Meet the Team

We believe in providing an exceptional service for our clients, and it’s our team of friendly and dedicated professionals who help us do this.

Every member of our team is talented, knowledgeable and they love what they do. Have a browse and get to know us a little better!

If you are interested in joining our team, have a look at our vacancies page to see what is currently available. We look forward to hearing from you.

Lucy Thomson, Lucy Thomson

Lucy Thomson

Business Owner
Equestrian Qualifications
BHSI (Sm) List 3 Dressage Judge
Lucy Thomson, Business Owner

Lucy Thomson

Business Owner
Equestrian Qualifications
BHSI (Sm) List 3 Dressage Judge
Brief

With two completely separate backgrounds in both business and equestrianism, Lucy combined the two form 1998 when she took over the leasehold of Lavant House Stables, and the business has bloomed consistently ever since.  The freehold was purchased in 2008  with extensive planning permission being granted in 2009 to create a high-end equestrian complex.

Her equestrian background includes three-day-eventing, advanced dressage and grade B show jumping, some of this being under professional sponsorship.  Her primary coaching mentors were The Training the Teachers of Tomorrow Trust and Captain Mark Phillips, with the classically correct methods of these internationally respected training sources being passed on to everyone who develops their riding skills with us here.

Lucy no longer rides due to injury, and sadly has no time now to coach, something she enjoyed enormously in the past – the ongoing development of horse and rider – but does occasionally dressage judge when time permits.  Otherwise she has the enviable position of running the business, which means desk based, not easy for someone who always wants to be outside, regardless of the weather!

Tony Thomson, Tony Thomson

Tony Thomson

Joint Owner of Lavant Equestrian
Equestrian Qualifications
IT and Communications
Tony Thomson, Joint Owner of Lavant Equestrian

Tony Thomson

Joint Owner of Lavant Equestrian
Equestrian Qualifications
IT and Communications
Brief

Married to Lucy Thomson for over 30 years, with children Charlie and Amelia, Tony Thomson has always provided the support-structure any business needs in order to thrive, but especially so an equestrian one! Horses break/destroy just about everything, so constant repairs is definitely on his list, however Tony’s real skills lay in IT and telecommunications.

As a result Lavant Equestrian has an enviable IT and telephone system, certainly beyond the standard to be found in most equestrian centres.

Full-time employed elsewhere, Tony spends his free time keeping the systems updated at Lavant, repairing the latest breakage, adding illumination – and most importantly for the kids at Lavant – is the person responsible for making sure the Club Room vending machine is kept fully supplied with goodies, all of the time!

Amelia (Mills) Ayling, Amelia (Mills) Ayling

Amelia (Mills) Ayling

Business Partner
Equestrian Qualifications
Stage 4 Senior Coach in Complete Horsemanship; British Horse Society Intermediate Instructor; UKCC Level 2 Coach;
Amelia (Mills) Ayling, Business Partner

Amelia (Mills) Ayling

Business Partner
Equestrian Qualifications
Stage 4 Senior Coach in Complete Horsemanship; British Horse Society Intermediate Instructor; UKCC Level 2 Coach;
Brief

Daughter of Lucy, Amelia has been brought up surrounded by both horses and a family business. A keen and bold rider who loves to event, hunt and jump, but who also needs to knuckle down to the discipline of dressage if to excel as an event rider, which is what Amelia really wants to do.

Amelia is currently eventing her two young horses Q and Kevin, who are gradually working their way up through the grades, whilst Amelia herself continually moves up the ladder of the British Horse Society and UKCC professional qualifications.  Her next qualification target is the highly respected BHS Instructor qualification.

Charlie Thomson, Charlie Thomson

Charlie Thomson

Handyman
Equestrian Qualifications
NVQ Level 1 Agriculture & Horticulture
Charlie Thomson, Handyman

Charlie Thomson

Handyman
Equestrian Qualifications
NVQ Level 1 Agriculture & Horticulture
Brief

Charlie is Lucy’s son and on completing two years of further education at Hartpury College learning relevant agricultural skills he came and joined us under the title of “Handyman”. This really means Charlie does just about anything and everything we need him to do within his range of skills!

