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Clients Speak

Below are testimonials from clients...........
Jo and MissyJo and DarcyJo, Darcy and Missy......
I have had countless instructors over the years, freelance, in riding schools and when I was working toward my BHS stages, none quite like Ruth!

I have two horses, Missy; chestnut, mare, ex-racehorse, with all the stereotypical quirks , and then some! Mr D is an ex school horse who initially came to me as a companion to retire from school life: he's a wily old twenty something who knew every trick to effectively how to get rider from saddle to floor in no time. The two horses are poles apart.

Under Ruth's expert tutelage and unique ability to spot the root of the problem, Mr D has turned into a superb, educated riding horse, an absolute pleasure to ride with buckets of fun thrown in. Missy will always be a lifelong project but Ruth soon got to the root of many of our problems and has set me on a journey of understanding of what needs to be right. Right for the horse, right for the rider and the relationship between us both. It would be impossible for me to list all the lessons learned and pennies dropped!
Like many riders, my confidence has taken a few knocks in the past, Ruth has helped me enormously in this regard, she manages to bring lots of fun to the lesson. If describing Ruth to friends I often say "it's like she has x-Ray specs," she seems to really be able to see what's going on.

A few years ago Missy had to have some time off work due to injury, Missy is not a horse that copes with time off! Even coming from field to stable was a challenge on some days. Ruth helped me deal effectively with the issues that we were encountering; barging through gateways and door ways and full on redhead temper tantrums. The methods are always fair and appropriate.

'Riding lesson' doesn't quite cover it. Through my lessons with Ruth, I had a moment where I realised that I was clinging on to the lead rope of life, trying to have control by having some sort of death grip, pretty similar to the way that I was handling Missy. Ruth has taught me a better way to deal with things, and I have found that life on the end of a relaxed lead rope is much much better!
Thank you Ruth

KARIN AND Tiger Karin Major.......
I think it reflects on the quality of your teaching that I can still remember the lessons I had with you in January last year. I often think about them, both in my own riding and with my own clients. Two things stick with me in particular –
1. Paying attention to the mental attitude of my horse, when he comes in to the arena, letting him relax before mounting, then working him in to gain his confidence and attention before asking him to do something he finds more challenging.

2. The discussions we had around rein contact.
The time we spent together was stimulating and thoroughly enjoyable. I do hope we’ll be able to catch up again sometime.

Karin Major
Overdale Equestrian Centre
Janette and ThumperJeanette and Thumper........
I have owned Thumper for around four months and found it difficult to control his energy, whever we would ride out on a hack (which was always in a group) he would spook at everything and try to run off. When I rode him in the school he would not listen to me and would do whatever he wanted, I could not understand what I was doing wrong or how to fix it. With my confidence being weakened by past events I was not in a position to handle Thumper by myself. It was a fellow horse owner who suggested I contact Ruth to help me with Thumper and get my confidence back on track, so I decided to contact Ruth, which turned out to be the best decision I have ever made.
After speaking to Ruth about what Thumper was doing it turns out he was acting out of fear and since I was not in control, he was forced to be in control which was not his personality. Ruth gave me tools and knowlege on how to be in control and become the leader Thumper needed me to be.
I have now been riding out on my own, trotting and cantering in open fields and even tried some jumping. Ruth has helped me tremendously that my confidence has soared so much that I am working towards my first competition this year 2012.
Liz and RafiLiz and Rafi.........

I was a pony mad child but I didn't get my first horse until last year when I was in my 40s.  Instead of getting a suitable schoolmaster type horse I fell in love with a 4 year old Arab so I knew I was going to need lessons.  After seeing a video of us trotting in the school I was mortified – Rafi had his head in the air like a giraffe and I was bouncing up and down, making it look really hard work.


I decided to ring Ruth because I liked the bit on her website about having fun with horses – after all I had no ambitions to be a great dressage rider or eventer, I just wanted to hack and have fun.  But I knew that I had to learn to be a better rider for Rafi's sake.


So I turned up for my first lesson with no clear aim other than I wanted to be a 'better rider'.  Thankfully Ruth rose to the challenge - she always has an idea for what we can do in our lesson.  She approaches things in a way that Rafi and I can understand and the lessons are always fun, albeit hard work.  I once thought I'd have an easy day - I requested a low impact lesson because Rafi had just been shod for the first time, so we had a lesson in walk – for the next two days I ached more than I've ever ached before!     I've still got a long way to go, but I'm beginning to think maybe we actually could do dressage one day – when Ruth showed me the picture she'd taken of us trotting I was so proud, it's such an improvement on that first awful video.


