UK bank director meets 2 1/2-year-old Stanley & both their lives change By Laura Koskenmäki

Speaking from Experience:
UK bank director meets 2 1/2-year-old Stanley & both their lives change.

I arrived at Horseworks at the end of August 2014. I was supposed to stay for a week. I was a competent rider, competing with my own horse in dressage and show jumping.  I knew how it was done. Now introduce Stanley, 2.5 yo unbroken stallion, Nate and MaeCile’s pride and joy. MaeCile asked me if I wanted to work with him (probably to show me there was so much I didn’t know). Of course, I said yes… but how?

I had ridden all my life but always worked with broke horses. I had worked with many problem horses and knew how to solve issues created by others, but here was a blank canvas. A well-behaved baby. MaeCile guided me through working him using another horse. I leaned over him, moved his hips, asked him to yield to pressure. I put my knee in the stirrup, then my foot, little bit of weight and so forth. Then I got told to do it all from the “wrong side”. As an English rider, you never mount from the right, and 30+ years of muscle memory is hard to change. Eventually, it was time to swing my leg over. We worked in a western tradition with another horse in the round pen. Poncho, the master, helped to steady the young stallion and he accepted me as his first rider as if he had always done it. I realized, if the horse is trained and prepared well, the first ride is just another day in the office and needn’t be a big thing as it often is thought to be in the English world.

Meeting Stanley started a big chain reaction that is still continuing now. When I came to Horseworks, I was a Director of an investment bank. Huge career ahead of me. I had planned to stay at HorseWorks for a week.  First I changed my return flight and stayed for a month until the end of the season. After that, I went back home and within months had handed in my notice and bought another two horses. Two unbroken youngsters.

Over the years I have returned to Horseworks numerous times, often twice a year. I have taken horses to Pat Wyse’s clinic in Townsend, MT, worked with many of the HorseWorks youngsters and soaked in western horsemanship.

Fast forward to the present day. Eyes wide open, I have realized how much there is to learn. I study old classical masters intensively. I also now work with horses full time, mainly teaching classical in-hand work and classical dressage, but I am also using western influences, especially with so-called problem horses. I run lessons, clinics and online courses in Europe. I try to follow Nate’s guidance, “You can learn from every horse and every person”, even if it’s sometimes learning what not to do. My real passion is the health and soundness of horses. IMO any training that doesn’t contribute to both is not training.

My trio of horses is my pride and joy and I can wholeheartedly say Horseworks, Stanley, and MaeCile totally changed my life.

Visit Laura’s training page at

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