The most important by far to Charlie, his Kubota tractor, trailer and Kubota ATV he uses to oversee the collection of 1,100 droppings our horses produce every day – this is a lot of poo!

Charlie also strims, mows the grass, cleans and maintains the vehicles, and gets on with pretty much any task the rest of us ask him to do. He also, without fail, makes a cake every weekend for the team to eat over the following week. Like us all, Charlie rides regularly having had ponies at home from a young age and has a riding lesson each week at Lavant.

It is impossible not to warm to Charlie with his gentle kindness, lovely manners, natural empathy with the animals and rather silly sense of humour!

In honour of our Charlie, the chosen charity of Lavant Equestrian, which we have supported since 2001, is the registered charity “Charlie’s Challenge”, which has done an amazing job over the years raising both awareness and serious funds for research into children’s brain tumours.

Anna-Louise Chantler, Anna-Louise Chantler

Anna-Louise Chantler

Manager & Advisor
Equestrian Qualifications
British Horse Society Preliminary Teaching Certificate; British Horse Society Stage 2 (distinction); British Horse Society Riding & Road Safety;
Anna-Louise Chantler, Manager & Advisor

Anna-Louise Chantler

Manager & Advisor
Equestrian Qualifications
British Horse Society Preliminary Teaching Certificate; British Horse Society Stage 2 (distinction); British Horse Society Riding & Road Safety;
Brief

Anna-Louise Chantler joined us initially as an apprentice, with a solid background in horsemanship from a young age.  With good GCSE results, a proven work ethic, a passion for all animals coupled with her sunny, bubbly personality, Anna is very much a valued addition to our team.

Anna has worked hard to improve her knowledge and skills with horses, her riding has come on tremendously thanks to her natural empathy and desire to learn, she now rides the young horses to help bring them on for the school. Anna has also proved to be a hit with the young children so consequently she oversees all of our Activity and Pony Owning Days.  Anna is now a passionate and encouraging riding coach, proving popular with all ages and standards of riders.

2017 Anna became our Deputy Yard Supervisor and 2019 she moved up another gear to concentrate on specific areas of the business, which are carrying out the Introductory Sessions for all new clients and as the new role of Livery Consultant – being the go-to person to ask about anything to do with keeping a horse with us, whether this is loan, buy or seeking livery for your own horse.

For unbiased, straightforward advice, a thorough knowledge of this business and her subject, Anna can answer all of your questions regarding possibly having your own horse with us and without any concern of commitment, as the choice will always be yours.

 

Holly Ingram, Holly Ingram

Holly Ingram

Office Manager
Equestrian Qualifications
British Horse Society Stage 2 Ride & Road Safety
Holly Ingram, Office Manager

Holly Ingram

Office Manager
Equestrian Qualifications
British Horse Society Stage 2 Ride & Road Safety
Brief

Holly used to work as a Weekend Assistant before moving into the important Yard Assistant/Trainee Instructor role for many years where she gained her BHS Stage 2 qualification. Holly has since re-joined us in the office and is a knowledgeable horsewoman which certainly goes well with her role in the office.  Holly is multiskilled as well as friendly, bubbly and approachable so the perfect person to have on our front desk!

Lucy Elswood, Office Administrator

Lucy Elswood

Office Administrator
Brief

You may recognise Lucy’s friendly face, she used to be part of the office team a 7 years ago. Lucy has lived in Belgium and America for the last few years and is now back on home turf & we are very happy to have her back!

Addy is certainly chuffed to have his favourite human in the office again!

 

Sally Spaarkogel, Sally Spaarkogel

Sally Spaarkogel

Senior Riding Coach
Equestrian Qualifications
British Horse Society Stage 3 Coach in Complete Horsemanship; UKCC Level 2 Coach;
Sally Spaarkogel, Senior Riding Coach

Sally Spaarkogel

Senior Riding Coach
Equestrian Qualifications
British Horse Society Stage 3 Coach in Complete Horsemanship; UKCC Level 2 Coach;
Brief

Since gaining her BHS teaching qualification with Virginia Peters in Somerset, Sally has acquired considerable experience working with horses in a variety of equine areas including Dressage, Eventing, Carriage Driving, Racing, Breeding, Showing, Breaking/Schooling yards, both in England and in the Netherlands.

