Tag Archives: Dressage Trainer

Horse Scout Real: Shaun Mandy



With the summer season quickly approaching, we caught up with Horse Scout Advocate and Dressage rider Shaun Mandy to find out what his plans are for the year ahead. We found out why he says putting the work in at home is so vital to getting the results in the ring and received some useful tips to help you achieve your 2020 goals.


Shaun as a coach, offers his clients a bespoke and professional coaching system to work with horses and riders of any level to help them achieve their objectives across multi-disciplines. No two horses or riders are the same, so he works on a flexible approach, tailor-made to suit both horse and rider. He is doing his British Dressage Level 2 in coaching this year followed by Level 3.



What are your main goals and ambitions for 2020?

My ultimate goal for 2020 would be to get onto the Grand Prix circuit. However, I have yet to sit down with the calendar and plan shows for this year. I will be going to the premiere leagues and high profile shows, but I will be more focused on securing the work and getting the training time in at home. My horse will be stepping up a level this year, so it is important to concentrate on his way of going at home and executing the movements to the best of our ability. This way, we will be able to confidently progress to Grand Prix throughout the year, hopefully resulting in getting the judges scores in the ring. In order to achieve this, I will set lots of shorter term, more achievable goals throughout the year. I will be judging how my horse is coping with these goals, and once I am happy with how he is going, look towards the next.



Tell us a bit more about your top horse…

My top horse, Euphoria E, is a lovely gelding by Carl Hester’s Uthopia out of a Sandro Hit mare. I acquired the ride on him as a six year old competing at Elementary level before later buying him. I currently have a small syndicate of owners for him and would be looking for a couple of new owners this year. Over the past five years I have produced him through the levels, this year we will be competing at Inter II and hopefully Grand Prix. He is the first horse that I will have produced through the levels and I am so grateful for the experience I have gained through training the horse myself. Yes, it would have been lovely to have been given a ready-made Grand Prix horse to ride, but although it has been challenging, I have come to appreciate the journey for what it has taught me. Saying that, all progress has been solely thanks to the fantastic training I have received from my coaches. Euphoria has been a real learning curve to produce. He is a lovely gentle horse who you would never want to shout at due to his shy character. He is, however, a bit of a silent stressor so I have had to really focus on quietly and confidently bringing him on, knowing that his talent may not have always been reflected in his scores as a young horse. Over the past year or so as he has started to step up to a higher level and has really started to come into his own as if to say, ‘I have arrived, this is what I have been waiting for’.





What would you say your career highlight has been to date?

I’m sure so many riders would have highlights that are purely results based, but for me, my career highlight has to be getting into Carl Hester’s Diary to train! Learning from the best riders possible has always been so important to me and Carl is someone that I have always longed to train with. I am extremely lucky to be able to learn from a rider of his calibre, as I feel that studying other riders and absorbing their knowledge is the only way you can improve, and who better to learn from then Carl himself? I am also incredibly lucky to be based with Matt Hicks and also train with him on a weekly basis, he has been fantastic and has really helped me to get to the level I am at today.



Do you have any top tips for training your horse?

1 – Patience is key! Never lose your temper with your horse, if he doesn’t understand what you are asking of him, think to yourself ‘How can I re-word this to help him understand what I want.’ If you find yourself getting frustrated, just jump off and put your horse back in his stable, there is no harm in coming back with a fresh approach the following day.


2 – Education, find a good trainer and put the work in at home. There is no rush to get out to a show, get your foundations right and build on them.


3 – Stay humble. Never think you know it all, there is always something you can improve on or try to work on at home. I remember when I first left home to train in Denmark, I honestly thought I was a decent rider. I had a real shock when I got there and saw how talented the other riders were and thought I can’t ride at all! But I think it was at this point that I realised that these riders that I am looking up to, will have other riders that they aspire to ride as well as and so on. I learnt how important it is to get your head down and keep learning your craft. Training is still so vital to me now, but it’s not only at home you can pick new things up, sometimes I’m in the collecting ring and see another rider warming their horse in and think, I need to try that!



