Archives for the month of: December, 2015


Have you ever wanted to learn how to train horses? This is a unique opportunity to become involved in an exciting project involving the training of three young therapy horses. You will have the opportunity to hone your practical skills working with three miniature horses while learning the theory behind natural horse behaviour, how horses learn and how they communicate. They may be miniature in size, but on the inside they are as much horse as the largest horse you will meet.

These classes will be of interest to anyone who wants to learn how to train.  You may be a horse owner who has always owned ready trained horses and never had experience of working with youngsters. Or perhaps you ride in a riding school and never get the opportunity to do any actual training at all. Perhaps you are interested in the use of horses in therapy work and would like to learn more about the ethics of their use and the types of welfare issues that can arise with inappropriate training/ preparation/ use. Or maybe you are a trainer of another species, such as dogs, who wants to learn how training skills can transfer.

The miniature horses belong to registered charity, the Mae Murray Foundation and are being prepared, in an ethical way that pays close attention to equine welfare, for work within the Equi-Zone, which is the first phase of the long term project, N-Clusion Zone, launching later in 2016. To learn more about the Mae Murray Foundation, please visit their Facebook page MaeMurrayFoundation or look out for the new website launching in the New Year,

Training sessions are just outside Hillsborough, Co. Down and begin on Thursday 14th January and will run once a week from 9.30-11am. Cost to attend is £10 per session. Places are limited and must be prebooked each week. This includes the opportunity to work with a partner with the horses under supervision of an experienced trainer, followed by tea/ coffee and a question/ answer session. In order to reserve your place please contact Dr Helen Spence on 07773 157428/ email



The seat is the foundation of good riding. It’s amazing how the smallest of adjustments to posture and position can make an enormous difference to the balance and way of going of the horse. In this series of three lessons you will learn the basics of how to find a good classical seat. You may have no interest in dressage at all, but the classical seat isn’t just about dressage, it is about providing a balanced base for all types of riding, whether you are a happy hacker, showjumper or Olympic athlete!

Lessons are at Free Spirit Equestrian, Bessbrook, on Tuesday 12th, 19th and 26th January at 7pm. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Cost is £45 for the course of three lessons. Please contact Helen on 07773 157428 or email for more information and to make a booking. Horse hire is available at additional cost, please speak to Helen/ Lorraine for more information.

About Helen and her riding philosophy:

“I’d spent my teenage years reading about classical riding, particularly the articles and books of Sylvia Loch. I was fascinated by the idea of lightness, but felt that the way I was riding wasn’t matching up to what I was reading. In my early twenties, in an attempt to address ongoing back pain, I began to have lessons in the Alexander Technique, which focuses on posture and how we use our bodies, improving awareness and balance. Through my alexander teacher, Colin Beattie, I was introduced to a lady who was both an alexander teacher and a riding instructor. In just one lesson she transformed both my riding and the way my horse went, and I discovered the lightness that I had been dreaming about. My mare who I’d previously had to work in for half an hour to get her in an outline, responded to the adjustments in my position immediately, offering me transitions and turns on what felt like a breath. I was hooked! I found out that Gloria had trained with Charles Harris, former pupil of the Spanish Riding School and Daniel Pevsner, former pupil of the Spanish Riding School and the great classical master Nuno Oliveira. I was very fortunate not only to have regular lessons with Gloria, but to be able to observe her teaching. She was generous with her knowledge and transformed both my riding and my teaching. Over the years since then, I have integrated what I learned from Gloria along with my work as an equine behaviour consultant, my understanding of horse body language and behaviour and learning. I offer a unique approach to riding that aims to help horse and rider find harmony and balance, both physically and mentally.”