Katie Boniface

Equestrian movement began as a way to help horses and their riders achieve maximum development through sustainable training techniques. Our mission is to strengthen the bond between riders and their horses by working holistically with the physical, mental and emotional aspects of development. 

Meet your coach

Hi! My name is Katie. I have been a horse rider for 25 years and a riding instructor for 12 finding my passion as a teacher in a riding school environment. From childhood through to my early 20’s I competed successfully at shows, dressage, show jumping and eventing at state level. Having gotten my trophy and ribbon riding out of me when I was young riding became a spiritual practice for me, developing my connection to myself and others on a deeper level. What occurred to me is that you can't have a meaningful relationship with someone that doesn't want to be with you so I set about looking for ways to get my horse to enjoy being around me.

At the same time I was also working with a couple of horses with soundness issues. Having being told that a horse would work soundly if you work it correctly I dug into the physiology of horse movement and how we as riders and trainers can best work our horses not only for soundness but also for suppleness, maximum range of movement and dare I say to look like they actually enjoyed being ridden!!

And so triggered a profound reassessment of everything I had ever learnt to date about what it meant to be a horse rider, how I was riding and what my goal was from my training. I discovered the importance of the horse's mental, emotional and physical health to not only its performance and success but also to its willingness as a participant in our partnership. And I learnt what it meant to have a true connection with the horse and an open 2 way conversation.

It is my goal and mission in life to share these values with as many horse riders as I can so we can start to see our beautiful horses as equals, partners and part of our own life's journey to better understand ourselves through better understanding others.

Katie Boniface

Katie's 2022 Presentations

Confidence Through Curiosity - 23 min. 1 sec. Day 1 Horse; Mind, Body Spirit

Confidence through curiosity is one of our foundational training skills for our horse’s emotional agility to move them out of a fear response and into a confident and curious mindset towards scary things. This is one of our core values in holistic horse training, where we give our horse the skills and tools to investigate the scary things. Join us as I get a young arab mare on break ready to be a safe trail horse for a student.

Consent Based Training - 31 min. 14 sec. Day 1 Horse; Mind, Body Spirit

Asking for permission when working with our horses is a core value of holistic horse training and vital to have a safe horse that know how to look after us, especially if we are working with a horse that has experienced severe trauma. This empowers our horse to have a say in what happens to them and their body and allows them to communicate if they are about to go over the threshold before escalating to problematic behaviours. Join us in this training as I halter a nervous, spooky pony that is scared of humans for the first time together.

Holistic Horse Training - 25 min. 23 sec. Day 2 Horse; Mind, Body Spirit

The power over model of horse training is coming to a close and we, as an industry, are trying to navigate the way forward in the power model of training, as we see how we can work with our horse as an equal and a partner. There are 4 aspects of this relationship to take into consideration. In this video we go in to why we need to be clear in these separate considerations that come together as a whole in our training:

- Communication: cue training to establish a language between us and our horses

- Emotional self regulation: A horse that can't control its emotions can't control its behaviour. Their behaviour is truly an emotional reaction to our ask. Being able to shape out different aspects of their personality help build communication, confidence and a safe horse that knows how to look after us.

- Balance: Our balance in the saddle and over our lower leg is integral to developing sound horses that enjoy being ridden. Developing a light, the independent seat allows us to have light hands our horse can trust in the saddle so that we can establish true connection and acceptance of contact. 

- Dynamic movement: Our horse's frame isn't set and forgotten. How do we communicate to a horse to engage their core and postural muscles so that movement feels good? Let’s talk about getting out of drilling 20m circles and creating more flow in our riding. 

Trail blazers vs athletes - 30 min. 26 sec. Day 2 Horse; Mind, Body Spirit

When working with our horses we have the potential to shape out the different behavioural requirements that we have for the tasks we want them to perform. The different riding goals that we have to require different strengths and attributes from our horses. Our weekend trailblazers requirements are different to our equestrian athletes requirements but they have one thing in common. We need a state of deep relaxation as our emotional reset. In this video, we go in to developing the mental relaxation that we can build into confidence and curiosity for our trail blazer or positive work ethic for our equestrian athlete