Meet Our Staff

Verity Saul

Proprietor
BHS II DR (Reg’d) BD Accredited Trainer UKCC level 3

British Dressage Accredited Trainer. Group 3 dressage rider.  Verity has trained to and competed  at Prix St Georges and Inter 1 on Debutante (Abi) - see horses.  Verity is currently trainig Escade (Eddie) who has changed career from showing to dressage.  She has recently been working with Brickyard Splash (Splash) competing him in his first Medium BD tests.

Qualified First Aid at Work.

Verity has been the Owner of Witham Villa since 8 October 1992.

Verity was the winner of the British Dressage Steele Salver in 2010 and has represented the Northern Region at the BD Senior Home International riding for England on 3 separate occasions. 

She has also previously competed in Affiliated Show Jumping to Newcomers, and Horse Trials at Pre-Novice level. 

Verity now specialises in dressage training, with a holistic approach. Lessons on your own horse, or on one of the Witham Villa schoolmasters. Lunge lessons available.  Verity is a passionate coach, keen to develop all horses and riders to achieve their individual goals in a progressive manner.

Alison West

Yard Manager
BHS PTT, ESFAC, Child Protection NVQ 2 & 3

Alison was welcomed back into the team in September 2010. She had worked here as Yard Manager previously, before having her daughter and then running a private livery yard.

As well as the general running of the yard and teaching, Alison is involved in the training of the horses at Witham Villa and has competed on our own Crossdrum Dexter in dressage.  She is now competing on V (Victor) in Affiliated dressage at  Elementary level.  In her first season she qualified for the Petplan Area Festival, finishing in 5th place with 66.4%.  The pair are now qualified for the BD Summer Regionals at Elementary Silver, and are about to start out at Medium Bronze with the aim of qualifying for the Area Festival at that level

 

Jess Thomas

Office Manager
BHSAI, NVQ Assessor/verifier.
Jess Thomas

Jess has a wealth of equestrian experience having worked full time with horses previously in various yards, including riding school and racing.

Jess now works part time at Witham Villa and deals with administration and organisation, accounts, HR, and general riding school matters.

Serina Gonchakov

Yard Supervisor
ABRS ITA NVQ III, BHS Stage 1&2, BHS Stage 3 riding H&S cert, 1st aid, CPC

Serina joined Witham Villa having worked in both England and the USA in large studs and competing national standard in the UK and USA in western riding and showing.

Serina teaches at Witham Villa and supervises the running of the yard. She also assists Verity with the dressage horses.

Serina schools horses and ponies that are at Witham Villa.

She currently competes at Affiliated level in British Dressage with Monty (Monsoleil) at Elementary level. They qualified for the Summer 2013 Regionals at Prelim and the Winter Regionals at Novice.  Serina and Monty were Sheepgate Tack and Togs national Prelim champions in 2013. They qualified for the Summer 2014 Regionals at Elementary and again in 2015and 2016.  They are qualified for the Elementary Silver section for the 2017 BD Summer Regionals and are now going out to compete at Medium Bronze with the aim of qualifying for the Area Festival.

 

 

Julie Tomlinson

Instructor
ABRS TC, UKCC level 2 Coaching, CPC, 1st aid

Julie has been a member of the team since 1997 and has gained her qualifications and huge experience during her time here.

In 2005 she won an ABRS grant award for instruction. Julie achieved the UKCC level 2 coaching award in June 2012.

She has competed in side saddle and Affiliated dressage competitions. She has ridden at Royal Windsor show and County shows. 

Kelly Masterman-Smith

Instructor
NVQ 2 & 3, CPC, 1st aider

Kelly joined us on a trainee scheme, she had ridden with us prior to starting work and has now achieved her NVQ 2 in Horsecare and Riding and her NVQ 3.

She enjoys working with her clients, both children and adults and seeing them enjoy their lessons and make progress.

