I have owned Willow Farm for over 30 years and it is my life! I have a Geography degree from Reading University and originally trained as a Primary teacher but I have also bred and shown dairy goats, jumped my JA pony as a child, and always had a menagerie of different animals around.
However, ponies have always been my first love, I grew up in Pony Club, as did my daughter Jess, and I am now living my dream and loving it.
I teach and assess Animal Care students both here and freelance for local colleges during term-time, and in school holidays share the house with lots of excited pony mad children from the UK and abroad who spend their holidays with us, the ponies and other animals. I am so lucky to have such a motivated team of staff and volunteers, and such a fun job, and I still have lots of ideas to put in place for the future.
Qualifications: B.Ed Hons – A1 Assessor – NPTC Internal Verifier – L3 Animal Care
Lora Hawkins –
Hi my name’s Lora, I live onsite at Willow Farm with my partner John, our retired greyhound Kiki, Zelda my cat, a naughty Grey called Parker, and our corn snake.
I have ridden from a very young age, both here and in Germany and I originally came to Willow Farm during my holidays from Manchester University to help as Summer Staff.
After Uni I managed a large boarding and quarantine kennels in Manchester whilst completing my animal care qualifications, and have been back to Willow Farm since then to cover staff holidays and teach both Animal Care and Equine students. I am now here full time as Head of Centre and Senior Instructor. I also have my own horse Parker at Willow Farm and we compete BD and BE events when time allows.
I love my job, as every day is so different, and everyone I meet is as passionate as me about all the animals we have, and the work that we do.
I was a Pony Club member myself until I was 25 and now teach our rapidly expanding Pony Club Centre here. Over the next year we have some really exciting events and guest speakers planned so keep checking back with us – I can’t wait!
Qualifications: UKCC2 BHS Reg
Diana Fryer –
We are very fortunate to have gained Diana, riding and training freelance as Ingleborough Equestrian, available at Willow farm to teach private clients two days a week.
“After working on a professional dressage yard for 8 years I changed careers in 2011. Alongside my new roles, I continue to train a small group of riders, gaining immense enjoyment from watching a combination grow and achieve things they didn’t think possible.
My background is predominately dressage and showing, and I feel privileged to have worked with some great trainers and coaches, as well as other equestrian professionals, who have given me a greater understanding of all aspects of horsemanship.
I am very much orientated towards looking at the symptom rather than the cause, and take an overall view of the whole picture to try and reach the goals set. I have had plenty of experience teaching nervous riders and children, and have dealt with many young horses (breaking and training for competition). My true belief is that no rider should be belittled or brutally pulled apart; what is a massive achievement for one person will be a walk in the park for another.” Diana Fryer. BSc (Hons), BHSPT
Hi I’m Becky. I’m in my second year doing my level 2 apprenticeship at Willow Farm. I have been riding at Willow Farm for the last three years and was allowed to complete my NVQ 1 horse care whilst still at school. I enjoy everything in riding especially hacking out on a nice sunny day. My favourite pony is Towney. I hope to do more with horses in the future.
Qualifications: ABRS 1 and 2 Certificates, NVQ1
– yard staff
Hi I’m Tara. I have been around horses all my life. In 2015, I qualified for dressage finals at Hickstead. I also love to hack out on my horse, Folly. My 2 favourite ponies are Robbie and Mickey, but I love them all. You will find me on the yard on Sundays and probably during the school holidays too.
– yard staff
My names Elle and I work at Willow Farm on Saturdays! I have Level 1 & 2 horse care and I have attended Riseholme for Equine. I have three horses of my own called Lady, Smurfie and Alfie. They all love going for hacks and Alfie loves jumping! Smurfies favourite thing is to pull a cart and Lady loves to go to the beach for gallops! I looked after many horses, ridden all types and they are my life.
And not forgetting those important people who help keep the Pony Club going!
Jayne Spooner and Saffron Clark
Jayne is a registered nurse and has been our Summer Camp ‘Mum’ since we started as a Pony Club Centre many years ago. She has also given up her time to drive teams to competitions all over the country and to organise hospitality to fundraising events here.
Saffy, her daughter, has grown up with our Pony Club and is now a primary school teacher in Boston. Beyond the Pony Club camp, Saffy is also on hand to cover Lora’s days off in school holidays.
Ben Mitchell BHSAI
Ben is probably one of the best coaches in the UK. He teaches our ‘top group’ at Summer Camp. Loaned from Littlebourne EC in Hertfordshire, Ben runs a large and hugely successful Pony Club Centre there and we are lucky that he gives up his time to offer his expertise to our senior members once a year.