And I’m an international equitation coach here to support you to achieve your best riding by focussing not only on your horse but you too, by using rider biomechanics as the core to my teaching I will help you to expand you knowledge of how you and your horse come together and make your magic.
I’m also a mum to one human, 3 horses and 2 dogs, a farmers wife, a human who lives with chronic illness, and a horse nerd, who loves to test her boundaries and challenge the normal way of thinking about horse type by competing at dressage with my gypsy cobs.
Hey I'm Meg
Let's get to know each other a bit more.....
I've spent over 20 years coaching people in both riding and human movement, and helping them to find the best version of themselves on and off their horses
Here's what I believe...
That our riding begins with our position, that the more we know about our how our bodies function, the better our horses feel and the easier they can achieve what they are being asked to do.
That the more quality you have in your movement the better your horse moves
That riding well doesn't need to be a secret held by only certain people, that everyone who loves horses can ride well with access to the right information
That you don't need to spend a fortune to get quality help
That you don't need to trek to the gym every day or have expensive gym equipment to find improvement
That our movement is guided by our nervous system and it's vital we understand this in humans and horses
Everyone has the potential to be a great rider
Horses & Me
I began riding when I was 4 years old, a "mistake" made by my mum who said to a friend Meg would probably be ok to come and watch your daughters lesson whilst my mum was at work! Little did she know what was going to happen, I vividly remember sitting on a plastic chair in the corner of this sand school watching my friend ride and wishing I could have a go. I went home and pestered my parents so the next time my friend went I got to have a ride too. That was it, I was hooked. My parents are non-horsey, but they were busy so the local riding school became a "handy" place for me to go whilst they worked. It started with pony rides and pony mornings whilst I was tiny but very quickly (health and safety really wasn't a thing) I used to spend the day at the stables, desperately trying to help out, I remember not being able to reach the ponies backs so resting the saddle on my head to lift up onto there backs. Badgering the older kids to let me lead so I could "earn" tickets to ride and being petrified of the spiders in the toilet!! The stables were where I found myself, my first ventures into exploring who I was away from home and school, the ponies were my best friends, spending hours sitting in fields and stables chatting away to them and dreaming of one day being able to call one my own. When at home I'd set up "jumps" in the garden by resting a bamboo pole on the back of two garden chairs and spend hours cantering into them (on my imaginary pony), Haynets made out of string would hang at the end of the garden full of grass cuttings as I groomed this invisible animal. The stables was where you'd find me at weekends and one week night, as I got older I got to go more, I lead and mucked out for the odd lesson, we didn't have the money to afford me regular rides so I would take every opportunity. If a pony was needing exercises (usually because it was being naughty) I would get the ride, I learnt very early to sit to bucks, to spins, to stay on whilst being bolted with. My favourite pony for years was a dapple grey called Blue, then his counterpart another dapple grey called Nonnie, both would have one speed, very fast, we zoomed to the rear of every ride, trotting really wasn't a thing. Legs had to be held off the side and balance was needed. As I grew through my teenage years I struggled at school, bullying was a theme and so my horses really became my sanctuary, I struggled with depression brought on by the bullying and a general feeling of not belonging everywhere other than at the stables. Unfortunately this was the time where lots of riding schools closed, the one I needed up going to was clicky, very different to the lovely place I'd grown up in. Because I was struggling so much at school, I had no confidence so I pulled away, never wanting to let the horses go I answered an ad asking for help with a pony whilst the owner went to Uni, my dream, a pony (nearly) of my own. I learnt quickly that having a horse in a field with no infrastructure was very different to being at a riding school, I had to learn even quicker how to fully care for one. Eventually the owner came home, and time to change again. Driving round for hours with my poor mum, trying to find any yard that I could be near horses we heard of a small yard in a different village the other side of town, when we landed there it felt comfortable, totally ramshackle but friendly. I was 11 years old and I never realised that in another 7 I would be running the same yard! Here I got my first pony on official loan, a beautiful dun Connemara gelding who had been passed from pillar to post because he was labeled as "nuts", he'd just arrived at the yard and the owner asked if I would like to have him on loan. As he popped his head over the door I fell in love, Finn, my heart pony. He was 5 years old a barely trained, he did everything at 100 miles an hour and again didn't enjoy the leg, he also wasn't too keen on open spaces and so hacking was always a big adventure with a lot of falls along the way. I had no idea of positive training, of horse personality, of any skill. I was having the odd lesson but other than that it was all self taught. I muddled through and learnt a lot, I read a lot and Finn kept me from falling into a pit of depression, I survived school, just, and in a desperate bid to get away from the girls at school