Helen Dent

Freelance Instructor
BHS II CPC Equine Specific First Aid Riding & Road Safety Examiner

Helen has been involved with Witham Villa for over 10 years. She was employed as Yard Manager prior to leaving to set up on her own as a Freelance Instructor.

Helen has her own horses that she competes in dressage and eventing, She has qualified for the British Dressage Regionals on numerous occasions, and finished 10th at Windsor in the BHS Instructor's Challenge. She has competed in British Show Jumping at British Novice and Discovery. She has evented at pre-novice level.

Helen has a very good empathy with her riders and helps them achieve harmony with their horse and is keen to see them progress.

Louise Mellor

Freelance Instructor
BHS PTT; CPC; First Aid at Work;

Louise has showjumped affiliated riding her old mare, "Hole in One", starting out at British Novice, competing all round the country and going up the ranks to competing at Foxhunter level. 

She has competed Encore Soleil (Solly) in affiliated dressage at Elementary level and the pair qualified for the British Dressage Elementary Restricted Summer Regionals 2015.  

Louise has headed up a Riding School team in the BD Team Quest competition series 2014, competing in the Novice section.

Louise also has her own show jumping horse, Coco Van Het Eelshof (Coco B), who she currently competes in british Showjumping affiliated competitions.  She is now also competing her successfully in Affiliated dressage.  They are qualified for the Elementary Silver BD Summer Regionals 2017 and are now about to go out at Medium level with the aim of qualifying for the Area Festival. 

She is a passionate coach and is keen for her riders to achieve their personal goals.

Michaela McKinder

Freelance Instructor
BHS AI, BD Recognised Coach, CPC, First Aid

Micky has had a long association with Witham Villa, riding here since 2006 and stabling her two competition horses here now.

Since the age of 14 she has trained with Verity Saul, who has been her primary coach and mentor ever since.

Michaela’s main vocation is competing in dressage; she has two competition horses Houndsfield Billbow and Topiary, both competing up to BD Medium, she has competed them both at major championships and been selected for both the BD Northern Senior Inter Regional and the Senior England Home International teams.

When not competing she’s studying for professional equine exams, currently revising with Verity for her BHS Stage 4. She is focused and driven; She has already gained her BHSAI and UKCC Level 2 Coaching Certificate. She has a nurturing and encouraging nature that builds a rider’s confidence empowering them to achieve their goals and targets.

Micky coaches riders of all ages, abilities and disciplines both at Witham Villa and also her own private client base.

Amelia Payne

Freelance Instructor and Pony Club Coach
UKCC L3 CPC First Aid

UKCC Level 3 (Generic); Leicestershire and Rutland Sport – Go Gold Talented Coach Coach/Instructor, and Witham Villa Pony Club Centre Coordinator.

Amelia has been working at Witham since 2009, building the Pony Club Centre memberships. Members from Withamhave won and competed at Area and National Championships over the past 5 years.

Amelia has a wealth of knowledge having been an Instructor since 1989.  She passed her first UKCC coaching certificate in 2008 and in 2014 has passed her UKCC level 3 exams one of only four people to hold The Pony Club UKCC Level 3 Generic exam, she is part of the Leicestershire and Rutland Sport – Go Gold Talented Coach Programme and is the only Equestrian Coach in the scheme.  She coaches freelance and works at county, regional and national level, was on the Pony Club Mentoring Team at The Pony Club Championships and is B test examiner. She is training members up to their A test as well as BHS exams and coaches all levels and ages from children to adults from grass roots level learning to ride right up to BE, BD, BS Nationals and Pony Club Championships. Pupils she has worked with have won from the local Riding / Pony Club right up to national titles.  

She is an experienced event ride herself, having been a member of the bronze medal winning Great Britain team at Pony European 3DE in 1987 (France) and Junior European in 1989 (Switzerland). She evented to BE Advanced CCI*** and competed up to BD Medium, BS to JA ponies and Grade C on horses, has ridden at HOYS, RIHS and many National/Regional Championships. The next qualification she is working towards is UKCC Level 3 (British Eventing).

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