My name is Rio Barrett.
I am passionate about horses and passionate about my work…. which is to help people who are passionate about horses !
I am very fortunate that horses have been a constant part of my life since the age of 7 and when I was young my mother encouraged me to always try and look at things from their perspective. I went through the Pony Club system and passed BHS Stage 3 but always had the feeling that something was missing in what I was learning. Most of my lessons were about equitation, the mechanics of riding, or traditional stable management issues and I had some excellent teachers in these subjects… but I wanted to know what horses felt, and why, and how to give them what they really needed. I often felt a special connection with horses, but didn’t know how to build on it, or describe it, or how to find it again when I lost it.
I competed successfully in Dressage and Eventing throughout my teens, but as I got older the horses viewpoint about it all became more and more important to me. It mattered to me whether the enjoyment was mutual and I began to question some of the things I had learned.
One day, when I was in my 30’s I saw a demonstration where someone talked about developing a bond and communicating with horses in a language they could understand.
That day changed my life. I knew that I had found the key I’d been looking for and it led me to study Pat Parellis’ Natural Horsemanship programme for several years, both in the UK and at his ranch in Colorado, USA. I passed my Level 3 and in 2001 I graduated as an instructor in Parelli Natural Horsemanship and later chose to work independently, teaching and demonstrating all over the south of England.
Along the way, it became clear to me that doing our best to understand horses involves examining our belief systems about every aspect of the life we offer them. So I set about studying the issues around saddling, shoeing, stables, turnout, feeding, locomotion, herd environments etc, all with a view to satisfying, as far as possible, the wild horse that is latent in all our domestic friends.
I am the author 101 Horsemanship Exercises, published by David and Charles Ltd and write regular articles on the Panel of Experts for Horse and Rider Magazine.
I have A levels in Zoology and Botany, am a qualified Bowen Equus Practitioner and hold City and Guilds 7404 Certificate in Further Education Teaching