YOUNG RIDERS TODAY - Supporting, developing and encouraging young riders to have fun and enjoy the riding experience

Encouraging youngsters to have fun and enjoy the riding experience

Supporting and developing young riders in the UK is paramount if we are to grow the number of young people wanting to get in to this sport. Horse Answers Today wants to help encourage youngsters to have fun and enjoy the riding experience. Our future stars are out there somewhere!!

Ella head and shoulders
We first met Ella Yabbacome at  in 2012; and over time  It soon became apparent that Ella had a very special approach encouraging and motivating young riders to simply enjoy their riding experience. She is able to deal with the nerves of her young riders and their difficult ponies . A manic and nerve racking time for any instructor, especially one that seems so young, however all Ella's students avidly listen to her instruction, have smiles on their faces and soon become confident in their riding – Although the outcome of each lesson is important for Ella, she is also concerned  that each youngster comes away knowing they have done their best and have enjoyed the experience.

Ella continues to work teaching the young and adult rider and in November 2013 decided to go it alone and launch her own company, “YLI Equestrian”, although Ella teaches at all levels across all age spectrums, her special gift is becoming apparent with the amazing success she is having coaching, developing and building confidence in the young rider. In a very short period of time she has already had many great success stories and her portfolio of young riders is growing.  

Over the coming months we will be following YLI Equestrian, including why Ella's approach works, real life young rider stories as well as some of her lesson plans and tips for riding success.

Introducing Ella and YLI Equestrian

Ella’s mission is, to provide children and adults, with a safe environment filled with constructive coaching that builds confidence, empowers minds, imparts knowledge, and creates a support system that involves everyone.

Her vision is to encourage all young people to give riding a try and find out why horses have so much to give! Ella understands and appreciates that introducing a youngster to riding has to be done correctly. When coached sensitively they will accomplish and achieve so much in their riding  and their problem solving ability and confidence soars, which in turn helps them achieve in other areas of their lives too.

Ella says “I believe that working out problems together with a ‘can do’ attitude with my students helps them turn any negative into a positive, allowing the young rider to stay confident and think and focus on building their future goals and plans. I see and appreciate how each person is different and learns in their own unique way.  I always tune in and adapt my approach to their individual needs, and am armed with a full toolbox of exercises that I use to develop confidence, balance and harmony” 

Ella learnt to ride as a child and remembers being terrified of her instructor! She never wanted to be that sort of instructor and is keen for all of her pupils to enjoy their time with her and on the horse, knowing they are being fully supported and encouraged. She never wants a student to leave a lesson feeling deflated, disheartened or simply believe they haven’t learnt or achieved anything because the instructor has made them think they are not a worthwhile investment.

Ella continues…

I’ve been working in the equine industry for over 5 years and during this time I have worked at several riding schools, coaching a whole range of clients. My most favourite has always been the youngsters; because you get a raw truth from them that adults don’t give. If they don’t get it, they tell you, if they don’t like it, you know about it!  And yes sometimes their pure honesty can take you back, but generally if you listen carefully they give you all the information you need to guide them through, which in turn helps me to be a better coach.

After qualifying as a BHS PTT and building up some freelance clients, I gave my business YLI Equestrian a big kick out into the incredible world of being self employed. I’d been telling my husband for a few weeks that I needed to do “something reckless” so when I handed in my notice I think he was relieved it was that and not something much worse.  Coaching riders is the most rewarding job in the world, and no two days are the same. I’m constantly challenged and always evolving.  It’s the best decision I have made and I love it …

Ella and Oli on horseYLI Equestrian & Oli Jackson - Oli Jackson is a young rider and one of my students who has come on in leaps and bounds.
first met Oli, (11 years old), just eight months ago when I was introduced to the Jackson family by a friend who’d recommended me - I remember it well; Oli was a very polite child who clearly loved his little pony; but was definitely nervous and had little balance. He’d had some intermittent lessons with a few different instructors and I could see he had the basic understanding; but there were a lot of gaps that needed filling in. 

His pony Dizzy- was a ball of cuteness. A little 11.2hh Welsh section A pony, that clearly enjoyed her grass & treats and had a will-full attitude! She moved well on the flat and I knew with a bit more exercise and some fine-tuning she would be a super pony.

Joy (Oli’s lovely mum) struck me as being a noticeably practical lady. Although she wasn’t dressed for riding, she was wearing a sturdy pair of trainers… These were put to very good use during their first session, as she ran alongside Oli & Dizzy, the whole time. Joy clearly wanted to see her son enjoy his time in the saddle.

Coming away from his first assessment lesson, I could see that there was definitely work to be done! I was very excited to start on a journey with the Jackson family, knowing that with some immediate changes and some long-term alterations we could achieve so much.

ella joy and oli in field
Testimonial from Oli's mum Joy

Ella was highly recommended to us by a friend who’d been having lessons with her. At a time when Oli’s interest in riding was dwindling Ella was like a breath of fresh air, as she engaged with Oli in a way that fostered respect and understanding, instantly engaging him and responding to where he was at.
Ella’s solution focused approach, helped them quickly move beyond the greedy pony head dive cycle that was affecting Oli’s confidence and balance.  Within minutes she’d suggested and produced a Daisy rein, which immediately stopped Dizzy shooting her head down. 
By the end of the first lesson Oli was smiling, the pony co-operated and they were able to thankfully, move away from me having to run round the arena with them.  Ella instantly brought the enjoyment back and I immediately felt reassured by her empathic nature and sensitive approach.  This was the start of a wonderful partnership and renewed interest for Oli....

In just eight months I can’t quite believe how much #teamJackson and #teamYLI  have achieved together and the best part is there is still so much more to come.

Oli has progressed hugely; having had a bit of a growth spurt himself, he has developed his skills to the point where he is now making the transition onto Jess a 14.1hh, a wonderful school mistress pony, on loan from Steph Hancox. Jess is increasing Oli’s confidence in the saddle. He is now show jumping and continues to learn about striding, rhythm and the importance of a good position. Dizzy is also transformed! Although she can have the odd cheeky moment, she is noticeably slimmer and generally a very sweet pony who has built a strong partnership with Oli. It’s incredible how through careful management a pony’s whole attitude can change along with its rider.

Over Christmas Oli & Jess went to their first ever show at Arena UK. They jumped an amazing double clear in the 55cms getting placed 5thth in a class of over 20 other riders. This was a massive milestone and launch for the pair and gave Oli a huge sense of achievement, all his hard work and training at home had paid off tenfold.
We have now set some new goals for 2014 and are all very excited to see where their journey will go.

I will continue to up date you on our journey through the coming year and hope that through YLI Equestrian and Oli’s story we will inspire other young riders to succeed and have fun!

Next time -  I will be introducing you to how YLI Equestrian approaches a first lesson with a young rider ‘A step by step’ approach to introducing a novice rider to the mental, emotional and physical aspects of being in the saddle.