Important notice regarding COVID-19 – closed until further notice

Due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and in the interest of public safety Gooromon Park riding school will be closed till further notice. 

It’s been a chaotic few weeks as, like many businesses, we have had to figure out how to stay afloat while our ordinary business is disrupted due to Covid-19.

Moving forward, in order to adhere with the government requirements on limiting non-essential travel, we cannot continue to offer any format of lessons to our regular GP Team riding school clients.

Our agistment holders and lessee riders we deem come under separate requirements as they have an animal welfare responsibility as owners to their horses. We will be working with you all over the next 24 hours to have a rostered system in place by Wednesday morning. In the meantime, thank you so much to those that have asked us how they can continue to support us as a small business! We certainly need our GP community more than ever, as we try extra hard to keep our amazing staff and cover the costs of caring for our school ponies through this time. Here’s how you can stay connected:

CONNECT WITH TEAM GP EQUESTRIAN ONLINE! We are busy working on a VERY exciting new offering to keep our clients connected to the equestrian world. Check out our previous posts and the link in our bio to learn more, and stay tuned for the big launch!

ADOPT A PONY! We want to keep you connected with our ponies and horses, and unfortunately, this disruption to our business does have implications when it comes to the costs of caring for our herd. By ‘adopting’ your favourite school pony/horse for a one-off few, you can help support their feed and care requirements. In return, you’ll get a special ‘adoption package’ in the mail!

PURCHASE TEAM – GP MERCH! We still have gorgeous shirts, caps and socks that you can grab and wear with pride – it’ll definitely put a smile on our faces knowing you’re repping #TeamGP, even if it’s only in your own home for now.

Our biggest assets at Team GP are our amazing staff and horses we desperately want to keep both.

Lastly, we’ve been blown away by offers from clients to forgo their missed lessons, acknowledging that it has been beyond our control when cancelling lessons over the past weeks. We are, of course, offering gift vouchers for those who have missed lessons due to these disruptions, but like all businesses, this is going to be a huge hit to our bottom line.

So we really appreciate those who have offered to help take that pressure off however they can.

Please stay connected online, and keep an eye out for more announcements coming soon – we know the ponies will be missing everyone, so we’ll try and keep you all updated with their antics here!

Important notice regarding COVID-19 & changes to business as usual activity.

It certainly has been a very challenging time lately for Australians and people across the globe. We are trying to navigate through this crisis as best we can, to both ensure people’s safety and health and also to keep our business running for the enjoyment of clients and horses.

Firstly, thank you to everyone that has understood that we have needed time to understand the impacts of the government announcements this week.

The good news is, at this point the government is defining non-essential services that need to cease operations as cafes, bars, gyms and other indoor environments where large numbers of people are in a confined space.

So riding schools are okay, given that our activities are conducted outside and with small amounts of people. We will of course need to alter our offer to take new health and safety precautions.

Moving forward in order to adhere with the government requirements of social distancing (1.5 metres), we cannot safely offer beginner and beginner 2 level lessons as there is simple too much intervention required by our staff in order to safely mount and manage riders at these levels.

At this stage riders at our intermediate levels that can perform the following can participate:
• Mount safely without physical assistance
• Check their horse’s girth themselves
• Adjust their own stirrups

Riders that choose to participate will have strict hygiene requirements and will be required to disinfect equipment at the end of each session. Please also read our pinned post to understand your obligations upon arrival at our property.

We are working through a phased approach to our moderated business activities, so please be mindful that while the above applies now things are moving rapidly and changes may be made in the future.

For all parents of beginner and beginner 2 children that have paid their term fees, we will be working with you to ensure your children are able to use their lessons vouchers throughout the rest of the year.

We are a small family business and every single client is valued, as are our talented team of staff. We are very grateful for your support.

We are currently looking into keeping you all engaged with a range of ONLINE lessons and offerings – there are so many aspects to horses and riding that we might never get a chance to explore completely in physical lessons. But now, with COVID-19, we are changing the way many businesses operate, and we’re putting our thinking caps on for how we can keep your equine education going online and add value to your physical riding lessons.

