There were six children in my family and we all had horses. We rode from the time we could walk. Horses were our pleasure as well as an essential part of the life on the farm. My parents bred Arabs and gaited horses.
One of my fondest memories is at 14 years old droving cattle from our farm in the Hokianga to our farm in the Far North. 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 it.
I started breaking in untouched horses when I was 12 years old. My dream was to become a horseman one day. I always loved the romantic idea of being a cowboy.
The conversation around the dinner table was always about horses – my father used to talk of “allow free forward movement with no restraint.” These words always stuck with me.
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.
So a new journey was born. A new journey of the “old” – as it’s all been done before.
I went on to do many clinics with Merv 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. Ray and Carolyn invited me to participate in the Tom Dorrance Benefit Clinic in Forth Worth, Texas. It was a gathering of invited clinicians participating in a horsemanship event to raise money for Tom Dorrance. A huge privilege.
I have used and developed this philosophy and applied it to all types of horses in all disciplines. I have done a breaking in clinic every year since 1996 in Mangamahu. Breaking in 25 Australian Stockhorses every year with a bunch of great guys from the surrounding stations. Last year at the National Polocrosse finals – of the 12 horses in the finals 8 of them were horses we had broken in.
I have started and trained Thoroughbreds, Quarterhorses, Arabs, Clydesdales, Warmbloods – any breed you can imagine – and have had horses go on to great success. Thoroughbreds I have started have won prestigious Group 1 races – I broke in Showcause – he went on to win the NZ Cup, City Of Auckland Cup, Avondale Cup and was second in the Auckland Cup. Arabs that I have broken in and trained have been exported to Malaysia for Endurance, Warmbloods that I have broken have gone on to Grand Prix Dressage. I have had 7 of my own horses compete at the National Finals in Team Roping and win titles for their riders – including me!
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.
Lately my focus has been taking Horsemanship to Dressage – thanks to Bill Noble who gave us his Grand Prix dressage stallion (Icarus Allsorts) which resulted in a farm full of warmbloods! (Thanks Bill!)
Today it’s become our way of life and our business. So you could say I’m living my dream playing with horses and teaching people this great way of “being” around horses – so they too can live their dream with their horses.
I am really excited about where our journey with horses and people has come from and where we are going to from here.
Woohoo! Bring it on!
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.
Meeting Ken at this point in my life was pivotal – it completely transformed my relationship with my horses. I was still Eventing and doing Dressage and now I had a dilemma – how to take Natural Horsemanship through to performance. How do you take the happy relaxed horse on a loose rein through to working with a contact, engaged and collected? My crusade had begun.
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. I have taken 2 horses to Level 5 and Abby (Icarus Ladyhawke) and I are the current holders of the Going Trophy for Level 3 – 2 years running.
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 – our partnership won him a National Title and he has gone on to compete very successfully in Australia and the USA winning multiple titles.
Teaching people opened up a new enquiry for me – how to impact the life of the horse through the people who love them? This was a completely new realm – doing it was one thing – teaching it was a whole new world. I trained for 8 years with Landmark Education and I am now a highly qualified Senior Graduate Coach – I have been Team Leader in projects throughout New Zealand, Australia and India coaching teams in relationships, business and personal growth. I am an astute and powerful coach, extremely effective in empowering and enabling others in the areas of life that matter to them.
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 are 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.