Classical riding Rocks near Kelso

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THE BORDERS, known to many as horse country, has a new riding stables offering tuition and livery.

International rider and teacher Jennifer Rocks opened Eden Hall Stables near Kelso for business on Monday.

Ms Rocks said: “I’m offering grass roots training as well as training in riding in the classical dressage style and hope to teach riders to be able to go on and train their own horses along classical lines, allowing the horse to do work rather than forcing it to comply.

“These skills are needed for all types of riding but are not taught in normal riding schools.”

Ms Rocks has more than 30 years experience with horses and has worked, ridden and trained with equestrian experts around the world.

Training under British Horse Society (BHS) instructor chief examiner Lynne Baldwin, Ms Rocks gained her BHS intermediate instructor’s certificate in her late twenties before becoming chief instructor of the Buket Timah Saddle Club at the Old Race Track in Singapore where she was responsible for more than 40 thoroughbred ex-race horses, retraining them to become riding club horses and teaching riders.

Returning to the UK, she rode out for racing trainers before taking over the Central London Mews Stables near Hyde Park.

Here the trainer adopted the same ethics of the clubs in Asia offering membership and tuition on well schooled horses as well as livery and sourcing horses for international clients.

And it was here she confirmed to herself that she excelled in helping horses and riders be the best they could be, starting at grass roots level and training to performance standard.

She coached Francesca Ludlum who was on the World Class Programme for the 2012 Olympics and looked after Ms Ludlum’s four star horses at her yard. But in 2007 that part of her career came to an end when the yard was closed for property development.

Ms Rocks headed overseas, working as a private rider and coach in New Zealand and in the south of France. During that time she says she had the opportunity to train and watch some of the great masters of the world both on the flat and over fences.

She is now renting part of the yard at Eden Hall, home of the classical riding exponent, dressage judge and equestrian author Sylvia Loch. Ms Rocks hopes to work alongside Mrs Loch in other equestrian projects.

Aside from her coaching work and interest in classical dressage, Ms Rocks also pre-trains race horses and does rehabilitation work, backing and breaking, eventing, hunting, showing and driving.

Riders at the new school will have the opportunity to learn on highly schooled horses and training is offered to both children and adults.

Ms Rocks said: “There is a lot of interest in dressage at the moment following Britain’s success at the Olympics. I want to try to open up people’s minds in terms of the skills that classical training can provide and its uses for riders whether they are show jumping, hunting, racing or whatever.”

Classical riding is about balancing the horse as you ride, with the animal’s power flowing through from its rear.

Ms Rocks said: “Classical riding is very light, very beautiful to watch, but the skills also apply to jumping and hunting: you have to have harmony between horse and rider.

“My coaching is for people who really want to get educated and learn to ride properly, and for people who have goals and aims in terms of training and competing their own horses. There is a lot of talent slipping through the net because people are not getting the training they need. I’m trying to give the area something a little bit different.”

For more information visit www.classicalriding.co.uk and www.edenhallstables.co.uk