I’ve loved horses my whole life. I’ve ridden and taken lessons on-and-off (in Victoria, Canberra and NSW) since childhood but in my early 40s lost my nerve and stopped riding.
However, in my mid 50s, I realised that I missed it and I probably didn’t have much time left to be physically able to ride, so I started to look around the Central Coast for a place to take lessons and try to regain my confidence.
I tried a couple of places but they just didn’t feel like what I was really looking for. Then, in March 2015, I was driving along Empire Bay Drive, Empire Bay, when I saw the sign: HorsePower Riding Academy. I checked it out, spoke to Sandie (the owner, manager and inspiration of the place), and soon started taking lessons with her.
Sandie is the best riding instructor I have ever had. I have gained so much confidence in my riding and around horses since I have started lessons with her. And my riding is improving more than I thought possible.
So here I am, feeling fitter and healthier than I have felt in ages, and enthusiastic about the possibility that I can continue riding, and improving my riding, for some time yet. How empowering that is!
Sandie’s first concern is safety for both horse and rider. She is sensitive to the needs of both horse and rider. She sees everything, and knows how clearly to describe how you need to correct your riding position and aids. And she’s fun and funny. Lessons with her are really enjoyable.
She knows when to let you take your time and settle in, and when to give you the encouragement you need to boost you to the next level. I learned quickly to trust her – and that is the basis on which my riding has developed as well as it has.
There are other things that set her apart.
She has extremely high standards of horse care – for her own horses and those she agists, in terms of fresh water, feed, vet care, regular shoeing and chiropractic treatments. Horses are rugged and rugs removed in response to changing weather conditions.
Sandie has trained all the horses she uses for lessons – which is why they are so good. And she knows all the riders and, in the case of children, their parents. So HPRA feels personal and friendly – not like some of the other places where I have ridden.
I cannot recommend Sandie and HPRA highly enough for anyone who wants to improve their riding or who wants excellent quality care and agistment for their horse. I just love being around the place.
— Irma has taken lessons at HPRA since May 2015