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.


Erica Russell

Head Coach

Level 1 Dressage Coach


Erin Milford


Sue Chandler

Level 2 General Coach

Level 3 Dressage Coach

Coach Educator


Ashleigh Sosa

Intro Level 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!



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!


Ashleigh Sosa

Ashleigh is a passionate coach aiming for her EA level 1 certification. Ashleigh is known as an excellent communicator, making it easy for riders to understand the when, how and why of all things horse riding!

How long have you worked for Oakwood?
I have been a part of the team since early 2019.
What is your equestrian background?
I breed Welsh B ponies, and have too many to count now.  My main man is a 9 year old chestnut thoroughbred called Red (AKA Big Red, due to his height of 16.3hh).
I have studied my Cert II in Equine Studies, Cert III in Agriculture (horse breeding), Cert III in Sports Coaching (equestrian) and Diploma of Performance Horse Industry Management.
What do you do outside of your work at Oakwood?
I am a dressage rider, pianist and photographer that loves camping and going on 4x4 trips!
What do you like most about Oakwood?
I love working with like-minded people and sharing my passion with other horse lovers.
I enjoy working at Oakwood as the coaches here are known for providing quality riding tuition to riders of all ages, ensuring they develop a correct position and understanding of the horse, which will later enable riders to advance successfully in their chosen discipline.
Who is your favourite school horse?
It's so hard to choose! They're all amazing in their own unique way. But as a pony-person, I would have to picked Ryder. He is incredibly reliable, gentle, smart and patient.


Erin Milford

How long have you worked for Oakwood?
I have worked at ORS for a little over a month before stage 4 restrictions came into effect.
What does a typical day look like for you at Oakwood Riding School?
A general day at ORS usually consists of helping pupils tack up their horses and giving lessons.
What about your own horses?
I have three of my own horses. Nikki who is a 32yr old TB, she raced then went to stud and had 12 foals, 2 of her foals were quite successful on the track being group and listed winners.
Jonty who is a 16yr old TB, I use to ride all his trackwork and when he retired I was lucky enough to keep him. He did 2 seasons of showing and had to be retired early due to Degenerate Joint Disease.
Buddy (my pride and joy)  he's now 19yrs old Riding pony x Welsh. He’s semi retired ( my son now rides him) he was regarded as one of Victoria’s best large show hunter ponies for many seasons, winning at state, HOTY, royal level as well as being successful in the dressage arena.
What do you do outside of your work at Oakwood?
I manage a couple of jockeys ( booking of race rides and trails, communicating between trainers/ jockeys etc). I love spending as much time with my family as possible. 
What do you like most about Oakwood?
What I love most about ORS are the people, they have been so welcoming and are a lovely group and the school horses are brilliant, worth their weight in gold every single one of them. 
Who is your favourite school horse?
I am still getting to know them but have a soft spot for Boston.

Erin 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.  Erin is an acknowledged Racing Victoria trainer, Show Horse Judge and Pony Club coach!