About Gillian

 

My journey began when I was 8 years old with my little black Shetland pony named Shelley. From there I spent my life living and breathing horses. Even through my secondary and post secondary education I always felt that there was a part of me that needed to be with horses. After many years of school working towards a goal of becoming a children’s educator, I was fortunate enough to stumble upon an opportunity that was too good to pass up. I had a chance to run my own riding lesson program at Willaway Farm, a private boarding facility with a culture that was based on family and the love of horses.

 

I have been an Equine Canada certified English riding coach since 2005 and have most certainly been privileged to have mentored under the best of the best. From these wonderful women I was able to develop my teaching skills in such a way that made my teaching safe, knowledgeable, and fun. 

 

In 2012 I began my Equine Facilitated Wellness-Canada (EFW-CAN) training under the guidance of Deborah Marshall and Susan Cressy. It was these women who helped me make the connection between the coach I had wanted to be and the coach I could become. Breaking away from ‘traditional’ coaching techniques and using the tools and skills learned through my EFW-CAN training has been an extremely important step towards teaching with a connection. I have been able to intertwine my skills developed as a riding coach and give them a ‘flare’. I am able to provide a fun and safe learning environment while using a positive and nonjudgmental coaching technique. I work with both the horse and rider’s best interest in mind, to help build confidence and self-awareness, while expanding on technical riding and horsemanship skills.

 

In 2015 I became an Equine Canada certified Western Instructor and alongside my equine partner Jack, am able to offer Western style riding lessons.

 

In 2016 I became a RYT200 Yoga Teacher which allows me to intertwine my love of yoga with my love of horses.  My goal is to offer yoga classes and workshops that are specifically designed for riders who want to improve their strength, flexibility, and balance as well as bring more mindfulness into their relationship with their horse.

 

Through the years, my teaching and training philosophy has shifted towards a more holistic approach to understanding the role of the horse, in recognizing how our thoughts and actions are perceived by and influence their own behaviours, and how this knowledge may inform our practices and ultimately affects performance. Likewise, I like to think that I help to facilitate-along with the horse, my students’ awareness of the horse-human connection in working together to forge a lasting partnership.

 

 

© 2020 Gillian Leigh Phillips.