Biography for Lesley Ann Taylor.
Lesley was born in June 1957 in Warwickshire, England. She learned to ride at 8yrs old at the local riding school. At the age of 14yrs her parents purchased a 4yr old Welsh Cob cross mare who had barely been broken in. It wasn't long before the pony realised that the people handling her were totally clueless and she took control! This resulted in several years of frustration and many, not so pleasant, riding experiences until the pair were taken under the wing of a local horse trainer who essentially re-educated Lesley and the pony. Mr Sydney Ball was a great advocate of the classical school and thus Lesley's interest in both the art of dressage and the art of teaching was born.
At 16yrs of age she went to Radnage House to train for her British Horse Society examinations. Here she was under the tutelage of Pat Smallwood FBHS and Gill Watson, long time trainer of both the British Junior and Young Rider Three Day Event Teams. Lesley gained her BHSAI and was then employed at Radnage House for several years where her ability to teach was recognised and put to good use. During this time she also went on to achieve the Pony Club A test exam and her BHSII exam. At the age of 20yrs, Lesley left Radnage House to run a riding school/livery yard for a couple of years and gained her BHS Stable Managers exam.
A big turning point in her life happened when she had the opportunity to spend time in the USA, staying with an American friend who was working for a top event trainer. Lesley took full advantage of the invitation to ride some of the horses during her visit, and got to go to some of the big competitions to get a flavour of the American way of training horses.
Her time in the US was hugely stimulating but only served to highlight how disenchanted she had become with the mainstream attitude to riding when she returned home to the UK. Her love of dressage had become challenged by the amount of stress she was seeing in so many horses being trained for competition.
Although she never stopped riding and continued to teach a few people privately, Lesley eventually turned her back on the horse world and went to work in London for a friend who owned a company that serviced the Film Industry. Lesley's management skills came into there own again, and for several years she was happy to commute into London on a daily basis to do a regular 9 to 5 job!
In 1989 Lesley met up with Carol Brett. This created another turning point in Lesley's life when she, Carol and fellow horse lover Maureen Bartlett got together and formed the BALANCE organisation in 1993. She had found a way of being involved with horses again that she felt good about.
Lesley is interested in working with riders who appreciate that the horse/human partnership creates an environment in which both can learn and grow on many levels, Lesley has written most of the articles by BALANCE on its Saddling System and the principles behind the teaching philosophy, including the book ‘Straight Forward Riding’ which she co-authored with Carol Brett. Since 2004, Lesley has spent a lot of her time managing Equi-Librium Ltd,. However she and Carol have now got an excellent team of people who can deal with the day to day running of the office, which should allow more time for teaching and writing. Lesley is currently writing the next BALANCE book on riding, and she also hopes to be able to get back into doing some teaching again.