Sue feels that she was extremely lucky to grow up in a family that loved horses and ponies:
Her first pony, Bobby was a cheeky Welsh Mountain pony who her parents had rescued as a youngster. Like many Welsh ponies, Bobby was wilful and yet extremely patient and generous. The pair went to many gymkhanas, shows and were regulars at the local pony club, however most of their time was spent roaming the peak district countryside or popping over jumps at home.
Sue’s parents had backed all their horses and ponies and so growing up she had heard all the wonderful stories about training young horses. When she was in her 20s, she bought a 2 year old Dutch Warmblood called Walter so that she could train him herself. Walter bit, occasionally kicked and very frequently reared up. She had every professional check everything that she could think of– none of which could provide an answer for his dangerous behaviour. Many professionals and certainly most trainers that she met tried to convince her that she needed to be “the boss”. Sue never felt comfortable with the idea that you had to dominate a horse in order to train them, after all her parents had turned around a rescue pony with love and kindness alone. So she began to learn more about training and behaviour.
When Sue was 11 she started to ride Dancer, the family Welsh cross Arab and Thoroughbred. Dancer was extremely sensitive, but if approached with consideration, he would put a huge amount of effort into everything he did. The partnership developed a strong bond and had a love of show jumping. Sue was regularly at all the shows and cross country events in the area. Sue grew older and went away to university, but continued to ride Dancer in the holidays and on trips home.
It transpired that Walter had a multitude of health and physical issues and these were the cause of his difficult behaviour. The right care, medication, diet, bodywork and training regime transformed the biting, rearing creature into a loving and settled horse that was a joy to ride. It is these events that confirmed to Sue that horses always have a good reason for their behaviour and she was relieved that she had stuck to her beliefs and never forced Walter into doing as she wished.
Sue realised that she wanted to use her passion to help other horses and their owners and so she continued her learning and has trained extensively with Becky Chapman and Alex Kurland as well as training towards her BHS exams at Ingestre stables. In addition to this, Sue has attended conferences and workshops with a number of international experts. In this way Sue has been able to train in both the physical and behavioural aspects of horse training. She has looked at how to improve balance, proprioperception, straightness and strength through exercise in particular using French classical dressage and combines this with her knowledge of how horses learn and behave.
Values and Beliefs
Sue believes that the horse’s needs should always come first and that if we are going to ride and train them we should do so in a way that is good for both their body and mind. She doesn’t want the horse to just comply with requests – but to enjoy and take part in the learning process.
Sue believes that horses always have a good reason for their behaviour and in her experience this usually boils down to: pain / health issues, management issues, training (of both body and mind) or a combination of these issues. She has dedicated over 10 years to learning as much as she can about training and will always let you know if she believes that another specialist is required.
Sue continues to be fascinated with horse training and continues to learn and train with world renowned experts in the field.
Qualifications and Continuous Professional Development
Ongoing BHS training at Ingestre Stables February 2012 - Present
Alex Kurland Clicker Clinic, 19th - 22nd June 2017, Ashen EC
Long Weekend Course with Becky Chapman, 14th - 16th April 2017, Ashen EC
WOOF! The Animal Behaviour and Training Conference, 10th - 12th February 2017, East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham
Posture, Performance, Pain Management and Power your core Part 3, with Becky Chapman, 11th December 2016, Ashen EC
Straightness Training Clinic with Rebecca Gilbert, 9th October 2016, New Barn Farm
Ridden Weekend Course with Becky Chapman, 20th – 21st August 2016, Ashen EC
Posture, Performance, Pain Management and Power your core Parts 1 and 2, with Becky Chapman, 10th July 2016, Ashen EC
Riding Simulator Sessions with Becky Chapman, 13th May 2009, 21st October 2011, 1st June 2012, 9th July 2016, Ashen EC
Horse Training with Georges Dewez, 18th June 2016, Reaseheath college
