Animal portraits and Horsemanship

western riding and training animal portraits

  Garrabeg Horsemanship:

Since I was a litle girl I have ridden and loved looking and being around horses. All my cousins had ponies but we were never lucky enough to own our own. Often begging rides and lessons from people we knew who had horses and friendly cousins! When I was older I decided to learn properly and I was lucky enough to get regular lessons from a riding school in Yeovil, Somerset. My instructor was a musician but the way he rode was awe inspiring, to see him ride the black welsh cob in the school was a joy! As I moved around different parts of the UK I rode in different schools and started to form my own ideas on horsemanship. When I moved back to Scotland I took more lessons and then decided that I would like to buy my own horse. I could not afford a ready made one so bought my Highland pony "Bracken" as a two year old, unhandled! Not something I would recommend however it worked for me. I decided that there must be an easier way to work horses and at the time Richard Maxwell and Pat Parelli had just started to become well known so I decided I would head in this direction! At this time I also realised that Western Riding was alive and well in the UK and finding Trisha Wren was the catalyst to continue in this direction. Through Trisha I attended clinics with Mark Rashid, Peggy Cummings and Leslie Desmond. I have watched a variety of clinicians and been inspired to try differing ways to work gently with horses to help them understand what we are asking. I am still learning and have a thirst for knowledge to do my horses and those of others justice.

With encouragement from Trisha I decided to take my Instructors assessment from the Western Equestrian Society and I passed and have now been teaching horsemanship and a softer way of schooling the horse for the last four years. I give you the tools and it is up to you to do the homework. I have also achieved a variety of HNC units through Oatridge college such as Brood Mare units, Equine Anatomy, Schooling the young horse, Equine feeding and Nutrition and Selection of the horse. I have also achieved my basic equine dental training ( although I do not rasp teeth it enables me to look at the whole horse in a holistic way).    

I work a lot on finding the equilibrium between horse and rider, good communication starts with an open mind, and a try, from us as riders, also, to go with the horses feel and movement.There is a kinder softer way to achieve our goals. There are no quick fixes but an understanding of basic equine behaviour plus clear cues and direction goes along way to solving "problems". Horses should all be able to be led, tied, load and have their feet handled. Being unable to do any one of these leads to issues under saddle. If the horse will not do it on the ground you can be sure it will not have an open mind under saddle! They all inter relate. Your farrier will eventually get fed up with a horse that barges through him or her. These problems can be rectified but you need consistency. They are not unachievable you can ask your horse to do any of these and have a result. It is not funny and it is not just what they do it ends up being a pain and can lead to someone getting hurt.  

Currently I have four horses  of my own, Una who is a traditional cob that I bought when she was three, I have backed her and ridden her away. So far we have been competing in some low level dressage to get her out and  about but we are now working on honing her western schooling and Cowboy dressage skills. I also have Sioux who is a part bred Dales and Part bred Appaloosa. I bred and backed her myslef and we are now concentrating on her schooling and hacking as she has now grown into herself. I also have Ruwenzori Flora a three year old Highland filly with lots of attitiude! I bought her as a foal from Wendy Sanders who breeds beautiful Highland ponies. Flora is currently undergoing handiling and the start of her training towards being an all round girl. Lastly I have Kia who is a full bred but not registered Quarter horse. I bought her last year as a yearling and I am looking forward to starting working with her also. I love working with young horses and getting to know them and their personalities and different ways of learning as they are all different. 

After honing my skills on my own horses this helps me deal with other issues that horses may have as well as people. I can do one to one lessons, small groups and teach long reining and groundmanners/groundwork.

If you would like to organise a small clinic with three or four people please feel free to contact me on


Garrabeg Portraits:

I have been painting and drawing since I was four years old. I have always loved natural history subjects and enjoy unusual subjects that may not necessarily be everyones first choice. Currently I am working on a selection of animal paintings focussing on differing animals eyes and eyelashes. I have been painting professionally for about 8 years now and have a good few repeat orders from clients who use me again for a different portrait as they make good gifts. I work from a good clear potograph and work in watercolour or pencil.

The painting sizes vary from A4 size up to A3. Unless you are local I prefer to complete the painting and  post it in a tube. I used to post framed paintings but I cannot assure safe delivery as once it leaves me I have no control over the person delivering it! Prices start from £60 for an A4 sized painting and I will be happy to discuss individual requirements.

I am now starting to get commissions for christmas coming in if you would like on done for christmas please contact me as soon as possible. I can also provide a commission voucher so your recipient can put it towards a painting of their choice!  

Please feel free to contact me on   

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