Is there any horse that you wish you had in your stable?

There are the obvious greats like Valegro, I doubt there is a dressage rider in the world who wouldn’t love to ride a horse like that. But I honestly feel that every horse comes to you exactly the right time for you. I don’t think I would trade my horse for another at all. The journey that we have been on and everything that he has taught me, this has made me the rider I am today.



How important is training to you?

I can’t stress enough how quality coaching and training is key to progressing as a rider. The training that I have had along the way with Matt and now Carl has really developed and formed me not only into the rider that I am but also the trainer. It’s given me the tools in my kit to use and help others. The more that I can evolve as a rider and understand the sport, the more I can pass my knowledge on to those that I teach. My training hasn’t stopped just because I have got to Grand Prix level, if anything, I am now training harder than I ever have done before, it really is a never-ending cycle. Stay humble, stay focused on your goals and constantly learn from one another.


Abigail Hutton – International Dressage Rider


Abigail Hutton, International Dressage Rider based in Oxfordshire

Since arriving at Talland in 2009, Abigail’s rapid rise in the world of dressage has been nothing short of impressive. Here she talks to Horse Scout about her goals and tips for keeping competitive horses happy.

When did you start to ride competitively?

I come from a non-horsey family and I was happy hacker until I was about 23 when I went to work for a show jumper in Ireland. I had always been interested in dressage and in 2009 my life changed when Pammy Hutton offered me a scholarship to be a working pupil at The Talland School of Equitation in Gloucestershire.

So that’s where you met your husband Charlie Hutton, Pammy’s son?

Yes, I arrived on a Sunday and met Charlie on the Tuesday and that was that!

How difficult did you find the transition to dressage and did Charlie help?

I had to play catch up and was given a schoolmistress, Amo, to start out competing at medium advanced! I had some crap scores, but some good ones too, and eventually rode Amo to Inter 2 and in two regional championships. That opened up the doors to take on more rides.
Charlie is a huge help and I train frequently with him — he is brutally honest with me!

Do you train with anyone else?

I have regular sessions with Carl Hester and sometimes with my mother-in-law Pammy Hutton.

What do you struggle with most?

I guess I struggled with my seat and posture as I hadn’t ridden from a young age and i’m a natural sloucher. Putting your neck in back collar really makes you sit up. Also, I had a long battle with competition nerves and I just found that just going out more and more really helped. I’m going to start pilates too.
What are your career highlights over the last year or so?
I’ve ridden at three National Championships and represented Ireland at Hartpury, Hickstead and Saumur CDIs in 2015. I also placed in the top five at Hickstead International with Armagnac and had a win at Keysoe Premier League with my young horse, Giraldo, owned by Lotty Chatterton.

Tell us about your other top horses?

I have another 12-year-old horse called Don Dino, a 17.1hh Hanovarian gelding, which belonged to Charlie but as he has kissing spine the vet suggested he should have a lighter rider. He’s really talented and we have qualified for the Nationals at advanced medium.
Then there’s Starlet Blue, a nine-year-old mare owned by Judy Peploe. She’s premium graded in Germany but very inexperienced so we’re competing at novice and elementary.
I also ride Giraldo, a really special five-year-old gelding owned by Lotty Chatterton.   I’m off to Hickstead young horse champs with him (national and international class). He has been getting 80% scores and has a really amazing big uphill balanced canter and is really adjustable. And his brain and attitude… I’ve never known anything like it — he just loves to work!

What tips would you give to other riders?

Train hard but don’t take it too seriously — it has to be fun.
Most riders put too much pressure on themselves and their horses but that can make things worse. If you get a bad mark, it can only get better! And if you’re having a bad day when you’re schooling, just go for a canter.

What are your goals?

To keep riding for a living, have happy horses and have fun.
Of course I’d also like to win a national title, go on international big tour and ultimately ride for the Irish team at the Olympics.

Any tips to help keep horses sound and happy?

