From Rider to Coach: A little about me
Having non stop pursued my parents at 6years old, to buy Honey, who was to me the best pony in the world, my passion soon developed for showjumping ignited during my childhood when my family's scrap yard became my makeshift riding arena and as many pony mad kids, drove my parents crazy, with ponies this, ponies that. I was fearless even back then, constructing jumps out of anything I could find, sometimes wondering how I and the ponies escaped unscathed! I was so besotted by my first real set of jumps, they are sat in my field now some 25 years later (Polyjumps endorsement or what!) My journey took a significant turn when I crossed paths when two remarkable ex-cavalary instructors saw something in me. They recognised some apparent natural affinity for horses and an unconscious imagination of mechanics and engineering that my father had quietly instilled in me since I could talk. I began to explore classical riding techniques, delving deep into the art of horsemanship. I became obsessed with analysing videos of my rides and competition rounds, scrutinising every move, every moment before a knocked down pole or a turn. I thrived for improvement, for the understanding of what to change, what to influence, and how to assist my horse. I made mistakes, I solved them, I ignored the obvious at times, and then worked out out how to listen. During this time, I didn't have a regular instructor, but my determination led me to self-study and earn my BHS coaching qualifications. Over the following years, I gained a reputation for riding and producing horses, taking them from the early stages to showjumping at the higher levels, many going off aboard to have great success. I discovered that many horses labeled as "problematic" weren't the issue at all; often, it was the rider's influence that needed attention, not a new saddle, a different bit, or change of feed. Eventually, I found myself taking on a riding school and building up what is now Yorkshire EC, a role I initially resisted. Teaching relatively non horsey novice riders, those struggling with the basics, was a challenge I didn't feel prepared for. However, a pivotal lesson reshaped my coaching approach. I stepped in to coach a lunge lesson for a gentleman who had minimal riding experience, dragged into riding solely by his girlfriend's block booking. He was kind but lacked any real feel for horses. I was at a loss on how to help anymore, everything I had been 'taught' to try wasn't working, until I discovered his background as a mechanic. We connected through common ground, comparing the horse's movement to the moving parts of a car or bike, with him as the next moving part. Cues clicked, and he not only understood but enjoyed the experience and actually has remained riding, for fun at least. It was a moment of relief and realisation. The subsequent years of managing my riding school became the breeding ground for refining my coaching system. It revolved around a simple comprehension of biomechanics that was accessible to riders of all ages, from children to adults. My coaching philosophy was put to the test as I worked with diverse group of riders, all riding nice but pretty average horses. I coached them all on this team of horses, demonstrating that my approach worked. When the riders on the same horse achieved different results, it became evident to them just how a rider's influence was playing a paramount role in the outcomes, now this may sound obvious, but obvious isn’t always easy to see when you are riding. And these average horses no longer went like 'average' horses, they tried harder, they gave more, they lasted longer, they didn't need so much help to stay on the road. Through my quest for riding horses in their best possible frame, I've always maintained a keen interest in dressage. While I may not have frequently graced the dressage ring at the higher levels, a few chance rides on remarkable horses during a time when my parents lived in the Channel Islands sparked a deeper fascination. Dressage quietly found a place in my heart alongside showjumping. Interestingly, as my passion for dressage grew, my showjumping horses began to jump less and less at home. I found myself directing their training toward what I endearingly called "showjumping obedience," a term I borrowed from the late, great Tim Stockdale. And the difference this made to them in the ring was profound. I spent hours learning and watching the horses, how they say so much and just ask for help, taught me how to stop saying “No” to a horse, “Don’t do that, I would like this” to being able to train them in a consistent positive way, building their confidence, let that be an equal partner in the tasks we ultimately choose. Watching the moment when one of my clients learn this too is what makes coaching for me. When all the hard work becomes so unbelievably easy and they realise is didn’t need to be hard at all. Now, my showjumpers have retired and are enjoying their golden years. It's given me the opportunity to explore the world of dressage more extensively. I've developed a particular fondness for the incredible Iberian horses, and I've embarked on a journey with my 4-year-old PRE, Mei. Additionally, behind the scenes, my very well homebred PRE, Fusion Bodo by U-Genius, is steadily growing, poised for future adventures. Today, I run our busy show centre and livery horses and although I no longer coach Riding School, I continue to now exclusively coach riders with their own horses here at our super facilities at Yorkshire EC. From those starting out a the first levels to riders competing at Advanced levels. I am always seeking ways to develop my own knowledge as I believe you never stop learning. Along my journey I have collected more qualifications, including becoming a BHS Accredited Professional, UKCC Level 2 Coach, Franklin Method Equestrian Coach, FEI Course Design L1, BS Course Design L1 alongside too many courses to list. Naturally I am First Aid trained and Enhanced DBS Checked. Ready to join me on a transformative riding experience? Together, we discover the cues that work best for you and your horse, tailoring your riding to enhance your strengths and overcome your weaknesses. Book your session today and let's ride toward success together.
Flat | Dressage Training/Test Riding
PoleWork or GridWork Training
Showjumping or Eventing Coaching
Biomechanics and Posture Correction
Private £25 | Shared £17
Private £35 | Shared £25
Private £42 | Shared £32
Camps & Clubs
Gemma teaches a few hours most days. You can find her dates when she has certain clinics running with specific facilities such as Arena Eventing Fences or PoleWork on the diary below.
Stabling onsite too if required
If you would like to find out more info on Gemma's clinics, feel free to call her on 07748115588.
Alternatively to book on to a clinic with Gemma, please fill out the form below and she will get back to you asap with availability for that date.
We do also host Clinics for external Coaches. If you see the 'purple' enter button on the Diary above, the clinic is bookable online or contact details for the external Coach will be listed.
All new riders are required to download, print and complete a Rider & Horse Registration Form and bring along with you to your first session. Alternatively you can complete one at YEC before your lesson.
Click here for the form