I left home at 16 and went to live 3 hours away at an equestrian college taking Finn with me, I remember the meeting asking the owner if she'd allow me to take him, I was so scared she'd say no, but I knew I couldn't do it without him. I was in heaven, a horse school! Living a breathing horses, we had "duties" every other week where we had to do morning and evening yards, with late checks and weekends. That was up on the bus to the yards at 6am and finish by 7pm if you were lucky, I was 16 and it was brilliant, hard, bloody hard but brilliant. The yard was run like a military machine, if it wasn't swept right we had to do it again, if your banks weren't turned correctly you had to do it again, 15 minutes per stable and that included full muck out with banks turned, horse brushed, rugs changed, hay and water. Riding was a challenge, Finn didn't thrive there he found the whole thing stressful so went home after the first year, heart broken I'd travel back to see him. This was my first real experience of quality instruction, I learnt what an outline was at age 16, I started to understand rider position, I learnt how to jump correctly, I realised that everything I had taught myself was luck rather than judgement and I relearnt how to do it correctly under the watchful eye of people like Ian Cast (Charlotte Dujardins right hand man now). At 18 I qualified with Equestrian Science and the skills needed to run a yard. The choice, continue and do a degree or get out and work, I wanted to work. The yard owner where Finn was looked like she was giving up, the lessons had been stopped whilst I was away at college and there were a few liveries left. My parents being business people said to me there could be an opportunity, I was young and naive but wanted to work with horses, I went off to groom for a showing family and whilst I was managing their 20 ponies and nannying their twins I contacted the owner of the yard and said if she ever wanted to give up could she give me first refusal on the lease please. (Naive remember) On the November of 2002 I official began my own business, I was 18 years old, I had gone to the bank manager with a business plan and they had loaned me the money, I brought 10 horse sand ponies off the previous owner and the lease, whilst I was at college I had gained most of my BHS exams for coaching and finished them off in the 6 months I'd left. Now I was an adult, with debt, a business, horses to look after and staff to pay I worked, I worked bloody hard. I ran this yard for 15 years, built it to 22 horses, renovated it to a thriving beautiful little riding school that was reminiscent of the one I had first walked into when I was 4. It was and still is BHS approved, a Pony Club Centre and I absolutely loved coaching riders through from beginner to being able to do the same as me, have their own horse and care for it well. I loved to be able to give younger riders the skills I never had, to instal in them the love of learning, I loved to help adults unpick issues or give them a dream of riding that they had never been able to achieve before. Over those 15 years I coached 1000's of riders, seeing every positional quirk there is to see and helping them to unpick and find there deeper knowledge and ability. Unfortunately in my late 20's my health suffered, I struggled with chronic fatigue after a virus and so the hours became harder and I knew I needed to think again. I had also fallen in love with a farmer, who lived no where near the yard. As we realised we were going to be together we also had to think about logistics, I couldn't move the yard to the farm as there was already an amazing riding school established just down the road and because of my health I felt the time may come for a change. Luckily a friend, a friend who's I'd ridden with and plagued about letting me lead all those years ago was also looking for another career her children were older and she wanted to spend time with them, she brought the business from me. It still runs today and is an amazing place for beginners and children to learn. When I sold the business I took some time out from teaching riding to the public, I kept a handful of friends on, but my horses came over to the farm and we spent a year unwinding from what had been a mammoth 20 years! I sat in the field with them once more, chatted to them and reminded myself of why I love them so much. My husband and I married on the farm and I rode my pony to our wedding, down the street over the hill and to the bridge where we said our vows. My current ponies were bridesmaids and I was finding my pace again. My health got better, I was riding and competing once more and then I fell pregnant. Wow, what a shock to the body that was, no riding just ground work I started to work with my cobs who were young but safe and building their confidence. I had Olive and within a week was back on, my normal go go go, I hit the ground running and was back competing within a month. But my body had changed and I hadn't realised. When olive was 9 months old we went into lockdown for covid, (if you're reading this in the future remember that!!!) coaching stopped and the horses chilled, I began an online membership for my yoga clients and that kept me working, but when olive was 18months old I slipped a disc in my back that would leave me with a spinal cord injury and a long journey back to riding. Boom, stopped in my tracks I had to use everything I knew from my coaching and my human movement teaching to rehab myself back to the place I am today. This experience along with every other experience I have had in my horse life is what brings my passion and love to what I teach. The academy and my coaching are all because of this journey I have been on, my dream is to be able to give everyone I come across the tools that I have so that they can be successful in their own journey.
