My equestrian passion started over 40 years ago attending pony club and competing at low level show jumping and eventing. My initial focus was Eventing, riding up to Open Intermediate on multiple horses. But when my talented young horse Melanion showed more promise as a show jumper I decided to turn to the game of show jumping. It was a great decision and I’ve never looked back!
Melanion and I competed at the top level in New Zealand until his retirement (at the age of 21), with several Grand Prix wins including a winning the Waitemata World cup Qualifier in 2003. Melanion was a horse I trained from scratch. He was an extremely difficult and unforgiving horse to ride and train and in the early days I made a load mistakes with him. But it allowed me to learn some big lessons on training horses and eventually I was able to retrain him and produce a very rideable and successful horse. Since then I have trained many horses from scratch and gained a deep understanding on horse development. These lessons learnt are the cornerstone of how I train my horses today.
During my years as a jumping rider I always took a close look a jumper courses and could recognise the effect they have on developing horses and riders. Aside from course designing I also found I had a flair for computer coding and really enjoyed programming. This took me on the journey of creating Strides Course Design, Strides Trainer and Strides Premium. I also developed the cloud-based web app Strides Lite.
While equestrian sports have changed considerably over the years since I started, there are two things I still consider to be essential for all riders. The ability to ride and get the best out many different horses and the ability to train horses from scratch. As much as I love the sport of jumping, training and developing horses has been my number one passion. Over the years I have tested and applied many exercises with my horses to get them performing at their best based on their particular needs. I have now drawn and recorded them using Strides Trainer and showcase them with a ‘how, when and why’ guide in the Strides Exercise series.
My equestrian journey continues for me as a rider, trainer, course designer and equestrian software developer. I am always looking for a challenge for the future.