This vital role is paramount in keeping up the high standards of our yard, which is very important to us. From the day to day maintenance through to the large projects of improvements it is an ongoing job!
We are very lucky to have Paul who can turn his hand to any job big or small that need attention. He maintains the school seven days a week, the fields are kept to a very high standard and his attention to detail is obvious in his work. He is involved with the running of the yard and the future planning of Contessa along with his partner Tina and Mother in law Sheila.
Outside of Contessa he enjoys time on the water dinghy sailing .
“Having moved to Colliers End I decided to take up riding again at Contessa, also helping Mrs Layton with the accounts.
In 2003 I bought Connor, a 5year old Irish Draught imported from Ireland. Tina kindly let me keep him at Contessa where we have been ever since.”
Maz enjoys grooming & riding Connor and chatting to the team.
Jeff assists on the yard at the weekends, looks after the I.T. at Contessa and is responsible for the co-development of the Contessa website.
Professionally, he is a Civil Engineering consultant whose wide ranging professional experience extends from river engineering & flood defence through to design and assurance on the rail networks. He first came to Contessa to learn to ride in 2004 as a means of relaxation whilst authoring the London Underground drainage standard, and has stayed with Contessa ever since.
During his time with Contessa Jeff’s interest in horses has developed, for a long time he was a weekly rider, but as time passed his interests in horses grew and he took his Level 1 & 2 horse care modules here and increased the frequency of his riding. He is currently learning to ride Lula, one of the Dressage Schoolmasters, and is the owner of Walter.
“I started riding at the age of 7 at an Arab stud in Newcastle. I rode and worked there while I studied at Northumbria University in Fashion Design. Many years later I am now studying Level II bridle making part time and working at Contessa maintaining rugs, pads and boots as well as helping out on the yard. I come from North London which is worth the long drive for the quality of the horses and teaching Contessa has to offer. It is great to be part of the team at Contessa and improve my riding.”
“I have volunteered at Contessa for almost 5 years now and have made some unforgettable friends and great improvements in my riding. You’ll often see me tacking up or feeding the horses, as well as regularly leading for the kids club. More recently I have been a committed member of the Contessa Vaulting Group, competing with the team in several venues around Great Britain. Although I do not work full time, I always feel part of the Contessa family and I hope to be able to continue volunteering here for the foreseeable future.”
“I’ve been working as a professional gardener for over 20yrs working mainly in the private sector. I have worked on gardens at all the main RHS Shows,Chelsea,Hampton Court etc. to Gold medal standard. I am very passionate about naturalistic/wildlife gardening using native flora and ornamental plants which in turn enhances the ecology of the site.
I have been at Contessa now for 5 years working alongside Mrs Layton to improve and enhance not only her private garden but also the surrounding woodland and borders around the Riding Centre. I find the rural location and the resident/ visiting wildlife especially appealing although I wish the local badgers would leave the Tulip bulbs alone!! All in all, a really satisfying place to work.”
I saw an advert in the local Mercury advertising riding lessons, I called and organised a hack out from the farm. After several months Tina moved her horses to “The Gables” and Contessa’s was up and running. I rode regularly at Contessa, taking my stages 1+ 2. I had a horse called “Bold Knight” on loan who was everybody’s favourite, some of you will remember him I’m sure.
Since 2014, I have volunteered to help in the office on a Saturday. It’s great to see how the yard has grown and all the improvements that have taken place from those early days in 78! Even if some of our old friends are missing.”
“I have always ridden and love to be around horses – an addiction I am happily passing on to my own family! I love helping out in the office on a Sunday at Contessa as it gives me the opportunity to talk horses all day with the enthusiastic, dedicated team at Contessa and their fabulous clients!”
“I help out in the Contessa office on Sundays, it’s varied, never dull and I don’t always know exactly what I will be doing. I love being around the horses and ponies and that has really built my confidence for riding. The staff and students are fun to be around, so hard working and also ready to have a laugh -it’s no wonder they have such a fan base among the riders! Tina has built such a great learning environment and cares so much for the horses and I feel lucky to be able to help out there. I work full time so I ride when I can. The picture above is a picture of me and Rosie on Contessa’s Valentines night!”
Peter is a practical farrier who runs his own business and has been working for Contessa for more than 20 years. Peter has a keen interest in farriery related research. He is the inventor of the hoof support patch (DuraHeel) for the prevention of collapsed heels in horses. He has investigated the effect of the DuraHeel on blood flow in the equine hoof and on hoof deformation. He is currently working with Equigait to provide a practical Gait Assessment system for assessing asymmetry in horses. He is also a collaborator in a series of projects in the field of locomotor biomechanics in the horse working closely with other members of the Structure and Motion Lab and the Equine Hospital at the RVC in addition to didactic and rotational teaching in farriery. Peter has developed a series of clinical skills stations for veterinary students to practice day 1 skills, such as shoe removal or paring out a foot abscess. Peter lives in Cambridge with wife Liz and his children James and Lexi.
Tyrrells Equine Clinic is proud to have provided veterinary services for Tina and the horses at Contessa Riding Centre for over 15 years. During this time, our principal vet Jason, and the rest of our team, have enjoyed working closely with Tina and her team to keep both their competition horses and riding school ponies happy, healthy and performing to the best of their ability. The hugely experienced team at Contessa Riding Centre provide an invaluable service delivering first class training to horses and riders of all abilities. Our ethos at Tyrrells Equine is always to provide the best possible care by treating each horse or pony on an individual case by case basis. A principle shared by Tina and her team as they strive to achieve harmony between horse and rider.
Caroline Lindsay is an equine Veterinary Physiotherapist who has been tweaking our horses and ponies for the past 15 years. She runs a Facebook page where she offers regular interesting physio hints and tips and a Facebook group for sharing equine physio case studies internationally. She also runs regular one and two day training courses here covering equine manipulation, techniques sharing and saddle checking which gives our horses and ponies the opportunity to receive thorough assessments on a regular basis. In fact it’s not unusual for our clients to treat their regular mounts to a session with her as a reward for their efforts.
Caroline said, “Whenever I’m asked to drop in and assess or treat a horse I’m always impressed with the staff because they really do care a great deal about the horses and ponies and know precisely when to call for horsey ‘Roadside Assistance’ physio. I love running courses at the Contessa because the horses and ponies are so willing to be treated and show their loving appreciation by being highly responsive to the techniques taught. Course participants frequently give a score of 10 out of 10 on their feedback sheets when asked about the venue, the learning experience and the horses and ponies they treated.”