The Horse Aunty

The Horse Aunty Sympathetic coaching, specialising in confidence building. Advice and practical on the ground help with improving your partnership with your horse.

I am a sympathetic coach and am happy to help riders improve by looking at the whole picture of horse and rider to optimise the combination by identifying goals and helping you to make a plan to achieve. QUALIFICATIONS
BHS Stage 4 SM, Flatwork, Intermediate Teach. First Aid Certificate,and DBS checked. HGV Class 2 and trailer license,
APDT Bronze level Pet Dog Obedience Instructor,
ECDL and Clait

Computer Certificates. BIO
I started out as a Saturday girl in a private hunting and pony club yard at the age of 12 until I left school. I then worked in a large riding school and livery yard gaining qualifications and experience teaching. Working with all types of horses, riders and all levels. I did several part time equestrian college courses at this time. Gaining my BHSAI. Freelance work in dog boarding kennels, show jumping yard, continued teaching including private clients, hunting yard work, pony club camp assistant, grooming and showing up to County level with Mountain and Moorlands and a show cob for private owners. Horse Trailer driving included. Breaking 4 driving cobs, to ride. Training at Denne Park Dog Obedience club and passing my pet dog obedience instructors exam and being made chief instructor. Working in a large Hunting and pony club yard full time including teaching at Pony club camp regularly competing and training with their lovely horses. Gained HGV license driving 2 horseboxes. I had been working in an office to concentrate on my horses which have varied from young to old, rescue to schooled. I have been on the BHS West Sussex Committee for 7 years organising events for everyone such as a bitting lecture by Tricia Nassau-Williams and a Horse Rescue Demo by our Local Firemen. I had been helping with all aspects of running shows and clinics at Sands Farm Warnham as my horses were very happy liveries there. Now at Benbow Livery with my husband Darren's ride and drive mare, Blaen Morlais de Guzman a shared traditional show cob and my new mare Sally a Warmblood x Welsh. I have Kio my agility /obedience Collie and Millie our Romanian Rescue Whippet cross. I currently train and compete regularly at Obedience and Agility. I have been Senior Coach at Wildwoods Riding Centre, coaching everything from RDA to exam students. October 2021 now Freelance coaching in Surrey and West Sussex. I always am looking to expand my knowledge and have been training with Hilary Vernon from Informed Bitting from before lockdown with zoom and practical sessions as a Bitting Consultant. I have had coaching in Classical dressage, Natural Horsemanship, clicker training for horses and dogs, I was a lifetime member of the TTT Trust at Shamley Green (International/Classical coaches in jumping and dressage), I am an avid reader and try to take something from everything and apply what will work for me and to each rider/horse/dog as an individual. I have over 30 years experience and want animals to have the best holistic approach so if I am not able to meet your needs if possible I will recommend another professional from my trusted contacts.

Bitting Stand at BHS Camp Hickstead 2024

Bitting Stand at BHS Camp Hickstead 2024



! Note to readers ! - human diets are generally around 30% fat; horse diets around 3-4%. Supplementing oil takes the horse high fat diet up to 7-10% generally ie a very low fat human diet. Therefore it's not sensible to extrapolate.

Straight veg oil can be a useful addition to horse feed rations but it must be balanced correctly and introduced gradually:
🟡 oil supplies over twice the calories per gram than carbs (e.g starchy feeds like grain)
🟡 despite a very low-fat natural diet, horses can cope with high intakes of oil (some up to 20% of their dietary energy)
🟡 veg oil is useful for condition and adding energy for work whilst keeping starch intake low
🟡 balance carefully since oil is not nutritious over the whole range of essential nutrients (and it does increase vit E requirement)
🟡 Linseed and rapeseed are good (rapeseed best for forage-only diets to ensure enough omega-6 intake as well as omega-3)

For loads more information on feeding oil including:
🟡 Why oil?
🟡 What type of oil and why?
🟡 How much oil?
🟡 Is extra vitamin E necessary?
...head over to my online nutrition library, the ENLC.

