It all started back in 1985 when Kay’s parents introduced her to horses, and from there she spent many days working as a yard hand and groom to the Griffiths family and their beautiful competition horses at Wood Farm, Sedgley. It was here that Kay found her passion for horses and she is thankful for the wonderful childhood memories that she created at Wood Farm, and in particular those created with Rockstar!
Kay had the privilege of owning Rocky for many years but this time was cut short when she lost the beautiful competition horse to cancer in 2006. During Kay’s time of owning Rocky she had the great pleasure of learning how to stay on through a rear, sit to a buck and close her eyes during cross country! Without owning Rocky Kay simply would not know what she knows today and would never have found learning theory and equitation science, and how you can train horses in an ethically and sustainable way.
Kay’s biggest regret – not knowing all of this when Rocky was alive. She is deeply saddened that during Rocky’s life he trialled every training method, effective or not, and at times exposed to punishment. However without Rocky, Kay would not have so much passion for a training technique that is supported by evidence and works day in, day out with consideration and welfare for our much loved friends. Learning theory, a system closely studied, developed and delivered by Dr Andrew Mclean has given Kay the tools to train and manage horses in a manner that places the welfare of the horse at it’s heart.
After obtaining her BHS AI in 1999, Kay found employment at Rodbaston College (now South Staffordshire College) and progressed quickly from Equine Lecturer to Course Manager in 2004. During this time Kay studied part time for a degree and graduated from Wolverhampton University in 2003 obtaining her Post Certificate in Education. It was here that she became good friends with Lisa Ashton (www.equitationscience.co.uk), an inspiring and dedicated colleague who without, Kay would never have had the opportunity to meet and work with Dr Andrew Mclean (www.aebc.com.au).
In 2005 Lisa organised a Lecture Demo with Andrew at Rodbaston and invited all staff to attend, it was this day when Kay suddenly realised what she had been missing for all these years, "understanding of how horses learn". It was this moment that would define and change her work with horses forever. Andrew Mclean gave Kay knowledge and understanding of the horses brain, an in-depth understanding of how horses perceive things and from this point onwards she vowed to keep learning. In 2006 Kay enrolled onto two Equitation Sports Science degree modules with Lisa Ashton at Rodbaston College, the First ‘Equine Behaviour and training’ and the second ‘Horse Handling’, these modules supported the practical application of learning theory with her own horses and helped her successfully and sustainably back a young horse using consistent and repeatable measures that never confused or hindered his education.
In 2008 Kay attend the International Society of Equitation Science Conference in Dublin and has participated in riding lessons with Andrew and Warwick each time they have visited the UK over the last 5 years.
In 2011 Rockstar Equitation Centre was launched, this centre is the first step in all of the great things to come. REC is now a BHS approved Riding Centre and Livery yard.
My dear Rocky – You helped make me the person I am today, you helped me find what was missing for all those years – "understanding of how horses learn" and for that I will ensure your memory lives on through REC. In memory of Rocky (1984 – 2006). You were my inspiration and motivation. A dearly missed part of my life.