Karin and the Overdale team did a brilliant job preparing my wife, friends and me for a week of African Horseback Safari in the Okavango Delta in Botswana. The training they gave us got us fit for the trip and made sure we had the horse sense to ride safely and confidently across challenging terrain with wild animals all around us. Karin built up the confidence in a couple of nervous riders in our party and transformed them from reluctant riders into the most ebullient enthusiasts of our riding safari. Overdale's expert coaching made sure we had a really wonderful experience riding in Africa. Thank you!



Hi Karin, I hope you and all the horses and cat are well.

I wanted to drop you a line to let you know that Sam and I finally completed our Mongolia trip. It was extremely challenging in lots of different ways not least the actual riding. I'd like to thank you for teaching me some of what you know as I'm pretty sure it saved me from serious injury if not death on at least one occasion.

Before Mongolia I would have said that it isn't possible to maintain a strong bear down for more than a few minutes at a time but fear can be a great teacher!

Sam and I are having an extended holiday right now and plan to return to the UK in the new year. I look forward to returning for lessons at Overdale, assuming we can get work in Gloucestershire. All the best. Tim.


Helen & Goldie


I think a lot of the instruction I have had in the past has actually made my riding worse, so it is fantastic to get some constructive advice that I actually trust, which yields visible and feel-able improvements that I can work with back here in Bristol. It is definitely well worth the drive up the M5!

Thank you for my lesson today. I feel very positive about my riding at the moment, that I'm making real progress after being stuck in a rut for so long!


Nicola & Jim


Thanks for punched in stomach picture! I did punched in the stomach with Bruce today when I rode him. Like Jim he can be a little stubborn about moving. It was extraordinary, he went into a trot without a set to and no asthma for me!

Thanks so much.


Jonathan & Astro


I first started learning to ride around 10 years ago. After 3 years with regular lessons, I hadn't got very far to be honest and had no real connection or understanding with my horse despite his best efforts and those of my instructors.

Now at the age of 48 I am starting again from scratch. Just a few lessons with Karin and I already have a much deeper understanding of balance, where my weight should be in the saddle and am enjoying learning to ride more than when I first tried all those years ago.

With Karin's help, I'm already certain I will become a much more sympathetic rider this time around, able to communicate a lot more clearly with my horse, and to listen to what he is telling or showing me too!



Karin, thank you so much for teaching me how to ride. Having spent 30 years and thousands of pounds on lessons, being confused and never feeling in control, i.e. always anxious and not really enjoying riding.

I found you and after only a handful of lessons, where you've explained everything so clearly and identified several reasons why I haven't been in control.

Today's lesson was great and I feel for the first time in my life that I'm riding, more in control and loving it... if only I'd found you all those years ago.

Heartfelt thanks, Louise.

Now back to my breathing and my riding hat!



Heather H

It's never too late to learn...

Learning to ride in my mid-forties was never going to be easy, but thanks to my sister-in-law, RWYM and Overdale Equestrian Centre, my childhood dream has finally become a reality!

Despite a lifelong love of horses, I never had the opportunity to ride as a child, (other than the very occasional pony trek) and, as time went on, I really thought I'd left it too late to start.

Until that is, my husband's sister, Fiona, who lives in New Zealand and keeps horses on her farm, came across RWYM. Unlike me, Fiona has been riding since she was very young but only came across RWYM fairly recently. She went on a RWYM clinic over in New Zealand last year and couldn't believe the difference it made to her riding and to the way her horses responded to her.

When we next spoke she told me all about it; she said she believed it would be the perfect technique for me and recommended I looked up Mary Wanless and RWYM on the internet.

When I did so and discovered that Overdale Equestrian Centre was just an hour away from me, it seemed as though it was meant to be. I've now been riding with Karin, Overdale's resident instructor as my coach, for about six months and am just delighted with the progress I've made. Don't get me wrong, I still have a long, long way to go but the pleasure it has given me and the confidence I have gained has far exceeded any expectations I ever had when I started.

As well as the lessons, Overdale offers a number of other courses / activities, all designed to help improve technique. Last week, for example, I took part in my first "Simulator weekend". I was by far the least experienced rider but that really didn't matter; the course has been developed so that it is suitable for all levels of rider. Numbers are kept low - a maximum of 8 I believe on any one course, which allows each rider plenty of one-to-one time with the two course tutors, who were excellent.