Membership costs less than a bag of feed monthly and you can cancel anytime 👇👇🐴👇 (link in comments)



Do you know the answer to this "CORNER CONUNDRUM?" 🤔

How deep are you supposed to ride into your corners?

The answer is, it depends, and here's why:👇

Information is VAGUE out there! But according to the USEF Rule Book, “Corners should be ridden as one-quarter of a volte appropriate to the level of the test (10 meters at training-First Levels, 8 meters at Second-Fourth Levels and 6 meters above Fourth Level).”
[USEF Rule Book DR109]

But in reality, it depends on the development of both the horse and the rider. And in my humble opinion, this is the BEST answer. 🙌
It is far better to ride a good corner that will help support you and your horse for the next movement than to try to jam yourself into a black hole 😉

So definitely strive for the USEF guidelines, but only go as deep as you and your horse can without disturbing the rhythm, balance, and harmony.



Chaffs/chops are not so important for horses on 100% forage diets with vitamin and mineral supplements, due to their already adequate intake of fibrous roughage, which fulfills their need for fibre, and to chew.

The main reason for feeding chaffs in the feed bucket - as well as increasing fibre intake - is to encourage thorough chewing of concentrate feed or other pelleted feed, and therefore reducing the risk of choke.

The other reason for feeding chaff is to increase chewing to support stomach health via swallowing of saliva - relevant if forage intake is restricted for some reason.

(Higher energy chaffs like alfalfa/grass/compound fibres are only relevant if enough is fed e.g. a double handful may not make a significant difference)

If a horse or pony is thriving on a forage-only diet then all they need is a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement, and that can be mixed with a base feed they find palatable (which is relevant for their needs). That could be a mash or mix, or a chaff.

Horses with diastema (where their chewing teeth are not tightly squeezed together) should not be fed chopped forages which can get stuck between teeth and cause decay.

So if you don't feed a chaff but your horse or pony has plenty of fibre, a well-balanced diet, and doesn't bolt down their bucket feed, then don't worry.

Feel free to share


Sitting in balance with a horse, in motion, doesn't always mean you should have an upright seat. Take jumping or galloping for example - a forward seat, or else... you're left behind the movement, and it's the hospital for you.

Even the simple rising trot - is not always suitable for an upright seat. It depends on the rider's ability to keep in sync with the horse's balance. To rise to the trot in balance with a moving horse, the upper body needs to be slightly forward - to be a good load to carry. Otherwise you will be behind the centre of gravity, dragging against the horse's momentum to go, plonking on your horse's back each time you land, and likely pulling yourself up from the reins each time you rise.

Unsurprisingly, with this combination load instabilty, it's very difficult for a horse to go forward - let alone to find their own expressive impulsion, balance and relaxation.

A rider with an 'independent seat' - one who doesn't rely on their hands or gripping legs for balance - can give minimal, accurate aids, from the right position and effortless postural alignment.

Working in a 2 point light seat is a great way to improve your balance. As is riding without stirrups or ba****ck. (Safely of course) Can you trot while 'hovering' over the saddle - just a few cm's up off your bum. In a light seat your legs stretched deep and well back enough to support your balance? How long can you stay off the saddle? You'll need to lean or fold forward, with your calves stretched well down, and with flexible bouncy knees and ankles - as shock absorbers.

If your legs are not underneath your centre of gravity you will have trouble staying out of the saddle. If your ankles, feet or toes are tense you will not achieve a soft bouncing balance. How gently can you land back in the saddle? Can you ride a figure 8 in trot and canter like this? Can you consistently manage your own balance and not rely on your seat or hands to support you?

Regardless of which pace, tempo or movement you are in, if the horse suddenly dissappeared from underneath you - so you are no longer supported or held up - where would you land? On your bum, your nose, or your feet?

If you were leaning too far back - in the 'chair seat' - you might land with a thud on your bum. Too far forward - in the 'fork seat' - you'd be on your nose. Just right - I'm going to call it the 'Goldilocks seat' - and you'll land upright, on your feet, in balance, and with a spring in your step.

