"I developed a passion for horses in my early years and started riding lessons at the age of 6 .
 
I was never lucky enough to have my own pony but I helped out at the local riding stables in return for lessons and hacks. I rode any crazy horse and the madder the better, I had no fear and nothing phased me. Upon reaching my early teens I was offered a loan horse and we did some low level pony club events. At the age of 16, I started a youth apprenticeship scheme and worked on a number or yards in Cumbria and completed my BHS Level 1 and 2. Aged 17, I went abroad and worked as a groom on the Italian show jumping circuit for 2 years before returning to the UK where I spent a further 18 months working at a riding centre in in the Lake District.
In my early 20's I had a change of career and the demands of shift work and new family didn't allow me time to continue any interactions with horses and horse-riding.
Almost 20 years later with my family in their teens and a bit more time to myself I decided to re-kindle my passion for horses and I made the decision to buy my very own horse in my early 40's.
I had no idea at this point what a journey it was going to be.
After much searching I found and bought Oscar when he was 6 years old. We had lots of fun in the early days just hacking about. As time went on we found a nice livery yard with good facilities and finally I was able to start schooling and jumping. Several friends encouraged me to join the local riding club and introduced me to local venues and coaches - not being from the area I had little knowledge of where and who to go to. The whole horse world had changed so much and there was almost 20 years to catch up on!!!.
By summer 2014 I felt my confidence starting to drain away - no rhyme or reason to it other than a couple of falls which came about when I was asking Oscar to some proper work !! I found excuses to not do certain things and before I knew it I had decided that Jumping wasn't my thing anymore and that I would stick to Hacking, pleasure Rides and perhaps some Dressage.
I first met Ross in November 2014 when a very good friend talked me into going to a couple of show jumping clinics at West Park even though I was petrified - I found him pleasant but his personality and abilities didn't shine thorough.
Months passed and by summer 2015 having had some time off riding due to a skiing injury I found myself terrified to do anything with Oscar. I made several attempts to ride him but he was now happy with his new life - getting fat and lazy in the fields with his mates. He developed an enormous buck and just started objecting at every given opportunity. After a series of hard falls I decided that I could no longer cope with him and that he had would be better with a different owner.
I wanted a well behaved horse who would look after me out hacking on the beach and across fields and doing Riding Club activities. I wanted to be able to get around a simple course of fences at Riding club and do some dressage or even Cross-country. I didn't want a horse that would misbehave on the trailer and play up like an idiot around other horses in the collecting ring.
I felt totally defeated by the naughty habits he had developed mainly through my lack of discipline with him and the enormous lack of confidence in my own ability.
Despite all the equine experience in my younger days, I felt like a complete failure and no-body seemed to understand why I had ended up a jabbering wreck including myself!
Around this time I happened to accompany a friend to one of Ross's jumping Clinics at his new yard at Low Fold. Ross's partner Bridget kindly showed me around the lovely yard and after listening to Ross teaching ,something he said to a client was a turning point for me .Despite looking at a number of other yards and Coaches etc . I decided that I wanted Ross to be the person to sell Oscar on my behalf as I just couldn't bring myself to do it.
I took Oscar to Low Fold in late August 2015 and Ross rode him .Ross said that he was overweight and unfit but assured me he would work with him and that he would be in a position to advertise and sell Oscar on within a couple of weeks so I left him. Within 4 hours I was back at the yard in floods of tears wondering If I was doing the right thing.