However, when I sat down to write this I realised that Ruth has taught me so much more.  The first time I met Ruth I dismounted to talk to her and she noticed that while I talked Rafi kept knocking into me.  So she asked me if I'd like to work on personal space and I spent most of that first lesson doing groundwork.  I went home and practised and within a very short time I had a different horse – he's just as friendly but much more respectful and easier to deal with and I feel we are more of a team.


I suppose what I'm trying to say is that the most important thing Ruth has done for me is given me confidence, even though it wasn't what I asked for when I talked to her that first time.  But as a first time owner it wasn't just all the technical riding stuff that I needed to learn - what I most needed to learn was just how to 'be' around my horse and how to treat him fairly without being too soft or too harsh - something that probably comes naturally to most horse owners, but which I really struggled with.  That very first lesson with Ruth was a real turning point for me and my relationship with Rafi has just got better and better from there.


Last weekend we achieved one of my ambitions – our first pleasure ride, a 20k ride organised by Endurance GB.  As I expected Rafi was excited being in a strange place with a lot of strange horses, but he still behaved perfectly and we both had great fun.  I'm not a naturally confident rider and it's come as a bit of a surprise that I've been brave enough to do something like that.  I'm enjoying my special horse as much as I ever hoped and I'm eternally grateful to Ruth for showing me how.

Brodsworth 06Mar11 6

Ruth and Kiah Ruth and Kiah.....

I met Ruth whilst she was teaching my friend and thought her approach to riding was just what I needed to help me with my horse. So I booked in and took along Kiah.

Now Kiah is very beautiful, wide and strong! I bought her as a companion horse for others to ride out with when I rode my other horse Savannah. Then Savannah went lame and has remained lame so Kiah became the main ride.

She is very different to Savannah alot wider to begin with I discovered muscles I didn't know existed. People tend to label cobs as plods, well she is in the sense that she lacks enthusiasm but she was pretty scary to ride. She was in charge of direction and speed, although that wouldn't be canter it would be very fast trot but no brakes. I felt silly telling people, as to look at  her you'd think butter wouldn't melt.

This is where Ruth was brilliant because she appreciated straight away the problem I was having and didn't make me feel inadequate. She could see as soon as I got on that Kiah was in charge.

So we started Kiah's re-education and mine too. I had a goal that I wanted to be able to ride my horse on my own and do a pleasure ride.

Ruth made everything fun and easy to accomplish for both of us. Kiah appreciated the frequent rests I think it helped her to consider what we had learnt.

 Our progress was good and we did our first solo pleasure ride in September. Wow what a superstar my little horse was. Ruth and I thought she would only be going forward, enthusiasm wise, for about 10 minutes max. How wrong were we, she set off in such a good steady trot my husband on his bike was surprised how fast he had to pedal to keep up. Which is very unusual. However I felt really safe, not scared and I was in control. She got strong on one section when we were overtaken, she wanted to keep up but I was worried about her fitness so wanted her to walk for a short while. She was very determined but so was I, I didn't get cross just assertive and fair. Every time she trotted we did a circle, by the fifth circle she got the message and we had a lovely very active walk but it was a walk. Then we had the best canter I have ever had on her and no bucking. We did 10 miles in under 2 hours not bad for an overweight, unfit cob.

Ruth enabled me to feel safe on my beautiful horse but she also helped me to appreciate what a wonderful horse she is too I am continuing my lessons and my next goal is a little jumping!!! Lessons are such fun with Ruth and I always come away from the lesson feeling good.

 Ruth and Sue
Sarah and Alfie  Sarah and Alfie..................
I had my first lesson with Ruth a year ago when I had almost desided to give up on my riding. I had a serious riding accident 3yrs ago which really knocked my confidence but didn't put me off riding. I bought Alfie a few months later. I was looking for a schoolmaster who would look after me and teach me showjumping. Alfie was just 5 and knew nothing, but I knew he was the one!! After 2yrs of struggling, he wouldn't hack, which is my real passion and some days couldn't even get over a cross pole it felt as though every day was a battle and I couldn't remember riding being fun. I decided I'd had enough and was going to give us 1 last chance.
I knew Alfie was right for me but that I had to be right for him. He neaded someone to give him confidence but I neaded help with that. Ruth has changed our lives, I feel like the old me! We have had regular lessons and our jumping has improved far beyond my expectations. A year ago I would have been happy to get round 65cm clear round. This week we came 2nd in British Novice! I still haven't stopped grinning. We hack most days, he'l go anywhere and nothing bothers him. I can't believe the difference a year has made. Thanks to Ruth, Alfie and I are best friends and riding is fun for both of us.
nicky Nicky and Robbie.......

