I started riding at six years old. I left school at 16 to pursue a career with horses and began my serious study of riding at 24, in Germany, in the early eighties.
Although I've had my success in competitions from Dressage to Jumping and in the Show ring as well, my forte was/is behind the scenes bringing the “abused” horse out of his shell, calming the highly strung one and getting them all to enjoy life! I also get as much of a kick from seeing someone else improve their performance under my guidance as riding in the ring myself.
I don't have any official qualifications—I think I have something more valuable than that—experience of working for and with some of the greatest riders in the world including five Olympic Medallists: Franke Sloothaak & Klaus Balkenhol (Germany); Greg Best, Joe Fargis and Conrad Holmfeld (USA). If you’re familiar with these names you’ll also know that they number amongst the most stylish and correct riders in the World.
Although my greatest mentor was the father of a young rider I worked for in Germany. He introduced me to classical riding and I carry many of his thoughts with me today. He came from a true German, classical background, (not the hard-driving, forceful riding seen by some of today's riders, but) the correct, classical, pan-European harmonious and ethical riding that is thankfully starting to make a comeback amongst many riders.
I spent 8 years in Germany and Switzerland learning the Classical Seat and its associated Philosophy. I have ridden Grand Prix movements and have produced horses to Advanced Medium (4th Level). I spent 2 years in the States before returning home and starting to pass on that wonderful education that I received from, not only, riders at the top of their disciplines, but from 'normal' riders who had also had the opportunity to be taught by earlier Masters.
I may have ridden all the “fancy stuff”, but now I spend my own time working on the basics, basics, basics - without which the upper level movements are nothing but tricks.
I use plain English to explain the biomechanics of riding. I stick strongly to the Classical ideals in regard to training the horse - there can be no shortcuts here. But I make every effort to increase your ability by explaining what you need to do with your body to be able, for example, to sit the trot without bumping. And it has nothing to do with cries of “Relax!”, “Get him on the bit”, “Rounder”, “Use your back / legs / hands”.
Don’t Follow in the Footsteps of The Masters;
Seek What They Sought
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Classical Dressage Notebook