Leanne Williams, right from an early age, always had a dream to own her own horse she spent many of her younger years riding her friend’s horses and going to a riding school. At 19, she purchased her first horse and along with an older car and float, her dream was about to begin.
She went to as many riding lessons as she could afford, backing that up with going to many, many clinics as a spectator to learn as much about riding and training horses as she could. These clinics were in all aspects of horse riding or training, including dressage, show jumping, horsemanship and teaching, initially at Pony Club level.
In 1992, she purchased a horse she would ultimately call Avoca Black Saint. He was a 5yo, 50/50 Clydesdale Thoroughbred cross and in her eyes perfect, black with four white socks and a star. They spent many years together, initially show jumping up to C Grade level, then eventing, up to 1* level before finally deciding that dressage was going to be the career for them.
In 1994, Leanne and her husband John bred their first foal who also became their first stallion, Avoca Cardinal. During the years that he was alive, Leanne had a full breeding program and at their peak had a band of 6 broodmares. There were foals born every year and these were kept on farm for all their training up to and including the breaking in process. Leanne bred her second stallion in 2005, Avoca Flaunt It. He still currently stands at stud.
In 1993, Leanne started working towards her Equestrian Australia coaching qualifications and, in 1995, received her Level 1 General, continuing to work towards her Level 2 Dressage, gaining that in 1999. She reached the highest level, in Australia, Level 3, in Dressage Coaching in 2014.
Whilst all this was going on she continued training Avoca Black Saint and her other horses. Initially the dream was to be a show jumper, but that did not seem to be Black Saint’s dream as well. His spooky disposition gave him a very neat jump but often also had a negative effect at the end of the competition. Together they went towards an eventing career, but the occasional run out also tended to result in a disappointing outcome. They completed their final 2 day event, in 1995, which included the dressage on Day 1, roads and tracks followed by the steeple chase then back to roads and tracks and onto the cross country, finishing Day 2 with the show jumping. What was discovered here though was that Leanne had a huge interest in all aspects of training horses for Dressage.
A dressage career was starting to blossom. Between 1995 and 2000, Leanne put all her energies into becoming the best rider she could, over the next 5 years she went through all the Equestrian Australia dressage grades, reaching FEI Prix st George in 1999. In 2000, she qualified to represent Australia in the World Dressage Challenge, a competition where the same 5 judges were flown around the world to judge the best Prix St George riders that the country had to offer. This enabled an International competition without the horses having to travel.
In late 2000, Leanne and Avoca Black Saint became a Grand Prix combination. At this point Leanne was the youngest Grand Prix rider in Australia. They were competitive right up to Black Saint’s retirement in 2004 where he achieved his highest result, Reserve Victorian Champion.Leanne has continued to put her energies into training her horses, training many to FEI level. In 2009 she came across the writings of Philippe Karl and the School of Légèreté. Philippe’s philosophies interested her immensely and she went on to become part of the first group of riders in Australia accepted into the school as a trainee teacher. After 3 years of working with Philippe and some of his other licenced teachers, Leanne sat her Level 1 exam and became Australia’s first licensed Légèreté teacher.
Since then her interests have headed towards the psychology of the horse’s mind and bio-mechanics of the horse’s body. She has studied hard to understand the physical and mental make-up that creates an animal that allows us to ride them.
All these experiences have contributed to where she is now and this website-
Dressage in Lightness Online
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