Ross made some suggestions and we came up with an action plan - I was going return from my pre-planned holidays to Ross's Bootcamp.
Although I was not convinced that this would work I was prepared to give anything a go if it meant I got to keep my horse and do the things I really wanted to do.
So. Several weeks later I arrived at Low Fold to find my horses with a very different attitude both on the ground and in his work. My partner had warned me to do as I was told!.
Ross told me that he wouldn't ask me to do anything that he didn't think I was capable of or anything that Oscar couldn't do , so I decided that I was going to have to take his word for it and trust him. Ross assured me that he would tell me if Oscar and I were going to be suited and able to work through our differences.
My first lesson was about 40 minutes and in this time I achieved more that I had done in the 3 years prior with my horse. Some lovely flat work and a jump that grew from a cross pole to a 1m.20 spread within 20 minutes. No refusals, no bucks just a very well behaved horse.
The second day was more jumping and this time there were five fences , I couldn't even string 3 fences together because I literally stopped breathing and I would just forget where I was going .By the end of this lesson I had completed a small course of 5 fences without losing my way.
The following days saw us out on the cross-country courses at Low-Fold , something I never thought I would ever do - I wrote cross-country off - It was for really good brave riders !
Everything Jumped - no accidents, falls refusals or bucks!! - it was finally starting to sink in that as long as I rode with belief and confidence my Horse was going over the jump . Ross was confident that before long we would be out competing courses at 90 and 1 metre,… I didn't believe this.
After 9 days with Ross he suggested a local competition - I felt physically sick but by this time I realised I would be OK with Ross's support so off we went to West Park Hunters Challenge. More fences than a normal course to remember, big scary looking things all over the arena along with many other things that terrified me - the trailer, the collecting ring and list went on.
Ross entered us in the 90cm and the 1m class and we came away with ribbons in both and second place in the 1m class - a height that seemed impossible less than 2 weeks before.
My confidence grew by the week and the improvement in our bond was unbelievable in such a short space of time. Just having Ross to give me a bit of coaching and advice every day was really paying off.As the weeks went by I was ticking off all my fears , gallops through open fields , the Beach , Hamsterley Forest , more Cross-country , more jumping all the things that I had been to scared to do as an adult.
The next step was British show jumping at Alnwick Ford just over 3 weeks after starting boot camp. A clear round and a British Novice class, who would have thought I would have achieved this in such a short space of time- definitely not me !!......but we actually did..
I stayed with Ross for 6 weeks and in that time I learned so much about my horse and myself and finally found the trust we needed to progress.
I found Ross to be a very committed , conscientious and extremely talented young man with a great sense of humour and a natural ability to communicate with anyone at any level .He spent countless hours supporting me at both at his yard and competitions dealing with my anxiety's and he continues to do so whenever his commitments allow.
I have built on the instruction and advice that Ross gave me and Oscar and I are out competing most weekends, I intend to start eventing next month, another thing I never thought I would be brave enough to do and in my last conversation with Ross I told him that I felt ready to try a 1.05 Show jumping course ….
So, If you find yourself on the bottom, gridlocked with a horse you desperately want to bond with but can't because you think you 'can't' do it and you are terrified to even try, swallow your pride and seek help. Anything is possible with the right guidance, If I can do it anyone can .
Thank you Ross for believing in us and putting us on the right track… four months on and I doubt you will ever know how truly grateful I am for your help."
Diane & Oscar
March 2016


