The Horseback Heroine specialises in the unique emotional bond we form with our horses and how this leads to a whole new world of horsemanship.

After a life-changing event where Cathy Sugden chased robbers on horseback thanks to her trust and understanding of her horse, Mr Smiffy, Cathy has become known as The Horseback Heroine.  She now spends her time exploring that very special relationship between horses and humans and trying to find the right path forward – one that works just as well for the horse as well as the rider.

So much is wrong with the horse industry and there is much to be done to improve the welfare of the ridden and driven horses and this starts with the training methods that are most often not in line with the horse’s basic needs.

But we cannot have this conversation without talking about shame and guilt. The shame of the things we are doing to our horses.

This is why humans won’t allow themselves to be vulnerable and admit their wrongdoings with the horses.  Change can only take place once there is that vulnerability.  And it’s not just about the methodology.

So from the humble novice beginner who is trying to find the best way forward for their horse and can’t understand why they are struggling so badly, right up to the higher echelons of the FEI who make the rules for equestrian sports, we all need to ask the simple question of WHY we think it is OK to treat our horses with such barbaric and outdated methods. Also for those of us who have got that figured out, why we are not allowed to compete on an equal playing field using LESS equipment rather than MORE which we are required to do according to the FEI rulebook.

Watch the talk