Thank you for your understanding.

If you have any questions please do-not hesitate to contact us, phone: (02) 6230 2230 or email


Important notice regarding COVID-19 & horse riding lessons

Gooromon Park is open for business-as-usual.  In light of recent global events – unseen in many of our lifetimes – there is plenty of uncertainty about many ordinary activities, including, extra-curricular activities such as horse riding.

Our aim is to be highly transparent to bring you all some sense of assurance, and to hopefully ensure that we can continue to provide this service to all students over the coming months.

We know that weekly lessons at Gooromon Park are a highlight for our clients, and based on current Government and medical advice, we don’t see a reason for lessons to cease at this stage.

Below is some important information to help you remain as informed as possible, including new safety and hygiene measures we have put into place.

Group sizes:  The current advice suggests that the highest risk posed by Covid-19 is in large group sizes (i.e. over 100 individuals) and within indoor environments. Both of our arenas are open air (the indoor has a roof only), and our group lesson sizes are limited to eight students with one responsible adult in charge. This makes group lessons low risk according to health authorities and government advice, in terms of contracting Covid-19.

Limiting contact:  We are keen to limit the contact between staff and clients as much as possible, and ask that everyone be vigilant in avoiding touching each other’s hands/bodies as much as possible. Our instructors will aim to help clients mount without any actual physical contact, as per usual, and will where safe maintain a minimum of 1.5 metres distance from clients (providing this doesn’t interfere with the safety of people and horses). This may be difficult when mounting and dismounting beginners, as safety will be our first priority in all instances.

Hygiene measures: We are providing a number of handwashing stations at Gooromon Park and are asking all parents, children and riders to adhere to strict handwashing protocol, especially prior to touching tack/boots and helmets.  Our staff always follow strict hygiene procedures, and this will continue to occur.

All common areas are being disinfected regularly throughout the day. We would like to limit the use of cash and conduct card payments only, and ideally contactless.

Shared equipment: We always recommend that riders invest in good quality equipment, for their own safety and for hygiene purposes. This includes helmets, gloves, crops and boots. Some of our private lessons we utilise headsets – please bring your own headphones, our headsets have a standard headphone port.

This is especially relevant given the current situation, and taking every precaution to avoid contact with potential sites of infection.

In terms of shared equipment such as neck straps, and tack, GP helmets and boots it’s really important riders ensure their hands have been washed before and after riding, to keep these items as sanitary as possible. Staff will disinfect all items at the end of each day.

If you are unwell: If you, your children, or any member of your family is unwell, we ask you to please avoid coming for your lesson. The usual policy of  make-up lessons will be offered in the case of cancellation. Our staff will also be remaining at home if they are unwell, and together we can all try our best to limit the spread of any viral illnesses. Also, if you have recently travelled we ask that you refrain from attending GP.

Many small businesses are suffering already – following the fires, smoke and now with Covid-19, it’s been a really tough start to the year.

We would like to keep our business up and running and to ensure that our beautiful horses can keep bringing joy to you and your children. If you have any concerns, please don’t hesitate to give us a call for a chat.

2019 Canberra Classic – Wrap Up

The Canberrra Classic this year was a smaller event with a number of riders in the team sitting this one out due to change overs in horses, demanding year 12 requirements.  So the whole affair was far more relaxed.

All the hard work for some of our combinations really paid off and it was lovely to see some riders registering some PB scores.

🤩 Maddie and Snoopy prepared strongly and took their best efforts into the arena, bringing home some wonderful results including a PB on the Sunday in the Preliminary 1C.

Oliver and Ringo have come such a long way in such a short period with a high light of the classic picking up a 2nd ribbon in the Novice 2C. I have no doubt like all the other great partnerships this one will continue to develop into Championship form.  Great work

Harriet and Mika showed good form picking up placings in both the Novice Championship classes, and Harriet in her own words was very pleased with Mika.  Big things to keep coming.

Katherine and Starry performed extremely well bringing home the Novice Championship in the Pony division.  All year they have built towards this result and it was lovely to see it all come together in the 2C scoring a 70%+ Well done!