Horses thrive on routine but don’t be afraid to experiment. Some of my horses do a couple of days dressage, then a hack on Wednesday, then dressage again and have the weekend off. Others have a jump day or a canter day in the middle and Dino only does dressage twice a week — he hacks and canters the rest.
Be patient and take note of what makes your horse feel the best, but don’t worry about breaking it every once in a while — sometimes routine may alter for a show so you need to be relaxed about it!
I’m also a serious fan of getting your stirrups up and working in a light seat to get your horse forward and loose in the back — it’s also great fun! Dressage horses are being bred with so much power and energy now, I think you have to be up for a bit of adrenaline to keep them fresh in their minds and entertained. I also take Giraldo to the water treadmill once a week. (see our blog about Hydrotherapy)

Why Horse Scout?

It looks professional and is it’s clever how horses and riders connect and how you can see the history of a horse and who used to ride it. I also like the fact that there are some great horses for sale but many at realistic prices.

images provided by Judy Peploe

Find out more about Abigail Hutton on Horse Scout

Abi Hutton has a profile on Horse Scouts’ Professional Rider Pages which goes into detail about her career and what she can offer you.  It also has some lovely photos; click through and follow Abigail Hutton on Horse Scout.



Horse Scout Ambassador Charlotte Dicker


Horse Scout is proud to have some of the UK’s most talented riders as its Ambassadors.  In the build up to Rio, we’ll bring you the latest news about what they’re up to, how they got to the top, plus their top tips and advice.  

Interview with Horse Scout Ambassador 17 year old Charlotte Dicker

Junior International Team GB Dressage rider Charlotte Dicker

Counting days before she heads to the Europeans, Horse Scout chats to junior International Team GB Dressage rider Charlotte Dicker, currently at the top of the British riders on the FEI ranking list, about growing up, her tips on producing youngsters and her horses — including Tilly, a yearling of Timolin, sired by Totilas.

Horse Scout Interviewer asks: Where do you live and train?

At Catherston Stud under my mum Anne Dicker and grandmother the Jenny Lorriston Clarke (MBE).

That’s some equestrian bloodlines! Did you always want to be a dressage rider?

As a kid I was really crazy on my jumping — and I guess a bit of a daredevil, bombing around fields. Then I started vaulted training under Julie Newell and was a member of the English squad.

Looking back it really helped by seat and core and you have to be physically and mentally fit — mounting a horse on the lunge whilst it’s cantering isn’t easy!

So when did you get into dressage?

At around 13 — on my mum’s 17.2hh horse! Edgehill Drumroll taught me the ropes, although could be a stroppy ginger male at times! He was great at teaching me, if I didn’t ask correctly, he wouldn’t do it — mum trained him so well and I couldn’t have asked for a better horse to learn on. He owes me nothing, and I owe him a hell of a lot!

Who will you be riding at the Europeans?

Soli (Sabatini), an 11-year-old mare owned by Ian McRobbie.

What’s her character like?

She’s been difficult and tricky throughout her entire ridden career. I started riding her about two years ago when she was, quite frankly, a bit of a right off…

She’d had two foals and was so naughty that no one could get on with her and as a result, she had spent the majority of time in the field — basically the less you interacted with her the better she was!

To cut a long story short, Ian had been told that the best thing was to either put her into foal again or sell her as a brood mare, but when I rode her for a week I fell in love with her (even though she tried to get me off every day!).  I asked mum if she thought Ian would mind if I tried to get her going (which he didn’t!) and set myself a goal of Junior selection, which we achieved. I now have the highest score in the squad and I’m proud that I’ve produced her.

Last year you made history by becoming the third generation of one family to represent their country at the European Dressage Championships.What’s your goal now?

I’m aiming for medals — both team and individual — at the Europeans, but in the top 10 – 15 would be great.

Longterm, I’ve a lot to live up to: placing at the Europeans, Worlds and the Olympics on a horse that we’ve bred would be amazing.

What other horses do you ride at Catherston?

