I have been having lessons with Nicki Stuart for approximately 9 years, and throughout this time she has taken me from a nervous, inexperienced rider, to competing and training my horses to a high level in both dressage and eventing. Nicki teaches in a way that is easy to understand and makes sense for both horse and rider. Her use of the Equitation Science method has been hugely beneficial to me and my horses and I believe these methods to be a brilliant solid foundation for success. Nicki has given me many skills in order to enable me to be confident in my ability to work with both green/unbroken horses, and also get the best out of my educated competition horses. I feel that a lot of my success in both competition and training of horses can be attributed to the lessons that I have had with Nicki.
I have been training with Nicki Stuart for approximately 7 years. In that time, she has been my riding and training coach working with me to improve my riding and horse training skills as well as teaching me the skills required to start my young horses from scratch. Nicki has a great 'eye' for detail and breaks things down into manageable easy steps for the horse to be able to achieve error free learning, minimising mistakes and eliminating any undesirable learned behaviours. I feel my riding is constantly improving but more importantly my training ability is constantly improving and through her guidance I have 3 lovely well-mannered, well rounded, enjoyable horses.
My horse and I enjoyed a short stay at the Kersbrook Equestrian Centre during which both of us enjoyed ourselves immensely. The first impression as you enter the property is how relaxed and content the paddocked horses are, under Nicki's more natural shared paddock philosophy. The facilities are excellent, with a friendly atmosphere, stables, an indoor and two lovely outdoor arenas, as well as paddocks to ride over and a forest next door.
We are very fortunate in SA to have an instructor so thoroughly grounded in the McLean training principles. Nicki has an astute understanding of bringing on young horses and an acute eye, combined with a great sense of humour and a relaxed manner to which horses and riders respond immediately.
I found our lessons to be so much fun and very satisfying when at the end your horse has improved, and you as a rider understand what you did to gain that improvement. Using proven training methods that are based on how horses actually learn (rather than the traditional "submission" system) your horse relaxes, develops softness, rhythm and "trainability". As I benefitted from Nicki 's knowledge and experience, each lesson was another confirmation of what works and how to apply it.
If you're into suppleness and lightness, I thoroughly recommend the methods practised at KEC by Nicki; to produce a harmonious partnership built on a correct foundation, either to enjoy a safe hack out or as a basis for a competitive career.
We initially came to Nicki after seeing her run a session at our local Pony Club on Equitation Science.
Just prior to seeing Nicki at Pony Club, my daughter Belle had taken a nasty fall from her pony and had broken her collar bone and dislocated her shoulder. But probably the most difficult injury to recover from was the entire loss of her confidence. Belle was very nervous and unable to relax once in the saddle. Belle struggled to ride her pony and her riding ability, motivation and self-esteem decreased considerably.
We had been involved with a number of riding instructors since Belle began riding at aged 9 but we were struggling to find an instructor that could relate to Belle, explain things in a way that she could understand and learn and also had the ridden ability to show Belle in the saddle. It was also very important to find an instructor that could read Belle, her nervousness and have the empathy and ability to calm Belle’s nerves while still encouraging her to learn and try new things. We found all these wonderful skills and more in Nicki Stuart.
Belle has come such a long way in both her riding ability and horse handling skills while being under the instruction of Nicki. Nicki’s evidence based and ethical approach to riding instruction and horse training has been exactly what we have been looking for, for many years. For myself and Belle, going right back to basics and starting fresh with both the horse and rider, learning the theories behind Equitation Science and seeing Nicki put them into practice has been the most positive form of instruction we have had.
Nicki has not only worked with Belle and I but has also trained two of our horses. Her systematic and clear approach to horse training has been a pleasure to watch and her ability to find flaws and gaps within the horse’s education, potential flags that could risk Belle’s safety and her kind and gentle approach has been amazing. The ultimate goal is to have a safe and well educated pony that Belle can competently ride with confidence and comfort in all situations. I am sure that together, Belle and Nicki will achieve this.