Coach of the Year Nominees

Posted on 9th April 2024

As part of UK Coaching Week we are looking for nominations for amazing coaches for the ABRS+ Coach of the Year Award.  You can nominated coaches from any ABRS+ approved centre by completing this FORM.  Nominations close on the 21st April.

We will keep updating this page with our nominees as they come in.

Jasmine Tutt – Inadown Farm Livery Stables

“Jaz joined Inadown just after COVID and over the past 3 or 4 years has worked hard to develop as a coach – completing her BHS Stage 2 and Stage 3 qualifications. She is enthusiastic and versatile, teaching everyone from little kids to advance adults. Everyone absolutely loves her. She always has a smile on her face, keeping all going even on days that have been a real challenge for weather or other reasons.  We get endless compliments about her – she so inspiring as an individual and so encouraging as a coach. We think she deserves to be recognised !”

Lauren Riley – Parkside Stables

“Lauren is a great team player. We receive many compliments from clients who enjoy their first experience with horses. She is constantly kind and patient with all her beginner level riders. She has a real ability to reach out and help beginners that have anxiety, confidence issues or learning disabilities and help them to progress and achieve goals. She never seeks for any thanks, reward or praise. We are nominating her so she knows what an awesome job she does and to let her know she is so very much appreciated by her team.”

Kate Kirkpatrick – Stoke Lane Stables

Kate is the Chief Instructor and Proprietor of Stoke Lane Stables.  She he is an enthusiastic and passionate instructor offering practical solutions to common riding issues. She loves to instil confidence in her riders through all aspects of horsemanship, not solely riding.  One of her riders nominated her saying –  “she’s a brilliant coach, very encouraging, very funny and really caring; having her as our coach make us feel safe.  Kate make Stoke Lane Stables a fun place to be and ride at.”

Abi and John Shaw – High Legh Riding Centre

Abi and John are the proprietors of High Legh Riding Centre.  One parent said – “my daughter has been having lessons with Abi and John for over 12 months and has improved her abilities and grown in confidence no end. Abi and John are hugely professional, very knowledgeable and always on hand to give advice and guidance.” A horse owner says – “Abi is a brilliant coach, so knowledgeable, gives the best advice, supportive in lessons, explains everything in a way each individual can understand. She boosts moral and gives you courage to keep trying. All say what a great yard that High Legh is to be at.”

Denise O’Reilly – TDS Riding Centre

Denise O’Reilly is the proprietor of TDS Riding Centre.  An advanced dressage rider, Denise set up TDS to make dressage less ‘elite’ and more available for the average rider, while of a range of other riding services to her clients.  Denise was nominated by one of her students, who called Denise ‘the most inspiring, motivating coach and a fantastic role model’.  This view is backed by the numerous richly-deserved testimonials offered by clients.

Kirsty Sweeney – Four Winds Equestrian Centre

Kirsty joined Four Winds Equestrian Centre to support rider who need additional support and to run alternative education programme.  A Level 2 Coach. Kirsty has many years experience in working  with individuals with special educational needs.  Paula, the proprietor of Four Winds, says that “Kirsty is amazing and highly positive with all clients but especially so with our clients with additional needs.  She has helped us develop our own skills in working with clients who need additional support.”

Sarah Fowler – Valley Farm Equestrian Centre

Sara Fowler is a coach at Valley Farm Equestrian Centre.  She has been nominated ‘because she is extremely dedicated, professional and versatile. “Sara has been with us over 8 years. She left a management career, with a major supermarket in later life to pursue a career with horses. After riding with us she decided to take up a job teaching, to help others be able to enjoy horses as much as she does. She is always friendly, helpful, and receives many compliments and requests from clients and we think she deserves some recognition for all the hard work she has put in over the years.