The baby of the team, Fleur, Finders Keepers had a strong first Championship outing bringing home Reserve Champion Preliminary horse.  Huge thank you must go to Kaila who stepped in and rode beautiful Fleur after Amanda injured herself.

Thank you to everyone that came to support  #TeamGP especially the wonderful Zoya Patel that kept the crew calm and on track we were all very happy to have them there. 🤩

Plenty of concentrated effort and huge achievements we are very proud of our riders, there riding and there attitudes to learning and constant improvement.

Photo credit to the amazing Elizabeth Borowik Photography













Meet the #TeamGP Development Team – Audrey Brooke

Meet the #TeamGP Development Team

This week we are proud to profile the promising duo that is Audrey Brooke and her beautiful Candy.

Hi, my name is Audrey. I’m 12 years old and Candy (my horse) and I have been in the Gooromon Park Development Team since early 2018. 

I started riding when I was 6 and went on my first (of many) Gooromon Park school holiday riding program. From there I began structured lessons in the riding program at Gooromon Park, increasing my level and riding intensity until two and a half years ago I started riding Candy and fell in love.

I really love riding Candy— she’s a pretty and clever little Australian Riding Pony with a sparkly personality. Her Daddy was the amazing I was overjoyed when we bought her in the middle of 2018 and I began riding her exclusively.  It’s been a big growth year for the two of us. We’ve gone from lots of little “moments” in the test arena to placing second in one of our tests at the ACT Dressage Association Canberra Classic. Recently achieving some personal best results at the Young Regional Dressage Championships.

I love being in the Gooromon Park development team. It provides lots of opportunities to learn and extend myself. It also has fun and supportive teammates and we learn a lot from each other. We have two amazing coaches, Danielle and Mandy. They’ve given us their all this year and taken us such a long way from when we started.

One of the biggest things I’ve learnt this year is that hard work and resilience will get you results. Next year I want to do more competitions and work my way up to novice tests.

Audrey Brooke

Coaches Report Card:

Audrey trains weekly with Danielle Ffrench our Chief Instructor, so we asked Danielle to give us a brief snapshot of her.  ‘In the past months Audrey and Candy have taken leaps and bounds forward,  Audrey has developed exceptional tenacity for a young rider.  Lately everything has fallen beautifully into place, I am very proud of Audrey’s achievements and importantly the determination she is showing progressing her partnership with Candy. She is still on a wonderful journey with plenty of achievements to come.  Candy is full of cheekiness and sass and is a very determined little pony, she brings out the best in Audrey making her sometimes dig deep to achieve big.  The future is looking bright.

Danielle Ffrench 

FOLLOW our Journey:


How I coach to avoid bad habits in my riders

Developing correct basics in your riding is essential. Avoiding the development of bad habits early can save you time and more expended effort, trying to fix the little things.

So what are the ‘little things’ that I believe make a big difference in the long run when you first start riding?

Learn to ‘carry your hands’

You’ll often hear me saying to a beginner rider, ‘carry your hands, your horse is already carrying you!’ Of course, at that point I have explained how I want them carried. 

So what does correctly carrying your hands look like? That can be tricky, as each instructor may prefer slightly higher or slightly lower hands. As a baseline, it’s important that you create a line from elbow to wrist to the horse’s bit.

So in my opinion, carrying your hands too high can undermine this, and too low can pull the rider’s upper body forward, especially in a beginner. I like to see my riders carrying their hands no more than 10cm above the saddles D-Ring.

A great article to read that explores this further is this one on Dressage Today:

Learning early in your riding to carry the weight of your forearms and hands, rather than leaning on the saddle, can help you avoid leaning on the horse’s mouth.  Coupled with the correct rein length (which I talk about later), this will also help you make your rein aids more effective, and in turn your horse more responsive. This all contributed to another concept we learn later in the riding journey, where we seek effective communication with our horses.


Thumb on the rein!

Admittedly, I have a few bugbears, however this is way up there on the list.  As a coach I spend a lot of time correcting rider position faults, and more importantly, hand problems.  So as I develop a rider from beginner level through to advanced, I always focus on ensuring they start with the correct hand position. Then, as any good dressage rider/coach would, I spend a lot of time reinforcing the correct placement of their hands to avoid any bad habits forming.

