The EBA Committee

Felicity George - Chair

Felicity has a strong background in science, completing a BSc and an MPhil at Edinburgh University in the 1990’s, and then working there as a research scientist. 
 
Her love of horses has been lifelong. She has worked with horses on a voluntary or part time basis for over 20 years; at riding schools, competition yards and rescue centres. She has 2 horses and a pony of her own. 
 
In 2009 Felicity brought together her interests in science and horses and trained to be an equine behaviourist. Since qualifying, she has worked full time as an equine behaviourist, helping clients with their horses and running courses on equine behaviour. Felicity is the author of the chapter on riding instruction in the recently published book ‘Equine Behaviour in Mind: Applying Behavioural Science to the Way We Keep, Work and Care for Horses’.  
 
 She is a certified horse behaviour consultant with the IAABC and an accredited animal behaviourist with the ABTC. 

Annika O'Kane - Education Coordinator

Born in Sweden, Annika has a strong background in Education. She holds a BEd (Hons) from Umea University, Sweden, a
DipHE (Hons) from Trinity College, Dublin, has extensive experience in the Swedish and Irish Education systems, and was
employed by the Irish State Examinations Commission as an assistant examiner. Holding a SEBC (Society of Equine
Behavioural Consultants) PTC (Professional Training Certificate), Annika is a qualified Equine Behaviour Consultant.

As a young girl, Annika worked at an Arabian stud farm in Sweden, training and competing horses in showing, dressage and
show jumping. From this grew a passion for the concept of training, which she has developed over the past thirty years.

At the age of sixteen she was sent for tuition in showing Arabs, to Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada. Upon returning to Sweden she worked
as a professional within the Arab horse showing circuit.

Having produced horses up to Third level dressage in the Classical tradition, she focuses her work on training and freelance
riding instruction with the belief that for successful horse-human relationship and performance, it is essential to create a solid
foundation consisting of emotional calm and balance within a equine-centric holistic approach.

With her keen interest in education, training and interspecies relationships, Annika has combined these passions by working
as an Equine behaviour consultant, a freelance riding coach, and offering clinics promoting Equine mental health.

Residing in the beautiful Irish countryside, she is currently furthering her coaching qualifications to complement her consultancy
business. In her spare time you are likely to find her with her nose in a book standing by the principle of “The day you stop
learning is the day you die”, or out in the fields, together with her husband and children chanting: “There is no bad weather,
only bad clothes”.

Sharon Smith - Secretary

Sharon’s own horse, Sam, was the catalyst for qualifying as an equine behaviour consultant in 2010.  In practice, though, she found environment and health were perhaps more important factors in modifying behaviour.  But, ever the pragmatist and realising the importance of rider stability, she trained at Talland for her British Horse Society exams.  She passed the PTC at her first attempt and she remains an Accredited Professional Coach.   

In 2016 Sharon graduated the MSc Applied Equine Science at the Royal Agricultural University, with distinction and two University prizes.  The broad range of equine-related subjects covered and independent study of the academic literature, led her to reject previous teachings of horse-human social dominance and accept the consensus view of academics, ethologists and psychologists on the role of chronic stress in unwanted behaviour.   

Sharon continues to support RAU students; co-authoring papers on behaviour, energy expenditure and equine weight estimation.  She has written and delivered workshops and courses about how to review scientific literature, equine behaviour, equine neuroanatomy and operant learning. She has written for Haygain on a broad range of subjects and contributed towards the Equicentral resource and equine textbooks.  Sharon also promotes good equine nutrition and weight control using a mobile weighbridge, her studies and collaborations with academia and her experience as a novice runner. 

Her latest interests include silvopasture for equine health, and preservation of native grasslands She supports the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and the Woodland Trust.  In the water industry she attained a first-class BSc(Hons) Water and Environmental Management and became a high-profile NVQ Assessor and Verifier; consulted by the sector Skills Council with regards to operational training standards.   

 Sharon’s experience of writing and running ISO9001 quality management procedures and project management skills, combined with her passion and knowledge of rural business, give her unique insight to serve the rural demographic with products and services through her company, Pentalib ltd. 

  

Stephanie Loveridge - Membership Administrator

Stephanie Loveridge BSc (Joint Hons), MA, SEBC PTC is an equine behaviourist, business consultant and director of Equine Kind.  She is the Concordia Connection, Welfare in Action team co-ordinator and Chair of Cliffhollins Riding for the Disabled (RDA) group.  She is passionate about equine welfare, behaviour and the therapeutic benefits of horses.   

Stephanie has had 15 years’ experience working in the health service specialising in quality, patient safety and governance.  She has expertise in using improvement science, clinical audit, human behaviour change and communities of practice to improve services.  During this time Stephanie presented nationally and internationally on improvement work and was involved in local, regional and national project work and steering groups relating to clinical audit, quality improvement and patient safety. 

Judith George - Special Adviser

Judith George was Deputy Scottish Director for the Open University for approximately 25 years.  She is Professor of Educational Research and Development with the Open University, much of her work being on curriculum and staff development, learning support and development (especially for isolated students).

She is currently Senior Research Fellow in the Classics Department of the Open University; Honorary Fellow with the University of the Highlands and Islands; OBE awarded for services to Higher and Lifelong Learning.  

Judith is a special advisor for EBA, advising on all aspects of adult education and assisting in the development and assessment of EBA’s courses.  

Carol Grant - Treasuer

Details to Come.

Iona Augier - Professional Liaison Coordinator

Iona Augier spent her childhood in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe where horses became a big part of her life. Growing up she developed a strong interest in competing and gained experience from riding for numerous yards and horse owners. Upon returning to her home country Scotland, she purchased her first horses and continued her competition and training career.  

Iona studied at Oatridge Agricultural College qualifying with a HND in Equine Studies, together with BHS Stage 1 and Coaching Certificate (UKCC).  Keen to progress with her riding and training, she took her horses with her, which also allowed them to develop alongside her.   

After obtaining her HND, Iona co- established and developed her family’s Riding school. This involved coaching adults and children, RDA groups alongside training and producing young horses. Her strong interest in the equine, as a sentient being, along with training of young horses, lead her to gain a SEBC PTC qualification as an Equine behaviourist.   

Following this she expanded into running her own business from her family property providing equine services, ranging from coaching and training to behaviour consultancy.  

Although, Iona, being a “true animal lover’, thoroughly enjoys coaching her clients, she favours surrounding herself with a yard full of ‘larger than life’ characters, in the form of eleven horses and five miniature Shetlands, along with an assortment of dogs and cats. 

Dr Marie-Louise Holmes - Special Adviser

Dr Marie-Louise Holmes (BSc, MSc, DClinPsych) is an HCPC registered Consultant Clinical Psychologist with twenty years of experience working in; adult mental health, in-patient forensic psychiatry, autism, learning disability, brain injury rehabilitation, addictions, suicide prevention and child and family services. She currently runs her own private psychological therapy and consultation service. 

She previously developed and lead the UK’s first Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Programme in a secure forensic setting, which won an innovative practice award. She is also intending to publish the results of the positive effect of using a novel teaching approach to help young people and their residential care teams better understand the complex neuroscience that underpins childhood attachment difficulties and trauma. 

 She has ridden recreationally and owned horses since childhood, and is interested in how the insights from the development of more ethical psychological care for vulnerable human populations can be usefully applied to improve horse well-being in the equestrian world. In her spare time she watches Game of Thrones and drinks a lot of tea.