Sara is forever learning, setting a great example for others. She is now in a position to inspire and train the next generation of staff and clients. Since joining us she has studied hard and now holds assorted qualifications up to and including BHS Stage 4 business management. She teaches all standards of lessons, from tiny tots to those training for BHS stages. She is very versatile teaching RDA riding and carriage, Pony Club, vaulting, horseball, polocrosse, horse boarding, working equitation, carriage driving, Western and side saddle which is invaluable for our summer pony camps.”

Rose Taylor – Dulwich Riding School

Rose was nominated by the team at Dulwich Riding School. Rose was nominated because she is such a fantastic instructor who is requested daily by clients.  She is known for being compassionate and care.  Jaye, the proprietor of Dulwich Riding Schools, says that Rose has had “an enormous Impact on the stables – her dedication to the school and her clients absolutely shines through.”

Annastasia Neale – Rudyard Equestrian Centre

Annastasia was nominated by Georgiana Alasbahi, the proprietor of Rudyard Equestrian Centre.  She says on Annastasia: “She has been inspiring the next generation for years – everyone loves her both young and old.  Inspiring everyone from our staff who have been taught by her and now are working in the industry to total beginners.  She teaches every level from first rides up to clients competing their own horses and always goes the extra mile.”

Katie Costello – Worcester Riding School

Katie works at the Worcester Riding School and was nominated by the proprietor, Deni Harper-Adams.  Deni says of Katie: “Katie has worked as our chief instructor for 20 years, since we set up the riding school.  She has worked tirelessly and always with a huge smile on her face, teaching hundreds of children and adults over her time as part of team WRS. Katie has instilled her love of all things equine to all of those who come into contact with her, never failing to make every lessons a fun and valued learning experience. With a lifetime of her own equine experiences to pull from, including producing feral unhandled ponies to qualifying and riding at HoYs and the Royal international. Katie currently competes two Connemara ponies, one of which she raised from a foal. Katie has her UKCC level 2 and is always looking for new and fun ways to use in her lesson planning. Katie plans rider-centered sessions whilst always being focused on the happiness and welfare of the ponies and horses in the lessons. Katie works with WRS alongside being a qualified and practicing Chiropractor, and even during her university studying she would come back and teach for us at the weekend.  To sum up we would not have a Team WRS without our very special Katie!”

Gemma Lucy Owens – Plumtree School of Equitation and Carriage Driving

Gemma, who is the proprietor of Plumtree School of Equitation and Carriage Driving, was nominate by one of her clients – who said of her: ‘I’ve returned to my love for horses.  While I no longer ride, Gemma has given me the perfect solution – Carriage driving.  Gemma, from start to finish, brings opportunities to all that choose her ridding school.  She is unstoppable and very much hands-on, whether providing one-to-one tuition, individual coaching or managing the business side of the riding school.  Additionally, Gemma provides interest and active support to the local community.’  Gemma has been a qualified Instructor for over 20 years.  Her main love and passion is dressage and her second love is carriage driving – for both, she has produced horses from breaking to competing successfully at competition.

Holly Barclay Jay – Island Riding Centre

Holly has been at the Island Riding Centre for 5 years working up from level 1 to 3 NVQ in horse care and is a qualified RDA group coach. She is excellent with our younger children and those requiring extra one-to-one help and support. She is patient and kind, explaining to her clients all aspects of riding and horse care in an interesting and fun way.  She is focused on developing riding skills and making riding inclusive to all.  By having Holly, the Island Riding Centre have gained a large following of disabled riders, from many of the SEN schools on the island.

