - felt pretty tough! On returning to the UK, I was fortunate enough to get a job back at Gleneagles Equestrian School, where I trained for and successfully took my SM (Instructors Stable Managers) exam and was promoted to Senior Coach. A partial break from horses while I worked in marketing, bought a house and had a baby, followed. Inevitably though, the craving to return to the equine industry intensified - it was Horse & Hound that dropped through my letterbox weekly after all, not Marketing Week or The Drum - and I decided to become a freelance coach, a decision which allows me the flexibility to meet my family commitments and watch, talk about and inhale the scent of horses all day long.
Get in touch with any questions or to book a lesson