ABOUT IAN SMITH
"As a trainer I aim to make the training as simple, yet as effective as possible"
“As a trainer I aim to make the training as simple, yet as effective as possible. For me, it’s all about finding that ‘balance’ in everything I ask my horses to do. For me its also important to mix up the horses’ training regime and include some ‘fun times’ or time for ‘head space’ as well. I feel that it keeps my horses motivated and eager for their work, let’s face it - dressage training is hard! In Australia I love taking my horses to the beach for a hoon in the water. It’s great fun and so good for the horses’ minds. When I was based in Europe we would often go for leisurely forest rides, the climate wasn’t always motivating for a beach visit “.
Ian’s life is completely taken up with horses; competing, coaching, attending events and assisting clients to purchase their ideal partner, and he loves every aspect of it.
“My main love for coaching is driven by the feeling of success. Success both in the training arena at home, when my clients master a feeling and execute a movement well, and success in the competition arena. It’s a great feeling when you have a happy horse, happy rider, happy judge and a great score!”
For Ian, the key is honesty.
“There are a lot of people in this industry that are happy to take your money and tell you what you want to hear, but you don’t really improve or achieve your ultimate goal that way.” Ian describes himself as a firm, but fair coach and he loves it when he sees riders push themselves forward and really focus on achieving their goals however big or small they may be.
“I also love to be able to share my knowledge and experience with others,” he said. “The equestrian world can be so complicated and vicious, it’s nice to provide clarity and transparency with my clients and help them in a very simple and straightforward approach towards a better way of going or better end result.”
Ian has also been successful at and gets a lot of satisfaction from bringing together the ideal combination of horse and rider. Over the last few years he’s helped form partnerships throughout Europe, Australia, the UK and the USA.
“Dressage is about fitting horse and rider together to perform as a team,” he said. That’s quite a challenge as every horse has its own unique feeling and every rider favours different attributes. For me it’s a rewarding challenge to successfully match a horse and rider partnership together and watch their success as they continue to develop.”
Ian says in coaching and ‘matchmaking’ there is a perfect contradiction, the culmination of art and science, and he wouldn’t succeed without a combination of both.
“When training both horses and riders, and finding horses for riders, it’s important to have an imagination - without it you limit yourself and you limit your horse, but it’s as important to know the facts, the mechanics, the history and use that in conjunction with the ‘art’ to create a more successful end goal.”
Although Ian delights in being part of competitive success, he also enjoys spending time in the arena with his students and horses, and the quiet times in the stable.
Ian is fortunate to train and compete a wonderful team of horses from 3 years old through to international Grand Prix level. His time spent in Europe has seen him train with some of the best names in international dressage. Nicole Werner who works as full time trainer at Glock Performance Horse Centre and is the trainer of Edward Gal, Monique Peutz who is a 4* international dressage judge as well as the Dutch national YR team coach and Leunus van Lieren who has trained more than 25 horses through to international grand prix level.
Ian recognises that many trainers and professionals have assisted him to attain this level and he looks forward to continuing to learn and share his knowledge with his clients and students in the future to help them improve and achieve their goals.