Belinda Rodriguez

Discipline: Equine Welfare

Growing up in Kawerau in the Bay of Plenty, Belinda was horse mad in her teenage years and spent most of her time at the local pony club, competing at local ribbon days and eventing. 

After university studies and then a stint overseas pursuing corporate career goals, Belinda moved back to New Zealand with a family in tow. Her young daughters prompted her back into the horse world, and within a short time, they had discovered Equestrian Vaulting. They started their own club, Waimauku Vaulting Club, from scratch with help from the Kapiti Vaulting Club and a former vaulter living in the area, as well as hosting high-level overseas trainers. 

They have put our heart and souls into learning the discipline, leading to the selection of Belinda's daughter, Jasmyn, into the NZ Vaulting team that competed in Europe in 2019. A study of vaulting history led Belinda to the classical riding schools and an understanding of the benefits of the basic skills in vaulting for developing balance and coordination of riders. She then expanded into a classical approach to horse training and then came to Working Equitation in 2017. "At that time, Working Equitation was in the early stages of developing clubs in New Zealand. With my experience in launching a new discipline as well as IT skills, I contributed as a founding committee member of the Working Equitation New Zealand organisation" says Belinda. 

In 2020, she co-founded Virtual Working Equitation with Maree McAteer, which aims to provide a format for educating and promoting Working Equitation in New Zealand, running online competitions and webinars. In her collaborations with Maree, who is a qualified ‘4 HOOF’ practitioner for the Sure Foot Equine Stability program, as well as studying expert theories in human responses to stress and the corresponding scientific research, Belinda has become aware of the significance of the nervous system in training horses. In addition to teaching riding and Working Equitation, Belinda has been developing a program for educating horse owners about how to develop resilience in the nervous system.

The nervous system provides the conditions for handling stress in mammals which is an integral part of learning abilities and coping mechanisms. The ability to feel safe is connected to wellbeing and health with a strong influence over the immune and digestive systems. 

Key learnings to take away from Belinda's sessions:

  • Find out more about the important role that the nervous system plays in our horse and human interactions. 
  • Discover practical ways of creating resilience in the equine nervous system that will also give you insight into the same practices for humans.
Jody Hartstone on horse

Connect with Belinda


This product has been added to your cart