Experienced and professional, Sally has ridden, competed and worked in the equine industry for over 20 years, and specifically as a horsemanship instructor for over 10 years.
Sally is dedicated help horse owners and riders develop their skills and accelerate their horsemanship results while putting the relationship with their horse first. Sally is particularly understanding and supportive of students that experience fear and confidence issues, both on the ground and in the saddle.
Based near Bridgnorth, Shropshire, she teaches horsemanship skills on the ground and in the saddle to both adults and children.
See below for her story…….
Sally was born and raised in Norfolk to a ‘non-horsey’ family and spent many days of her childhood cycling around the neighbourhood to visit fields of horses, to pick them grass and hang over the fence, dreaming that one day she would have her own horse, a perfect partner.
On a family holiday to Guernsey at the age of 9, Sally was taken to her first riding lesson, and from then on she was hooked and pestered her parents for more lessons. She rode at the local riding stables and soon spent every Saturday helping out there. This was the closest she could get to having her own pony and spent every available minute at the stables, happy to do any chore, just so she could spend time with the horses. Her persistence and dedication paid off and as she became a better rider she got a weekend job at the stables helping with the lessons and escorting hacks. Her dream was still to, one day, have her own horse and she was so determined to do this that she saved all her paper round, babysitting and school lunch money for her ‘pony fund’.
Velvet (black, 15.1hh Welsh cob X gelding) came in to Sally’s life when she was 17, when he came to the stables as a problem horse. She was given the job of helping to re-school him and soon fell in love with him. When the time came for him to be sold she couldn’t bear it, and much to her mother’s dismay, she decided to use her savings to fulfil her dream and Velvet became hers!
Sally completed her A-levels and then she and Velvet moved to Wales where she studied for 3 years at Aberystwyth University to achieve a 2:1 BSc (Hons) in Equine Science. They then moved back to Norfolk where Sally became employed as an Equine Nutritionist for a leading equine supplement company.
Prior to discovering natural horsemanship, Sally and Velvet had several problems that they worked through (napping, rearing, refusing to jump, difficult to load) and with persistence they very slowly progressed towards resolving some of these issues, although only on the surface. Sally thought they had a good relationship – after all they were successfully competing in affiliated dressage competitions to Medium Level and representing their local Riding Club at Area and National level in Dressage, Equitation and Combined Training.
Sally discovered natural horsemanship in 2001 when she met several Parelli instructors when she was working on a trade stand at Hickstead. She entered a prize draw competition and won a home study pack, but naively thought that natural horsemanship was just about ground work and thought it had little to offer her and Velvet at that time.
Several years later Sally bought Bertie, a yearling Hanoverian, and thought that the groundwork would be useful until he was old enough to be ridden. So she started to read through the information in the home study pack and suddenly realised that natural horsemanship had less to do with training the horse, and more to do with training the human. As a result she decided to follow the advice and study using her easier horse – Velvet. Suddenly things started to make sense and she was able to start to understand Velvet’s behaviours that previously had been a source of frustration for her. When she realised that all his behaviours were just feedback on their relationship, she was hooked and decided that natural horsemanship was what she had been looking for. There was quite a lot of humble pie to eat at first, realising that she had a long way to go to become the sort of leader that Velvet needed to feel safe with her. The transition from ‘normal’ to ‘natural’ was not always been easy, but natural horsemanship continues to be the most rewarding thing she has ever done.
Sally decided that she wanted to become a horsemanship instructor so she could help other people with their horses and decided that the fastest way to get there was to study on a full time basis. It was then that she moved to Shropshire and became a working student for a 3* Parelli Natural Horsemanship Professional and spent the following 12 months immersed in horsemanship. During this time she attended a 6 week horsemanship course at the Florida Parelli centre, and subsequently passed her Level 3 – the assessment needed to apply to become an instructor.
Sally then attended the 10 week Instructor university in 2008 at the Colorado Parelli centre, where she learnt from top instructors including John Baar and Rob MacAuliffe and completed a colt start led by Pat Parelli. At the end of the summer she returned to the UK as a 1* trainee instructor and 1* Colt (young horse) starter. In April 2009 she was awarded her 2* as a Licensed Parelli instructor. She graduated her Parelli Level 4 in March 2010 with Bertie, and was awarded her 3* instructor status in January 2011.
In February 2015 she had to say goodbye to her wonderful Bertie when he was put to sleep due to a chronic condition affecting his vertebrae. She felt very lucky to have shared some amazing adventures and special moments in the 11 years they had together.
Later in 2015 saw the start of a new relationship with Taylor, an unstarted 3 year old TB x Newforest, to mature around 15.2hh. With the help of an experienced colt starter she started him over the summer and has been enjoying getting to know him and progress his foundation using natural horsemanship.
Over the years Sally has regularly taught as part of the Faculty team at several of the worldwide centres – UK Centre at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire, Australian Centre in Sydney and the Florida Centre in Ocala. She has also spent over 9 months overseas studying horsemanship, teacher-man-ship and young horse starting with high level and experienced horsemen and women including directly with Pat and Linda Parelli.
As a horsemanship professional she has regularly attended national events such as the Horse of the Year Show, Your Horse Live, The British Open and Royal Festival of the Horse, as part of the UK Parelli team, speaking to students on the trade stand and being part of the demo team with her horses.
Her freelance teaching has taken her to all corners of the UK and also led her to be invited regularly to the Middle East to teach in the UAE and Oman which was a fantastic experience to learn about different human and horse cultures.
Sally is passionate about self improvement, learning and continued professional development and regularly studies with higher level horsemen and women – such as Luis Lucio (dressage coach), Karen Rohlf (Dressage Naturally coach), Colleen Kelly (Rider Biomechanics), David Stuart, Buck Branaman and Martin Black (Master horsemen) as well as Pat and Linda Parelli.
She is currently based in Shropshire and teaches throughout the Midlands and further afield – helping horse owners and riders to reach their goals.