At the age of 40, Rachel became a "born-again" horsewoman. Her previous work as an organic farm adviser and then as a management coach were an excellent foundation for her third career, teaching horse owners. Her passions are improving the well-being of our domestic horses and building owner confidence and joy in their relationship with their horse.
Over the last 20 years she has studied with the best horse trainers and behaviourists she could access. These include Lucy Rees, Marthe Kiley-Worthington, Alexandra Kurland, Pete Ramey and Mark Rashid.
Tai Chi Riding
After breaking her back in a simple riding fall in 2004, she recognised that she had completely lost her confidence in riding. Determined not to give up, she found the trainer who could help her. For 5 years she ran clinics and workshops with James Shaw to learn his tai chi for riding. She hosted him 3 times a year and rode at every clinic she could. In this way, she overcame her fear and became a good rider and excellent teacher, especially for other riders who lack confidence.
Positive Reinforcement Training
Along with her daughter, Hannah Weston, she pioneered online learning for positive horsemanship.
They founded Hannah Dawson Equine in 2010 and began compiling their hugely successful home-study Courses. In 2012 and 2013 they ran the World's first dedicated Equine Clicker Conferences, hosting
an international panel of speakers.
One of those speakers was Shawna Karrasch. The three of them clicked so well they decided to join forces and created Connection Training in 2014. In 2016, she and Claire decided that they could form a Connection Training Centre in Spain and so Cortijo de Segura was conceived.
Connection Training is unique in that the focus of all the work is on creating a happy, relaxed, responsive horse. who is strongly bonded to her human. The objective is for owners to foster a strong and caring bond with their horse, while also having fun doing all the usual horsey activities. The work is strongly grounded in science and Rachel is responsible for bringing the science into the teaching. This has led her to study modern neuroscience in order to understand the emotions of horses and how to foster the good-feeling emotions in training and horse-life.
Students love the way she makes science relevant to their daily training. As one student said: "She makes the difficult stuff easy and the dry stuff interesting!"
Live Seminars: Rachel is happy to travel to deliver her Seminars and talks. Suggested topics are: Why Positive Reinforcement? How Horses Learn; The Emotional Horse; The Confident Horse and Rider; Tai Chi for Connection and Riding. Or think of your own idea and ask her!
what people say:
Today was the first day of our open day event at the barn. They set up a bouncy castle! Without your help I would have been very worried that Shannon would spook, carry her head high and would run away. Thanks to your help I did not panic when she lifted her head and was shying away from the people standing at the fence and children on the bouncy castle. I also was not worried walking through the crowd of people and I kept my focus where I wanted to go. Thank you very much for your help. You gave me back some independence and freedom!
Susanne Eichelberger, Switzerland
Rachel is so smart and sharp! You can feel that she wants to bring out the best you can be and helps you every step of the way. She has a creative eye and never loses welfare out of sight. She easily monitors the emotions of your horse and helps you to see when you can ask for a bit more. And next to all the horsey stuff: she is just very fun to be around!
Suzy Deurinck, Netherlands
Belinda Dawes | Australia