I’ve a soft spot for mares…

Ulyssa (Sasha), again owned by Ian McRobbie, is a five-year old mare by my Soli (Sabatini) by Uthopia. She’s very much one for the future and we’d like to save her. Thankfully she has a better mindset than Soli!

Then there’s four-year old Catherston Osiana who is by my stallion Opposition Bombshell. Bred to event, she has three nice paces and a really lovely jump on her. As a late foal, we’re taking it slowly with her letting her enjoy lots of hacking and a bit of unaffiliated dressage with no stress. I’ve got high hopes that she’ll be my next top horse.

I’m also riding Laura and Erin Clothier’s Calva La Cornilliere when Laura is not at university. A nine-year-old gelding (Flemming out of Negro mare).

Training at Inter I at home I’d like to think he could go GP at end of year but we won’t rush him.

Is it harder training with family?

When I was younger I used to struggle a little. Looking back, I’m not entirely sure why. I suppose I took what I had a little for granted, but now we all get on really well, and I train regularly with mum and granny. It’s nice being at home, a real family affair. Having my aunt Lizzie also based at home has given me some great opportunities, including breaking in and producing her horse, Catherston Specific, a mare she bred by Catherston Springsteen to the dressage ring.

Do you train with anyone other than your family?

David Hunt is our team trainer and a big support — he’ll be travelling to the Europeans. Last year I had an apprentice role at Natalie Allen which was really inspiring and a good learning curve. During my time there I was lucky enough to have lessons with Charlotte and Carl. Both were intense lessons — but very different! I only had 20 minutes with Carl warming a young horse up and he gave me lots of tips — he’s got a really sympathetic approach. Interestingly, Charlotte was critical on things like turning one hand over by 20 degrees.

Tell us a bit about what’s going on at Catherston.

My mum, Anne, runs the business and stud now. We have a great team which includes farriers Nathan Appleton and Daniel Dicker (my Brother); vets McGonnell and Gillatt;  and family friends Sarah Marks and Lynne Moles who come to the majority of my shows to support mum and I. Catherston is more livery/competition livery and stud now with quite a few foals. Granny formed a syndicate to buy Timolin and we now have four of his foals with us here now.

That’s Timolin, sired by Totilas?

Yes, I’m really lucky that one of the owners, Sarah Marks, has secured one of the yearlings, Catherston Timeless, out of a Breitling mare, for me. I intend ‘Tilly’ to be our homebred Olympic horse, but that will be in quite a few years to come! We have shown her in hand, and had great success. Tilly won the Sport Horse Yearling class, and then went Champion, and then Supreme Champion, and qualified to the Cuddy class! We are really excited about her and I’m so thankful to have a fabulous team of owners and supporters behind me.

And what do you think of British breeding currently?

We’ve got a strong breeding network and we’d like to think the Timolin foals will add to that… Mt St.John are also doing a lot but their market is mainly abroad.

There’s quite a few studs breeding some very nice horses for all disciplines but it’s a shame that many people still buy from abroad rather than looking over here for horses.

Your family have trained some amazing young horses. What are your tips?

Give as much time as they need — don’t rush or you will jeopardise your future with them. Babies need to be babies. I believe competing them in hand helps them when we come to compete them under saddle, as it gives them experience travelling and going to busy shows. It’s a lot for them to take in, but in the long run spreads out the ‘stresses’ they may face.

And what’s your weekly schedule — and tips — with more established horses?

2-3 days in the school, 2-3 days a week hacking (anywhere from 40-60 minutes to up to 2 hours). One day off and plenty of daily turn out.

We tend to jump a lot of our horses (even Soli jumps when we can), and we try to involve this in their training a lot as it helps their flexibility in their body, and minds.

All of our horses lunge (the young ones more than the older ones) and we use a lot of pole work in their training, we find this really benefits all of the horses.

And what do you like about Horse Scout?

I really like the profiles and twitter feed — it’s great to find out what people in the industry are doing.

