Sue Nevill-Parker

I have been riding and training horses for longer than I can remember as my first equestrian challenge was to ride a "gift pony" who was the same age as me - 4! We eventually came to an arrangement and became a staunch member of the Prince Phillip Cup gymkhana team. Later, I progressed to bigger ponies and through the Pony Club Show Jumping and Horse Trials teams onto BHS Horse Trials. My wonderful TB X connemara gelding and I galloped through the grades to Advanced level, specialising in one day events with winning dressage scores and double clears. After several more horses, I switched to Show Jumping and after upgrading to Grade A found a whole new challenge. I spent several rewarding years travelling up and down the country on the "county circuit" culminating in a place in the Queen Elizabeth Cup at the Royal International Horse show.

With yet another change in direction, I decided to concentrate on teaching and begun a new search for inspiration. I had become interested in Vaulting - Gymnastics on horseback - as a fun but safe way to teach essential riding skills to children. I gained the British Equestrian Vaulting and the British Gymnastics Association Coaching Awards and met top class coaches from other sports through the National Coaching Foundation. This opened up a whole new world of teaching and learning and lead me to question the validity of traditional methods of teaching riding. "Just for fun" I had become a keen amateur aerobatics pilot, was getting to grips with skiing the "black" runs and took up Yoga, Tai chi and the Alexander Technique, so was gaining first hand experience of good and bad learning experiences I found that in some cases (skiing in particular) it was a lot better to teach myself!

My own dressage teacher, Erik Herbermann, author of "Dressage Formula", has also been an inspiration and while the skills required of a horseman have not really changed over the centuries, the learning situation has changed completely. Our expectations are higher and most people want instant results. The average wait for information from a website is 3 seconds; horsemanship takes a little longer, but if you are still with us, you must be prepared to take the necessary time to acquire the necessary skills which will make you a true horseman.

Return to the team.