Leonie’s riding career began with a
naughty little pony, aptly named Little B
(you can imagine what the B stood for!)
Not one to be daunted Leonie persevered
and soon began to excel through The
South Berkshire Pony Club. She was
quickly drawn towards dressage and her talent became evident in her many appearances on the Area teams, culminating in winning the PC Team National Championships on Finnegan’s Rainbow at the age of 16.
At this time she began her affiliated career with the help of Lindsay Jenkins, successfully training her Pony Club horse to advanced medium and regional qualifications. These exciting times led to Leonie being given the ride on Grand Prix horse Shiwago, who she competed at PSG at the age of 18. Before heading to Bristol to read Biochemistry, Leonie was heavily involved in BYRDS, training with the likes of Jennie Lorriston Clarke, David Trott and Harry Boldt.
After a successful degree from Bristol and 3 years spent developing her naturally curious mind, Leonie responded to an advert from Lynne Crowden for a rider at Woodlander Stud. It was a fantastic experience working closely with Cath Creemer and receiving training from the German classical trainer Michael Beining. She continued training with Michael when she moved to the Half Moon Stud, where she produced some fantastic horses, including Blind Faith, and began training her first Grand Prix horse Caitano.
Around this time Leonie’s parents moved to Worcestershire and Daneswood Dressage was born. Leonie spent the next 10 years building up the yard and establishing herself both as an inspirational trainer and a top class competitor. She competed extensively at Premier League shows and achieved fantastic results at the National Championships with an impressive range of horses. Her ability as a trainer was evident as she began training International para riders and JFEI riders, as well as bringing her supportive training methods to help a whole host of riders.
Unfortunately Leonie’s parents divorced and the yard was sold. Never one to be daunted Leonie settled down to concentrate on building her career as a trainer, only keeping a few young horses in livery. She built up a vast network of clients across both the Midlands and the North. These clinics have grown and grown in popularity. Leonie focused on her teaching while building her new yard, just down the road from the original Daneswood Dressage.
Daneswood Dressage opened in its gates on the 28th June 2015 and has gone from strength to strength. The yard offers top class livery, as well as being a home to Leonie’s current superstar, the impressive Friesian Rommert HW, Bert to his friends. Bert has qualified for the Nationals and will be coming out at Advanced later in the year. Leonie now holds regular clinics at her yard and is enjoying training from home again, though she still travels to the North to continue with the clinics that she built up there. Leonie has become involved with para dressage after being inspired by producing Red Dawn who was sold to the Hong Kong Para team and shortlisted for the 2012 Olympics. She provides livery and training to para riders and is looking forward to working with all her super talented pupils.
All horses have different personalities, so they all need different training approaches to get the best work from them.
I never impose a training structure on a horse and expect it to bend to my will, but rather work with a horse to gain a rewarding outcome.
We never stop learning, so every training session that I give I bring a wealth of knowledge and lessons that I have learnt to help solve the problems in front of me.
The scales of training provide an excellent training framework, but I know that horses can only progress as quickly as they are physically able. I would rather spend months teaching elasticity in the back, than simply teaching tricks to move them up the grades.
I am passionate about correcting the rider’s alignment and believe that we cannot expect our horses to be straight when we are crooked! So I have series of exercises to help correct the rider’s posture.
I understand the psychology of riding, and bring that all my lessons. I provide easy to follow exercises as homework to help my pupils stay motivated and break down the areas that they are struggling with into manageable, achievable portions.
I believe that dressage is an art form not a science and we are constantly changing. Every time I ride I strive to be better, and try new ideas and new ways to help others to improve.
I hope that my teaching brings people clarity not confusion and a chance to build a rewarding relationship with their horse, no matter what level they are riding at.
As I am passionate about becoming a better coach, I have been working up through the grades of the UKCC as part of my CPD (continuous professional developement). These are 10 qualities of a good coach that I believe in and aspire to:
1. To know the sport
2. To seek out new information
3. To be a motivator
4. To know and understand the individual athelete and horse
5. To be an effective communicator
6. To be a good listener
7. To be disciplined
8. To lead by example and display commitment
9. To set goals for pupils to improve performance
10. To monitor pupils' progress