I have been training with Alex for just over 2 years now and it’s no understatement to say that it has changed my life. At the time of meeting Alex I was already completely deaf, severely visual impaired, partially paralysed in my left leg and foot, and had no balance function at all in my brain. To be honest, I am kind of surprised that Alex didn’t run for the hills from the very beginning! Clearly I was going to be a challenge, but Alex accepted it.
I had been on a horse before I could walk and had ponies at every stage of my growth. I learned to ride in what we now call “the traditional way”. That often comes with a lot of tack: bridles, flashes, curb chains, bits (of all sorts), martingales (again of all sorts), saddles (that probably didn’t fit right), stirrups, Spurs, horseshoes etc. All of these things used to control (or force I would say) the horse in one way or another.
When I saw how Alex was riding and handling, my mind was opened and deep down I realised that this was what I really wanted with my horse.
I now ride my haflinger bareback, bitless, bridleless and sometimes wearing sandals (which Alex tells me off about!). My doctors said “you do WHAT?!”, as did many of my family and friends both with and without my illness. With Alex, I achieved what was thought to be impossible. But the most valuable thing I have gained from the whole experience is a bond with my horse as strong (if not stronger!) as my husband.
But make no mistake, we did not get to where we are now without a lot of hard work and several minor (and some major) disagreements. You have to be committed; train regularly between lessons. You have to be patient; learn how to communicate with your horse. And you have to willing to put your horse’s needs before your own ambitions.
Alex provides tailor made training, not just for the horse, but for the rider too. She is an amazing motivator with a positive outlook that is contagious. She sees the good in people and horses and brings it out of them. We are all capable of achieving wonderful things, “impossible” things, but sometimes we need another person to cheer us on, and for me, Alex was that person.