18. A Haven

Blog 18 – “A Haven”

Toby the miniature Shetland on his bank (photo by Alan and Ines, thank you!)
Business and people develop and change and some of these changes are planned, while others evolve naturally.

When we first opened I did not go out freelance at all but was still coaching some “hit and run” lessons around courses to those not yet convinced by the benefits of or ready to commit to course-based training.  Over the years the client-base grew in numbers and in understanding the benefits of courses and I was able to coach courses on courses only.

The exception to this is rule is the sessions I coach on Strider Brown, our computerised riding simulator.  Strider is a sophisticated piece of kit and provides stride-by-stride feedback to riders regarding their balance in the up/down, front/back and left/right plains of motion and their rein tension and evenness.  Used from time-to-time by “regulars” to check-in and predominately by newbies who want to get this sort of feedback and as a way of checking out the yard and my coaching before committing to training with me “properly”.  Strider was a huge additional investment that we were not planning on making when we opened but has been invaluable in assisting many riders and as an ambassador for my coaching and was a popular attraction at Your Horse Live for 3 consecutive years.  I enjoy coaching on the simulator and clients are delighted at technology but, a real horse provides you with feedback on your balance and efficacy as a rider and my passion lies much more in helping clients understand that feedback and make change accordingly. 

While predominantly at Ashen I am increasing invited to coach ridden and dismounted courses at other venues around the world and see this as an area that will continue to grow over the years.

I used to take horses for backing, schooling and sale livery.  Now choose I to restrict this to the horses of existing clients and for people keen to embrace clicker training.  This means that I can congruently train those horses and know that the work done and the changes made here will be continued at once those horses go home.

My current way of working gives me the “down time” necessary to take a step back and consider and improve the quality of what I deliver. 
It gives us the opportunity to maintain and improve the facilities at Ashen without disrupting coaching sessions.

As much as I love having people and their horses here it is also very special to have a couple of days between courses when the yard is just for me and for my horses who I can visit in my PJ’s and just hang out together.
The horses enjoy “free ranging” around the place when it is otherwise empty too.

Ashen E.C. has provided us with the environment and opportunity to manage our horses “our way”, to bring up our family and live our lives in a unique and special way.  It comes with its stresses, will never make us rich (in financial terms) but has exceeded our hopes and expectations.

One of the most unexpected and delightful things Ashen has provided is a haven for like-minded, forward thinking horse-lovers to spend time with one another.  It can be very lonely having horses at home or being on a yard when you are the only one, or one of only a few who does not resort to gadgetry and “conventional” equine management. Some very special and often surprising friendships have been forged here but have been grown and nurtured away from here by some very special people.  Thank you all.

Next time, "Falling Hard" published 6th April.

For those searching online for more “instructional” resources than offered in these blogs please make use of my video downloads www.ashenec.co.uk

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