Ken’s passion to be a skilled horseman started at a very early age
The conversation around the dinner table was always about horses.
There were six children in my family and we all had horses.
The conversation around the dinner table was always about horses or natural horse riding– my father used to talk of
“allowing free forward movement with no restraint”. We rode from the time we could walk. Horses were our pleasure as well as an essential part of life on the farm. My parents bred Arabs and gaited horses.
I remember the feelings of pure joy and happiness when I was 14 years old droving cattle from our farm in the Hokianga to our farm in the far north. It was so much fun droving them up Ninety Mile Beach – a trip that took us 3 days – some days I was left on my own with my horse, the dogs and over 200 head of cattle. I loved the freedom!
I began starting untouched horses when I was 12 years old.
My dream was to become a skilled horseman one day. I always loved the romantic idea of being a western-style cowboy. Since then I’ve learnt a much better way to start a horse off on the right foot rather than “breaking them”.
My father used to talk about “allowing free forward movement with no restraint”
Many years later my father and I watched a demonstration by an Australian horseman (Merv Kildy) my father was very excited as he said it was what he had witnessed in the early days.
I learned the ancient bond between horse and horseman was about relationship and partnership – and my journey began – the quest to create profound partnerships that give horse and rider the freedom and confidence to do anything together.
I went on to do many clinics with Merve Kildy and subsequently Ray Hunt.
I had the ultimate privilege of travelling with Ray and Carolyn Hunt in both Australia and the USA. I organised Ray and Carolyn to come to NZ and do clinics – one of my life’s highlights is sitting with Ray on my front deck sharing a whiskey, he shared with me his wisdom, “A horse does one of two things. He does what he thinks he’s supposed to do, or he does what he thinks he needs to do to survive.” I’ve never forgotten this over the years and I’ve integrated his wisdom into my own practice – how powerfully simple it is – and how well horses respond to “simple”.
Jane and I have used and developed this philosophy and applied it to all types of horses and disciplines
I have started and trained Thoroughbreds, Quarterhorses, Arabs, Clydesdales, Warmbloods – any breed you can imagine – and have had horses go on to great success in all areas. I’ve spent thousands of hours learning from thousands of horses and people. It’s such exciting stuff that you want to share it. There is always more – that’s what keeps it exciting. It becomes like air – you need it…. Like my wife Jane, she has become as much a part of my riding life as she has become part of my heart and soul. She brings a sensitivity and clarity to the business that really works!
Our passion is taking horsemanship to Dressage
Jane and I are very proud of how our Dromgool Horsemanship techniques enable our riders to relax and enjoy their new relationships with their horses. WE LOVE seeing how horsemanship can give the horse the ability to create power with relaxed calmness. Our training assists riders to overcome the challenges of high-performance riding. The peace, trust and mutual respect they develop is good for both the horse and rider.
Jane’s passion is the holistic training of the horse and rider as a partnership
These magical creatures are our partners, not our slaves
My journey as an Equine Dream Facilitator Began
My passion for horses started on the day I was born and has only become deeper as the years have gone by. I qualified and worked as a Specialist Intensive Care Nurse for 10 years until my 2 boys were born. Being at home with the boys gave me the opportunity to turn my passion into a career and my journey as an Equine Dream Facilitator began.
The early days revolved around breeding, handling and breaking in Thoroughbreds, foal handling, preparing the young stock for the Karaka Bloodstock Sales and escorting highly bred mares to Australia’s Coolmore Stud (the home of the mighty Danehill) for breeding.
This was when my love of horses met the love of my life. Ken opened my eyes and showed me how to observe a horses expression and my whole world shifted. I was still Eventing and doing Dressage and now I had a dilemma – how to take Horsemanship through to performance?
Our MISSION had begun. Improving the lives of horse and rider with our training
Ken and I began to see the synergy that was possible between horsemanship and other disciplines. We became obsessed with taking the happy relaxed horse on a loose rein through to working with a contact, being engaged and being collected – and still being happy and relaxed.
Specialising in Dressage lead to Bill Noble gifting me his Olympic Dressage Stallion, Icarus Allsorts, in his retirement. Thomas (as he was known to his friends) was my mentor for 6 years until his death in 2012 – I still grieve for him – not only did he teach me a huge amount he sired many talented youngsters that I am riding and training now. My beautiful girl, Abby, is one of his progeny.
I still love a bit of adrenaline – a throwback from my Eventing days
I learnt to Team Rope in 2010 and spent 3 years roping with my son Daniel
Using our philosophy with our horses doing this sport gave us amazing results.
Our partnership won Daniel a National Title and he has gone on to compete very successfully in Australia and the USA, winning multiple titles.
6 of our horses took their riders to the top to compete in the National Finals.
Ken has won a National Title in Team Roping. I have trained 2 of my horses to Level 5 and Abby and I have won the Going Trophy for Level 3 Dressage 2 years running.
Happy horses enjoying their job!
My ultimate passion is the holistic training of the horse and rider as a partnership.
Taking care of his mind by taking care of his body, creating understanding and connection between horse and rider, building performance on a foundation of safety. Having the horse happy, strong, engaged and confident both physically and mentally is essential for both the safety and longevity of horse and rider.
These magical creatures are our partners, not our slaves and having a deep understanding and connection with them is where the fulfilment of our dreams lie.
Our horses are not our servants, they are our partners.
Empathy and generosity are at the heart of ALL relationships.
Empower people and horses to be the best they can be.