When I first met Ruth I had just begun riding again after a break of approximately 10 years. Earlier this year I was in the amazing position of being able to look for my own horse. I asked Ruth to help me and she was fantastic; she guided me through the mine field that is buying your own horse and kept my spirits up when I kept getting disappointed. Then one day I went to see Robbie, and the rest is history. We have been together nearly six months now.


Ruth has helped me in so many ways. Perhaps the most important thing Ruth does to help Robbie and me is aid our communication. There are times when I have been asking  Robbie for something and it is not working and then when Ruth sees us together she interprets for us! With Ruth it's not simply about saying 'do this' as other instructors do; she tells me what I have been asking (which is often different from what I think I have been asking) and what he has been hearing! As she interprets I learn the language more and Robbie and I communicate better! When that happens it is amazing.


 Recently, for example, Robbie had been going so well we started putting exercises together, I was so excited but Robbie started to get annoyed..I could not understand why...when we had a lesson with Ruth and discussed what had been happening ...it had turned out I had forgotten to keep rewarding him because I was so engrossed in achieving MY goal!..Not OUR goal! Robbie was cheesed off! We went back to small steps and lots of praise and he is working beautifully now! 


It is so comforting to know that whatever stage we are at we have Ruth to help us! She is fab!!!
Nicky 2010..... Nicky schooling  Nicky hacking Well, the pictures say it all! Now schooling and hacking, learning and having fun!
Nicky 2011....now placed at local dressage, and using her experienced horse to escort other less experienced horses!


Lydia and King Lydia and King.......
"I am so grateful and owe many thanks to Ruth Dickens. Her crazy, fun teaching attitude leaves all around her smiling, no goal is too big with Ruth.


I bought King around a year ago instantly falling in love with him and wasn’t at all bothered that his exact height, age, his breeding was a mystery and he could only walk and trot.


The support behind me, being my family and friends, convinced me to remain patient with King, after all he was only a baby. I waited a few months and they came and went then with no improvement. I was stressed out with King, which was a big shame and disappointment, as he hadn’t done a thing wrong, he just simply didn’t understand what I wanted him to do.


I was told about Ruth Dickens, my dad’s friend recommended her to me. Phoning her was the best decision I ever made. After just my first lesson I took Ruth’s advice not to teach King how to canter just yet. I would have lessons, working on getting King more forward going, teaching him to bend and so on till about two weeks ago King and I was cantering.


Ruth’s lessons leave me in a positive attitude and have improved my relationship with King and we now work together as a partnership. I now believe I will go far with King having Ruth’s guidance alongside me. Thank you so much Ruth for giving me back the hope and belief in my horse, whom I now enjoy riding ! Thank you."



Karen and KoolaKaren and Koola......
I think Ruth has the knack of getting across what she wants to teach in bite size chunks and doesn’t set out to start climbing the mountain till we've established were base camp is! E.g. Today in my lesson I said I wanted to jump. My jumping position had quite a few problems that needed ironing out before I even attempted a cross pole so we spent some time working on the basics and progressed from there.

Ruth to me fills the lesson full of positivity, laughter and fun she is always smiling and her whole demeanor is infectious. I’m always on a high for hours after my lessons.
Sharon Sharon....

When I first heard about Ruth, my horse Monty had been turned out and not ridden for about 6 months.  I had owned him for about 2 years and tried unsuccessfully to calm him down despite trying various trainers, calming supplements, essential oils and a 4 day intensive course in Gloucestershire!  I always felt he had potential and a kind heart but I just didn’t know how to get to it.  Ruth came highly recommended and was local so I thought why not.  I had lost a lot of confidence as Monty had a tendency to take off across the school, go full pelt at jumps, jump over the hedge out of the school and various other frightening episodes.

I assumed for our first few sessions we would concentrate on the basics from the ground and in a few weeks time would maybe sit on him again.  To my surprise and joy I was HAPPILY getting in the saddle at the end of our FIRST session and walking round the school, and I was enjoying it and more to the point so was Monty.  On my third lesson I actually asked Ruth if we could jump, so we did and it was great!

Ruth naturally gives out a positive energy which is infectious.  I always finish a lesson feeling a great sense of achievement and am never pushed further than I want to go, but enough so that we progress.  She has the ability to see what Monty is thinking and translates this in such an easy way, so that I can then communicate effectively with him.  The result is a happy horse who is not misunderstood anymore who knows exactly what I am asking of him and responds accordingly.  

Within 6 weeks I took him to a show where he behaved calmly and came 2nd in the dressage.