You can find a full Horse Scout profile for Charlotte Dicker on her professional rider page through this link.  To read more about the Catherston Stud stallions or Timeline himself use these links.


Horse Scout Ambassador Nicola Buchanan

Interview with Nicola Buchanan (nee Jourdain)


Horse Scout is proud to have some of the UK’s most talented riders as its Ambassadors.

In the build up to Rio, we’ll bring you the latest news about what they’re up to, how they got to the top, plus their top tips and advice.

 Horse Scout Interviews Nicola Buchanan (nee Jourdain)

International Grand Prix Dressage Rider & Trainer, Dorset


How did you get into dressage?

When I was 18, I wanted to do three-day eventing as I found dressage a bit dull. Then it all changed…

To become a more competitive eventer, I went to train with international Grand Prix (GP) dressage rider Gerda Smelt, with the hope of improving my dressage scores whilst eventing. Gerda owned a private yard in Haaksbergen in the Netherlands, I ended up staying for 4 years — and never jumped again.

And you went on to train some great horses, accumulating wins at international level, competing at Olympia and being long-listed for the Beijing Olympics… Please tell us the secret she taught you!

Gerda gave me the drive and ambition to reach my goals. She instilled in me the 3 Ds: Dedication, Determination and Discipline (with yourself).

So what have you been up to this year?

As I sold my GP horse, Don Corleone VH Scheefkastee, at the end of 2015, this year I’ve been concentrating on training three youngsters, two of which are owned by the Countess of Shaftesbury from her St Giles Stud, while the third is from the Half Moon stud.

Tell us a bit about them…

  • St Giles Cosmopolitan is a 4-year-old gelding by Conen x Conteur x Welt Hit.
  • St Giles Fairytale is a 5-year old Premium State mare by Furst Romancier x Donnerhall x Pik Bube. She is currently in embryo transfer to Dream Boy (Vivaldi’s son) and has now qualified at novice for the Nationals coming second at the Regionals in July.
  • Half Moon Dark Magic is a 7-year-old gelding bought bred by Julie Deverill’s Half Moon Stud. Bred by Dimaggio. He is currently competing advanced medium and qualified for medium and advanced medium at the Regionals with the aim of going to the Nationals (if all goes to plan). He is working on Prix St Georges and Inter I at home. Next year I will be competing at small tour at home, with the goal of some internationals towards the end of 2017.

Were you at Hartpury’s Festival of Dressage with them this year — we know you’ve placed at previous years?

I didn’t compete this year, but I was there to help one of my students, Gemma Maddocks, who was competing in her first International Small Tour. Currently my focus is with young horses so it will was very interesting to watch the semi finals of the young horse classes. The extra bonus was watching the Olympic Team riders compete in their last Grand Prix before Rio.

So you train others, but who trains you?

I try to train with Carl Hester as often as possible. It’s important to have eyes on the ground and his, of course, are so experienced. Carl’s training is very matter of fact, alway upbeat and looking to achieve the best possible performance with the horse you are training. He is a true inspiration and whilst maintaining his down-to-earth approach.

So three youngsters! That’s a lot of work. Any tips for others with a young horse?

Consistency — make a plan and maintain a good level of discipline with your training programme — youngsters can be naughty, fresh and exuberant so a good routine helps build their confidence.

So what’s your average day and ultimate goal for these youngsters?

I train my horses in the morning and teach my clients in afternoon — it can get a bit hectic sometimes. I have always enjoyed the training part of dressage, with my end goal being reaching Grand Prix with a fit and happy horse.

And the weekly schedule for your horses?

I school them Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesdays and Saturdays they enjoy a good hack. Sunday is a rest day. Every day of the week they are turned out to grass for most of the day.

So do you get any downtime?

At the moment I am extremely busy, however Sundays are my day off from the yard, unless competing, a Sunday lie in is always welcome, followed by a full English!

And holidays… Ski or beach?

I love both, but skiing has the edge if it’s a bluebird* day with deep powder!

