When I was four, I was on holiday with my parents in the south of Spain. One evening, while having dinner on the beach, I watched a group of horses and riders gallop along the shoreline, their silhouettes against the sunset and the sparkling ocean behind them…
This was the beginning. My name is Nadia Hernandez and I have been enthralled by horses all my life. I carry that image in the sunset with me every day of life because I was lucky enough to feel my calling so early.
I started normal riding lessons, ready to match the image in my head and quickly found that riding in circles in big groups on excitable horses was not good for my anxious nature. No other way was available to me at the time and so I perservered through pure passion even though nerves were a close friend every time my lessons came around. I had numerous falls and frightening experiences that resulted in chronic pain every time I rode. I had to stop when I was 12 and I lost something it would take me years to find my way back to.
Life intervened, school got demanding… Horses became a distant memory locked tightly in a box that I refused to think about. I graduated school and went off to Scotland for university to pursue my second fascination : human psychology.
Not even a full year after the start of my degree, I went up north to visit a close friend and stumbled upon an equestrian magazine in a supermarket. I bought it for the train ride back… for old time’s sake…
This was the turning point. The train ride back to Edinburgh was a revelation. The magazine opened Pandora’s box and I spent the train ride reliving the galloping horses along the shoreline over and over in my mind, with tears in my eyes. I realised what had been missing for so many years.
The next day, I found a riding school to take lessons at and to volunteer at. I needed to make up for lost time. I understood that it was all or nothing with horses in my life, I had to find a way to make it my life. I wanted it all ; all the riding, the knowledge, the expertise… and most of all, the connection with a horse. I knew I wouldn’t stop until I had created a full life around these magnificent beings that I felt destined for in some way.
And so began hours and hours of research. I read and watched anything and everything I could get my hands on. Every break on campus was spent reading about horses and everything surrounding them. I would read late into the night after assignments (and sometimes during) to learn as much as I could possibly fit into my head.
My next blessing came on a trip home to visit my family and ride my favourite school horse (Nemo is now mine). I met the person who would give me the chance to break into the industry with exactly the opportunity I was looking for.
Carine Babut was my mentor and coach as well as my boss for many years. With her, I discovered my love of classical dressage. She gave me the space alongside her at My Other Riding School to work with horses every day, to be involved with numerous rescue cases, to develop myself as a horsewoman, learn the ropes of running an equestrian yard and the taste of managing it alone when she took some time rest. From Carine also came my first horse, Sherlock, who was a game changer for me as well. Without these years spent with Carine, I would not have been able to develop myself the way I have been able to for the last 5 years. I was living and breathing horses both in my work and my studies; a Master of Science in Equine Science with the University of Edinburgh.
During my time at My Other Riding School, I was teaching riders from beginners to the more advanced riders. I coached children, teenagers and adults with all sorts of horses; from Shetland ponies to rescue horses to Thoroughbreds. I was also involved in the training and exercising of many client horses that also varied enormously in background and type. Though they were all incredibly special to me, the horses that pushed me to overcome my personal boundaries and that drove me to seek answers from deep within are the ones I have to thank for being able to develop my philosophy so profoundly. My time at My Other Riding School, learning every day from my mentor and the 30 horses under our care, was the intense training I so desperately wanted to transition into the professional world of horses.
During this time, I was able to find my niche amongst such a huge, overwhelming passion. Equine behaviour and confidence in both riders and horses are what drives me. Helping people find their way back from fear and anxiety to a place of connection and harmony with their horse is what I love to do. I have been in those same places. I know that it’s scary and lonely in the face of how much you love the animal in front of you and the sport. There is a way back.
This is the centre of my work. The relationship between you and your horse, your emotional wellbeing and your horse’s physical and mental wellbeing are the cornerstones of my philosophy. Your horse and your connection are my top priorities in everything I do.
This a long story cut as short as possible to give you a glimpse into who I am. I am a horse lover to the core and believer in love and patience being strongest force there is both with horses and in life.
Connect. Breathe. Feel.