We are still learning a great deal, but I really do look forward to riding him now, whereas before I was always apprehensive.  I cannot thank Ruth enough for teaching me how to have fun with Monty.
 Sharon's update 2009 Sharon 2009Now successful at Trailblazer Dressage, as well as jumping confidently at home, and having completed the clear round class at a show!
  Cordy Cordy.........Arizona, USA......


I have never had the desire to jump, never saw any reason for it.

.. .. over the past 2 years the pictures you have sent of you jumping made me curious enough to explore the possiblity.

Then you came here ........ I still can't believe that within two lessons I was jumping.  There was no fear with your preparation and just confidence and excitement.

It is like riding a ball of energy, not touching the horse yet being one with him.  The way you explained the center of gravity, the horses center and mine in connection made it more understandable....... I am riding the energy and not the horse.

......... more impressive was how you explained things to me that I needed to relay to my horse. ....... I have never seen Quimby so happy and sparkley.

............ thank you for your patience in this heat.  You have opened up a whole new life for me and I am looking so forward to more jumping within the next few months.
August 2009 Update...... Cordy enjoyed her jumping experience so much that in 2009 she organised the Lee Hop and Ruth Dickens clinic in Arizona. Lee is a working Cowboy and farrier, and the clinic was themed on Western Riding combined with English, seeing the simiraties between the two. Lee says "Good Horsemanship is Universal" and I agree! See http://www.andycooper.fotopic.net/ for fantastic photos of many more people enjoying jumping at the clinic!
November 2009 update....... Cordy VersitilityCordy has started to compete! She has recently had her first ribbon in a schooling show in Western Riding, and is preparing for her first schooling jumping show. On 8 November 2009 Cordy competed in her first Versitility Ranch Horse Competition in Camp Verde, Arizona, accompanied by trainer Lee Hop. She sent me the DVD and photos of this with the accompaning note, and wished to share it.....
"I feel very strongly that if it wasn't for you I would NEVER have this to share with you. I know that you will watch this with a smile that comes from bursting pride inside! You knew I could do this, before I did, how much it would mean to me and my life. You have been my inspiration, you have shown me a part of myself that only you saw, and you opened tyhe door for it! I thank you and will FOREVER be grateful! You showed me how to have fun with my horses, you showed me how I am a winner every day. You are awesome and I am honoured to have you as a friend and mentor!" Cordy
January 2010, and Cordy now trains on professional cutting horses. Cordy says...

"Ruth, I have to tell you & please put this on your site if you like, that if not for your motivation and inspiration I would not be having such a wonderful adventure with riding, the competition, and all the doors you opened for me and didn't push me through, you just let me find my own way and the fun within the discoveries. I will always be grateful to you & your knowledge & willingness to share it. Thank you for supporting & encouraging me. You have reminded me that I can have so much fun. I also hope to riding in some cutting competitions in 2010. Thank you a thousand times over.

October 2010- In June 2010 Cordy again hosted another English/Western clinic, and also organised for me to teach one-on-one at the Flagstaff Equestrian Centre, Arizona, USA. She is now studying Dressage with her horse Quimby. Cordy this year won her class in the cutting competition series on the professional cutting horses! Photos on Andy Cooper's website, see the "links" page.
laura jumping Laura...........

  Ruth`s lessons!!!!

 When I  had my first lesson on Charlie it was weird as I was only used to 14.2 max, so it was different! In my first lesson I quickly picked up Charlie`s rhytm, as I have a knack of picking up the horses rhytms (luckily). Even in my first lesson I learnt to hold my body straight (so I was not neck reining which is one of my bad habits) as to control with only my arms and legs.


Ruth has got that kind of personality, which can explain things without using all the gobble tee gop. (Has got the knack of  explaining stuff). She makes me feel I get something out of it without knowing what it is. Her lessons make me feel happy from inside myself. It makes me feel relieved and relaxed for a couple of days and no matter, what happens those couple of days I still feel great.


 A bit back when I had my 14.2 pony, he scared me and I lost my confidence. When my brother got a 12 hand pony I started to gain confidence and then once I started getting lessons with Charlie I began to feel even more confident and more persistent to be round them. Even though I have never been scared of horses, I just did not feel like I wanted to be out there with them. However now having lessons with the giant has made me self-confident.


When Ruth first gave me breathing exercises on the horse while in canter, I kept laughing and I thought I couldn`t do it, but she persisted on doing it and now I feel I can do anything she asks from me or if anyone else  asks me.


