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Posted by National Admin on 16/04/2019.
Sandy teaches all ages and all levels
Photos courtesy of Sandy Lucas

COACH OF THE MONTH Sandy Lucas

COACH OF THE MONTH is a regular Education series on our website. It is a way of highlighting the EA coaches and educators who work with dedication and passion all over Australia.

Sandy Lucas is an EA Level 1 General Coach, EA Level 2 Eventing Coach and she is also an EA Level 1 Eventing Course Designer, based in Windsor Downs, NSW. 

"Coming from a sailing family, I grew up down the far South Coast in Eden, which was fantastic for bush and beach riding, but a little more challenging for competing though.

At the age of six, I got my first pony ‘Prince’, who taught me a lot- like to get on quickly or he would swing his head around and bite me on the butt! I was extremely lucky to have very supportive parents, and at the age of 16 I had the perfect schoolmaster. He kicked off my enthusiasm for Eventing and really 'sealed the deal', I was hooked ...and still am, many decades down the track.

Sandy Lucas Laughing as ‘Arissa’ jumps the big part of the 3star fence at Melb

Sandy laughing as ‘Arissa’ jumps the big part of the 3* fence at Melbourne 

I have recently downsized my business, so now I only need to think about 11 horses, rather than 40 odd (that was a really crazy Christmas last year!). It's a good thing, because at 52 I’m finding that I forget things quite often, so now I’m hopefully putting the odds back in my favour.

I have been operating my own riding school and agistment/training stables for many years now, after doing a solid 10-year stint at Centennial Park. I really learnt a lot about coaching and people in general while I was there. I remember this corporate man I used to coach, he was I think about 30 years old. He was so naturally talented, even though he had never sat on a horse before. It took me a while to understand that for him, horse riding was all about stress relief and being in a fun place. I wanted him to jump higher, go quicker, and utilise his talents.

I strongly believe that that is a very important skill for a coach to have; to understand ‘the why’ behind the rider, because it isn’t always obvious.

I think that I always knew that I was going to be a ‘teacher’, either in the school education system or preferably in the horse industry. I completed an Associate Diploma in Horse Management straight out of school. I didn’t really know much about the industry and from there spent a few years in the racing.

Sandy loving eventing

Sandy loving eventing

I went on to do a 3 1/2 year riding and coaching experience in Japan, after which I found myself in the middle of Sydney. I thought I would experience the rat-race for six months or so, and then would know that it was definitely ‘not’ my scene...

It was during that time at Centennial Park that I completed my EA Level 1 General Coaching, and about 10 years ago, I finally got around to doing my EA Level 2 Eventing Coaching.

I coach all ages, and all levels, from beginners through to elite. A desire to learn is all that is required! It is such a gratifying moment when your rider ‘gets it’ or has a ‘lightbulb moment’. Actually, there are so many wonderful moments; especially the harmony and understanding between horse and rider, I guess that sums it up. With horses, you never stop learning, and with coaching, I learn a lot every day.

Celebrating clear rounds

Celebrating clear rounds

The last few years I have been cross country course designing at SIEC for the One Day Event competitions. This month I will also be designing for the Sydney International 3DE (60cm-105cm). I have been thoroughly enjoying this role, it certainly can be challenging, but it's also very rewarding, (well when it goes right, that is). To produce a track that asks the correct questions, keeps our horse and rider education improving, while keeping it interesting and of course safe, is always the objective. Still more learning for me!

I still love to ride and produce horses, although during the last year or so it has kept me a bit quiet on the competition scene, due to lack of hours in the day; it just takes me longer to do things these days.

I have a fantastic group of Eventers that I coach regularly (aged 11-66!!!) and I think that I compete, just a little, through them nowadays. It’s still pretty exciting, I’m loving every ride!"

Sandy Lucas

 

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