For me, the chance to learn, without the added workload of actually controlling my horse, was invaluable in helping to improve my technique and gave me a lot to think about and work on.

When not riding "Trigger", the course horse simulator, there were plenty of other activities to keep us occupied, from Feldenkrais sessions, run by Karin (these sessions are also available all year at Overdale), which help improve movement and posture, to a number of other challenging exercises that worked on our balance and core strength.

And of course it was great to meet other likeminded people, to swap stories and share experiences.

Next year I am already planning and looking forward to one of their ridden courses... but in the meantime, here's to Mary for her pioneering work in this field, to Fiona for her encouragement and for introducing me to RWYM and to Karin and Overdale for making this forty-something's dreams come true!


Heidi (Private Training Day)

My thoroughbred mare, Chi, insisted that I send along a note of thanks. She said to send a huge thank you for helping me get my body under control and more balanced. She has been trying for years to let me know via rushing, bracing, charging around, counter bending/dropping her shoulders, and general lack of relaxation, that I was in serious need of a major overhaul in my riding technique.

Yesterday, we had the best riding session ever. We even managed to pull off three 20m circles of relaxed, controlled canter and then into a nice controlled trot. That is a personal best. She was relaxed and breathing for every stride and I was 'scootching down' for all I was worth and grinning like an idiot.

I still have lots to fix and learn but just that half day has sent me light years forward in my riding. Thank you for time and knowledge.



Ruth Dickens


I have wanted to visit Overdale for a few years now with the intention of examining how I move on a horse as I was aware that I can be unlevel, and have various other persistent position faults that I have become a master of disguising. Last week I finally made it there and even now, a week later, I am still processing what I have learned.

Firstly, I was so impressed with the whole yard atmosphere. It was a cold morning and everyone was calm and cheerful, defrosting water and making sure the horses were attended to. I was welcomed by Karin and shown around. Each horse was very much treated as an individual, with respect and compassion. In response they were happy and confident, and very communicative.

My instruction included discussions, a practice on the simulator, a Feldenkrais lesson and two mounted lessons. I found that each session complemented the next, and I have come away with so much to think about.

I made big changes to the way I ride at trot, but the biggest improvement I would say is the way that I sit at canter on a horse. For years I have been told by various trainers to "stop rocking" in canter. I can see from a video that I do indeed rock backwards and forwards, but I reasoned that the HORSE rocks in canter, and if I am not to feel sea sick I did not see how I could not! I did 'try' to 'rock less', but the fault remained. In essence I guess you can't just 'not do' something without knowing what 'to do' to replace it!

This is where the instruction from Karin and Mary differs from others. With the RWYM method I was told exactly what and how to change, and I even had visualisations to bring the new feeling into my grasp. The impossible became possible. I could see in the mirror that I was sitting straight and with supple poise, and although I 'felt' like I was radically out of place I could see that in fact I was 'just right'! It felt like I had unlocked my posture and then firmed it up again in a new and more effective way.

As an established rider it was amazing to find that I had such a fundamental flaw in how I absorb and control the movement of the horse. The whole atmosphere was that of shared learning and of sharing a secret. It was a great experience and one I hope to repeat! Thank you to all at Overdale.

Ruth Dickens


Jane & Golly

Jane P

I just wanted to say thanks for the lessons so far. I went to my RC lesson last night with my main boy and a different saddle and it blew my mind!

For the first time ever I could feel what was happening, what he was doing to me (trying to get me to pull the reins!) and what I was doing to him (kicking and pulling and making him wiggle!). I worked on what little I know so far and it was amazing... he's a devil for testing me, but despite feeling like he was going to run away with me in trot until I gave up and pulled on the reins - I didn't and we got it! And the biggest thing was me STOPPING kicking and pulling. He's behind my leg and running away with me most the time, and stopping kicking and pulling seems to be stopping both issues, but you knew that!!

And I can do transitions!! As long as I remember not to lean back and to be strong thighs and strong middle. And he did the best canter transitions and then the most consistent canters he's ever done.

