MEET OUR COACHES

Our coaches are all EA certified and highly experienced.  Whether you are new to riding and looking to develop core skills, or are an experienced rider looking to advance higher movements, our coaches have the skills to support your riding journey and help you achieve your goals.

 

Click on their profile picture to learn more about each coach.

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Erica Russell

Head Coach

Level 1 Dressage Coach

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Jill Strafford

Intro Level Coach

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Lyn Shand

Level 1 Coach

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Sue Chandler

Level 2 General Coach

Level 3 Dressage Coach

Coach Educator

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Erica Hosking

Intro Level Coach

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Brad Cunningham

Show Jumping Specialist Coach

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Ashleigh Sosa

Intro Level Coach

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Suzanne Aboronzio

Intro Level Coach

HEAD COACH

LEVEL 1 DRESSAGE COACH

Erica Russell

Erica has a very long history with Oakwood, and has worked her way up over many years to become our Head Coach.  

Erica is a talented and passionate coach, who is very experienced at supporting the development of riders, regardless of their riding level.

Erica was awarded the EA National Coach of the Month in February 2019.  This is a testament to her dedication and passion for equestrian coaching.

How long have you worked for Oakwood?
33 years!
What does a typical day look like for you at Oakwood Riding School?
As Chief Instructor my day starts and finishes with teaching clients.
What is your equestrian background?
My first Instructor worked at Oakwood.  One day she asked me if I could come up to help her.  I did, fell in love with the place, and have been ever since.
My daughter Alisha has Eddy, a 20 year old thoroughbred and they event together.  When it comes to family, I'm the strapper!
What do you do outside of your work at Oakwood?
I try to rest up, and like to make soy wax candles.
What do you like most about Oakwood?
I love meeting new people, and through instructing, giving them a fun learning experience.
Cuddling the cats is pretty good too!

SENIOR LEVEL 2 GENERAL COACH

LEVEL 3 DRESSAGE COACH

Sue Chandler

Sue Chandler has been an integral part of Oakwood Riding School for many, many years.  She has supported the development of countless riders from beginner to advanced levels.  Her in depth knowledge and vast experience makes her an ideal Coach for the more serious equestrian athlete, with skills to advance a rider as far as they are prepared to go.
Sue posesses the following qualifications;
  • EA Level 2 General Coach
  • EA Level 3 Dressage Coach
  • EA Coach Educator
  • EA NOAS 'A' level Dressage Judge / Mentor

Chandler Equestrian Services will take you 'from ground  work to Grand Prix'

I started riding in UK at the age of 12 and although from a totally non horsey background, went straight from school to work in the horse industry and eventually ended up running the riding school where I had learned.  
 In 1978, an opportunity took me to work in Australia at the AEA, Wallington, for Fred Hoevenaars. Here I was teaching and working young horses with PLENTY off the track!!  I also did quite a lot of
  eventing - mainly on young horses - and rode several horses in dressage. Those were the days when you used to rock up at a comp, help put up the arenas, ride, pencil, cater or judge and then help take down the arenas again!! It’s not like that now.

  It was at the AEA that I started to compete on KAB an ex racehorse that had evented in pony club and open classes. Eventually I rode to Intermediate 2 on him. KAB taught me lots, particularly about patience. 

While at the AEA I was on the Geelong Dressage Club committee.  We were the first club to run a 
large indoor gala competition which included freestyles, pas de deux and dressage to all levels. This became a big event.

 In 1982, I went to Oakwood at Narre Warren where I was Manager/Chief Instructor for 4 years. I purchased KAB at this time and continued to compete on him and others in dressage and eventing. 

In 1986, taking two years away from horses, I went sailing around the Pacific. Not only was 
this a radical move but I also did the journey with two complete strangers. This was definitely different gossip for the horsey folk I had left behind.

 While in NZ I couldn’t resist doing a spot of teaching on the South Island. On my return to Oz in early 1988 I got right back into teaching and worked at Statene Park for three months 
to help out after the sad death of Gert Donvig. While there I rode Runs on Love to Grand Prix and competed on him at Oakwood in the first Berwick Classic!

Since then I have lived in Tasmania where I owned another TB gelding and was also an active committee member on the Tasmanian dressage
 Committee. I ran my own business at Byerley in Officer for 10 years and for the last seven and a half years  have been Manager/ Chief Instructor 
at the new Oakwood Riding School.
  
Along the way I have gained qualifications both in the UK and Australia and have been a very active member of the Vic NCAS coaching committee. Currently as an EA NCAS Level 2 General Coach, a Level 3 Dressage Coach and Coach Educator, I am also an EA NOAS A level Dressage judge and Mentor.

 I love the challenge of helping people with their horses. Carol Simpson has been riding and competing for more than 60 years. She has been a great friend and mentor to me for nearly 20 years and although she still rides no longer competes seriously. Carol has assisted me in many ways to compete by encouraging me to train and ride Harmony, who, despite many health issues is about to start competing again. Carol has also encouraged me on the brilliant Tasman Park Fanfare – owned by Carol. “Fifi” as she is known has had a very solid preliminary and novice career and has now commenced elementary.

I feel very privileged to have had the above opportunities and would never have been able to compete to such levels had I stayed in the UK- it really is a money sport over there. 

So thank you to all my friends both human and equine!

INTRO LEVEL COACH

Ashleigh Sosa

Ashleigh is the newest member of our coaching team, and has in a very short period of time established herself as an integral member of the team.  Ashleigh is an excellent communicator, making it easy for riders to understand how to execute movements.

How long have you worked for Oakwood?
I have just started working for Oakwood, and love it already!
What is your equestrian background?
I breed Welsh B ponies, and have too many to count now.  My main man is an 8 year old chestnut thoroughbred called Red (AKA Big Red, due to his height of 16.3hh).
What do you do outside of your work at Oakwood?
I am a dressage rider
What do you like most about Oakwood?
I love meeting new people, and through instructing, giving them a fun learning experience.
Cuddling the cats is pretty good too!

LEVEL 1 COACH

Jill Strafford

INTRO LEVEL COACH

Erica Hosking

INTRO LEVEL COACH

Suzanne Abbonizio

Suzanne has certainly earned her stripes at Oakwood, having worked across multiple parts of the organisation.  She knows the school horses well and is very passionate about developing her own coaching skills whilst helping riders develop and progress.

How long have you worked for Oakwood?
I joined Oakwood in 2007 when the 'new' facility opened in Clyde North.
I started out riding the school horses that needed to be ridden, under the supervision and instruction of Sue Chandler.
Following the opening of the new facility I worked in the stables, did feed outs and cleaned paddocks.  On passing my EA Introductory Coaching course, I commenced coaching at Oakwood.
What do you do outside of your work at Oakwood?
I spend time with family and friends, meditate and make jewellery.  I am currently studying counselling, and am continuing with my equestrian coaching studies.
What do you like most about Oakwood?
Oakwood is a great place for everyone to learn, including both riders and coaches.
The Oakwood school horses are treated like gold, and all perform as well as they are ridden.
I think Oakwood has a great environment, where safety and correct instruction are top priorities.  We also have a lot of fun!

SPECIALIST COACH - SHOWJUMPING

Brad Cunningham

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

LEVEL 1 COACH

Lyn Shand