top of page

My time at Asoka Stud

Sue with Castiço

I've been on an amazing journey which began in 1983. When I was 11 years old  I went to work for Asoka Stud and Kennels. The owner, Mrs Peggy Litton housed a large kennel of german shepherds along with various other breeds and an ever growing collection of beautiful horses. Mrs Litton was rather an eccentric character and children were very much put in their place and made to work hard. Very hard! Every spare hour was spent at Asoka but I wasn't allowed to ride for at least 2 years, I was just a child remember and needed to earn the privilege! So i worked hard and I would sit hour after hour watching Sue Rosenthal train the horses. This is where I learnt the importance of ground work.  Sue would often say "if there is a problem under saddle fix it on the ground". Although unorthodox in her approach Sue was incredibly talented in circus tricks and high school movements and was obsessed with relaxation of the horses jaw.  Thinking back Sue could be quite tough but had impeccable timing of praise and enjoyment when the horses did something right. It was’t unusual for her to be singing and dancing around the school and horses generally found her fun. At such a young age I was in awe of her ability to train which set up my passion to learn. 

Mrs Litton housed 3 stallions back in then, a dark Bay Arab, Manet. A Black Morgan, USA grand champ Robins Night Flight (topper)  and Oriol a high school trained Andalusian. The collection of rare and beautiful stallions soon grew and so did Mrs Littons respect for me and eventually I was allowed lessons on Oriol when I was 13. His moves were more circus moves than true classical but still, to be able to ride flying changes, pirouettes, piaffe, passage and Spanish walk at this young age was an amazing opportunity. He was a great teacher who i was honoured to ride.

I was also lucky that Mrs litton had an extensive book collection on classical training and I would spend hours reading them. I was very fortunate to have many horses too practise with as the yard grew to 17 stallions and a large herd of mares.


Becky and Oriol
Condor at a local Pageant.
 competing with Tosca
Becky and Gelert, Sue with Kestral

I give heart felt gratitude to Condor, a black Lipizzaner stallion. Condor was bought as a 10 year old and given to me to train when I was in my 20’s. He arrived with many ideas of his own and I didn't have the answers so our temperaments clashed! Luckily during my childhood time at Asoka I learnt from Mrs Litton about working trials and dog obedience. By the time I was 15 years old I set up my own dog club for obedience classes meeting once a week for which was very well attended. This commitment to teaching and competing lead me to represent the north west at Crufts in junior obedience when i was 16 with my dog Gelert. With my 2nd dog Tosca I was introduced to clicker training and even though I was advised at the time that clicker training can be transferable to horses until I met condor had never felt the need to use it. So I began Condors training with the use of the clicker. I new I needed to break down the end result into as many steps as possible and this is where my skills for working a horse in-hand developed.  I found I could educate softness and lightness to the aids without actually riding him. This soon transferred to our ridden work and he no longer tried to put me on the floor so much! Clicker training changed my perspective and gave me the ability to educate condor but I was still missing something.


Photos from the Asoka displays

Enlightened Equitation

Screenshot 2023-10-20 at 19.31_edited.jpg

In 1997 I was sent an editors choice from a book club. I usually sent them back but with this book I failed to do so in the allocated time. It sat there for a while until one evening I opened it and started to read it. It was called Enlightened Equitation and this is what I was missing! It began to fill in the gaps of earlier reading with its simple explanations of how to use the seat and weight aids. 

Heather Moffett began riding as a young child but in her early teens began to question the methods being used to teach. By the time she was sixteen she had developed a method of teaching to help the rider synchronise exactly with the movement of the horse. This enabled her to teach begininers with extraordinary speed and to also rectify faults in experienced riders too. Many years ago she pioneered the teaching of riding with the equisimulators enabling very precise, hands on teaching in total safety.

In 2005 I moved down to Devon and under Heather Moffetts guidance developed my understanding for classical riding. Heather helped bring together my previous experience and with her support I held specific clinics for clicker training,  ridden work and also workshops for working the horse in-hand and using the long reins. This developed to the point where I was holding clinics throughout the UK.

I also became the first Level 4 Enlightened Equitation instructor.


In 2009 I moved back to Manchester so I was more central for my work. Not owning any horses of my own (i was always in a position not to need one) I took on my mums horse Jen.

Now, where to start! In a nutshell Jen was the horse who found me out and told me I wasn't good enough and needed to learn more. Like Condor, Jen questioned all my previous experience and put me in my place. Only like a mare can!

For two years I endeavoured to do my best, I spent a fortune on different bits which Jen would like for so long then the tension and irregular contact would creep back. Coming against and above the hands by opening the poll but when flexed at the poll and ‘round’ felt to light and resembled a ticking time bomb! I thought my hands were good, I was told I had ‘good’ hands but here was my problem. Jen would feel relief with the new bit and would tell me she liked it then soon after  the bit would become the same as all the others she tried, the common denominator. The HANDS!!  Again, I was clearly missing something!


Jen, my dearest teacher
Philippe Karl author of 'twisted truths of modern dressage

I was first introduced to the work of Philippe Karl back in 2006 when I watched his DVD’s on training the horse. Philippe Karl is a classical trainer, author and former écuyer of the Cadre Noir. 

 In 2004, he founded ’The School of Légèreté’ (The School of Lightness) in order to pass on his philosophy. So to hear he was planning to come to the UK I was keen to find out more!

I became one of 9 riders chosen for the first teacher training course in the UK and began my training with Jen in 2011. This is clearly what i was missing and in that first year Jen changed because my hands changed. Jen began to understand my language and my education had come full circle back to the importance of relaxation of the jaw. But this time with much more clarity.

In 2015 i became one of the first UK licensed teachers for the School Of Légèreté. Im now in a position to bring ALL horses up to a high level of education and not just the talented ones. Throughout my life I've been privileged to work with some wonderful horses but I relied upon their natural talents. What légèreté has shown me is all horses can be brought up to high school using the system of Légèreté. When schooled as individuals anything is possible. I feel so lucky to be apart of this school and to train with Philippe Karl has been an incredible  opportunity!


bottom of page