|Call sign||Dragon Lady|
|Joined Shamba||Founder Director|
I am a 56 year old horsewoman with a child like enthusiasm for all things equine and particularly equine welfare. Born in England but growing up in New Zealand, I was fortunate to own my own pony from the age of 10 and since there was no such thing as keeping your horse or pony at livery, I learnt by doing everything myself. This included everything from assisting the vet in an emergency to catching horses in 80 acre fields and riding bareback the mile back to the farm house and yard. All our horses and ponies lived out in natural herds in large open spaces. It was essential to develop a strong bond with your horse to ask them to leave their herd group and spend time and put their trust in you. On many occasions my life could have depended upon this relationship.
I went through the usual Pony Club system and certificates as well as learning ‘natural horsemanship’ from the stockmen and workers whose lives revolved around their horses. I loved to help with rounding up sheep and cattle on horseback and assisting with any other work on the farm.
Returning to England I was not without a horse for long and soon became interested in learning more about classical riding. I trained with Avril Tighe (then Miller) who now runs My Safe Cobs and learnt a great deal about horsemanship and classical teaching. Later I became a pupil of the late Captain Desi Lorent who was a real inspiration and a wonderful teacher. Desi was himself a pupil of the great master horseman and legend Nuno Olivera. Desi’s views often did not agree with the mainstream equestrian community but the results he achieved with his horses spoke volumes. A highlight for me has to be riding his stallion Algor in Spanish walk, piaffe and passage. I often wish I could consult Desi and miss his wisdom and knowledge. During the 1990’s I also had regular lessons with dressage judge Mary-Ann Horn who is also an excellent and gifted teacher.
Other influences in my equestrian life are Monty Roberts and Kelly Marks, Michael Peace, Pat Parelli and Gawani Pony Boy. I have studied all of their methods and attended numerous demonstrations and clinics. All have given me great inspiration and it is through the amalgamation of all these influences that we have developed Empathic Horsemanship.
As well as Empathic Horsemanship I run the Phoenix Equine Rescue Centre which offers a sanctuary to horses and ponies that have been abused, are unwanted or are in need of a retirement home after a long working life. You can read their stories in the horse profiles section. Phoenix Equine Rescue Centre is a small private charity and we welcome any help you may be able to offer, either in time or funding. Volunteers are always welcome and we are happy to teach you equine care skills in return for your time.
Another passion of mine is using horses to help people. I have worked in the past with Riding for the Disabled and seen the joy that contact with horses and ponies can bring to those with special needs. I have also witnessed the amazing results achieved when horses are used to help those with mental and emotional issues such as post traumatic stress disorder, depression, autism and lack of confidence. This is an area we hope to expand and develop through our Equine assisted Therapy courses and sessions. We have offered our horses and ponies a new start in life and a second chance, they can now help people in need to rebuild their lives and be confident, happy and successful.