As well as over thirty-five years of teaching individual clients within the excellent BHS system Sally also regularly instructs at Pony Club Camps and Rallies, including training and examining up to Pony Club C Test standard.  In addition to this Sally has had several years’ experience as an instructor for the Riding for the Disabled Association and has also coached a young Para-Rider.

Sally loves to teach clients over a wide range of age and abilities, and her aim is always to encourage and nurture positive partnerships that can help riders to work towards their goals and enjoy the wonderful experience of riding.

And for newcomers to the horse world Sally also offers fun, theory based BHS Essential Horse Knowledge Certificate courses that help people become more informed owners of horses and ponies.

 

Polly Walters, Polly Walters

Polly Walters

Riding Coach
Equestrian Qualifications
British Horse Society Preliminary Trainer
Polly Walters, Riding Coach

Polly Walters

Riding Coach
Equestrian Qualifications
British Horse Society Preliminary Trainer
Brief

Polly rode with us for years as a child and then came back to join us in order to gain her British Horse Society teaching qualifications.

Polly is a fun, emphatic coach who teaches all ages and is particularly good with children, so as a consequence also oversees our active and large Pony Club Centre.  When Polly is not at Lavant she concentrates on competing her string of show jumpers with some success at national level.

It is never hard to spot Polly when she is around with her trademark beaming smile and wonderfully vivacious character!

 

 

Jen Pogacic, Jen Pogacic

Jen Pogacic

Senior Riding Coach
Equestrian Qualifications
British Horse Society Intermediate Instructor/Stage 4 Senior Coach British Horse Society Stable Manager/Stage 5 Care & Management EQL UKCC3 Certificate in Coaching (Generic) Certificate in Education BSc (Hons) in Equine Science
Jen Pogacic, Senior Riding Coach

Jen Pogacic

Senior Riding Coach
Equestrian Qualifications
British Horse Society Intermediate Instructor/Stage 4 Senior Coach British Horse Society Stable Manager/Stage 5 Care & Management EQL UKCC3 Certificate in Coaching (Generic) Certificate in Education BSc (Hons) in Equine Science
Brief

We are privileged to welcome such a highly qualified and experienced coach as Jen to our teaching team.   Jen has a vast range of knowledge in the equine sector which includes acting as managing director in two well-known riding establishments, one in the commercial sector and the other in private education.  In 2017 she was invited to coach at the North Carolina (USA) State Pony Club Camp, having taught at a local Pony Club Centre for the past few years.  Combine this with delivering lectures in Equine Management at three different colleges and working within the competition sectors too, it would be hard to come across another with such a wide range of experience and skills in the equine sector.

As a mother of two, Jen also finds the time to serve on a variety of committees in a voluntary capacity, including the West Sussex British Horse Society Committee.  Keen to continually keep improving her own personal and professional development, Jen brings this wealth of knowledge, energy and enthusiasm to benefit us all here.

Helen Cuninghame, Helen Cuninghame

Helen Cuninghame

Riding Coach
Equestrian Qualifications
British Horse Society Stage 3 Coach in Complete Horsemanship; BHS Stage 4 Ride and Care; BSc Equine Sports Performance;
Helen Cuninghame, Riding Coach

Helen Cuninghame

Riding Coach
Equestrian Qualifications
British Horse Society Stage 3 Coach in Complete Horsemanship; BHS Stage 4 Ride and Care; BSc Equine Sports Performance;
Brief

Having learnt to ride at the age of 7, Helen started teaching at the age of 18 and has mostly taught in riding schools similar to our own.  Helen is happy to teach all ages and abilities, aiming to bring out the best in all she teaches, and would be described as a motivating and enthusiastic instructor.

She also has extensive experience as a rider, having produced a wide variety of horses in all three of the key disciplines: show jumping, dressage and eventing.