Oh, and I've never been able to turn left - now I just turn my left knee into the saddle and he goes left, and REALLY left, like 10m circle left if I wanted - this horse that I have been told is 'crooked' when I just KNEW was me - one session and I've proved it was me!! Which I'm so happy about!

I feel so bad that it's taken me so long to listen to what he's been trying to say (nearly 5 years so far) but I'm enjoying the feeling that I'm now on the right lines and he has taught me so much so far I shall repay him in spades by becoming the best rider I can :-)

Just wanted to thank you and Golly and to say I'm wishing my life away 'til Friday and my next session (how sad!)

See you then!

Jane x



Thank you so much for this mornings' lesson, it is still sinking in. Your teaching methods are just the thing I have been looking for.

I can't tell you how lucky I feel to have found out about RWYM. It was only because I was not happy with my progress, and consequently getting disheartened, that I went onto the Internet and found you.

For the first time I felt happy about my position. It felt comfortable, even though I was having to adjust frequently.

Also it might have been something to do with Astro's wide comfortable back and gentle nature.

I look forward to seeing you again, and finding out more revelations!

Best Wishes, Sue


Jane & Astro

Jane R

My name is Jane and suffice to say I am the wrong side of 50! I rode as a child and then lost interest as a teenager but took riding up again about 10 years ago. I rode at BHS schools and had great fun, but I felt there was something missing in my riding and my sister had sung the praises of 'Ride With Your Mind' for many years, so a couple of years ago I decided to give it a go for myself.

First thing to be said is that as well as your mind there is a challenging amount of involvement of your body too! I have had lessons with Karin for the last 2 years, sometimes alone and sometimes with a friend. One of my problems was lack of confidence and this has improved enormously - due to a combination of Karin's sympathetic, but no nonsense approach and the safe, but responsive horses that I ride. There is a very calm atmosphere at Overdale, both among the staff and the horses and that is a great basis for learning.

What I find really amazing is that an animal as huge as the horse can be so affected by a centimetre's difference in the position of the rider's seat-bone. This is just one example and Karin has taught me about how the whole of the body affects the way the horse goes. I find the whole thing really challenging and fascinating.

Of course the horses deserve a mention. Golly - a friendly grey gelding - very cleverly will only stay straight if you get all the pieces in the jigsaw right. Astro - a handsome bay - puts all your steering skills to the test. Heather - sweet Welsh mare - challenges you to stay in charge. All honest and generous teachers themselves.

Overdale is set in beautiful countryside - so if you fancy getting out of the riding school and chilling out there is lovely hacking country all around. I love the time I spend at Overdale - it's a complete break from everyday life - and although sometimes I have problems walking when I finish my lessons, strange to say it's the most relaxing thing I do!!


Elena & Bella


My first lesson at Overdale with Karin was pretty amazing; it was like I had suddenly been given the equestrian version of a foreign language phrase book! Through Karin's logical explanations and the RWYM teaching methodology I started to understand the signals that my horse was giving me, and learn how to respond to them in return.

Over the last 6 months, I've gradually been expanding my equestrian-vocabulary; learning exactly what it is about my position and the aids that I give that will get the very best from my horse. The RWYM method applies a bit of science to the art of riding and makes total sense to me in way that standard teaching techniques never did. I feel I have learnt more in the last 6 months than I have in 20 years anywhere else.

As well as lessons, I've also had a horse on short-term loan at Overdale, which I was really pleased with. The part or full livery service fits in really well with a full time job and it was great to know that my horse was being well looked after by a professional and friendly team.

I also recently attended one of the RWYM weekend courses where I was able to have a lesson with Mary Wanless herself. Everyone on the course gained an enormous amount from the weekend and I felt like I stepped up to a new level in my understanding of RWYM methods which I hope to continue to apply with Karin's help in the future.


Sarah & Rieu


Rieu says "thank you, thank you, thank you Karin" for putting his mum in the right place. He was absolutely stunning last night, without a doubt the best he has ever been for me.

I cannot believe what felt like such small changes in me have made such a massive difference to him. It was just incredible. As usual people think I am nuts as I spent 40 minutes going round saying "tuck, boards, hands" to myself.

I really must never leave it that long between lessons with you again.


