Jessica Dixon, Centre Manager
Having worked for Conquest Centre since 2000, starting as a Head Groom, Jess has worked her way up to Centre Manager. Her experience of every role in the Centre enables her to ensure our smooth running and continuing success. Previously an RDA County Instructor and a care, Jess understands what the Centre needs to keep ticking. That, coupled with her enthusiasm and passion for what we do, makes her the driving force behind keeping the Centre a forward-thinking and progressive place to be.
Jess is most likely to be found in the office, with a phone glued to her ear.
Chantal Bannister, Senior Instructor and Resident Nerd
Chantal is an RDAGI instructor qualified in Horse Boy Method and Movement Method, and is our back riding specialist. Specialising in working with children with Autism, Chantal and therapy horse Murphy work together to help children get the most of their sessions. Chantal’s one-to-one sessions are child-led, involve the whole family and take place outside as much as possible. A firm believer in movement in learning, sensory work and the value of simply being with the horse, Chantal’s sessions are usually less about learning to ride and more about being together.
Chantal sometimes wears an IT hat too. Prior to this job, she gained a BSc(Hons) in Computer Science and worked in the IT industry for 15 years, so helps out with website updates, social media, database programming, mending printers, straightening cables, counting mousemats and anything else geeky that comes along.
Chantal is most likely to be found talking to anyone who will listen about brain science.
Kate Blackmore, Equine Behaviourist & Trainer
Having studied with the Natural Animal Centre and gaining her Equine Behaviour Stage 1 qualification, Kate ensures that our equine team are having their needs met, whether it be creating barn systems, teaching about equine behaviour or working on enrichment plans, Kate’s priority is the happiness of the horses. It’s not an easy job, implementing force free training and more natural management systems into a business environment is a task in itself but Kate’s passion for the job helps to inspire the team. She has put together an enrichment team to help support the needs of the equines, this is a crucial part of the centre’s running as caring for the wellbeing of the horses and donkeys ensure all the services at the Conquest Centre can be delivered!
In addition to this, Kate has become our honorary chicken keeper, and donkey expert.
Georgi Readman, Groom
Georgi grew up on the Isle of Wight, and has ridden since the age of 4. She joined Conquest Centre as a student 2 years ago, completing a Work Based Diploma Level 1 & 2 in Horse Care. Once Georgi completed her training, Conquest employed her as a Groom and she is now a fully fledged member of staff!
When she is not working on the yard, Georgi is most likely to be found riding Annie, her favourite pony. When not work, you will find Georgi looking very different indeed dressed in vintage clothing!
Gemma Adams, Head Groom
Gemma has loved horses for as long as she can remember, “My earliest memories are of being sat on my mum’s 16 hand high black horse when I was only a few years old. From then on I was hooked, having lessons, joining the pony club and going out competing. I then took a few years out from horses to have my 2 wonderful children one of whom shares my equine passion – we can be found most weekends traveling up and down the country competing. I decided to expand my knowledge further through the BHS training programs and have achieved recognised qualifications such as Safeguarding and Protecting Children, Riding and Road Safety and First Aid. I have completed BHS Stage 1 and 2 and am working towards my Stage 3. I love teaching and passing my knowledge on, so working at Conquest Centre and mentoring our BHS Students is my dream job – although I can’t really call it a job as I enjoy it so much!”
If Gemma is not on the yard teaching the students she will be found schooling the horses – keeping them supple and teaching them new things to keep them happy and healthy!
CLAIRE COTTRELL, THRIVE PRACTITIONER & COACH
Claire is our Head Thrive Practitioner and is passionate about supporting the social and emotional development of children and young people. Claire has been instrumental in introducing the Thrive approach to the Centre and shares her knowledge with the rest of the team to educate and implement this practise throughout the charity.
Within the team Claire is a BHS mentor and coach with recognised qualifications such as Safe Guarding and Protecting Children and First Aid. Working closely with other therapists Claire supports the physical needs of our clients.
Claire says, “Seeing and being part of what makes a difference to the people that join us here at Conquest is the reason I love my job! I love being able to make a difference with the support of our amazing horses and team, and most importantly I am always having fun.’’
NICOLE HAWKER – HEAD GROOM & COACH
As a BHS Level 1 graduate NikNik is currently studying for her Equine Behaviour qualification, she is passionate about everything horsey and uses her organisation skills to run our yard smoothly.
ALANA COOK – COACH & THRIVE ASSISTANT
Alana supports Claire in her Thrive work and specialises in 1:1 sessions.
Helen Simcock-Anthony, Administrator
Helen came to Conquest in 2011 as a volunteer. Her experience of organising conferences and weddings soon came in handy as she took over running the show-jumping, dressage and showing events. She now updates processes, regulates paperwork and manages the main reception whilst supporting Jess and the Board of Trustees. Helen also writes press releases and basically makes sure all our ducks are in a line. Because of this, we have coined the phrase ‘We need to Helen-ise it!’
Helen is most likely to be found trying to herd cats, or near a whiteboard with a pen in her hand.
Lotta Von Der Heyde
Grants and Evaluation Manager
Details coming soon 🙂
KATE HOLLOWAY & MICHAELA SLADE, HORSE AND SOUL
Kate and Michaela offer equine therapy onsite here at Conquest Centre. For more information, please visit the Equine Therapy page.