What do I mean when I say ‘thumb on top?’ Put simply, this is more about your forearm placement

than your hands. Your fingers should be lightly closed around the reins, with your thumbs on top of the rein (pictured left) and little finger underneath.

Each thumb should point slightly at the horses opposite ear. To start with I try to get my riders to simply carry their hands and point each thumb at the horse’s ears (e.g. left thumb to left ear), then I prompt with thumbs to opposite ears.

So far I have talked a bit about hands and arms – before you protest, yes of course RIDING is most definitely not all about hands and reins!  However, ‘good hands are constantly aware of the power they put into the horse’s mouth, and work hard to avoid being abrupt.’  And if we can balance them, and first place them correctly, then we start to develop good hands!


Crop across thigh!

Any artificial riding aid should be used by a beginner with caution, as it’s all too easy for a beginner rider to use the crop too quickly before using a proper leg aid.  Crops are usually purchased with a wrist strap, which should also NEVER be used, as it can create a hazard if in an accident, if the crop can not be dropped easily.

Why should the crop always be carried across the thigh? When we carry our crop down our horse’s shoulder (try it at home), we start to twist our wrist and have now broken the very important line from wrist, rein, to elbow – but more importantly we are holding our hands incorrectly.

Later, as we develop in our riding and if we decide to pick up a dressage whip, we will already have the correct positioning to be able to effectively use the whip.


Changing our crop/whip carrying hands – when we change direction!

Everyone has a weaker and stronger side this includes us and our horses, however as we develop as riders we want to be able to be as balanced as we can be to help our horses, as a balanced load is an easily load to carry.

With this in mind, as my beginners start to progress I always them to carry their crop on their inside hand. This is also when they change direction – therefore as they change direction, they change their crop hands and start their balance and themselves to be ambidextrous on their horses.


Correct rein length!

This is not really a little thing, but so often I see that this is taught incorrectly.  It’s instinctive for us to want to use our hands and arms to balance us and to steer, and this often leaves the beginner rider’s reins way too long, and then the rider has no control and is left feeling unbalanced, insecure and frankly out of control.

I totally understand that as a coach, it is a really tricky thing and takes plenty of practice for you to encourage the rider to take the right rein length, ensuring the rider is not pulling on the horse’s mouth or balancing on the horse’s mouth.

Firstly, I always give beginners a neck strap and request them to hold the reins and neck strap together, as this offers the rider balance which in turn helps the rider’s confidence. Then the cycle of more balance, greater confidence continues to grow.

The correct rein length is vital when holding a neck strap, and the length must be guided by an experienced coach as the beginner rider is not ready to make this decision.

I want my beginner riders to be able to carry their hands, hold their hands correctly and use their reins to communicate effectively without losing balance or pulling arms around.

I always start the conversation around rein length, and liken it to elastic topped pants – every child or adult has worn a pair of elastic topped pants, you don’t want the pants to be too tight as this hurts, you don’t want your pants to be too loose as your pants will fall down and we always have a little giggle around this one.  You want your pants to be just right – you can slide your elbow back and feel a little bit of weight but you’re not pulling your arm to the side or too far behind your body.

These ‘little things’ might start as little, but feed into so much more as the rider develops. These are just my bugbears – certainly as a rider develops we work through so much in each stage.








Happy Riding – Danielle Ffrench 



2019 Young Championships Wrap-up

Young Championships was yet again an amazing event. A record number of 300 riders, with over 1000 tests ridden I would say this event should be titled NSW Regional Championships.

All the hard work for our team really paid off and everyone did amazingly well!

🤩 Mohamad and Harry competed together for the first time, winning both the YR Prep A and 1A! We also saw them come home with the award for the highest percentage of a YDA member on Friday with an outstanding 76%, receiving the largest rosette any of us had ever seen for highest percentage!

Ceri and Occhie also excelled, placing 2nd in the YR 1A with a score of 75%!! They also placed 7th in the YR 2A, their first novice test together. More impressive was their 7th place in the Official Novice class on the Sunday!