Julie Guze – Old Tiger Riding Stables

Julie is a coach at Old Tiger Stables and was nominate by a parent of a rider she teaches.   Julie is a Stage 3 coach who specialise in helping nervous riders gain the confidence to be able to progress to competing or feeling confident enough to go for a hack.  In the nomination, it was said of Julie that ‘she is amazing and my daughter has learnt so much from her – she is truly exceptional’

Mel Harper – John Shaw Equestrian

Mel is an instructor at John Shaw Equestrian and was nominated by one of her clients, who says of Mel: “ she is an amazing instructor, she fills her riders with confidence and is always looking to support riders to improve their riding skills and knowledge. Mel is a ray of sunshine at JSE. Her boundless energy inspires both young and old riders alike to achieve their ambitions and goals. I have watched Mel’s expertise in guiding young riders from lead rein to taking part in dressage and show jumping competitions. Mel is selfless always putting the needs of her riders first. She also supports, trains and inspires our young leaders – some of whom will no doubt have futures in the equine industry. Mel has taken me from being a nervous rider to someone confident enough to take my horse off the yard to clinics and events.”

Lisa Busby – Follifoot Park Riding Stables

Lisa Busby was nominated by one of her clients.  She started at Follifoot as an apprentice 20 years ago. She has trained and progressed in that time. She is an incredible instructor, who really helps you to push the limits of what you believe you are capable of. Lisa really understands your ability level and improves your confidence and makes this adjustment when there are multiple riders in a group. Her pole, grid and jump clinics are inspiring, improving rider skills over intricate pole exercises, with ever evolving patterns that she dreams up. Lisa is always smiling and makes us all smile too!

Beth McDougal – Bart’s Bank Stables

Beth McDougall of Bart’s Bank Stables has been nominated for showing exceptional patience and understanding when engaging children in all aspects of pony care, knowledge & riding. She delivers every lesson with enthusiasm and kindness, providing a friendly, safe and nurturing environment for young children to learn and develop at their individual pace. Her creative skills make learning fun and enjoyable for both ponies and children.  Beth takes time to educate children on the importance of pony welfare, supporting others and building friendships for the future.

Rachel Bangay – Manor Farm Riding School

Rachael Bangay of Manor Farm Riding School has been nominated because ‘Rachael has been working in riding schools for over 35 years and she puts her entire heart into everything she does. She has been managing this yard for 15 years and works tirelessly to ensure children and adults get many opportunities to enjoy the equine industry. She has created a safe space for so many people, helped them through tough times – constantly putting everyone (including the horses) above herself. She deserves recognition for all her hard work and to show just how amazing she is! She is the most amazing instructor, so kind and patient as well as being informative and considerate of the horses.  Rachael has helped so many people over the years.

When we say we are a riding school, people do not realise we are so much more than horses and riding; we are a community, and the pillar of the community is Rachael. She has helped people with lots of battles and always been a shoulder to cry on and someone to talk to. We have a team of young equestrians who all see her like a second mum. People are able to open up to her about mental health issues, any worries, stress and anxiety.

You just know Rachael will give out kind and non-judgemental advice, as-well as support and love. She has helped so many with their riding, taught thousands of people and given them a starting point in the equine world. She has created a yard family that is life changing for so many, and we are forever grateful that we have a Rachael in our lives!’

Lisa Mitchell – Follifoot Park Riding Stables

Lisa Michell – Lisa Mitchell has been teaching at Follifoot for over 15 years. She is a hardworking and dedicated member of the team. She teaches riders of all abilities, from those who are trying horse riding for the first time, through to advanced riders, understanding and helping them reach their goals. She is excellent at improving rider position and providing riders with insights into how they influence the horses movement. She is exceptionally kind and patient with all her riders and helps them to really grow in confidence. Lisa has an empathetic connection with the horses and teaches us many aspects of good horsemanship. They have such a positive influence and are always helpful.

Ellie Ross Layne – Dulwich Riding School

Ellie Ross-Layne – Ellie has committed most of her life to working with horses and teaching, her love for the horses shines through every day. Ellie personally has helped riding journey so much, there was a time I wanted to give up but she reminded me why I do it and I couldn’t thank her more. She has helped me, Karen and supported me through exams, she has been the co-worker/friend/agony aunt that everyone needs. Ellie keeps the yard going through experience and laughter.


Well done to everyone who has been nominated, we look forward to announcing the winner during UK Coaching Week.

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