Sue Pennington

Discipline: Biomechanics & Gymnastic Pole Work

Sue started riding at the age of 5 years in England, mostly at a riding school, holiday treks or grabbing a ride on friend’s ponies. Coming from a non-horsey family, Sue had to drive her own passion for horses and riding. When her family moved to South Africa she managed to keep going for lessons and at some point, convinced her parents to lease a pony and then a horse. As she got older she spent a couple of years schooling OTTBs at a spelling yard and again taking up any riding that was offered, still today she enjoys riding a variety of horses as each one has something to teach her.

Sue and her family moved to NZ 11 years ago, and quickly got her first New Zealand horse. She was a locally bred warmblood 4-year-old mare, unfortunately as a 5-year-old she had a paddock accident and as a result she nearly lost her life. It is because of this mare that she is the coach and rider that she is today. The situation she found herself in with the mare made her realise that not only do we have to be the best rider we can be for our horses but we also need to understand how they work physically and mentally.

Sue is an Accredited Rider Biomechanics Coach and continues to study this subject to gain more understanding. Sue's philosophy is that most, if not all, horses require some form of rehab (or prehab) training, especially if they are going to be a ridden horse. This is due to their natural asymmetry, which would be okay if the horse was never to be ridden. "The better the rider sits the better the horse goes and vice versa", she says. 

Sue's coaching focuses on helping riders not improve their body and minds for the benefit of their horse but also give them the tools to build their horse into the athlete he needs to be as a ridden horse, physically and mentally.

Key learnings to take away from Sue's sessions:

  • Improving rider biomechanics through increased rider body awareness
  • Improving horse biomechanics by utilising polework exercises to correct horse compensatory patterns for improved straightness, rhythm, balance and gymnastic ability, no matter the level of the horse, rider or chosen discipline.

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