Lauren Hughes, Lauren Hughes

Lauren Hughes

Riding Coach
Equestrian Qualifications
British Horse Society Level 3 in Complete Horsemanship
Lauren Hughes, Riding Coach

Lauren Hughes

Riding Coach
Equestrian Qualifications
British Horse Society Level 3 in Complete Horsemanship
Brief

Lauren took up horse riding at the age of 14 and was instantly smitten, taking it up as a career by joining Lavant in 2007 and working her way through the British Horse Society Stage levels to become a fully qualified riding coach.

Remaining with us for 6 years Lauren became one of our most popular senior instructors by the time she moved to the West Country to get married in 2013.  This senior role included training staff for BHS exams, overseeing Horse Owner courses and organising Pony Club activities on our behalf.

Amongst her own trainers were the esteemed Captain Mark Phillips and Robert Pickles FBHS, plus Rio Barrett, who taught Lauren how to back horses gently by passing on her Natural Horsemanship techniques.

Whilst with us Lauren discovered a passion for Hunting, frequently attending days out with the Chiddingfold and Leconfield Hunt on a variety of Lavant horses.  This interest followed her down to the West Country, where she continued hunting with a wide variety of different packs.

Lauren set up a successful livery yard from scratch in Bridport, which is still thriving today.  She also enjoyed a successful competition career within the three Olympic disciplines, plus Ridden Hunter success at County Shows.

As soon as Lauren returned to this area with her young daughter Ruby, we snapped her up.  We were not going to let this previously fantastic member of our team go anywhere else – a big welcome back Lauren!

Lisa Hamilton, Lisa Hamilton

Lisa Hamilton

Senior Riding Coach
Equestrian Qualifications
British Horse Society Stage 3 in Complete Horsemanship UKCC Level 2 Coach NLP Coach

Lisa Hamilton

Senior Riding Coach
Equestrian Qualifications
British Horse Society Stage 3 in Complete Horsemanship UKCC Level 2 Coach NLP Coach
Brief

Having started riding at three, Lisa progressed on to having her own horses from thirteen years of age.  Lisa was extremely fortunate to commence her equestrian training under the auspices of Sarah MacDonald FBHS, being based in the same Surrey stable yard as herself.

From business school Lisa then travelled around the world, living in the USA for many years.  As well as providing teaching, training and coaching, Lisa also successfully evented in California with wins and places on a variety of clients’ horses

Lisa, like Lucy Thomson, was also a keen attendee and advocate of the Training of the Teachers of Tomorrow Trust based in Surrey.  Under the jurisdiction of the remarkable Jennifer Sewell, the best international dressage masters were brought over to provide the Trust supporters with the incredible opportunity of having access to the very best classical dressage coaches in the world, whether they be riders, coaches, trainers or judges.

Today Lisa is back in Surrey and continues to be a freelance coach who works with dressage and eventing clients at all levels, whilst also running various online businesses.

Lisa is committed to correct classical rider training, developing kindness and understanding of the horse.

Lizzie Pollard, Lizzie Pollard

Lizzie Pollard

Senior Riding Coach
Equestrian Qualifications
British Horse Society Senior Yard Manager Stage 4 Coach Stage 3 Complete Challenge Award Trainer

Lizzie Pollard

Senior Riding Coach
Equestrian Qualifications
British Horse Society Senior Yard Manager Stage 4 Coach Stage 3 Complete Challenge Award Trainer
Brief

Lizzie is an experienced, sympathetic riding coach who has spent her working life within many different aspects of the equestrian sector, including riding schools, delivering apprenticeships, Pony Club and the RDA.  Lizzie’s primary passion is coaching, which is why she has now joined us.  All ages, all abilities, from first-time riders to horse owners, including people seeking careers in equestrianism themselves whether for the British Horse Society examination structure or Apprenticeships.  With her own horses Lizzie currently concentrates on showing and below stands with her stunning traditional coloured cob, Blaen Morlais de Guzman, who was the reserve champion at the Traditional Cob of the Year awards.