Maddie and Snoopy worked extremely well together! It was great seeing them achieve some very competent scores across the weekend even though they have only been working together for a short period of time!

Audrey and little Candy showed bucket loads of improvement over the weekend scoring 66% in their YR 1A! Katherine and Starry performed extremely well coming 2nd in one of her official prelim tests with 73%!! The duo also continued to gain experience in the Novice division placing 8th great achievement for only very early days at this level!

Harriet had a great event, she took out the titles of Breed Limited Champion with a score of 71.618% in the 2B, CU Novice Pony Champion and placed 4th in one of her Official Novice tests with 70%!!

A huge thank you to team coordinator / helper extraordinaire

Caitlyn Adcock and also Maddy who travelled over to show her support to Team GP we were all very happy to have them there. 🤩

The weekend was full of laughs, plenty of concentrated effort and huge achievements we are so proud of our riders, there riding and there attitudes to learning and constant improvement.



Meet the #TeamGP Development Rider – Harriet Hughes

Meet the #TeamGP Development Team

This week we are proud to profile the dynamic duo that has become our sassy stars Harriet Hughes and the beautiful Mika.

My name is Harriet and I’m 13 years old. My pony’s name is Mika and she’s an 11 year old Stock horse X Arab Palomino Mare. She loves liquorice, even though she’s not really allowed it! However, we can’t resist giving it to her.

I first started riding at Gooromon Park on my 6th birthday and then I never stopped! I love riding so much because of how you can always learn new things and it’s just about you and your horse, who I love so much! When I was 11, I got my first ever pony, Brownie, who was super cheeky but very cute and I learned so much from him. January this year I got Mika, and I’ve already developed so much love for her.

The Gooromon Park development squad has helped me improve my riding in many ways. The major thing that I’ve learned through the squad is how to take care of my horse and how to prepare and compete at all kinds of competitions and outings. We don’t just learn about riding, we also learn about first aid, horse care, feeding and so much more.

Before the development squad I hardly ever competed and was very nervous, however, now I am super confident and know how to ride a confident test, as well as knowing how to get the best out of my horse away from home.

I had a dream weekend at the Horseland Canberra Classic Dressage Championships/Regional Festival! We battled harsh weather, judges, health issues etc and the NSW and ACT ponies definitely made a good showing of themselves outnumbering the horses and AOR divisions, but the top quality horses were amazing to watch we managed to achieve the following:
So proud of Mika and still in shock but…
2nd Official Pony 1.2 with 71.77%
1st Official Pony 1.3 with 70.96%
Champion Overall Preliminary Pony

We went into the novice today not expecting anything at all and I am still shocked!
1st Official Pony 2.2 with 67.14%
1st Official Pony 2.3 with 65.96%
I cried when I found out
Champion Overall Novice Pony

My goal for the rest of the year is to continue to improve my training of Mika.  My favourite competition with the Gooromon Park development squad so far has to be Young Dressage Championships. I had so much fun spending time away from home with the team and I learned so much! It’s like being part of one big family! I really enjoyed competing at the Australian Interschool Championships with other members of the development team.  Another huge highlight was being selected to represent my state as part of Team NSW at Interschools.

Harriet Hughes

Coaches Report Card:

Harriet trains weekly with Danielle Ffrench our Chief Instructor, so we asked Danielle to give us a brief snapshot of her.  ‘Harriet is a resilient young rider. Lately everything has fallen beautifully into to place – she sure has made her dreams come true, don’t be deceived this duo work hard together to always improve.  They ride their highs and lows like Champions which is why they become Champions. Harriet has worked hard to be the rider she is today and so much has changed in just the past year.  Even as a 6 year old she was a determined little rider, I am very proud of Harriet’s achievements and importantly the grace she shows in her lows. She is still on a wonderful journey with plenty of achievements to come.  Harriet and I always have fun in our lessons and at comps she’s got just the right amount of cheekiness and sass. She should be very proud of herself and of her beautiful pony Mika. Well done girls!’  Danielle Ffrench 

FOLLOW our Journey: