We are proud
of our country-wide reputation and receive lots of great feedback
from owners of horses we have trained or horses we have sold, as
well as people who attend our lessons, clinics and camps... some
recent testimonials are
so much for the wonderful time our club members and ponies had last
week. Your facilities, activities and lessons were fantastic and
everyone is still buzzing from the experience! "
Cambridge East Pony Club
facilities, lovely waterhole. Everyone absolutely loved the lessons.
Thoroughly recommend Chester Farm for your next pony club camp."
for a great clinic and for breaking the learning down to a level
we can all understand and go practise."
- "What can I say but thankyou! The way you explained things
rang so true for me and I feel I have progressed so much for just
two days. The clinic was so professional, fun and encouraging. Thanks
- "Amazing. Inspiring. Life changing!"
- "Thankyou Diana for being such a huge part of my confidence
with riding and getting my life going forward again".
- "Fantastic patience and actionable advice. Have a great way
of explaining concepts in a simple way."
clinic was amazing, I have come away with so much new knowledge
and exercises to work on. I can't wait to get practising and come
back for more. Thanks so much to you both for a fantastic weekend."
A few recent
Adult Rider Empowerment Camp Testimonials
4 year old Warmblood mare.
- Breaking In and Early Mileage at Chester Farm.
been two weeks since Donna arrived in Auckland after being
started under saddle and having early ridden education at
Chester Farm. I have to say I could not be more impressed
with her – she has not put a foot wrong! I never dreamed I
would be riding her only 2 days after she arrived, but it
was business as usual and she was straight into her daily
routine that was set at Chester Farm.
Having the opportunity to work with Donna and Diana before
she came home was invaluable – seeing the work she was doing
and then replicating the exercises at home gave us both confidence
in knowing exactly what we were doing.
Since Donna has been home we have been out hacking (the scary
bridge is no problem for Donna after long reining and riding
across the bridge at Chester Farm), schooled in the dressage
arena and trotted around the show jumps (again not scary at
all after working in the big arena at Chester Farm) – all
without stress or drama.
Diana, Greg and Mark have produced a sensible and sensitive
horse for me, I love that I can put my leg on and give her
a kick if need be (she does get tired!), and that Donna has
been encouraged to be light and responsive.
The best thing about Chester Farm is the horses are allowed
to be individuals – they are never rushed along any of the
steps, everything is taken at the horse’s pace and because
of this when confronted with tougher situations later in the
process, the horse has the understanding and confidence to
work through them.
can’t wait to bring Donna back for a camp, having holidays
at Chester Farm is going to be part of our summers from now
Wilson riding her mare Donna at home after breaking in and
early mileage at Chester Farm.
4 year old TB/Clydie mare from Auckland.
- Breaking In and Early Mileage at Chester Farm.
sent my 4 year old clydie cross mare Tilly to Chester Farm
to be started as I had heard good things about their methods
and had met Diana & Greg briefly and liked their practical
approach to horses. I was not disappointed. Tilly, a totally
blank canvas with little confidence in herself has been transformed
into a confident and willing riding partner.
As an older rider I required patience and understanding starting
with a new young horse, and this I got. I drove down to the
farm twice a week and worked with Tilly on the ground and
gained the confidence with Diana and Greg's guidance to ride
Tilly and spent time hacking out and forming a partnership
with my new horse.
I cannot praise their methods highly enough and have realised
every horse is an individual to them and started with this
in mind. Not all react the same or take the same length of
time to start. The exposure to round pen, arena, country roads,
rivers and hills gave Tilly a great start to her education
and I must say she is fazed by little.
Thank you once again Diana and Greg for a fantastic job. Tilly
will be back for her jumping education next year."
and Tilly enjoy a ride out together at Chester Farm before
4 year old crossbred pony gelding from Pokeno.
- 5 weeks stay at Chester Farm for Breaking In.
- 2 weeks Introduction to Jumping Training
- Attendance at one of our 3 Day Riding Clinics with owner.
Greg and Diana,
I thought I would write to let you know how Luey has gone
since you last saw him. He has been sold successfully to a
12 year old boy down in Wanganui who thinks he is awesome.
This would not have happened without the great grounding he
had under your hands.
After one attempt at trying to teach Luey to lunge I made
the wise decision to send Luey to a trainer. Luckily for me
I choose you guys at Chester Farm, the best decision I made.
I didn't know what to expect given this was the first horse
that I have had broken in, but your skill, attitude and professionalism
(including regularly keeping me up to date with his progress)
made the whole process so easy.
Five weeks later after dropping off Luey I returned to pick
up a pony who had matured and was very rideable. I took him
home and as a result of me working full time I was unable
to ride every day but I believe that the work that he received
while at Chester Farms enabled me to only have to ride him
every so often.
I was so pleased with your work that there was no question
on who I would send him to when he was ready to start his
jump training. The two weeks jump training happened to fit
in well with one of your 3 day training clinics and camps.
I would thoroughly recommend to anyone wanting their horse
to get some jump training to follow it up with some jump lessons
at your training clinics, this means the horse gets a great
grounding with yourselves (as you know all the tricks of getting
the most out of jumping a horse) and then having lessons and
having your inside knowledge on how to work through any issues
is a great benefit.
I would thoroughly recommend your services to anyone and I
have been recommending you to all my friends. I will be sending
my new hunter for some jump training and later on my foal
when she is ready to be broken in.
his breaking in time at Chester Farm
Melaney attending our 3 Day Riding Clinic at Chester Farm
4 year old Warmblood/TB mare from Tauranga.
6 weeks stay at Chester Farm for Breaking In.
Greg and Diana
I just wanted to thank you very much for the work you did
with Diva. She came home a very relaxed horse and a pleasure
to handle. We really appreciated the way you considered her
old injury, kept an eye on her in the paddock, and adjusted
her work to suit how she was coping with the various activities.
Also the updates on her progress were excellent – especially
the trouble you went to to send through so many photos. They
were eagerly perused several times.
It will be interesting to see how Diva progresses and we hope
we can report back some time in the future with some good
Susan and Kirsten Laurence
A few more Lesson / Multi-Day Clinic & Camp testimonials....
had a blast and none of us wanted to come home, horses all
resting and enjoying their paddock space, lots to go onwards
with at home and look forward to coming back in April."
Katie Bayes, January 3 Day Clinic
wanted to let you know how much I appreciated the weekend.
I loved the lessons, Diana, and I’ve got the poles set out
in the paddock to try out my newly learned exercises and to
work on my position. It’s been a long time since I’ve had
a group lesson; usually feel too self-conscious about my age
and riding to bother. Your non-judgemental and positive coaching
style meant that I didn’t feel that way at all and created
a wonderful learning environment. The welcoming and supportive
attitude prevailed throughout the camp and everyone was just
so friendly and fun. It made the camping a great experience.
Well done on a great team effort. I can hardly wait for the
Carolyn Mincham, January 2 Day Lesson Weekend
for such an awesome camp. Sylvester had a fantastic time and
I am thrilled with our progress - from only ever having jumped
a little crossbar once before to a whole course of fillers
and walls within a couple of days was beyond my expectations.
So much fun!"
Coral Morrison, January 3 Day Clinic
so much. Piper and I had a awesome time and have come away
buzzing. We learnt heaps and are looking forward to coming
to the camp in April to learn more. The kids loved having
the river so close to cool off and swim with the horses. Thanks
Tania Gargan, January 3 Day Clinic
really enjoyed my flatwork lesson with you Diana, you have
a lovely manner, and are so clear."
Anne Collumbell, January 3 Day Clinic
great clinic. Connie appreciated getting out of the dressage
arena and who would have thought she hadnt seen a jump in
4 months! Emma had a blast and really enjoyed the encouragement
and company from the other riders. She learnt so much just
watching the others at play not to mention her actual lessons.
She was most proud of jumping the picket fence. Thanks for
making a facility like this available. Its a real asset to
you both and all that attend."
Diane Tetley-Jones, January 3 Day Clinic
you so much for another wonderful clinic and warm hospitality.
I have learnt so much, enjoyed watching other people having
their lessons and also had a great time chatting to other
like-minded people and chewing over the successes and problems
that horse ownership brings."
Ali Peacock, January 2 Day Lesson Weekend
an awesome way to see in the New Year - thankyou Greg and
Sharon Cousins-O'Donnell, January 3 Day Clinic
soooo much!! Had a great time and have now gained alot of
confidence in my new horse!"
Stacey Raynes, January 3 Day Clinic
so much for the great 3 day weekend. It was a really good
way to start the season. My horses are in such good spirits
today, you'd think they'd been on an enjoyable holiday break....with
great scenery, people and lots of other horses... which of
course they were. Thanks again."
Cherie Jaques, October Clinic
a great weekend and made loads of progress. It all seemed
to run so well!"
Paula Vernon, October Clinic
you for the awesome clinic, and great photos thanks!"
Mandy Bryers, October Clinic
was an awesome clinic! Highly recommended to anyone who has
lost their confidence or has a green horse etc. Great instructors
and great company, well worth the 5 hours drive for us to
get there! We will be heading down for the next one in October...thanks
Geraldine Butler, April
FAB camp. An amazing learning atmosphere and very professional.
Both Diana and Greg deal with all aspects of riding and horses.
We will be back again for the October camp. Thankyou to you
both for all your amazing help and advice."
Kathie Brooks, April Clinic
4 year old Palamino mare from Auckland.
5 weeks stay at Chester Farm for Breaking In.
Diana and Greg
It's been about a month since Gemma has been back home now.
Although I havent been able to ride as often as I would like
to, the good foundations she achieved with you has really
paid off she has been an absolute pleasure to handle and ride.
Up until yesterday we've just been riding out in the paddock
and up and down the driveway. Yesterday we went out for a
road ride with one of the other girls I graze with. Gemma
has never been on or near the road before so I was a little
nervous to see how she would be, so I led her down the main
road just to be safe but we had no troubles when cars went
past, I then hopped on and was so proud of her, she took everything
in her stride, walked forward nicely and didn't do anything
silly. Even the older horse we were riding with who had been
up this road many times had a big spook and nearly fell over,
Gemma calmly walked over the 'monster new tarseal' just snorting
but was very good. She didn't worry about horses running with
us as we trotted past or any cars or letterboxes. She did
nothing more than have a look at funny looking things so I'm
very proud of her.
I'm really looking forward to getting out and about with her.
Thanks again for the work you have done with her, she really
has some good foundations to work from."
first ride on Gemma at Chester Farm before taking her home
4 year old Anglo-Arab Gelding from Te Puke.
8 weeks stay at Chester Farm for Breaking In & Early
are so happy with Aspa. He has been trekked out half a dozen
times since coming home. He has been absolutely perfect. We
have him in a bitless bridle and he is so responsive. We just
put the saddle on, walk him around a bit, hop on and off we
go. Thanks for the great job you did with him"
Brian and Andrea Mends
hacking out at Chester Farm
5 year old Riding Pony Gelding from Katikati.
8 weeks stay at Chester Farm for General Schooling
We would like to thank you so much for the work you did on
Tommy for us, if it wasnt for the work you did with him I
would doubt he would still be here today.
When Tommy arrived at our place he was a 13.2hh 5yr old self
opinionated pony, he could walk and trot well, but his ground
manners were terrible and his canter was just not happening.
The first few weeks we owned him he knocked our son over twice
in the paddock, was hard to cover, uncover and handle, this
finally came right but the canter under saddle didn't.
goes hacking out at Chester Farm
brought for our daughter and she rode him 3 times to be bucked
off 3 times, the last time she quit riding and we had to decide
whether to keep him or shoot him! We decided to keep trying
and over time his walk, trot and manners became much better,
but he still couldn't canter a full circle, canter up hill
or canter in a straight line without having a full-on bucking
fit... so after much thought we decided to give him a last
chance and send him away for training. We decided on Chester
Farm as it is farm based and we knew he would get a variety
of work and be well cared for.
This was the best decision we have ever made, over the 2 months
he was there he became a pony who was very user friendly.
When we went to pick Tommy up we were pleasantly surprised
to find his ground manners were now really great. He then
went into the round pen and cantered under saddle on each
rein without any problem and had been out all around the farm
so we knew we could continue.
When he came home I was slightly worried if he could possibly
continue to be so good, but he has been! My son rides him
and has shown him to win ribbons in good company in Open Pony
and Paced and Mannered classes. My daughter who gave up riding
is now on another pony and will go onto Tommy next season
and she is now cantering him and jumping him no problems at
all. I can now even put total novices on him and he just plods
along at their level - I am so pleased! Tommy was so close
to departing us as we had tried to get him right for 7 months.
He's been home now for 3 months and he's now a pony that I
can now send my kids on for a ride around the farm by themselves,
cantering and having fun, knowing they are safe.
To anyone who has a horse that they need help with and don't
know what to do with it, I would totally recommend Greg and
Diana to help out. They also gave me great advice on what
to do with him when I got him home and we have continued with
their advice, plus I also know if I have a problem with him
anytime I can phone up and get help.
11 year old Thoroughbred Gelding from Taupo.
2 weeks stay at Chester Farm for Bringing Back Into Work
& Float Training
Greg and Diana,
Just thought I would send you a quick update on Teddy's progress
over the last week. He settled back in very happily and has
been working quietly and well, not a hoof out of place. Yesterday
I took him to the Equestrian Centre with my other horse. He
loaded straight up but was a bit tense. At the centre I put
him in a yard, then tacked him up for a lunge and look round.
He was brave, working at his 900mph level, but no major issues,
brilliant considering he was in the middle of a wide open
space and everything was new. He was happy to wander round
and look at all the scarey fences and ditches.
at work at Chester Farm
up he went straight in and stood quietly while we put his
mate in, so a big improvement there. When we unloaded at this
end he was cool, calm and (deservedly) very pleased with himself.
Will go back again in a few days. In three weeks time there
is a small dressage show and I thought I would take him to
that just for a look see as by then the grounds will be familiar
to him. I am really pleased with him.
are most welcome to refer anyone to me who wants to speak
to someone who has experienced the Chester Farm methods. I
would certainly give you a glowing reference as apart from
doing a great job you also take an interest in what is planned
for the horse, and offer ongoing back up.
again a huge thank you to you both."
3 year old Stationbred Filly from Whitianga
2 weeks stay at Chester Farm for Starting Under Saddle &
Just wanted to drop you a line to let you know that Raine
is being such a great pony to ride. Today a group of us went
for a ride across a farm down onto Hahei beach, we even had
a canter for half the length of the beach, and went straight
back to a long rein & low head carriage. I am so very pleased
with her and would like to thankyou again for the great work
you did with her. (Daughter) Grace
also went for a long ride last Friday on her with 1 of her
friends, with me just walking along with a loose rope connecting
us, never causing a problem. Hope all is well."
again, Grace had a lovely ride on Raine round the paddock
yesterday, they went really well together. Pretty good for
only 4 weeks under saddle. Cheers!"
& Below: Grace riding Raine at home after just 4 weeks
3 year old Warmblood Gelding (by Ramirez) from Nelson
9 weeks stay at Chester Farm for Starting Under Saddle &
had the pleasure of dealing with Diana and Greg when I sent
my 3 year old warmblood gelding to them to be started under
saddle. The care he received was excellent, they treated him
like he was one of their own. They took the time with him
to make sure that he understood and that he was happy before
progressing on. Since he has been home he has not put a foot
wrong both on the ground and under saddle. I would not hesitate
to recommend Diana and Greg to start or train any horse."
first ride in round yard at Chester Farm
3 year old Warmblood Gelding (by Furst Jupp) from Auckland
9 weeks stay at Chester Farm for Starting Under Saddle
"I really want to say what a great job I think you've
done with Joseph. He settled straight away - absolutely no
nonsense and very happy. He has continued in that way and
has been a pleasure to handle, lunge and ride. I have not
put any pressure on him and done very small amounts with him,
as instructed!, but I really think he enjoys doing stuff on
a reasonably regular basis. I have taken him out in the truck
to our local pony club a good few times and he has just been
great. The first few times, just to stand and eat hay at the
truck, then I lunged him there, and just yesterday, I rode
him around. Absolutely no problems and takes everything in
his (very BIG) stride. I feel very confident with him, both
on the ground and when riding him, so thank you - I'm very
happy!! I will keep in touch."
riding out at Chester Farm, March 2010
Two x 2 1/2 year old Hanoverian Fillies (by Limonit)
6 weeks stay at Chester Farm for Starting Under Saddle
Greg and Diana, Just want to thank you for the amazing care
you have taken of Libby and Ruby, they have come back looking
fantastic, they have grown in both mind and body and are just
gorgous to be with. Thank you again for all you have done for
"Ruby" at Chester Farm, March
5 year old Stationbred Mare from Wanganui.
6 weeks stay at Chester Farm for Schooling and Mileage.
have a beautiful young coloured mare called "Rain",
aged 5. We don’t do eventing or go to lots of fancy shows, we
are just trekkers for now. I am looking at a future of dressage
but that is further down the track once we have both been taught.
I am not a professional rider and by all means I am still learning,
but I love riding and have very good common horse sense. Unfortunately
since owning Rain we have had a few hiccups along the way. She
was very insecure about getting out by herself, when taking
her away from her paddock she would pig root, rear up etc, and
you would have to give her a wallop with the whip to tell her
to get up, that part I did not like. I would ask myself - why
should I have to beat her to go forward? But that's what I had
been told by the so called "professionals". Anyway
when she was taken out on her own with these professionals they
would beat her for being scared and they would say she's just
been piggy!! I knew she wasn't being piggy, she just came across
some things that scared her and didnt want to go forward so
beating her up just frightened her more and it made things worse!!
So of course this brought the worst out of Rain which actually
started to frighten me!! I would talk to horsey people and some
would say, “get rid of the mongrel, shes no good” and “you need
to school her and ride her everyday”. Well they all knew I was
a novice and I have never schooled a horse in my life, I didn't
even know how to do all that circle stuff, all I knew was to
get on and ride, basically I was just your average cowgirl!!
I knew we needed help, not just the horse but me also!!
at Chester Farm, March 2010
Tina & "Rain" riding out with Greg at Chester
went on the internet and looked up professional schooling
for horses and came across a couple of closer ones to my town,
but unfortunately they did not ask the right questions for
me. Then I found Chester Farm in Paeroa. It's 6 hours from
my hometown but I thought 'no harm in ringing and getting
the feel of this'. Well, what can I say, it's been the best
decision I ever made!!
Rain had only been up there for 2 weeks when I first visited
and I couldn't believe the difference in her already - she
had been doing lots of groundwork, lunging and basic schooling
under saddle and Greg had her responding so nicely to his
legs and hands. She was learning how to properly respond to
the hand and leg aids which would help her to understand and
go forward when asked in different situations.
Rain was at Chester Farm for 6 weeks in total and it is really
amazing how far she has come. I couldn't believe how well
balanced and responsive she was in the round pen and to see
her working properly from her hindquarters was amazing, and
she wasn't even opening her mouth to evade the bit! After
seeing all this I asked Greg if he could give me some lessons
and he was more than happy to, for I felt it was all very
well educating the horse but as the rider I needed to be educated
as well so that when Rain and I went home we would both be
on the same wavelength. I spent a few days riding Rain with
Greg's help and I couldnt believe how well Rain and I did
together. Our biggest achievement ever was getting out for
a ride around Chester Farm by ourselves and taking her away
from the other horses without any big dramas!! But best of
all was when she wanted to shy at something I only had to
put my legs on her and cluck her up and she would keep going
forward!! That was also one of the coolest moments! Yay!!
Greg educated her well!!
To conclude, Greg has put so much confidence into me and my
horse, at home now we are getting out and about on our own,
not everything is perfect and Rain still has some other issues
that I need to address, but what I like about Chester Farm
is that I can ring them anytime for advice. Overall as long
as I do my part as a rider and work her most days on the ground
and under saddle like Greg showed me, she is mostly a well
behaved young horse that I now enjoy getting out and about
on. I highly recommend Chester Farm for anyone who has young,
problem horses, or for breaking in and schooling etc."
Tina and Rain
4yo Warmblood Mare (by Dream Boy) from Auckland.
12 weeks stay at Chester Farm for Early Mileage Under Saddle
Diana and Greg, I would like to thank you both for the wonderful
job you did of schooling Holly my 4 year old filly. She has
come back to me with a lovely attitude to her work and has been
a very sensible hack, the schooling you gave her has left her
responsive, quiet in the hand and made it easy for me to start
work with her. She was in lovely condition and very happy in
herself. I look forward to sending Holly back to you when I
need a break or go on holidays. Thanks again."
Diana and "Holly" schooling at Chester
4yo Warmblood Gelding (by Gym Bello) from Kapiti
7 1/2 weeks stay at Chester Farm for Starting Under Saddle and
whom it may concern;
I sent my young 4 year old horse "Astek Giovanni"
up to Chester Farm in Spring 2009 for 6-8 weeks of training.
Gio had been backed in March 2009, then was turned out over
winter. I wanted Gio to be trained to a level where he was
confidently hacking out, on his own and with others, and going
forward and relaxed in walk, trot and canter both in an arena
and in the open.
I decided to send Gio up to Chester Farm from where I live
on the Kapiti Coast, as I had dealt with Diana Fowler since
I purchased Gio from Astek Stud as a weanling and found her
to be professional and trustworthy. I could not find a similar
factility for a young horse in my area. Greg and Diana have
done a wonderful job with training Gio. During his 7 1/2 week
stay at Chester Farm I was given weekly updates and photos,
and spoke with them on the phone a number of times. Since
I could not get to Chester Farm myself to ride Gio before
he returned home, I was sent a DVD of Gio in training, which
has been very helpful.
came back home from Chester Farm looking fantastic! He was
beautifully muscled, with a gleaming coat and tail and was
a very relaxed and happy horse. I have been very impressed
with his level of ground work and training since he has returned
home. He is wonderful to ride out on the roads and has loved
going out on farm rides which include crossing a stream numerous
times. He is a pleasure to handle at the stable. I am looking
forward to starting his dressage career in the next few months.
Diana and Greg have also been helpful (via email or phone)
since Gio has been home, with suggestions on any typical 'young'
horse issues I have had. I highly recommend Chester Farm for
the breaking and early training of young Sports Horses and
for ongoing training."
Update May 2010**
Cath and Astek Giovanni have
won and placed at their first 3 dressage training days with
excellent percentages and judges comments, including winning
both of their first Level 1 tests in May 2010. Congratulations!!
Update May 2011**
Cath sent Astek Giovanni
back to Chester Farm in April/May 2011 to bring back into
work after he'd had 9 months off while Cath was pregnant with
her second baby. Gio came back into work very well and Diana
was thrilled to have the opportunity to ride "her little
boy" Gio some more, having bred him! Great to hear Cath
is thoroughly enjoying riding Gio again now he is home again.
Astek Giovanni explores the river under saddle
Cath Nichols riding Astek Giovanni May 2010
riding Astek Giovanni at Chester Farm, May 2011
5yo Stationbred Gelding from Otorohanga
6 weeks stay at Chester Farm for General Schooling and Jump
took him down to the local pony club grounds at the weekend
with a few friends to have a play around. He went very well
and loved popping over a few small cross country jumps. It's
been like riding a different horse. He's finally found 2nd and
3rd gear and wanting to go and is certainly more confident on
his feet. So thanks heaps for getting him where he needed to
be and I look forward to playing around with him when the rain
"Kosta" in jump training at Chester
We Have Worked With
We have bred, broken in or trained many successful sport horse competition
and racing horses including the following horses (to name just a
Geneva" (Mare by Gym Bello out of a TB mare). Schooled,
taught to jump and ridden by Greg for Astek Stud throughout her
4 year old competition season with wins and placings at every
competition outing from her debut onwards. Competed and sold in
North Island on behalf of owner. Now continuing to be very competitive
showhunter at National level with owner Trudi Biggar of Auckland,
including 4th National Junior Showhunter 2010 and 3rd National
5yo Showhunter 2010.
(Gelding by Gymnastik Star out of an Anamour mare). Broken in
and regular visitor at Chester Farm for ongoing jump training.
Talented dressage horse including Reserve Champion Level 2 Auckland
Manakau Champs 2009 and Level 2 dressage winner at HOY 2010.
Anglo/Arab X) Owned, taught to jump and competed for 2 seasons.
Placed 4th and 6th overall for 2 years in a row in National Amateur
Series. Since sale has gone to compete with great success including
winner of Pony Clubs Team Championship at Horse Of The Year 2010.
(TB Gelding by Pentire). 2009 Thoroughbred Horse Of The Year.
Multiple Group 1 winner and placegetter, broken in and pre-trained
for trainer Trevor and Stephen McKee before racing career commenced.
Pillow Karaka" (TB colt by Sir Tristram out of Surround).