 

 

"Ross, just wanted to thank you for everything now we've left the yard. I hope you've enjoyed watching Diane blossom as much as I have over the past 8 weeks. You can't put a price on her coming home from competitions grinning from ear to ear, although the crappy rosettes we get aren't worth the entry fees haha. I know you've had to kick her butt a few times but I'm sure you'll agree it's been worth. Thanks again fella and rest assured I will keep in touch."

John Butterfield

 


 
"Let me introduce myself, I am a mature lady who has returned to horse riding after a break of nearly 30 years.
As a child I acquired my first pony at the age of 8 and had a succession of sizes until I reached 17, during my childhood years I did many pony club activities and even hunted and was classed as a competent rider.
Once my children where grown up a realised I had the opportunity to relive my childhood passion. After a year of lessons each week I took the plunge and bought a pony who had done all pony club activities and I bonded with him immediately.
For the first two years we joined a riding club and went out having fun and came home with ribbons, life was great. Then things started to go wrong, we would have the odd refusal, fence down and as the year progressed we were lucky if we got round the course without being eliminated.
My confidence was slowly diminishing and I was riding on nerves, never knowing whether I was going to get over the fence or fall off, I even contemplated just being a dressage rider, its safe and comfortable, however not something my pony really relishes. I automatically assumed I was a useless rider as the pony had been there and done it all.
A friend suggested I attend Ross’s boot camp for a week, I had attended the odd clinic run by Ross and had always enjoyed them, sometimes he would push me to jump higher than my comfort zone but we would also have had a good lesson.
After a lengthy and honest discussion, I informed Ross how scared I was and how I thought I was hindering my pony and did not think I could possibly jump anything bigger than 60cms and when he raised the jumps in our clinics I jumped them but went home scared, Ross in turn was honest and informed me that, as proved I was capable of jumping, I was a competent rider but my pony was just being very naughty and ‘having a laugh at me’.
The boot camp was an amazing experience, Ross was on hand every day to instruct me, we covered flatwork, jumping and even cross country, within the week we discovered why I was having so many problems and we made fantastic progress. You don’t cure your nerves completely in a week and I realised just how much of a slippery slope I had gone down and how in turn this had changed my riding style. I actually stayed for an additional week.
The boot camp experience did not stop after I returned home, I have to say Ross has kept in regular contact to ensure our progress is coming on and we are not having any slips, and I also attend his clinics as and when I can. I think the most important part of the whole experience was being totally honest about how I felt and in turn trusting Ross’s experience when he told me to get over the jump.
He is very supportive and encouraging and can very quickly diagnose naughty pony behaviour, he is a patient but firm coach.
 
After going through all this I have come to realise that I am not alone in my nerves and fears and there are a lot of people in my situation, the most valuable lesson I have learned is, there is help out there but an open and honest conversation is required and trust your coach."
 
Jacquie Farrell


 

"I first met Ross when I approached him to help me with my unruly mare. She was prone to bolting and rearing and I could not even lead her to the field, let alone ride her! I was a little sceptical as the professional services and advice I had sought previously had been to no avail. So needless to say I was over the moon to find, within the first week of employing Ross, my mare and I making such fantastic progress, to the extent of which we were even jumping!!

 

 
After that I started getting lessons with Ross at his yard. This is where I met Bow, a young Eventing prospect of Ross'. Having caught my eye, I began having lessons and getting to know him, and after a consultation Ross agreed to sell Bow to me.


Bow is now on competition livery with Ross and the care he receives is second to none. It's very important to me to have that piece of mind that Bow is in safe hands as I work 6 days a week. I also receive fantastic care from Ross, he is so supportive and has coached me round my first cross country course and my coming second in my first show jumping competition with Bow. Ross is a fantastic teacher and I continue to employ him as my Coach as I found him to be an absolute god send in building my confidence and diagnosing problems that have baffled other professionals.

 
We hope to affiliate Bow next year and Ross is the only professional rider I would trust to do this. He has been so kind to me over the years he is a complete gentleman and very knowledgeable horseman, I thank him very much on a daily basis for all that he does for me and Bow as I don't think he realises just how much he does do for us."
 
Jemma Ross
 

 

"I came back into riding after a 10 year gap. I was surprised at how nervous I had become in that time. I tried a number of different instructors that I just didn't seem to progress with and I almost gave up on riding. A friend recommended I tried lessons with Ross before giving up and he has helped my confidence enormously. He understood my confidence issues and helped me to progress my riding matching me to my horse perfectly and not letting me give in.

 
I Can't recommend Ross enough for giving me my confidence back and making me a happier rider!"
 
Sally Hart
 

 

"I would like to say that Ross Middleton is a breath of fresh air! His tuition and clinics are excellent. After a previous bad fall I lost my confidence but Ross has helped me to believe in myself again with praise and encouragement. He is knowledgable and patient, firm but fair and I would recommend him to anyone!!"

 
Helen Corner
 


 

 
"When I had my daughter in 2006 Ross was an obvious choice to take over the ride on my 12yo Irish thoroughbred Samstar.  I had been competing him at Novice level for several years but he was a big strong-minded individual, he had been pulling hard on the cross country and getting very arrogant with me.  As well as needing a safe pair of hands to leave him with I was also sure that a stronger more experienced rider might be able to take him up a level and earn some respect from him.
 
