20 questions with Anne Lloyd of Healing Strides of Virginia in Boones Mill

Anne with horse 1
Anne Lloyd, a native of England, is the new instructor at Healing Strides of Virginia.

Healing Strides of Virginia, the only PATH International Premier Accredited Center
for Therapeutic Horsemanship in the Roanoke Valley, recently welcomed advanced instructor Anne Lloyd to their staff. Lloyd, a native of England, started her horsemanship career as a certified instructor through the Association of British Riding Schools.

She was active with her own daughters in the British Pony Club, and looks forward to sharing her knowledge with Healing Strides’ Pony Clubbers at HSVA.

With 25 years of teaching and showing experience in dressage and hunter/jumper, Anne helps riding students of all levels excel and meet their personal goals. Anne has a limited number of opportunities for students to join her training schedule. Call 540-334-5825 or email Healing Strides to get to know Anne and tour the facility.

Lloyd is also offering a Summer Series, which will offer six Dressage and six Jumping opportunities. Participants may take advantage of one lesson — or join for the entire series!



Each 90 minute Dressage lesson will take place on Friday evenings at 5:30 p.m. and is open to riders who can already walk, trot, and canter. The focus will be on improving the flexion of their horse with the goal of better lateral movement. Cost: $75/lesson OR $375 for the entire series (Discount of the cost of ONE LESSON!) Dates: 6/16, 6/23, 6/30, 7/7, 7/14, 7/21 at 5:30 p.m.


Each 90 minute Jumping lesson will take place on Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. and is open to riders already comfortable over small fences. The focus will be on rhythm and track using a variety of grid and pole exercises. Cost: $75/Lesson OR $375 for the entire series (Discount of the cost of ONE LESSON!) Dates: 6/17, 6/24, 7/1, 7/8, 7/15, 7/22 at 2:30 p.m.
For those riders interested in participating in both Dressage and Jumping throughout the series, HSVA will offer all 12 lessons for $600!! For more information or to sign-up for the series, please call (540) 334-5825 or email annehsva@gmail.com!

Q: Tell me about your stable/business. What kind of services do you offer?

A: Healing Strides of VA (HSVA) is a non-profit 501(c)3 therapeutic horsemanship center with a herd of more than 20 horses. We have a large enclosed arena and an outdoor arena. We are currently building a new mental health barn that will include another covered arena. HSVA is the only Premier Accredited Center (PAC) with the Professional Association of Therapeutic Riding International (PATH) in the Roanoke Valley. We are an Equine Assisted Activities and Therapy Program (EAAT) which includes Therapeutic Riding, Equine Assisted Learning (EAL), Equine Assisted Psychotherapy EAP, Hippotherapy and several other programs related to equine therapies. We also provide able-bodied instruction in English and Western disciplines, and are proud to host the Ferrum College Equestrian Team. HSVA is also a U.S. Pony Club Center — the 2nd in the U.S. with an integrated program.

Q: When did you get started in horses? What is your riding background?

A: I had my first riding lesson when I was 5 years old and was immediately hooked. I finally had my own pony when I was a teenager and had fun doing pony club. Once I left school, I had hoped to get a job as a working student, but things didn’t work out. I did other jobs and eventually ended up living in Germany for a few years. When I returned, I got back into horses and owned another fun horse. At this stage, I decided to get serious about getting into the profession. I was lucky enough to get into a local college and attain a National Certificate in the Management of Horses, and while there gain all the other certifications required to take my teaching exams. Through all that I discovered that teaching is my passion, and I have been doing it ever since. Before leaving England, I taught at a small riding school and then I worked a lot with the British pony club, as well has having private students. I moved to Colorado in 2001 and found a wonderful barn called Cottonwood Riding Club, where I was able to teach all ages and abilities in dressage and jumping. I moved to Roanoke this year.

Q: What makes your stable/business different than others in the area? What’s your specialty? What do you take the most pride in?