Happy. Horse times
Susie :)


Dressage is not abusive.
It’s a kind and ethical training.
Dressage is not flashy.
It’s about correct posture and spinal alignment.
Dressage is not exhausting.
It's about lightness and motivation.
Dressage is not about getting fast results.
It is quiet and humble.
Dressage is not about external validation.
It’s an art.
Dressage is not for building up your ego.
It’s a journey of self-discovery.
Dressage doesn’t wear out the joints.
It keeps your horse fit until old age.
Dressage doesn’t shut down the horse or cause anxiety.
It is about a human and a horse connecting on a deep level, from heart to heart.
When riding is abusive, flashy, exhausting, promises fast results, used to get external validation, needed to build up your ego, wears out the joints, and causes shut down or anxiety, it’s not dressage!


Imagine the bit being in front of your horse’s mouth. Instead of pulling back, you want to push him forward into the bit for a softer, springier horse. - Phillip Dutton

Thanks to Cosequin Equine for our coverage of the 2024 Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event, including rider interviews, competition reports, horse spotlights, photos, videos and more.


"Riguardo alla forza con cui la mano deve essere serrata (sulle redini), immagina di tenere un uccellino in ciascuna mano, con la testa che esce tra il pollice e l’indice. Non bisogna stringere troppo gli uccellini, altrimenti faresti loro del male, né devi tenerli così leggeri da lasciarli volare via."

✒ Sally Swift

📖 Centerd Riding

I have just been sent this gorgeous photo of Elvis wearing his new Ecorider Bridle. Custom fitted as between sizes. Mess...

I have just been sent this gorgeous photo of Elvis wearing his new Ecorider Bridle. Custom fitted as between sizes. Message me if you would like a fitting too.


"A young rider was lunging a horse when an old rider came close. After having observed him, the old man asked the boy: And the boy answered Yes. So the old man closed his own hand into a fist and said to him: Then the boy used his strength in any way possible by pinching, hitting, pulling, pushing...but he just couldn't open the hand. So he finally asked the old man:



Stress can be defined as the body's reaction to mental or physical pressure. Some stress is useful in a horse’s life to protect them from potential danger and allows a horse to learn and adapt to their environment. However, too much stress can cause a negative impact to their health and well-being.

The first step to reducing a horse's stress is to recognise the symptoms. However, the early signs of stress are often missed or ignored. Horses are all individuals and may show different signs of stress, they may also display more than one sign at a time. Horse owners and carers need to be able to recognise these signs to identify the cause and improve the horse’s situation.

The Horse Care & Welfare team at The British Horse Society have produced a really useful guide explaining what stress is, what causes it, how it can impact the horse, how to recognise signs of stress and what you can do to reduce it.

I have loved working on this project with the BHS and am so pleased this vital information is getting out to the wider equestrian audience. A massive well done and thank you to the BHS!

You can find the guide on the BHS website here:

Discount code THEHORSEAU10

Discount code THEHORSEAU10

Shop All 7 Colours Now!


👉 Did you know that our website has a Local events page?

For all our local BHS events from online talks and CPD demos to camps and XC lessons, the BHS Local Events page has got you covered.

💪Find something for everyone no matter the discipline at


A great coach is an unrivalled asset, whether it be in our riding, our lives, our business, or our health.

A great coach teaches us what we need to learn at the right time in our lives.

A great coach speaks our language.

A great coach understands where we are coming from.

A great coach encourages us to find the ability within ourselves.

A great coach inspires us.

A great coach challenges us.

A great coach doesn’t overwhelm us.

A great coach helps us reframe failure and recognise it as part of the learning process.

A great coach believes in us.

The galloping housewife has had many great coaches in her life, her sport, her business. She knows that she would not have achieved what she has without great coaches.

Often a great coach is not the ‘best’ at what you’re trying to learn. Most of the time they’ve had a journey that resonates with your own – they’ve been through similar challenges, they’ve made do with the resources they have, they’ve made mistakes and learned from them, they are ordinary people, just like you.

