At the age of 40, Rachel became a "born-again" horsewoman. Her previous work as an organic farm adviser and then as a management coach were an excellent foundation for her third career, teaching horsemanship. Her passions are improving the well-being of our domestic horses and building owner confidence and joy in their relationship with their horse.
Natural Horse Keeping
As soon as Rachel started owning horses, she introduced principles from organic farming and worked out how to keep her horses as naturally as possible. She took them barefoot in 2000; gave them free access to grazing 24/7 and put them on a suitable forage-based diet. She began to run Courses in 1999 to share the experts she found with other horse owners who wanted to do the best for their horses too. She created her first charity, the Natural Horse Group in 2001, which eventually had over 500 members and ran a monthly programme of events, and many clinics and workshops.
Her desire to share the good stuff with other horse owners led her to study equine nutrition in depth with the University of Lincoln. She then created her forage-feed consultancy business, advising owners on how to improve their horse's nutrition.
Tai Chi Riding
After breaking her back in a simple riding fall in 2004, she recognised that she had completely lost her confidence in riding. Determined not to give up, she found the trainer who could help her. For 5 years she ran workshops all over the UK with James Shaw to learn and share his tai chi for riding. She hosted him 3 times a year and rode at every clinic she could. In this way, she overcame her fear and became a good rider and excellent teacher, especially for other riders who lack confidence.
Positive Reinforcement Training
Along with her daughter, Hannah Weston, she pioneered online learning for positive horse training. They founded Hannah Dawson Equine in 2010 and began compiling their hugely successful home-study Courses. In 2012 and 2013 they ran the World's first dedicated Equine Clicker Conferences, hosting an international panel of speakers. This evolved into Connection Training in 2014 and Claire became one of their first Elite students. In 2016, Claire became Connection Training's first Qualified Instructor and she and Rachel decided to create Positive Horse Training Spain together.
Connection Training is unique in that the focus of all the work is on creating a happy,
relaxed, responsive horse. who is strongly bonded to her human. The objective is for owners to foster a strong and caring bond with their horse, while also having fun doing all the usual horsey
activities. Much of their work is with rescue horses and centres, where they train and support staff to use positive training methods, without fear or force. The work is strongly grounded in
science and Rachel is responsible for bringing the science into the teaching. This has led her to study modern neuroscience in order to understand the emotions of horses and how to foster the
good-feeling emotions in training and horse-life.
In November 2019, the Connection Training book, authored by Hannah and Rachel was published. This immediately went to the top of the Amazon Bestseller list in its category. It has sold all over the world and has received excellent reviews, such as: "This is a positive training encyclopedia with enough science to satisfy but importantly lots about how to turn your training into an art. A book I will refer students to in future."
Positive Horse Training Spain
Since we held our first Course in September 2017, Rachel has taught many clients and worked hard to rehabilitate our rescue horses. The Connection Training book features many case-studies and training examples from our Centre, taken from the first three years. Rachel is achieving her dream of founding an equine rehabilitation centre who's work and example will reach people all over the world. She is especially delighted that her Charity will be able to support other equine rehabilitation charities thanks to the generous donations of our supporters.
"Had a wonderful time. It's taking relaxation to a new level. Thanks so much, Rachel."
Helene, The Netherlands
"Because of Connection Training I have been able to achieve a relationship with my horses which I previously could never imagine. Thank you Hannah and Rachel."
Sophie Pickard, UK
Positive Horse Training Spain
Calle Cortijo del Amo, 3
Cacin, Spain 18129
Mobile: 0034 / 6966 72477
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Registered Charity Number: G19707751
Photo Credits: Our photos come from a range of people but we would like to thank Ni Dhunn Imagery and Jacqueline Sheedy in particular for supplying so many of them.