Mike and Tori Aylmore are based in the South West of England and cover as far up as Berkshire offering freelance horse and rider training. Promoting their ethos of a kinder way to ride and train, and working with a variety of horses and ponies to be better riding horses, not just Dressage superstars!
Mike set up the company in 2001, then known as Practically Classical, after training with International Classical trainer Heather Moffett, as her working pupil for over a year. It is here that he gained his EET teaching and EEHT horse trainer qualifications. Following his apprenticeship, Heather offered Mike a job at her yard where he continued to work for a further year, undertaking some of the teaching and schooling her horses. He also featured in Heather's video and rode for her at local demonstrations and displays. Tori and Mike both later featured in Heather’s recently launched Enlightened Equitation “Riding in true harmony with your horse” book. Throughout the years Heather has always been a source of great support to Mike during his career and he has continued to school Heather's horses on and off over the years in a freelance capacity.
Mike has worked with several other great Classical trainers such as Jenny Rolfe, author of “Ride from the Heart” also schooling her Iberian horses on her behalf and learning a great deal about the art of loose work from Jenny during this time. Mike and Tori train their own horses for their pleasure as well as to compete and their boys enjoy a very varied workload, which includes extensive groundwork, inhand and loose schooling as well as ridden work. More recently Mike has trained at clinics with the great Classical horseman Rodrigo da Costa Matos, rider at the Royal Portuguese School of Equestrian Art. Working with such a gifted horse trainer added a whole new dimension to Mike's work and he continues to attend these clinics, with his own and clients horses.
Like Mike, having taught and schooled horses and ponies for many years on a casual basis, Tori’s career with horses began when she was fortunate enough to also be offered a working student placement with Heather Moffett some years later. It is here that Mike and Tori first met. Tori went on to spend two years working for and training with Heather, staying on as her yard manager after her working student placement finished. During this time Heather taught Tori to ride all the movements on her high school horses, up to and including Piaffe and Passage.In addition to riding and caring for Heather's Iberian and Arabian horses, Tori gained her EET teaching qualifications and taught clients visiting the yard on Heather's Equi simulator and EET teacher training workshops. Working alongside Heather who pioneered teaching with horse riding simulators and who specialises in teaching the Classical Seat, Tori learnt an enormous amount first hand.
Tori utilises these valuable skills learnt at Heather’s in her teaching today; able to teach clients how to effectively and effortlessly absorb the horse’s movement, feel trot diagonals/footfalls and attain the perfect Classical seat, in addition to generally improving their riding, horse’s way of going, and much more. Both Mike and Tori are passionate about the importance of good groundwork and in addition to ridden lessons and schooling, also offer lessons to help improve handling issues and/or confidence on the ground, as well as in-hand schooling and clicker training sessions.
Mike’s emphasis is one predominantly of a horse, rather than rider trainer, whereas Tori’s is focused more on the rider. There is however of course an enormous amount of cross over between the two as you cannot effectively achieve one without addressing the other! Both offer lessons and ridden schooling sessions, with Tori at a smaller frame able to work with lighter horses and ponies from 12hhs and above, and Mike at 6’3” able to work more effectively with the larger breeds under saddle. Tori continues to train at home with Mike, and shares his principles on training the horse. The foundation of what Mike and Tori teach is the same, with the well being and best interests of the horse always paramount. Above all Mike and Tori offer a down to earth, straightforward and logical approach to classical dressage. Whether you are a novice or nervous rider, a happy hacker or riding club rider, an experienced or competitive rider, we believe dressage is accessible to everyone and has something from which we can all gain.