Cathryn Row, Cathryn Row

Cathryn Row

Senior Riding Coach
Equestrian Qualifications
Stage 4 Senior Coach in Complete Horsemanship. Challenge Award Trainer Ride Safe Trainer PC D test examiner Trainee Judge
Cathryn Row, Senior Riding Coach

Cathryn Row

Senior Riding Coach
Equestrian Qualifications
Stage 4 Senior Coach in Complete Horsemanship. Challenge Award Trainer Ride Safe Trainer PC D test examiner Trainee Judge
Brief

I have always loved horses and started working with horses the day after I left school. Working my way through the BHS exams, I gained my AI and then went to work in Germany. I started as a groom and after I learnt the language studied gained my Berieter Prüfung(FN) for which I was awarded the Steinsbeck Plaque. It was in Germany that  I gained my love of Dressage, but Eventing is still my first love.

I spent a total of 13 years in Germany working across all three disciplines and carriage driving as well. I spent 5 years running a large Riding School and livery and still have contact with some of my pupils who are still enjoying riding and some that have gone on to professional status. I returned to England in 1997 and went on to do freelance teaching and competing my own and others horses.

I have competed up to medium dressage, 1.30m Jumping and novice eventing.

I completed a double clear at grassroots Badminton

What I most enjoy in teaching is helping people progress in their horsemanship and riding, whether their goals be happy hacker, competitor or professional.

Due to my international qualifications  I am a IGEQ International Level 2, which is equivalent to Stage 4 Senior Coach in Complete Horsemanship.

Rachel Cargill, Rachel Cargill

Rachel Cargill

Riding Coach
Equestrian Qualifications
British Horse Society Stage 3 Coach in Complete Horsemanship
Rachel Cargill, Riding Coach

Rachel Cargill

Riding Coach
Equestrian Qualifications
British Horse Society Stage 3 Coach in Complete Horsemanship
Brief

We were hugely chuffed to welcome Rachel back, whom we had taught to ride as a child and who then went on to become an equestrian competitor and professional in our chosen sport – we couldn’t have asked for a better result to now have her back again with us!

With her passion for eventing and Pony Club coaching, Rachel brings a raft of skills and expertise that will particularly appeal to our young, competitive riders.

Lovely to have you back Rachel!

Char Lassetter, Char Lassetter

Char Lassetter

Lassetter Dressage & Coach
Equestrian Qualifications
UKCC L3, BD Coach & ABRS advanced teach with distinction
Char Lassetter, Lassetter Dressage & Coach

Char Lassetter

Lassetter Dressage & Coach
Equestrian Qualifications
UKCC L3, BD Coach & ABRS advanced teach with distinction
Brief
Julia Walker, Julia Walker

Julia Walker

Lassetter Dressage, Coach & Rider
Julia Walker, Lassetter Dressage, Coach & Rider

Julia Walker

Lassetter Dressage, Coach & Rider
Brief
Hannah Walters, Hannah Walters

Hannah Walters

Freelance/Cover Coach
Equestrian Qualifications
BHS Stage 3 Coach in Complete Horsemanship; Intermediate Stable Managers Certificate; BHS Stage 4 Ride (flat & lunge); NVQ L3 Horse Management; HND Equine Management
Hannah Walters, Freelance/Cover Coach

Hannah Walters

Freelance/Cover Coach
Equestrian Qualifications
BHS Stage 3 Coach in Complete Horsemanship; Intermediate Stable Managers Certificate; BHS Stage 4 Ride (flat & lunge); NVQ L3 Horse Management; HND Equine Management
Brief

Hannah qualified as a riding instructor in 2009 and has since taught in the UK, Germany and Spain. She enjoys teaching all ages and abilities – focusing on correct core skills needed for seamless progression, developing a partnership with the horse and ultimately having fun! Hannah has an ex-racehorse and an Iberian of her own whom she drag hunts and events.

Hannah has headed off to pastures new joining the prison service, you will still see her from time to time in the holidays and to cover other coaches!

