Meet Diana!

Hello, I’m Diana Waters, a qualified riding coach, equine assisted psychotherapist and founder of the Power of Walk. 

My interest in walk began in 20 years ago in 2004 when I started experimenting with working slowly with my Icelandic horse Svalur. I had realised that he needed to carry his body differently in order to lighten the forehand and improve his tӧlt (a special gait of Icelandic horses). I discovered that he didn’t understand how to balance himself and was relying on forward momentum to balance himself and carry me.

I decided to experiment by removing all forward momentum, slowing down and asking him to take just one step at a time. Following on from this we started working in a highly focused walk where I was not physically holding him anywhere (hands and legs extremely light and passive) but mentally I was so attuned to him that I could adjust his steps exactly how I wanted, one step at a time. This practice put him in perfect balance, and that year, his tӧlt improved so much that we won Novice Champion in the British Championship for Icelandic Horses. 

Unknown to me at the time, the work I had been doing with Svalur was very similar to a French classical technique called ‘School Walk’. There is very little information about ‘School Walk’ and it is very rare to see examples of it being carried out. (It also has a few different definitions and can often be confused with other types of walk such as counted walk or collected walk). I had the opportunity to learn about school walk while I was a student with Heather Moffett and experienced it while riding her 19 year old Lusitano gelding, Sudi. I experience school walk as something truly beautiful and it is in these moments, when the horse ‘lets me in’ and offers school work that I can influence their body and make small adjustments to straightness and posture.  

The video below is one of my favourites and shows me riding Sudi in school walk. On first glance you may think the video is in slow motion but this is shown here in real time. Sudi moves in perfect balance and self carriage as he places each hoof carefully and softly. It is the epitome of balance and lightness with the horse and rider in perfect oneness.

 

Although not all horses will be able to offer school walk to the same extent as Sudi, all horses can work towards school walk and benefit from this. In addition, the work can deepen your connection to a place where you feel at complete oneness with your horse.

I believe walk to be a truly magical and transformative way of schooling horses. It is fundamental to all the work I now do with horses and how I teach others. I look forward to sharing my knowledge to everyone who is interested in learning more about it. I have created a free e-book ‘Guide to In-Hand’ which gives a basic overview of the in-hand work and regularly host free webinars related to my work. For those wanting to go deeper into using walk as a schooling method, we run a live course, the Power of Walk, where you can access a whole library of extra resources, live weekly lessons and benefit from online support and individual feedback. The course supports you and your horse through the whole process, from establishing connection and synchonisation to understanding and influencing your own horse’s posture and movement. 

"I have found Diana to be one of the most considerate and thorough of trainers / instructors that I have come across. She takes all the information to adjust her teachings to make it most relevant and applicable to her clients." 

Tracey

"Diana is very good at explaining things in a way that suits my learning style and I felt very comfortable asking questions if I didn’t understand something or needed clarity."

Jodie