About me

Val MainBased near Stow in the Scottish Borders, I teach riders on their own horses or ponies.

In my lessons I can help beginners and much more experienced riders who compete in Dressage or in Showing Classes.

I care about the people I help and enjoy seeing and hearing about their progress.

My background

Horses have been a part of my life since a very early age and I have owned horses that have had very challenging pasts as well as breeding some which my husband and I have trained and competed.

I learned to ride at Fulmer School of Equitation in Edinburgh in the late 60s and 70s. The owner, Robert Hall, a world- recognised and respected trainer, had trained at the famous Spanish Riding School in Vienna, at the time when its Director was the legendary Colonel Alois Podhajsky.

Robert Hall was the British Olympic Eventing team’s dressage trainer for Stockholm 1956 and  Rome’s 1960. He then trained the British Olympic Dressage team for Tokyo 1964 and Mexico 1968. I was very lucky to have been in the right place at the right time.

Through his training, I learned to respect the horse and to have the horse’s welfare uppermost in my mind.

The moment when my eyes were opened

I fell hook, line and sinker in love with classical riding one day when I was allowed, aged 12, to ride Robert Hall’s 17 hands school master and competition dressage horse called Pepper.

Even at that young age, and with my wee short legs, I was able to feel how beautifully and lightly schooled he was! I knew then that I wanted one day to own and ride horses that were are willing and beautifully trained as Pepper.

Showing

My husband and I currently own a sensible number of just 4 homebred horses: 2 Arabian stallions, an Arabian mare and a warmblood mare.

Over the years we have bought in and bred a number of good Riding Horses, Hunters and pure bred Arabians and showed them both in-hand and under saddle at County level.

I was invited to join the judging panel of Arab Horse Society (UK) have been invite to judge both breeding and ridden classes at a number of shows around UK which I greatly enjoy.

My Training

I have always enjoyed the training side of competition more than the competition itself.

My interest in horses is such that I’m always reading and aiming to improve my knowledge. I have been inspired by and have studied the books of many Classical trainers such as Paul Belasik, Philippe Karl, Alois Podhajsky, Nuno Olivera and Sylvia Loch to name a few.

I have a degree in Biology and Psychology and in 2004, I went back to University to study Equine Science full time, graduating with an Masters Degree in Equine Science from Edinburgh University Vet School.

A good trainer will never stop learning and I aim to keep learning.