About Emma K. Woolliscroft
Although my family is English I grew up in Switzerland which is where I developed my love of horses and passion for teaching. As a little girl I would regularly give my friends lessons on my two Hafflinger ponies even though at the time I had little idea of riding myself. I just simply loved teaching and used to chose to do this over my homework.
Once I'd finished school I knew that I wanted to work with horses but in the words of my mother "You can't make a living in horses unless you're already rich, you get incredibly lucky, or you get bloody good". Well, we certainly weren't rich, I firmly believe that you make your own luck and being the perfectionist that I am I knew that I wanted to be good at whatever I decided to do. One day I stumbled accross a video on YouTube of Andreas Helgestrands GP Kur on Blue Hors Matinée. I was in complete awe over the partnership he had with his horse and couldn't believe the beauty of it. I had never even seen a dressage test before, let alone ride one, but it was at this point that I decided that I wanted to become a dressage rider and trainer. How much I had to learn!
I discovered the British Dressage apprenticeship scheme online and applied for an apprenticeship role with Dr Dianne Breeze. Being the incredible mentor that she is, Dianne trained me from never having ridden a dressage test before (or even competing for that matter) to winning a National title in just nine months. In just two years I progressed up the levels and proudly competed in my first PSG. I am incredibly grateful for everything that Dianne did for me and the opportunities she gave to me and as a Coach I want nothing more that to give other riders some of the opportunities which I have had.
Because of my amazing experience with Dianne I decided to pursue, once again, my passion for teaching. I began doing the odd bits of freelance here and there as well as attending Keele University as a mature student. I decided to do the "sensible thing" and get a degree. I began a Duel Honours Degree in Biology and Psychology. I found the psychology modules investigating ways that people learn absolutely facinating and noticed that I was constantly making connections with the various ways that humans lean and comparing them to the way that I taught. If I learnt about a new theory of learning I would imediately (un known to them of course) experiment with my freelance customers.
University life sadly wasn't for me however. I partly think this was due to being dyslexic and I very much struggled to learn in the conventional way. This was a particularly frustrating time in my life as I had the ability to pick up riding techniques very quickly yet I was unable to learn information from a book. I could spend hours watching horses and riders move around a dressage arena and understand how to influence them in a positive way but I was incapable of learning about genetics or human anatomy from a book or lecture. I therefore left university halfway through the final year and was lucky enough to get a job at a local riding school as head instructor and yard manager. It was a very much "learn on the job" role due to the fact that I had never taught group lessons before and I was far more used to teaching advanced riders. I found this role invaluable however as it taught me very much how to simplify everything so that it became far less complicated for riders to understand. I also feel that because of the huge variety of riders of all different ages and abilities I was teaching it really helped to expand my knowledge further on different learning styles and how to cater for each individual even in a group capacity.
After a few fun years at the riding school I was brave enough to become fully self employed and move back into more competitive teaching and coaching. It was at this point that I created my own freelance instruction business EKW Dressage. To my great surprise I became very busy very quickly. To further my own skills I also put myself through the British Dressage L2 UKCC Coaches qualification. I must admit, after my somewhat challenging experience at University I was very nervous about taking another course but to my great surprise I absolutely loved it and for the first time in "education" I felt like I excelled.
In 2018 a local teenage girl who I had taught in the riding school tragically past away after a car accident. Her mother started to raise money in memory of her daughter to help build the RDA Cavalier Centre so in the summer of 2018 and I decided to host a Charity Dressage Demonstration to help raise as much money as possible for her. The demonstration was called "Dressage is For Everyone" as I had a burning desire to do a dressage demonstration with "normal" horses (not the big fancy ones which cost thousands) because I wanted to inspire riders with all different types of horses by showing them that any horse and rider can do it. The whole demonstration was about bridging the gap from the basics all the way to advanced so that the spectators could understand how the basics link all the way to advanced with a clear step by step process. The demonstration sucessfully raised £1900 for the Cavalier Centre. I had such postive feeback from the event, and I am delighted and proud to say that people still talk about it today. I really feel that this demonstration was a turning point for me: it made me realise that my main quality as a coach was the fact that I had the ability to break things down in a very normal and non-complicated sort of way so that your average rider who wants to progress could understand the concepts within dressage. This is where the slogan for by buisness "Dressage is For Everyone" originated from. I will teach any rider, on any horse, at any level and really try to be a coach for everyone. It doesn't matter to me if a riders goals are to compete at regionals and nationals or if they simply want to learn how to do a correct rising trot, I will help anyone who wants to learn and enjoy their horses.
Over the years I have trained several horses of various breeds up the levels and have competed successfully at PetPlans, Regionals and Nationals on horses of my own as well various owners horses. As a rider I feel that I have a very sympathetic aproach and systematic training style which I will adapt to different horses. I have been lucky enough over the years to train with many top international riders including Dr Dianne Breeze, Patsy Bartram, Matt Frost, and the legendary Stephen Clark. As a professional rider I always try to be as honest and open as I can about my own exerpiences. I myself have struggled with my own mindset in the past and I believe that bringing my own experiences into my coaching and training is important as it helps everyone to realise that even we professionals have difficult and emotional times as well. I honestly feel that my whole philosophy as an instructor is to create a fantastic learning and professional environment where horses and riders can excel in their goals by keeping things real, open and honest.
EKW Equestrian is no different to my coaching. One of my reasons for starting EKW Equestrian is because I wanted to be able to offer apprentices, riders and owners the same opportunitites which Dianne Breeze gave to me back in 2008. It is a professional yet fun leaning environment for horses and riders of all shapes and sizes because, lets face it, everyone learns better when they are having a fun, a really good laugh.
Emma K Woolliscroft - "Dressage is for everyone"