"Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable" Mary Oliver

Welcome to
Soft and Sound

Many years ago, having hit a brick wall with my mare, I stumbled across two brilliant, very humble, horse people - Tom and Sarah Widdicombe. I ended up training under them and then teaching alongside them, and they could not have been more generous with their time and experience. Tom's book, 'Be With Your Horse' is still a source of inspiration for me. From them, I learned about 'Softness' and how it might relate to 'Soundness'....

I have travelled regularly to Portugal to learn more about the tradition of working equitation and the art of garrocha. I mistakenly bought a horse here who has turned out to be ridiculously important to me. I traveled to America to learn with great horsemen and women, who often describe what they do as foundational, but which to me looks quite extraordinary.

I am proud to call Kathleen Lindley Beckham and Karen Musson friends as well as colleagues, and their insights into horse(wo)manship have changed my life forever.

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Then, sometimes you get an opportunity that reminds you the universe is a good place. I was selected to train with Philippe Karl on his Instructor Training course. I began that in 2015 and through some of the darkest moments of my life, somehow, I continued training with him. What I have learned from Mr Karl I will be forever grateful for; he showed me that ordinary riders with ordinary horses (like me) could learn to do extraordinary things.

What you need is knowledge, commitment and a passion to learn. His approach means any one of us can understand how to train a horse without force, gadgets or punitive techiques.

Alongside this, I have trained in Equine Sports Massage, and have pursued work in the field of human mental health and wellbeing. Both these continue to compliment my teaching. I currently have a small herd of Iberians and Iberian crosses. I keep them as naturally as I can and try to provide them with a varied and interesting life. We explore Dartmoor as well as developing our areas of skill on the ground and under saddle. You can find out a lot more about these horses and what I do with them via the membership section and blog.

My Principles

  • Working with respect for the horse’s physical and mental well-being - with the aim of improving both.
  • Teaching the horse to understand, be physically able and mentally willing to do what you want; rather than the rider having to push, hold, cajole, argue, force and 'manufacture' the horse.
  • Recognising that for a horse balance is critical, and we should prioritise that from the very beginning.
  • Recognizing that without 'feel' results will always be mediocre, and that it can be learned (but maybe not taught).

My Horses

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Desaforo Veiga Lusitano

'Des' is a holiday romance that I couldn't walk away from. The David Beckham of the horse world, he finds it hard not to need the vet on a weekly basis. He is the horse I have been training with Philippe Karl. His name in Portuguese means impudent or petulant. Let's just say he does think he's rather special, and he was the classic example of a horse who was light, but not soft. He has been an absolute pleasure to work with.

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      Llangybi Fuego        3/4 PRE 1/4 Section D

Fuego has been with me since he was rising 5, and had big shoes to fill - stepping into Tycoon's place as my second horse. He is 7, and a delight - sweet natured, quick to learn, but easily worried. He had an accident in the field so is currently on a rehab programme.

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               Luis                   Lusitano x cob

Luis is a Lusitano x Cob. He is also a champ, the big guy, the Luis Police, the lord of all horses. He was gifted to me by a good friend as he has quite a lot of feet issues and needed a team of specialists who could support that. He has gifted back to me ever since. He is worried and reactive and can brace up in a heart beat. He is also the kindest, brightest, most communicative horse I have ever known. He had two years of just rehab and rest, now he is back in the game .

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The Babies

Blaze and Atrueno are two young PRE fusions, the other half of their breeding is Rocky Mountain Horse. They arrived in January 2021, and are from the wonderful Mistrals Stud in the U.K. They are proving to be a delightful addition to my herd. I share their progress in the membership group and hope they will be with me for many years to come.