Tag Archives: Matt Hicks

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.


Matt Hicks - Dressage and Eventing trainer

Professional dressage trainer Review: Matt Hicks


With the Hartpury Festival of Dressage now being packed away and the riders on the road home. Its time to reflect on what you want form your own dressage training.

Expert Tuition with a Professional Dressage Trainer Matt Hicks; the ‘gentle man’ who has a deep understanding of a horses way of going and how to improve both horse and rider.

Matt Hicks has a keen eye for the difficulties the horses under his watchful eye are experiencing and can interpret the influence (for good or bad) of the rider may have on a horses way of going.

Matt Hicks’ experience in the schooling arena proves his expertise as a Dressage Trainer.

Matt Hicks has experience to pass on built on his own experience through a varied riding career both eventing and in the dressage arena.  He trained initially with the late Debbie Johnson (Landford Stud) gaining experience in the event world to CCI3* before focusing on dressage in the 2002/3 seasons building his practice, equestrian career and knowledge base over the next 8 years before taking on the glorious Hurstbourne Equestrian Centre with his partner in 2011.  The advantage of being tutored by a professional rider with a string of top class horses is that, for clients who need an understanding of the next level, Matt is keen for his pupils to experience how a movement should feel by allowing clients to have School Master Lessons on an Advance dressage horse.

Matt has taken full advantage of the facilities and his wonderful stable staff going from strength to strength taking six major titles between 2012 and last year both Nationally and Internationally.

His success and his fabulous competition rides are supporting his claim to equestrian prowess and experience in the Grand Prix arena The lovely Excalibur, who has 287 BD points to date is owned jointly with Ms Annie Bacharach and campaigned at FEI Inter 2 . This season Matt Hicks has already, already taken 6 points and a steady stream of the ribbons. This expressive 10 year old is by the Warendorfs Ehrentusch himself a grand prix horse who has 17 progeny competing in the international dressage arena.

In Sheepcote Walnut an AES gelding from the proven performance dressage lines bred by the Pincus family who had several successes on their horses at the recent Hartpury Festival of Dressage.  Sheepcote Walnut is By Sheepcote Wurlitzer Owned by Serena and David Pincus who is by Weltmyer/Worldcup , and was successfully ridden at grand prix by David. His other progeny competing at grand prix include Sheepcote Whistle. The Pincus’ are undoubted experts in their field with successes for Sheepcote horses at this weekends Hartpury Festival of Dressage.

His other ride on the syndicated El Zorro, whose antics are all part of his up beat approach to his job! Is by the KWPN Amsterdam by Argentinus out of Touch of Class (by Tin Rocco x Barsoi xx) a dressage stallion who stood in Spain his dam Toline was also a KWPN horse. El Zorro is highly successful and Matt Competes him at FEI PSG having started his competitive career in 2009 he has now amassed an impressive BD 363 points to date.

The Duke (X), a handsome grey is now competing at Medium and is aimed at the Winter Championships. Ali Hincliffe (Matts right hand girl!) campaigned him last year.

And the nine year old Flemming offspring, Balance, out of KWPN mare Kaylee. A hansome Bay owned by Matt Himself, who, I believe, is competing at Advanced and Medium Advanced with Matt.

As a professional Dressage Trainer Matt Excells with the youngsters in his stable.

A young stallion (2011) Gaudeamus by Florencio 1 (Sensation) x Ulfia x Jazz (WBSFH top 5 Dressage Stallion 2013 and 2014) owned by Matt with Mrs Ali Hill and Mr Terry Hill.

The Hugely successful Chameur by Florencio 1 (sensation) x Elite KWPN Trendy also by x Jazz 2010 Champion KWPN Spring Stallion 2012 PAVO Cup winner (Edward Gals’ ride Glock Zonik is by Chameur) reflects the possibility of Gaudeamus as a stallion for the future.

The combined Florencio x Jazz bloodlines are extremely popular, and successful; the progeny exhibiting the grace, elevation and power of their breeding lines. White socks are definitely a feature of the line along with an elegant head and intelligent look.

At year older Fiderschwung by Fidertanz (Grand Prix Dr.) by Fidermark I (Grad.Prix Dr.) x Sandro Hit 1 lines (WSBFH top 8 2013 and 7 2014) again owned by Matt along with Mrs Sandra Thomas  an elegant chestnut with the build so liked by Matt strong through the shoulder and second thigh with a well set refined neck and the modern longer back which give these horses their ground covering advantage. Fiderscwung has started his competitive career and gaining a respectable 4th place at his BYHN5OQ last month.

His third Young horse Skyscraper is by Secano (2006 Holstein Champion) Cor De La Bryere lines x Donna.  An attractive well made iron grey Oldenburg with characteristically long legs on top of lovely black feet. A young horse with a lot of growing to do yet but an interested look in a calm face with well set ears and nostrils, he looks like he will make a nice picture for the judges in the arena in time, for his owners Ms Annemarie Dolan and Mr Mathew Metcalfe

Matt Hicks as Hicks Equestrian is a BD Accredited Coach, a professional dressage and eventing trainer and an International Dressage Rider who operates for his friendly 5* competition yard Hurstbourne Equestrian Centre which is on a large private estate.

Matt has both long and short term clients horses at livery for training and all levels are catered for