Sam settled at Grange Farm straight away and quickly became part of the Middleton family.  Ross worked extremely hard on him and soon had him jumping 1.40m confidently at home.  When asked to give a show-jumping demonstration for a local pony club, he chose to take my horse.  He was able to show Sam's considerable ability over some big fences to the oohs and aahs of the members.
 
Ross qualified Sam for the Novice Regional Finals in 2007 and had some great results at Novice and Intermediate level.  Unfortunately Sam was retired with ring bone in 2008, denying us the chance to establish him at intermediate level and possibly go further. He still misses Grange Farm."
      
Jane Wood                                               
Sam doing his first Intermediate at Auchinleck  
 

 
 

"I first met Ross whilst he was teaching for the Braes of Derwent Pony Club back in 2008 when my daughter Sophie was 8 years old. Sophie had been learning to ride with a local riding school having lessons once a week. We decided to 'take the plunge' and buy a pony but as neither my husband nor I had a clue about ponies we ended up with a very naughty/difficult one to handle, subsequently Sophie lost all her confidence. We changed ponies to a little 12.2hh and began having private lessons with Ross. This was the start of something amazing! Through Ross' patience and encouragement my daughter started to enjoy riding again and began competing in Tetrathlon events. XC schooling was difficult at first with Sophie saying NO and Ross saying Yes however eventually after many miles in the horse box travelling to XC schooling days/Hunter Trials and Tetrathlon competitions Sophie's tetrathlon team came second in the 2010 PC Tetrathlon Area 2 competition.

 

Following this Area 2 event we decided that it was time to change ponies again for a 13.2hh which would have the potential to complete 3ft XC courses. This time I asked for Ross' advice when purchasing (not to make the same mistake again!) Ross viewed the pony and we tried it out at a local XC course. Since purchasing the pony Ross accompanies us to schooling days and Hunter Trials for teaching/course walking and advice, he also continues to teach Sophie regularly at our livery yard.

 I have always found Ross to be professional in his approach with people of all ages and abilities. He makes the lessons interesting and enjoyable, acknowledging starting points through initial assessments and ensures the rider is given the opportunity of appropriate challenge. Personally I now ask for Ross' advice on all aspects of owning a pony from feeding, shoeing, clipping, schooling to particular events to attend. Thank you Ross!"

 

Dawn Joyce

 


 

 

"After sadly losing my 8yo horse to colic, I had the tasking job of trying to find a new horse. Having found the one I thought was perfect for me he suddenly became too much for me to handle, he decided to rear and buck me off quite often, in fact too often! I was starting to lose my confidence. So I decided to look for someone with enough experience to help me sort out my issue. Ross was recommended by many people so thought we'd give him a call.

After Ross keeping him at his yard for only two weeks in which he rode and schooled him on a daily basis, I returned to find a transformed horse! With this I began to have lessons with Ross who totally built up my confidence. His professional approach in all aspects, being riding, teaching or caring for horses really stands very highly in my opinion.

 

I cannot thank Ross enough for all his help; I would highly recommend him to anyone! Even now Ross is always at the end of the phone for advice and help. Thanks a lot!"

 

Viki Hurry and Theo

 


 

 

"I have had lessons of Ross for around two years now. Before having lessons off him I found that my position and confidence was going down hill. I and other people around me have seen huge improvements over these past two years and I am now competing at pre novice level. Ross has helped me improve my stubborn mare on the flat and her jump; from riding her himself and seeing a totally different horse to helping me understand how to ride her better. He has attended many cross country schooling days with me and showed a lot of patience and always knows which way to tackle every fence. He has also helped me to improve her appearance and help build her up; she looks like different horse all thanks to Ross.

 

I have also recently just bought a 5yr old which Ross helped me find, and I am extremely happy with her. He rides her on a regular basis and has put a stop to the different tricks she tries every week. He has improved her flatwork a great deal over such a short period of time and has also took her around two hunter trials, which before this she had never done cross country before, and she went double clear with ease and confidence. Ross also looks after my horses when I am away and I always know they are in brilliant care with him looking after them. I am very thankful to Ross as I really wouldn't be where I am now with my horses without his help."

 

Lauren Hayton