A: I am so proud of Healing Strides’ commitment to unlocking our participants’ full potential, regardless of their skill levels or abilities. We have recently earned the USEF’s designation as an International Para-Equestrian Dressage Center of Excellence. Only 5 centers in the country have this designation. USEF is choosing the best of the best to build a network of centers to coach the nation’s future Paralympic athletes. Michel Assouline, former head coach for the British para-equestrian dressage program, has just been appointed as Head of Para-Equestrian Coach Development and High Performance Consultant for the U.S. team. Under his guidance, this designation will give our instructors the opportunity and training to potentially coach at the international level. For our local riders, Healing Strides of VA can be their launching pad to one day represent the U.S. on the international stage.

Q: Can you describe your training/teaching philosophy?

A: I think my teaching philosophy is really about helping the rider feel a partnership with their horse in whatever discipline they have chosen. Whether it is the recreational rider who just wants to feel safe on a trail ride, or a teenager with dreams to event, I work on the correctness of their equitation and the understanding of how the way we ride affects the way the horse moves. So many horses struggle to understand what is being asked of them. By keeping things simple and taking the time to let the horse figure it out with good riding and a comprehension of how the horses moves, it becomes possible to really make the connection we are all looking for when we ride these amazing animals.

Q: Who are your riding mentors? How have they influenced your riding?

A: I have been lucky enough to ride with and watch many different trainers over the years. Whether learning from Debbie McDonald in the dressage world, or Bernie Traurig in the jumper world, or a local hunter/jumper trainer, I have always come away some little pearl of wisdom that I can apply to my teaching.

Q: What is the best piece of riding advice you were ever given?

A: To not feel pressured and enjoy your ride. So often we see other riders doing great things, and we start to wonder if we should be trying to attain that level of riding. But if your goal is to comfortably canter a course of cross rails, then just embrace that goal and be happy!

Q: Do you have a favorite horse movie or book?

A: My favorite horse book is “Black Beauty.”

Anne with horse 2
Anne Lloyd with a student in Colorado.

Q: You’re headed to a horse show. What one item would you never leave home without?

A: As I am always the trainer at the show and not the rider, in the summer my straw hat and in the winter really warm socks!

Q: What one piece of advice would you give new/young riders?

A: Patience! Good riding takes time, lots of time, years!

Q: If you could try any other riding discipline, what would it be?

A: I would love to learn how to drive.

Q: What would be your idea of a dream vacation?

A: I would love to do one of those cattle ranch vacations. I have no idea how to ride western, but I think it would be such a fun experience.

Q: If you could change one thing about the horse industry, what would it be?

A: That all riding instructors were certified to teach.

Q: What is your favorite characteristic in a client/student?

A: A good sense of humor! There are so many ups and downs when learning to ride or compete that sometimes you just need to be able to laugh at yourself and your horse!

Q: What horse industry/riding trend do you wish would go away and never return?

A: Anything that causes discomfort to the horse or just plain cruelty. Sadly, this can show up in most disciplines.

Q: If you weren’t in the horse business, what would you be doing right now?

A: I’ve always thought I’d love to be a REALTOR. I’m completely addicted to HGTV!!

Q: What was the biggest surprise about making riding your full-time job?

A: I don’t think I fully realized when I first started teaching that clients (hopefully) stay with you for a long time. So being able to see the progression over the years, as well as being able to connect with and enjoy so many people is wonderful.

Q: Tell us about the best horse you’ve ever ridden.

I’ve been lucky enough to have ridden some lovely horses, but the one I truly connected with was a little thoroughbred back in Colorado. We did a little bit of everything together and had a lot of fun. We understood each other. Sadly, he died last year.

Q: If you could ride any famous horse from history, who would you ride?

A: A little horse called Stroller. He was actually a 14.2hh pony that back in the 70’s took his rider all the way to the Olympics on the show jumping team. I would love to have felt his personality.

Q: If you could spend the day riding with any horseman, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

A: I’ve audited a few clinics with Bernie Traurig in the past and have always enjoyed his style of teaching. I always come away feeling inspired.

Q: Tell us about your first horse.

A bay pony named Star. The most stubborn pony ever, but also completely bomb proof. He gave me my first experience at fox hunting and also many fun days at Pony Club, as well as just allowing me to ride the country lanes around my home bareback on a loose rein daydreaming.


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