Looking at the horses you’re riding, they’ve got serious pedigree, but for others buying young horses, what would your advice be?

It’s not always about the pedigree, first you look at the conformation, then I always look for three good paces, ride-ability is very important, that you can only gauge when sitting on the horse. The temperament of the horse is also vital — his (or her) willingness to work and learn is paramount.

Why an Ambassador of Horse Scout?

I see it as the linkedIn of the equestrian industry, connecting you to some of the top people in the equine world, plus it’s also an incredible place go to if you want to see the pedigree and history of a horses. It’s alway fascinating to trace the pedigree of horses, Horse Scout connects bloodlines of the horses profile automatically — it’s clever!

 *A bright clear sunny day after a night of snowfall.

Exclusive interview with Horse Scout, June 2016

You can visit Nicola Buchanan‘s Horse Scout profile by clicking  the link on her name.

Nicola Buchanan’s lovely horse Half Moon Dark Magic is related to a Stallion with DiMaggio breeding profiled on our Horse Scout Horses For Sale Pages here 


Professional Profile Watch: Luke Barbour Davies and Team LBD Dressage on Horse Scout


“A good teacher is a master of simplification and an enemy of simplism.” (Louis A. Berman)  is the quote of the day on Luke Barbour-Davies Professional Bio.  How true says Horse Scout Blogger.  A man after my own heart.

The team Motto of Team LBD Dressage HQ based at Chailey Stud Equestrian Centre in North Chailey on the West / East Sussex Border. The yard is situated in the quiet rolling Sussex countryside offering peace and tranquility for horse and rider. With Professional International Dressage rider Luke Baber-Davies is a highly recommended trainer with over 15 years experience riding and teaching across all dressage levels. Luke is extremely passionate, caring, enthusiastic and his knowledge, understanding and ability as to how to succeed in this industry are second to none. Luke has recently returned from The Netherlands where he was training with four times Olympic rider Anne Van Olst, whilst in Holland Luke had many highlights including, being given the ride of Lord Leatherdale and riding in front of thousands of spectators at numerous events throughout The Netherlands and Germany. He is currently training clients at all levels from introductory to Grand Prix and he himself has some fantastic horses who will make headlines in the near future, with many success stories already under his belt. Luke has trained with Fiona Bigwood & Emile Faurie and has also ridden for a number of well known exclusive studs such as Van Olst Horses, Quainton & Décor Stud.

Luke prides himself on providing a complete service for both horse and rider. Luke specialises in all aspects of dressage and general riding including the starting of young horses and those that may require re-training.

He provides a professional service tailored to your individual requirements, where care and attention to detail are paramount from the selection and backing of youngsters through to the training and competing of advanced horses, and everything else in-between.

He is currently competing at an advanced level with fantastic prospects for the future riding at grand prix and already has a number of success stories under his belt. Luke is now training with Anne Van Olst, 5 times olympic rider in Holland and has previouslly trained with Fiona Bigwood, Emile Faurie and Sarah Millis.

Luke has also ridden for a number of well known exclusive studs such as Van Olst Horses in Holland, Ormonde Hall, Quainton & Décor Stud. He is extremely passionate, caring, enthusiastic and his knowledge, understanding and ability to succeed in this industry are second to none.

Regardless of the rider or horses ability Luke is able to adapt and deliver the tuition in a manner which is clear, concise and easily understood.

Luke will create a tailored tuition plan for you and your horse to ensure you have the best possible chance of success.

Advice from Luke is impartial, non-biased and will always be without obligation.

Over the past 10 years Luke has built up an extensive database of key equestrian contacts so should you be looking for your next superstar or looking for a new stable then Luke would be more than happy to offer an introduction.

​Luke has taught many clients over the past years who have all rated him with great regard.

Knowledge is power and Luke is proud of his extensive knowledge base giving him great advantage as his experience spans across all aspects of riding.

Training and tuition is not just for the dressage masters as Luke also offers flatwork lessons to show jumpers of which have highly rated Luke’s methods.