Cooper - my path to instructor
the age of 6 when I started riding school, I wished for a pony, finally
getting one when I turned 8 and proved it wasn't a passing whim!
Mum loved horses and as well as supporting my love for them, and started
my interest in breeding. She had an Arabian stallion who was bred
to various mares producing some nice riding horses which went onto
provide me with pony club and show mounts.
Owning a property in the tourist and holiday area of the Tasman Penisula,
inspired our family to put all the horses to work by offering escorted
trail rides which naturally led me to instructing people in the basics
of horse riding.
Then local kids sought me out to help them and before too long, I'd
formed a riding club which is still going strong 20 years later.
Having bred our own young horses and handled them from birth, it was
also natural that I'd start them under saddle with guidance from the
'Tom Roberts' books and 'The Jeffrey Method', both known for their
horsemanship skills in Australia. Once word got out that I could do
this, people were soon asking me to start their horses too.
I'd always admired Arabians so while working for a stud in Queensland,
I took the opportunity to get my first purebred - a colt, who I educated
and competed with to become the top performed Arabian stallion in
Tasmania. There wasn' t much we hadn't tried and been successful in
- led and ridden shows, endurance rides, dressage, picnic racing,
jumping and western events.
As I gathered a small group of mares to breed with him, I also played
polocrosse then started campaigning his progeny in the show ring and
at endurance rides.
After such a varied equestrian career, I became very dissolusioned
with the methods people were resorting to for success, and with no
desire to compete and mix with them, I lost my enthusiasm for riding.
and Manny (Examiner Photo)
That was until I saw Pat Parelli in
1992 at his first clinic in Tasmania. I knew I'd found the way I wanted
to be with horses and jumped right in, buying all the equipment, videos
and registering as a student.
With enthusiasm coming in waves (mostly inspired by Linda Parelli's
newsletters and Philip Nye's acheivements and encouragement), it took
me two years to have Level 1 assessed, then I got serious about my
horsemanship and aims of being an instructor.
This led to organising many clinics in Tasmania and taking on the
role of Area Coordinator for the State. After reaching level 2 thanks
to mentoring with Ken Faulkner, I started my annual pilgrimage to
Braidwood in NSW to learn more from Pat. I then studied at his International
Study Centre for 6 weeks in 1996, the first year of ISC courses.
The following year, qualified as an instructor, my career was now
with horses, something I'd always dreamed of. But then a back injury
forced me to stop riding for almost a year so reaching Level 3 seemed
to take forever and was finally achieved mid 1999.
Now after many courses and many years of experience, I have the knowledge
that I've always wanted to be able to offer my horses. With 13 of
them (and a mule!) to play with, I have no shortage of projects to
broaden my horsemanship skills.
Having earned my living
from instructing now for over 10 years, I have and will continue to
learn from my students and their horses too.
I believe experience is the greatest teacher of all.
My interest in providing as close to a natural environment for my horses
as possible has led me to develop skills in hoof trimming for barefoot
performance, feeding and treating most health problems naturally.
Developing more awareness
for what horses prefer has led me to making my own design of Bitless
Bridle, Bareback Pad and saddle
As my horsemanship awareness grows, I am exploring the various ways
of communicating with horses, truly understanding what they want and
how they can heal us as much as we can them.
I am now in the process
of recording all I've learned and have published on this web site by
writing my first book.
this web site:
aim is to provide a site that may help and inspire horse owners to
take a more natural approach to all aspects of horse ownership by
developing a better understanding of the horse's inherant needs.
This has come from my
studies of horse psychology, natural horsemanship methods, keeping,
feeding, treating and hoof trimming my own horses, naturally.
I would love to see all
horse owners become more interested and capable in more aspects of
the care and education of their horses,
for the benefit of this beautiful animal who is here to teach us so
Having fun with Manny and Tigga. (Examiner photo).
and I were regular performers in the Agfest central arena from 1996
Read a tribute to Manny, my special horse
Develop, market and sell the LightRider
Teach people through private lessons,
workshops, 2-5 day courses and
seminars in Tasmania and occasionally overseas.
Educate foals, young horses and
trailer loading problems
Teach and consult on hoof trimming
Consult on horse psychology and
Consult on natural horse care
Give appraisals for horse purchases
Mentor Polytechnic Equine Hoof
Write articles, newsletters, books.
view from my place on a winter morning.
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Natural Horse World
Wattle Lea Lane, Golden Valley. Tasmania, 7304. Australia.