Julie, of Ridewell Trainwell is predominantly a dressage coach with a passion for working with riders to help them overcome imbalances, fear, asymmetry and the effects of injury or disability and be a better load for the horse to carry. Julie's mum reckons she was born talking horses! She didn’t the have opportunity to ride until she was 10 but always seeked out horses on their country walks and played “horse”. "I finally got the opportunity to ride when our family moved to New Zealand in 1973. My first horse was a standardbred gelding whom I rode bareback for a year until we could afford a saddle. Rex taught me a lot and started my passion for teaching and coaching riding as I taught 3 kids to ride on him before embarking on an agricultural degree at Massey University," says Julie.
Julie's interest in dressage was ignited by watching Riener Klimke and Ahlerich at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, and she got involved in the sport in 1993 after breaking her pelvis and back in a riding accident. Julie has been a member and volunteer at Auckland Manukau Dressage group since 1994 – including stints as president, events co-ordinator, and sponsorship gatherer.
Julie's training philosophy has been influenced by Equitation science and learning theory for both horses and riders, classical dressage and rider biomechanics. In late 2012 she picked up Mary Wanless's book Ride with your Mind Essentials and found a lot of what she was saying in that book resonated with her own teaching so she decided to go to the UK and learn more. In terms of rider training she has been influenced to a large degree by Pat Dodwell who she trained with in the latter half of the 1990s and Mary Wanless, but is always reading, watching and learning.
The past couple of years Julie has been a regular visitor to ride and train at Valenca Classical Dressage Training Academy in Portugal and hosted two clinics with their trainers here in New Zealand. "I really enjoy helping riders to find a way to be more aware, secure, balanced, and in synch with their horse while being an advocate for the horse," says Julie.