Ken Ramirez Presenting: Aggression, Games Trainers Play, Behaviour Chains, Husbandry Training and Recipe for Becoming a Top Trainer; 8th – 9th June 2016, Leeds
Manolo Mendez Clinic, 28th May 2016, Formby
Ridden Weekend Course with Becky Chapman, 16th – 17th April 2016, Ashen EC
Management of Suspensory Ligaments and Tendon Injury in Sports Horses, Thomason, Ritchie and Harding Equine Ltd, 6th April 2016, Knutsford
Training Thoughtfully Seminar, with Alex Kurland, Kay Laurence and Jesùs Rosales-Ruiz, 6th – 8th January 2016, Stoneleigh
French Classical Dressage Training, Advanced course with Becky Chapman: 16th – 17th May, 12th – 13th Sept and 12th – 13th Dec 2015 (3 parts), Ashen EC
Klaus Schoneich Straightness Training Clinic, 20th – 22nd November 2015, Mold, Flintshire
Straightness Training Clinic with Rebecca Gilbert, 8th November 2015, Holistic Equitation
Clicker Expo, 23rd – 25th October 2015, Warwickshire
Clicker Revisions with Becky Chapman, 19th July 2015, Ashen EC
Top up Training day with Becky Chapman, 18th July 2015, Ashen EC
Ken Ramirez Seminar, Training from Core to Complex: The Many Faces of the Modern Trainer; 3rd – 4th June 2015, Yorkshire Wildlife Park
Rider Biomechanics lessons with Denise O’ Reilly, August 2014 – May 2015, The Dressage Secret
Clicker Expo, 17th – 19th October 2014, Bolton Lancashire
French Classical Dressage Training, Year 3 with Becky Chapman: 15th – 16th March, 14th – 15th June and 11th – 12th Oct 2014 (3 parts), Ashen EC
BHS Stage 2 Riding and Horse Knowledge and Care, Distinction, 20th June 2014
Francois Lemaire de Ruffieu: Clinic and Lecture Demo (work in hand, lunging and long lining), 23rd- 24th May 2014, New Barn Farm
Philippe Karl Open Clinic, 16th – 19th December 2013, Holistic Equitation
Equine Biomechanics with Dr Hilary Clayton BVMS, PhD, DACVSMR, MRCVS, 8th November 2013, Stoneleigh
Ridden Course with Becky Chapman, 4th – 5th November 2013, Buxton
French Classical Dressage Training, Year 2 with Becky Chapman: 27th -28th April, 20th – 21st July and 26th – 27th Oct 2013 (3 parts), Ashen EC
Equine Clicker Conference: Online, 14th October – 1st November 2013
BHS Riding and Road Safety, 13th Oct 2013
Equine Clicker Conference: Live Event, 21st – 22nd September 2013, Northallerton
Alex Kurland Clicker Clinic, 10th – 13th June 2013, Ashen EC
BHS Standard Setting Training Day with Jo Winfield FBHS, 23rd May 2013, Broomfield Hall, Derbyshire
BHS Stage 1 Riding and Horse Knowledge and Care, Distinction, 8th May 2013
Dr Andrew McLean Clinic, 6th April 2013, New Barn Farm
French Classical Dressage Training, Year 1 with Becky Chapman: 25th – 26th February, 23rd – 24th June and 29th – 30th September 2012 (3 parts), Ashen EC
Equine Clicker Conference, 22nd – 23rd September 2012, Richmond
Ridden Course with Becky Chapman, 6th – 9th August 2012, Ashen EC
Ridden Course with Becky Chapman, 9th – 12th July 2012, Ashen EC
Alex Kurland Clicker Clinic, 28th – 31st May 2012, Ashen EC
French Classical Dressage Evening with Becky Chapman, 21st October 2011, Ashen EC
Ethical Equine Extravaganza, 18th – 19th June 2011, World Horse Welfare, Hall Farm
Alex Kurland Clicker Clinic, 6th – 9th June 2011, Ashen EC
Becky Chapman One to One Courses: 17th- 20th, 24th – 27th May and 31st May – 3rd June 2011, Ashen EC
Alex Kurland Clicker Clinic, 14th – 17th June 2010, Ashen EC
Horsemanship Essentials with Kelly Marks, 28th May 2010, Kingswood EC
Monty Roberts Demonstration, 17 October 2009, Rodbaston Campus, Staffordshire College
Intelligent Horsemanship Five Day Foundation Course, 27th – 31st July 2009, Hartsop farm, Witney
Alex Kurland Clicker Clinic, 2nd – 4th June 2009, Ashen EC
Foundation Clicker Clinic with Becky Chapman, 12th – 14th May 2009, Ashen EC
Riding Simulator Weekend with Becky Chapman, 14th – 15th March 2009, Ashen EC
Confident Rider Workshop with Becky Chapman and Pete Doherty, 13th – 14th December 2008, Ashen EC
Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling featuring Borderline Demonstration and Dancing with Horses, 25th – 26th October 2008, Harpbury International Arena
Five day Natural Horsemanship Course with Tracy James, 4th – 9th November 2007, Natural Horse Centre, Spain
Monty Roberts Demonstration: “Monty Rides Again!”, 22nd September 2007, Rodbaston Campus, Staffordshire College
Equine Ethology Live, 27th August 2006, Wrexham
Regular lessons with various instructors in an array of subjects including: jumping, dressage, groundwork, straightness training and rider biomechanics, until 2010.
MSc Molecular Medical Microbiology, 1999 – 2000, University of Nottingham
BSc (Hons) Cell Biology (2:1), 1996 – 1999, University of Durham