Originally, I’m from Warrington in Cheshire (although I’m old enough for it to have been in Lancashire on my birth certificate). I went to local schools and had riding lessons at Croft riding centre in the 1970s. I remember the ponies well – Taffy, Joey, Skippy and my own favourite bad-tempered mare, Nutmeg.
I went off to university in Liverpool at 18, having no real idea of what I wanted to do. In fact, for my A-levels, I’d only chosen sciences because the deputy head told me I’d never get a job with languages (my first subject choices). It was the 1980s, and being the first person in my family to go to sixth-form, I believed him. Funny how my love of languages has never gone away and now I’m using language and linguistics as part of my job!
After my degree, feeling like I was in a fairly interesting field, I decided to do a PhD in Biochemistry. Then I worked at Keele University as a post-doctoral researcher in Parasitology. From there, a move to Zurich in Switzerland for a post as a university lecturer and team leader – another chance to get back to my languages! I loved living in Zurich, I loved the atmosphere of the ‘Big Little City’, swimming in the river on a warm sunny evening, going to the mountains, learning to ski, boat trips and city breaks. As that time drew to a close, I moved again, this time to Kansas, USA.
It was in Manhattan, Kansas, that I decided to pick up riding again. Thinking I would be doing western, I signed a long waiver contract and had my first lesson – English style! The lessons were ad hoc – you were told which horse to ride, after that you pretty much did everything yourself. Groomed, tacked up and mounted. You could ride indoors or out and the instructor would visit the different riders for a few moments, set you some tasks and come back later. Sometimes the horse wouldn’t have been ridden since your last lesson and could be rather fresh!!
I enjoyed living in the USA, the whole culture of ease and convenience and when I returned to the UK, I found getting things done – for example having the gas switched on in my rental cottage, a nightmare of phone calls and complaining. I really did miss America!
In 2001, my job took me back to Keele as a researcher and lecturer for a short time, before I decided to curtail my vagabond short-contract jobs and go for stability. I re-trained as a high school teacher of science; I lived in South Cheshire and then met my partner and moved over to Leek, North Staffs. All the way through my education and career, I felt like I was 80-90% on the right career path; never unhappy enough to completely re-train, but never 100% enthusiastic about work. After more than 10 years as a teacher, I did, however, finally re-train and found my ideal job and that’s what I do now.
It had taken me some time, but a chance phone call to Christine Dawson at Quest for Success about using NLP for my riding, led me to train at Practitioner and Master Practitioner with her. Initially, I’d only wanted the NLP for personal use, to help me overcome competition nerves, but as the course progressed, I found I was eliminating all of my riding issues and a germ of an idea began to form. I could become an NLP Practitioner! Little by little, I worked less and less time as a teacher and began building up my business.
The teacher in me knew I wanted to teach and train NLP and I did my Trainer’s Training with the largest NLP training company in the world – with Drs. Tad James and Adriana James in Las Vegas. 56 out of the 80 starters passed the course, it was a toughie! I can honestly say, though, it was a whirlwind of fabulous learning experiences and I loved it. I could lead my own accredited trainings and I started to move towards an equestrian specialism. In fact, as far as I know, my accredited 4-certification Equestrian NLP Practitioner training is the only one worldwide.
I now help, support, teach and train equestrians to enhance their mental preparations, remove doubts and limiting beliefs and perform as they know they can. I love my job and wouldn’t swap it for the world. My love of teaching and coaching, horses and language combined – who could ask for more?