Giles (Private Training Day)

Karin, I very much enjoyed meeting you, Mary and Katie; meeting and riding Astro; and all the day's activities which have given me a lot to think about in regards to my riding and how I see myself as a rider going forward. Both your lessons were productive and thought-provoking (and lingering in my legs!); the Feldenkrais was a revelation; and I learnt a lot from our theoretical discussion. Astro was a pleasure for a novice to ride: comfortable and secure. Overdale, its people, horses and techniques is a rather special place, I think!

I hope to come back some time in the not-too-distant future, although I won't have much time over the next few months, with my becoming a parent. I hope to get some riding in when I can, hopefully in a RWYM-sympathetic enviroment, and will work on the areas that we noted down.

Thanks again, Giles


Lesley & Bob


Unfortunately, I have spent the last six years with a persistent back problem and as a result I have spent a great deal of time in the care of physiotherapists and surgeons. Despite having surgery in 2003 the irritating pain returned after a regrettably short period of tranquility!

However, following a recent visit to yet another physiotherapist I was given an usual (but very welcome) suggestion for exercise; horse riding! I was pleased to discover that riding aids in the strengthening of one's core muscles, this was great considering all of the mundane exercises I had been prescribed in the past.

On my first lesson I was understandably nervous as I have not ridden a horse since I was fifteen! (I am now the ripe old age of 52). I did have lessons of a sort when I was younger but not to pony club standards. Nevertheless, I have made remarkable progress given that I have only had five lessons on 'Astro' at Overdale. I have since moved on from walking around the arena on a lunge line to trotting on my own at close proximity to the edge of the arena and on my last lesson I even began cantering!

This success is of course thanks to Karin's marvellous skills as an instructor. I simply cannot believe how much I have improved in such a short space of time and my back feels great too! I genuinely look forward to my twice weekly lessons, and the fact that it helps my back too is fantastic.

Many thanks to Karin... oh, and my riding partner 'Astro'!


I hope you are well and all of my old friends, Astro and the gang? I thought that you would like to know what I am up to riding-wise. First of all I would like to thank you for giving me great basic skills in riding which has meant a great deal to me.

I have been riding out loads and loads and am becoming a lot more confident. Due to a bit of networking I have made some great contacts enabling Rene (my husband) and I to exercise other peoples horses, so it works very well for both parties.

I ride nearly everyday. I ride out on a super horse twice a week called Cameron. He is a hunter and just a star at 17 hands plus. He looks scary but is an absolute sweetie. Nothing phases him, he is extremely safe, very responsive, and I walk / trot around the villages and canter him quite often in nearby fields.

I ride another horse from the same yard called Soldado who is an ex polo pony. He is great, I don't canter him as he is a bit too frisky, but out and about on the roads he is fine.

The most exciting horse I ride is Bob, an ex-racehorse who is just AMAZING, not only beautiful but as safe as houses, push button, a beautiful trot, not phased by anything and I must say he feels like a Porsche compared to a Honda if you know what I mean. There is something about thoroughbreds.

I started out quite nervous, but have been improving loads on him. When I first got on him I nearly fell off, as being a racehorse he won't stand still, he just took off as soon as I tried to get on him. We decided to get on him in the stall via a leg up from Rene and somebody holding him. Well now I get on him in the school with only one person standing in front of him and I quickly mount. I am so much more flexible now it is amazing.

Rene is in seventh heaven as the racing stables have realised his skills and he rides out and works some of their real racehorses (as opposed to my retired Bob). He is even at Naunton at 6:30am sometimes. Now that's what I call keen.

Can you believe this... recently I have actually galloped Bob on the all-weather tracks. Scary but good fun at the same time, exhilarating one might say! It certainly gave me that adrenalin rush. Not sure if I will do it again but have at least done it (twice in fact).

I don't do anything dangerous, no jumping or galloping like a lunatic all over the countryside. However I am getting so much experience and I just love it. I am very happy at the level I have reached and am just having fun. I am so happy riding on all of these horses which is fab, especially on Bob. He is so wonderful, as safe as houses but super deluxe. We are still thinking about getting our own horse but I would not give up Bob.

Anyway hope that I haven't bored you? But thought that you would like to know that I have continued with my riding in a BIG way!!!!

Kind regards, Lesley


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