As a rider or horse owner, have you ever found yourself wondering:
- is either of us really enjoying this?
- who am I to be telling you what to do?
- should we even be riding horses in the first place?
Loving and riding that one special horse is a dream for most little girls - and even for some little boys. But in later life that dream all too often turns into a nightmare full of anxiety, guilt and stress. For even the most caring and compassionate rider there seem to be so few answers in the modern world that don't boil down to pressuring or bullying your horse into what you want him to do, especially if you want to compete or ride with a bridle and bit.
In 2001, Jo and Derek Clark bought Perry, a 'dream horse' who actually turned out to be a demanding, mixed-up and deeply disillusioned nightmare. Not only did the mainstream advice they were given fail to work with him, it just made things even worse. Jo and Derek were faced with some tough choices: to sell him, shoot him, or search for some real alternatives...
During their 10+ year search, Jo and Derek found that there was no one magical answer to the challenges Perry presented, but that all the ideas and approaches that did help had one particular aspect in common - a deep respect for horses as fellow sentient beings.
15 years later, Perry is now a happy, kind and extremely well-mannered sweetheart of a horse, although he does very much still have his own opinions! Having discovered that what worked with Perry also helped every other horse and rider they've since been asked to work with, Jo and Derek established The Holistic Equitation Centre in 2009 to help more people who are searching for something better.
"Thanks to Perry, our lives have changed completely. We are now a couple with a mission; to help people like you develop and enjoy a great relationship with your horse based on harmony, a deep connection and mutual trust.
So, if your experience of owning or riding horses isn't yet living up to your dreams, please don't give up hope - because we really can help!"
As well as our own clinics and workshops where we share with you what we've learned about horse-friendly riding, training and living, we host events with selected internationally renowned trainers, teachers and clinicians, such as the French classical riding master, Philippe Karl. You can find out more about these by following this link to our events schedule.
Riding Lessons and Intensives
We also teach riding - either here at the centre or at your home base. Derek is a former Olympic coach, an expert in applied sports psychology and a Licenced Teacher of Philippe Karl's School of Légèreté. Jo is a student on Philippe Karl's second UK training course which began in 2014 and is currently in training to achieve her licence. They are equally comfortable working with all levels of rider on all types of horse. Both Derek and Jo are particularly effective with nervous riders or 'problem' horses and teach private lessons and clinics both at the Centre and throughout the UK. Find out more about Derek and Jo, learn what their clients say or arrange a lesson.