Ordinary is your superpower. Find a great coach and they will show you that.

h/t to who is a


"Life has a way of tripping us up just when we're hitting our stride, right? I mean, what's up with that? 😂
Its not uncommon when the curve balls come so thick and fast you think "you couldn't make this up!"
Setbacks may be annoying, but they're not the end of the world.
Here are some tips to navigate those pesky curve balls and get back on track:

1. **Accept Your Setback:** Go ahead, throw a little tantrum if you need to. Feeling frustrated is totally allowed, just don't stay there forever.
2. **Assess the Situation:** Take a moment to figure out what actually caused the hiccup. Is it something in your control, or did the universe just decide to mess with you?
3. **Revisit Your Goals:** Are your goals still giving you heart eyes, or do they need a little sprucing up? It's okay to make adjustments – it's not like your goals will judge you.
4. **Identify Lessons Learned:** Every setback has a silver lining of wisdom. It's like a crash course in life lessons – take notes!
5. **Adjust Your Approach:** If your current plan has more holes than Swiss cheese, it's time to get a new strategy. Be flexible and roll with the punches.
6. **Break it Down:** Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither are masterpieces. Chunk things down and conquer them one step at a time.
7. **Seek Support:** Call in the cavalry – your friends, family, or even that person who gives great advice at the supermarket. Get the gang together and conquer that setback.
8. **Practice Resilience:** It's like juggling lemons when life hands you a bunch. Hold onto your positivity, embrace change, and keep your eyes on the prize.
9. **Celebrate Progress:** Even the tiniest victories deserve a little victory dance. Celebrate every win, big or small, and keep the momentum going.
10. **Stay Committed:** Setbacks aren't the boss of you! Stay committed, stay focused, and keep your dream alive – you got this!

Setbacks? More like set-ups for a good laugh! Embrace the chaos and keep truckin' – it's all just part of the adventure.


Something we discuss a lot in our classes or face to face is how the horse needs to adjust to carry a crooked rider.

“Load a wheelbarrow heavily to one side as in the center illustration. Now push the wheelbarrow, and feel how it pulls to the weighted side and how you are forced to lean in that direction to compensate. That’s how your horse feels when you sit unevenly in the saddle, as shown in the left image. When you sit evenly, the horse will be centered and balanced as shown in the illustration on the right.” - ref Sharon Sweet

If we look at the left image how the horse loads the right shoulder and falls out. 🧐


If anyone, anywhere tells you to pull the horses head down (or uses leverage and gadgets to do so) they have no knowledge of healthy horse biomechanics or of correct training.
The horse's nose must always lead, with the poll highest and the gullet open. The base of the ears mustn't be lower than the withers. The jaw must be mobile. If the horse cannot chew and swallow, the hindlegs cannot operate correctly. If the hindlegs cannot operate correctly, the horse will not be able to jump, or stay off the forehand, or stay sound.
"Don’t be obsessed with the head and neck, learn to feel what the hindquarters are doing." ~ Glenys Shandley


"Our competition format is currently based on something that has been around for years, and it's time for a change." This is the opinion of head judge and veterinarian Hans-Christian Matthiesen. In this article, we take an in-depth look at the current competition formats, the challenges the judges f...


Please share with your horsey friends!


To ride, or the heck with it?

So let's say that you have maybe an hour and a half free that you can spend either riding or not riding your horse.

You will have a degree of hassle if you decide to ride, You have to go catch him, if he lives out, Then you have to groom him, at least the back where the saddle sits. Then you have to get into some sort of riding gear. You have to collect the saddle, girth, pad, bridle, and tack him up.

Now you can go take him for a one hour active walk. Then, when you get back to the barn, you have to reverse all the things you did previously.

Was it worth it? What good did it do?

Well, it made you function, got you to have some exercise. And, if you ever wonder about the benefits to your horse of a one hour active walk, try this---

Go walk for an hour, you, personally, and try to at least push a little bit, not just amble.

See if you don't feel as though you have done yourself some good.When you have walked your horse, you gave that same thing to him.

My father, who had a streak of that annoying Puritan ethic, had a saying that "lethargy breeds lethargy." It is true, I think, because the less I do, the less I feel like doing, and sometimes I have to just think (I won't say it) and go catch my blasted horse---

Afterwards, almost always, I am glad I did.




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