Clare Lock, Freelance Groom

Clare Lock

Freelance Groom
Brief

Clare has been our dependable dropping collector for some time and after enjoying being outdoors with the lovely horses decided to have a change of career so we’re lucky to have her with us as a Freelance Groom too! Clare grew up on a farm so is used to being around animals and also used to have her own pony as a child who she did some competing on.

Clare is one of those people who is really practical, she can turn her hand to anything and do it well!

Georgia Jennings

Brief
Steph Cruickshanks, Steph Cruickshanks

Steph Cruickshanks

Field Maintenance & Dropping Collector
Steph Cruickshanks, Field Maintenance & Dropping Collector

Steph Cruickshanks

Field Maintenance & Dropping Collector
Brief

Steph is in charge of the dropping collections during the week, its no small job with 50 horses living out 24/7!  Steph’s daughter rides with us every week and thinks it’s great that her mum gets to be with the horses everyday.

 

Toby Wells, Toby Wells

Toby Wells

Dropping Collection & Tack Cleaning
Toby Wells, Dropping Collection & Tack Cleaning

Toby Wells

Dropping Collection & Tack Cleaning
Brief
Jacky McPherson, Jacky McPherson

Jacky McPherson

Coaching Advisor & Activities Assistant
Equestrian Qualifications
BHS Horse Owner’s Certificate Level 1 BHS Stage 1 Riding and Stable Management BHS Stage 2 Stable Management BHS Riding and Road Safety Certificate of Education – (Lancs.) Master of Arts - Education – (Ply.)
Jacky McPherson, Coaching Advisor & Activities Assistant

Jacky McPherson

Coaching Advisor & Activities Assistant
Equestrian Qualifications
BHS Horse Owner’s Certificate Level 1 BHS Stage 1 Riding and Stable Management BHS Stage 2 Stable Management BHS Riding and Road Safety Certificate of Education – (Lancs.) Master of Arts - Education – (Ply.)
Brief

Jacky McPherson has been at Lavant longer than anyone else, other than Lucy Thomson – joining us as a riding school client in 2000.

Over the years we have learned to truly value Jacky’s expertise and passion as a full-time teacher in state education. Jacky has helped us immeasurably with improving the quality of the instruction we supply – particularly with regard to children. Teaching children is more complex than adults as each age group requires a slightly different approach and with very little guidance within the equestrian industry itself when it comes to teaching children, it is understandable just how high a value Jacky’s input is, particularly when linking us into the structure of the educational system.

Tom Peek, Weekend Assitant

Tom Peek

Weekend Assitant
Brief

Tom has been riding at Lavant Equestrian for 10 years and we are now lucky to have him as a Weekend Assistant. Since joining our team he has grown in confidence and is always keen to help and learn.

Freddie Jackson, Weekend Assistant

Freddie Jackson

Weekend Assistant
Brief

Freddie works on the weekends and also owns the wonderful Tango with his mother. His riding has gone from strength to strength since loaning Fraser and he’s a reliable and helpful member of the team!

Matilda Smith

Yard Assistant
Brief
Deya Thomson, Deya Thomson

Deya Thomson

Weekend Assistant
Equestrian Qualifications
Pony Club C Test
Deya Thomson, Weekend Assistant

Deya Thomson

Weekend Assistant
Equestrian Qualifications
Pony Club C Test
Brief

Like many of our Weekend Assistants and helpers Deya rode with us for many years. She is a confident and friendly individual, Deya also has her own horse and has ridden since she was 2 years old!

Bella Rank, Weekend Assistant

Bella Rank

Weekend Assistant
Brief

Like many of our other great weekend assistants Bella rode with us for many years. She now helps out on the yard on the weekends and is a great asset to our team!

Imogen Rowlands, Weekend Assistant

Imogen Rowlands

Weekend Assistant
Brief

Imogen has previous experience working in other riding schools and joined us in the Autumn of 2021. She has two horses of her own so knows the ins and outs of horse care, she is always calm and collected around the animals and is a great member of our team!

logo

Intro Ride

Riding Experiences For All

Book Now

Email Sign Up

Straight from the horses mouth