OUR STORY

MEET THE BURILDA TEAM

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Meet Alex

Alex is the creative director behind everything Burilda Park. She grew up in Country New South Wales with a passion for horses. With no horsey family members, she set out to learn, grow and serve within the equine world from 12 years old, riding everyone else’s horses at every opportunity she had. As soon as the local IGA would take her, Alex worked every afternoon after school and saved up for her first horse. At 18, she was offered an off the track Standardbred mare who was otherwise headed to the knackery. With no experience in starting a horse under saddle, she hit the ground running, figuring out how she understood most correct to produce a saddle horse from an off the race track Standardbred. This endeavor had a major flow on effect with trainers contacting Alex to take their retired race horses, and riders coming forward to buy the horses when she had finished, at the other end. At this time, she was at University studying A Bachelors of Communication and graduated with a special interest in events, marketing and public relations. She began working for ‘The Australia Times Outback Magazine’ as a journalist and within a year was offered the role of Editor of the online magazine. She interviewed names such as Warwick Schiller, Linda Parelli, Guy McLean and McLeods Daughters actress Simmone Jade Mackinnon. Interviewing the likes of these characters fueled a fire within her to create something bigger. In 2015, she met her now Fiancé Leigh and shortly after meeting, she had a serious fall off a horse and broke both of her wrists. Leigh took on the role of riding the horses that she had in work and soon found that her passion for horses had turned to fear. Leigh took it upon himself to develop a horsemanship program to get her back in the saddle with confidence; and it worked. Within 12 months, Alex was so passionate about the program that she knew others would benefit from the education. She started up a facebook page ‘Burilda Park Equine’ where she would regularly share in her journey back to confidence, and found that many others nation wide were reaching and telling their own stories. Her desire to create something bigger had begun. She left her job with the magazine to focus full time on creating horsemanship clinic events and took on the marketing for the community that Burilda Park grew to be. Later that year, Alex sought out a way to integrate her love of essential oils and balanced horses and became one of Australia's only certified Equine Aroma-Healers, training with celebrated Belgium horsewoman and oils clinician Klaarje Van Steen. In 2018, Alex and Leigh purchased 140 acres in Oberon, New South Wales ‘Burilda Park’ and built their dream home along with a retreat cottage and equine facilities. Alex now facilitates popular horsemanship clinics full-time, centered around Leighs exact program that got her back in the saddle (with the oils magic in the mix), and proudly creates retreats at Burilda Park, catered to nervous riders to get them back on the path to confidence again.

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Meet Leigh

Spending the first part of his young life in Sydney, Leigh moved to country New South Wales when he was 8 years old. It was then, living on his family farm, that he realized his dream of owning a horse. His first pony ‘Princess’ cemented his love of horse riding that would take him right through to his adult life. When it came time for princess to retire he was moved onto bigger mounts but as a teenager his confidence was knocked immensely. Having obtained numerous nasty falls from unsuitable horses, his desire to ride vanished into those teenage years. He moved into motorbikes and mechanics and after high school, began a mechanical apprenticeship and subsequently took a job in a gold mine as a diesel mechanic, dabbling with the horses here and there. Leigh worked in the mines for the better part of a decade. Shortly after meeting how now wife Alex, Leigh began to get back in the saddle again and the spark was reignited. Alex would often joke that he ‘rode the backs of the horses’- the bug had hit him hard. With a background in mechanics, his fastidious nature kicked in and he set out on a journey to thoughtful, effective and deliberate horsemanship. Leigh began developing his own program using all of the best bits of every great horseman’s process he knew, to create one that became his own. Leigh started many colts using hiss process and he and Alex had countless equine trauma cases come through the gates, all aided by the program he had put together. In 2016 he purchased a young colt that he liked the breeding of. This colt would grow into the most prolific part of Leighs horsemanship journey. His name was Duck. Shortly after this, Alex had an accident on horseback and had broken both of her wrists, she wasn’t wanting to get in the saddle ever again. He took it upon himself to teach her his program, beginning very much on the ground, to Alex to try and build her confidence. By the time Leigh had started Duck under saddle, Alex’s confidence through his program had grown to the point that she wanted to ride Duck. Knowing that this young stallion knew nothing but good, and nothing but Leigh’s program, she climbed aboard. Alex soon realized that there were many others like her out there that could benefit from Leigh’s work and in 2017 Leigh began privately coaching nervous riders. This then flowed into booked out clinics that Leigh educated at and travelled all over the state teaching at. In 2017, he took a redundancy from the gold mine in order to focus full time on starting and training horses as well as educating at clinics. Soon after, Leigh and Alex purchased Burilda Park. In 2019, Leigh’s drive to start and train young horses for cow horse events bloomed and he sat his international reined cow horse judging certification, being one of only a handful to pass Australia wide. What lights Leigh up more than anything is seeing a horse and rider who didn’t previously communicate effectively, begin to connect again; and he has dedicated his life to assisting riders, just like Alex, on a journey back to empowerment.

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Meet Amy

Growing up in Oberon, New South Wales, Amy was always surrounded by horses. It was horses that she leant on as a place of solace and acceptance, but it was also in the saddle that she found ‘A microscope was put on her issues’ as she will express. Being a capable but never brave rider riding polocrosse horses, she sought out the support that she felt she needed to curb her nerves in the saddle, but it wasn’t out there in the shape that she needed. In an effort to better understand herself, she began studying to become a counselor. During this time, she obtained a role at an Equine Assisted Therapy Centre working with the horses used within children’s therapy sessions. As a mother of two, she relished in it and she saw the impact that horses truly have on mental health for the children. At the completion of her qualification, she was approached by Alex after her riding accident and began working with her as a horsemanship mindset coach as an imperative part of Alex’s journey back to the saddle. Amy is a huge believer that if you’re not mentally and emotionally prepared for your horsemanship adventure, then you may not be ready to swing a leg over at all. Alex soon invited her to attend some of the smaller Burilda Park Clinics and speak about anxieties and nerves in the saddle. The riders at the clinics couldn’t get enough, and she soon began travelling with the Burilda Team state wide, as a support role for Leigh in one on one sessions. The riders desire to have more time with her was evident and her role developed into group sessions of mindset coaching at every Burilda Clinic event. She is now an integral part of the Burilda Team and offers private coaching, group retreats at Burilda Park and small group coaching at every Burilda clinic and retreat on offer.