Our Trainers

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Katie Boniface

HEAD COACH

 

I have been a horse rider for 25 years and a riding instructor for 12years.

From childhood through to my early 20’s I competed successfully at shows, dressage, show jumping and eventing at state level. Having gotten my trophy and ribbon riding out of me when I was young, riding became a spiritual practice for me, developing my connection to my self and others on a deeper level.

 

What occurred to me is that you can't have a meaningful relationship with someone that doesn't want to be with you so I set about looking for ways to get my horse to enjoy being around me. At the same time I was also working with a couple of horses with soundness issues. Having being told that a horse would work soundly if you work it correctly I dug into the physiology of horse movement and how we as riders and trainers can best work our horses not only for soundness but also for suppleness, maximum range of movement and dare I say to look like they actually enjoyed being ridden!!

And so triggered a profound reassessment of everything I had ever learnt to date about what it meant to be a horse rider, how I was riding and what my goal was from my training. I discovered the importance of the horses mental, emotional and physical health to not only its performance and success but also to its willingness as a participant in our partnership. And I learnt what it meant to have a true connection with the horse and an open 2 way conversation. 

I have now found my passion as a teacher in a riding school environment and it is my goal and mission in life to share my values with as many horse riders as I can. By seeing our beautiful horses as equals, partners and part of our own life's journey us riders can better understand ourselves through better understanding others. 

Equine Educators

ANGEL

Angel is one of our favourite beginner horses to use for our youths. Being a little on the slower, less bouncy side she’s a great starting point for the children and small adults to learn to ride on and get their balance and independent seat. She has a lovely smooth trot and canter creating a positive, safe and fun interaction for new riders.

She is educated to prelim dressage, training in novice and an enthusiastic jumper easily jumping 50 - 70cm. She can also be a nippy little games pony given the motivation is right. This makes her a brilliant all rounder for our students to gain confidence on in introductory levels for competing.

She has a beautiful sweet nature that is perfectly balanced with a hint of sass which results in our students absolutely falling in love with her but also learning skills in leadership and assertiveness. Our schoolies identify when the students a ready for the added challenge and Angel is no exception. If she knows our students are ready to work harder she challenges them with stubbornness and laziness. This makes her the ideal safe pony to learn the right level of assertiveness to convince her to work but also how to back off and reward her for effort.

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PHOENIX

Phoenix is another crowd favourite who can take our students through from beginners to advanced. He is on the bouncier side to Angel so is a fun challenge after our beginners have had a few rides on Angel. He is also more sensitive and requires less effect to get going so the students have a chance to refine their aids and focus on their communication. He works well with all our students from 7 through to 70 looking after you if you’re a newby but also has a solid work ethic for more experienced riders to learn the more technical skills of dressage and show jumping.

Phoenix is educated to Novice dressage and easily jumps 70cm and tyres on the cross country track. He is a great dressage horse to learn the more advanced movements on. He is super willing and when you are coordinating your aids well sensitive and responsive without much effort. This makes him a brilliant school horse because I know if he’s not doing the movements its because the rider needs more education and refining. He teaches walk canter, canter walk transitions, leg yields, sit trot, walk pirouettes, half pass, rein back, shoulder in and traver to our experienced riders.

Phoenix is a perfect gentlemen with very little vices. He works sweetly and positively with all our students. He’s super well mannered and hard working. He does a great job of looking after our students and as such works a little slower for our beginners and builds forwardness as the students gain confidence. He’s a great horse to learn how to ask for more on and then learn how to balance and ride the more he gives.

BILLY

Billy is one of our boys for the more advanced riders because he is SUPER BOUNCY!!! Being a standardbred our students need to have a strong lower leg and competency of independent seat to be able to ride him. He is a super sensitive people pleaser with a brilliant work ethic always going above and beyond for our students.

Billy is trained up to prelim dressage and low level show jumping. Even though he doesn’t jump high he is very enthusiastic and makes a lovely boy to learn on once the independent seat is established. He is training novice movements so is also a fun one if you want to learn how to train the higher level dressage movements and not just how to ride them.

Billy has the best work ethic of the bunch and is a people pleaser to boot. He’s kind, reliable and trust worthy. Our students have to learn awareness, compassion and sensitivity with Billy because being a people pleaser he can get “stressy” when he’s unsure of what is expected of him. This also helps our students to learn how to slow down, bring Billy into a state of mental relaxation and then be clear before asking something of him.

He is a great horse for teaching the students how to be kind, compassionate and reward him for his efforts because the Billy that is praised and rewarded is completely different to the Billy that is high pressure asks. Having the students see and acknowledge the different interactions can be insightful for other personal relationships.

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RABBIT

Rabbit is one of our school horses for when the riders have an independent seat established and for our adult riders. He also is our horse for larger children and adults to learn canter on as he is doesn’t tend to move with too much speed. Rabbit is also a little more particular about how he is handled which means riders have to build self awareness to work with him.

Trained to prelim and low level show jumping, Rabbit understands his job to look after the rider. He is a little bouncier which is requires a stronger lower leg and independent seat to be established to ride him. Rabbit has a lot to teach our students about how to ask a horse to accept and work in to contact because he has a very sensitive mouth. Rabbit is an excellent school horse for refining your skills as a rider.

Rabbit is a sensitive people pleaser with a great work ethic. When Rabbit and his rider come together in synchronisity he works beautifully. This makes him a brilliant school horse because we know when he’s not working smoothly there is some fine tuning and refining to do with the rider. He is an absolute gentlemen and pleasure to ride. This is the kind of horse that gets you addicted to the sport.

GUNNER

Gunner is our faithful adult riding horse (sometimes the kids get a treat and ride him as well). He is our old faithful Australian Draft and is just super safe and quiet because at the size he’s at he’s not going anywhere fast. He is a fabulous confidence builder and was the first horse I rode after maternity leave to start building up my nerve again. He is the epitome of the term plodder.

He is quite well established in walk and trot but needs a bit more time to have an established canter. When Gunners riders are ready to start cantering they move on to Rabbit. In saying that he is coming along nicely in his education. He does require maximum effort to keep forward thought and is a good horse for building personal fitness, endurance and athleticism… because he doesn’t have a whole lot of those qualities himself.

He is a beautiful, gentle giant. I call him my floofy puppy dog because he just loves to snuggle in to your chest and play with his ears. Gunner does his best work for biscuits. We are working on his work ethic but you make the most headway with him by bribing him for treats. This makes him a brilliant school horse because we can almost guarantee the safety of the rider because physical exertion is not on Gunners to do list.