In my last couple of lessons I have been jumping double/triple bounce jumps and doubles with huge spreads, which was even more brilliant!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I have a dream of becoming an Olympic rider and I feel that this will help on my way to success with Ruth`s help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
LAURA 2009! Laura now Now, aged 13, with her own pony again, Laura enjoys XC jumping!
January 2010- Laura has been competing at Dressage, Show Jumping and Cross country. Especially with Showjumping she has been a keen competitor, winning many ribbons! Laura jumpingLaura says...
"many thanks to you cos without you i would of never done some of those many things i have done for a start i would of never have bought my pony n plus thanks for takin the patience to bring my pony out of his shell n make him into the wonderful pony he is today n i think without you me n him wouldnt be always winning all off these admazin rosettes thaanks also maybe this spring we might be able to get out n staart eventin thanks plus one more thing maybe my dream of being a olympic rider is slowly startin to look like it could posibly happen thanks so much laura" 
Ann Ann........


I believe my 12 year old daughter`s testimonial says it all. When I read it I finally understood just how much Ruth`s lessons mean to her.

Ruth told me that she liked her clients to have little success stories in the beginning;so when they come up against something unplanned, they are more able to deal with it, as they had already had successes with the horse. I can give my warmest recommendations to any one, who wants to either learn more or feel they are a bit “lost” in the interaction with their horse, that they have lessons with Ruth.

With Ruth`s help you will learn to deal with your horse and grow through this.

Andy Andy...........


In my early forties andset in my ways, I took a chance and decided to make a major change in my career path that involved learning to ride horses for a living! This led me to meet Ruth Dickens who became my riding instructor and trusted friend. 

As well as teaching me to ride she  recognised  my crossroads in life that could have resulted in  either a slow and steady move into early old age or someone challenged and excited by each new day.  I now expect more, more in everything. 

..... this  previously tired forty-something has learned that ’getting it wrong’  can be a pathway to ’getting it right’.

I have expanded my horizons and tried new skills that (with her assistance and encouragement) have led me toa belief in my abilities that has spawned a second income.

I am happy, thankyou.
 2009 Update- see Andy's own web site www.andrewcooper.zenfolio.com  !!! This year Andy has competed in a couple of local Dressage and Jumping shows, and plans to work towards competing in a British Eventing Intro event in  the future.
Helen and tilly Helen and Tilly.......

Helen and Tilly

 Ruth.............. after my accident I thought I would never have the courage to be around horses, let alone ride again.  Six months on from beginning our lessons with you, Tilly and I are not only enjoying playing games and hacking out!  We are actually enjoying CANTERING and JUMPING!!.... I still can’t believe it! 

My husband says you have put the fun back in me!
Helen in 2009... Helen Jumping Now with new Equine partner Amber, Helen enjoys hacking, cantering and jumping logs, just for fun!
 Apollo with Ruth.
Gillian says....... A big thank you to Ruth for taking my four year old Apollo to his first cross country clinic when I didn't have the confidence to take him myself. I am now starting one to one training with Ruth to work on building my confidence.......
  Apollo XC
Update- After regular lessons, by summer 2009 Gillian had won and been placed in Dressage, and was enjoying jumping Apollo herself.


Flanny Dressage Flannagan with Ruth. Di says.......

 Flanagan was imported from Ireland to possibly event.  Not realising he had ‘hang-ups’ and ‘issues’ we pressed on with training which he accepted to a point - when he suddenly started to say no to everything. 

His confidence seemed to be totally shattered. He would not hack out on his own, and in company would hug the rear of the other horses. 

We realised he was not a bad horse, just misunderstood, and gave him a few months off.  After this our groom, Karen, started to ride him gently and quietly and they formed a bond, but there were still plenty of ‘issues’ hanging around. 

Last year (2007) Ruth started riding and training Flanagan during clinics and took him right back to basics.  Gradually he regained confidence to a point when she actually took him into a dressage competition and received a round of applause from the audience for completing the test! 

She has since worked with Flanagan and Karen and the pair are having great fun, not only hacking out but participating in flatwork, jumping and cross country clinics! 

I honestly believe that without Ruth’s empathy and training abilities this horse would have remained a ‘lost soul’ for the rest of his life.
Paddy Ruth and Paddy.......

Olive... A big thank you to Ruth Dickens for all the hard work you put in to getting my horse (Paddy) back in to his school work after his leg injury.  ......... he could not find the courage to stand still for you to get on him.  You ......  gave him the time he needed. So when he came to his first jump he took it in his stride. 

He is now a lot happier horse to be around and his confidence is growing again.  A big thank you 
Update, 2009. After much time, schooling and attention by Olive, and regular schooling sessions with Ruth, Paddy was successully competing at Dressage with a local rider,  and has now been sold to a new home.  


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