At Gooromon Park, we love our team of instructors and stablehands. Every member of #TeamGP is passionate about equestrian, is highly skilled, and absolutely loves supporting you on your riding journey.
We’ll be introducing you to the team through our blog – today, meet Chief Instructor, Danielle Ffrench!
When did you first start horse riding?
I think I whinged for about a year when I turned 6-years-old, before my poor mother at 7-years-old finally gave in. At the time I don’t think she thought it would end up being the life-long passion that it has become. Certainly in hindsight it was a big turning point ,where today I cant imagine my life without horse in it.
What’s one thing you love about working at Gooromon Park?
There are so many things, I think I am extremely lucky to every day wake up and go to a job I LOVE. About four years ago now, I left a successful public service career and took a risk that I could support my family with my passion. It’s not always easy and sometimes its long hours, sometimes it drags me away from my beautiful family, but it lights me up and I think that’s what life is ultimately about – doing something you love.
I also love sharing my knowledge and watching the riders improve and have those light bulb moments. I won’t lie, working with family isn’t always easy, you often feel the highs and lows to their extremes, but the highs are marvellously high.
Who is your favourite GP Horse/Pony?
Eck, I have so many for so many different reasons – they are all amazing horses, they care about their riders and you can kind of see them loving teaching their riders. My absolute favourite over the years were the amazing ponies Pipi and Vanity and Cilla was amazing! They aren’t with us anymore. So today I would have to say Savannah and Jamokea.
What music gets you motivated for the day?
Nothing really, though I do like motivational pop – is that even a thing?
What do you feel is your best attribute that you bring to the #TeamGP?
Gosh, I think my years of experience helps the other coaches if they need to troubleshoot. I also feel I am a responsible leader and my passion for it all rubs off on others.
What is something special about you most people don’t know?
I am unsure if people don’t already know everything about me? I suppose little secret is when I was 18 I worked for a year in Canada training and competing young warmbloods. I even did some Eventing (sshh!). This is where I came home with my passion for dressage – before then I did a lot of showing/hacking.
What is one of your fondest horse riding memories?
Oh dear, these are tough questions – I have so many, each horse I have had brings it own special memory. I suppose my first win at a State Championship up in QLD was very special in 2004, and my absolute love Adloo Roma provided many wonderful moments. Today beautiful James is trying so very hard to steal my heart and I was very proud of his efforts this year in the 4year old Young Horse classes. Of course there are still plenty still to come!
What’s one thing you’d like to achieve in your riding or coaching in the next year?
I am currently working on my Level 2 coaching and Coach Education so it would be lovely to achieve this. Train our beautiful James to Novice/Elementary competing at state and nationals 2018 and the 5 year old classes. Start my other baby Briely Selby, maybe have his first outing in late 2018.
What’s one tip or insight you’ve learnt on your horsey journey that you’d like to share?
‘Time in the saddle, dedication, time around a horse, hard work, time, watch, listen and don’t rush things.’
I really like this quote:
Horse riding is a long term journey. You may have success as a young rider, but I can guarantee you will look back over the years and realise how much more you have learnt over the years. Don’t ever despair or get down about where you are – it’s a journey. Love the moments and be mindful, live in the present when you’re riding. Love the journey!
List three great qualities you admire in a GREAT coach?
I admire coaches who can explain the ‘How and Why’.
‘Top Riders don’t always make top teachers’ – Interesting read from top showjumper and coach Colleen Brook. ‘At competitions all over the world, we see most of the top riders with students. The sport is very professional. Top riders have spent more time riding than teaching and it has been a necessary shift in focus financially to take on students. In jumping we have plenty of younger riders with students now. Everyone has their way and some are better than others. Some coaches are not good teachers of novice riders, and vice versa Coaching is like horses, some are good at the beginning and some will not make the top. Very few coaches can take a rider/horse from scratch to the top. Very few riders can take a horse to the top. So finding the coach for you at different levels is necessary for your development. Riders will change coaches for many reasons. I remember none of my coaches EVER went to a competition to watch. To help the quality we need a good system. Experience.’ I might stop there for now.