movement & Me
In 2014 I started to practice yoga as a way to de-stress. My mum had practiced yoga for most of my life and I'd heard that it had the tools to be able to relax you. I was going through a particular intense period of my life with my health conditions flaring up and a lot going on I knew I needed a way to unwind, most other 'exercises' hadn't given me this and so when feeling at my lowest I found my way to yoga. Over the years yoga has enabled me to find peace with my health, start to heal myself from inside out, deal with trauma and of course teach me how to live in a slower more relaxed way. I have learnt to remove myself from the chronic stress I was living in and find a balance in my life that has enabled me to overcome many challenging situations. Because of how powerful yoga was to me I wanted to be able to share this with others, so I studied to become a yoga teacher and qualified in 2016. Over the years I have continued to study human movement, and the different types of conscious movement that are known, pilates and strength and conditioning are the most common. Whilst studying these and building my knowledge of yoga too I found I was going to need all of this myself when I ended up in hospital with a spinal cord injury. In 2020 a disc in my lower back slipped, I was doing a simple task of placing my 18 month old daughter into her cot and suddenly found myself in agonising pain. Unable to move I knew something was wrong. Luckily at the time I had a fabulous Osteo that immediately detected the signs of what is Caudia Equine and I was sent to the hospital for an MRI, the disc had indeed moved, but they were happy there was enough space for it to not be dangerous. I was sent home to rest and rebuild myself. If I'm honest I was still in the throws of learning how to be a mum, it was covid and I just didn't take it as seriously as I knew I should have, I played around with a bit of my own rehab but had too much on my mind to really think about getting back, I mean they had said I'd be fine, so I figured like most of us horsey girls, down some pain killers and keep going. Fast forward to Easter 2021, I woke up one day experiencing catastrophic central nervous system inflammation, I woke up and had lost what I soon found out was 95% of my eye sight and I was very quickly loosing control of my left side. When I went to get this checked out, again not really processing the extent of what was happening, I was quickly admitted and at that point on March 23rd 2021 my new life began. It turned out I was experiencing a serious autoimmune condition called NMO, about 9% of people in the whole of Europe suffer this each year and I was just so very lucky to bump into a Dr that day that recognised the symptoms. My whole immune system had started to attack my central nervous system, my spinal cord and optical nerves, the only way to save my sight and my movement was high dose steroids, pain killers and a cocktail of drugs. MRI'd within an inch of my life to find out what was going on another diagnosis very quickly came my way, not only was I suffering from one risk of paralysis but that disc that had moved the previous summer was now wedged in my spinal cord (we will never know how or when this change happened) crushing my nerves that lead to my bowl, bladder and lower body I was in a bit of a tie. By April 9th I had had emergency surgery, but had lost a lot of my control of my lower body, luckily I still could walk, but no bowel or bladder control and very little sensation. It would take 18 months for my eye sight to recover, to a degree but I am still partially blind, Unfortunately the high dose drugs used to save my sight and movement has left me with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus with a bit of Sjogren's syndrome thrown in. Never before had the tools I had learnt over the past 6 years been called on more, I studied harder, I needed to get my body back to a place where I felt I could function. I learnt more about the nervous system, how nerves work, how they recover, how the brain understands the body. I learnt about alignment, about how the smallest difference in the bodies position changes everything. I learnt how to build back a pelvic floor even when I had no sensation, I learnt how to build a core string enough to protect a fragile back so that I could ride again and more importantly lift my daughter. Quietly every day I used the tools I knew and added more to it, this sparked more knowledge about thew riders position, but also about chronic pain, chronic stress, illness and dis-ease. Everything I know I try now to use to help others, whether it be riders trying to ride better, settle nerves or be in less pain, to humans who have health issues wanting to get to a stronger more happy place. I no longer teach "yoga" it's more of a conscious movement, bringing in all the lessons. This is fed into my Equistretch for riders and also my Align and Awaken for non riders. I not only teach this, I live it, I have too. I suffer with chronic pain daily and of course a body that is slowly deteriorating, so I am determined to be as strong as I can to hold off what is a rapid form of these conditions.