Fiona Varian About Me
My Name is Fiona VARIAN. I have always been fascinated with movement. Growing up, I had my own horse, being keen to find out how to train him myself. I competed in dressage, jumping and one day eventing.
As a later teenager, I was a keen racing cyclist. I was blessed to be in a club, The Saracens, that had a cyclist in it called Paul Carbutt who was British Best All Rounder. I was entranced by the cool, efficient, mechanical, piston-like way he effortlessly rode a bike. I spent many hours trying to emulate his technique. I worked my way up, Competing Locally, Regionally, Nationally and was fortunate enough to represent Great Britain.
I dabbled in learning Ice Dance as an adult alongside the tiny children. I just loved the flow and shapes of the movement. I loved the interaction between the forces felt on the ice and how that demanded a corresponding alignment in my body in relation to it......or the ice would claim it's victim. (Look up 'Le Patin Libre')
Later, I took up Archery. I very quickly realised that you couldn't use nerves in archery the same way as in cycling and that 'trying harder' absolutely wouldn't let you hit the middle better. I either had to learn a whole bundle of extra mental skills and approaches or find another sport. I chose the former. I progressed rapidly through the coaching grades and performance levels. I competed at Regional/National level. I worked with GB Paralympic Archery for many years. I attended several World Class Performance Plan Coach Conferences alongside other Sports including Triathlon and Equestrian with whom I also did work at this level. I studied many mental approaches, from R+, Affirmations, Visualisation skills, Reframing techniques through to Hypnotherapy. During this time I explored innovative ways to improve performance and embarked on experiencing and studying many and varied Bodywork courses.
I became entranced with Cirque du Soleil, spending a month behind scenes with them when they were in the UK.
I went to the Athens Paralympics as Coach and BodyWorker with the GB Paralympic Archery Team..
When I was able tofully return to horses, my wonderful sister gave me superb advice...book yourself 4 lessons a week, for 4 weeks, and if you tell me you don't have the time or the money, then don't go there. 1.5 weeks on, with every cell in my body re-ignited like a drug addict, I was on the quest for my horse. I took note that my sister was not only studying Classical Dressage and was an advocate of 'Being there for the horse', but also owned these odd hairy 'ponies' called Icelandics. I made a mental note not to commit to any horse without trying one of these apparent 'Thelwells'. So there I stood, gobsmacked, on the car park of Edda Hester, with Smari Slater having tried his Icelandics, knowing that my world had changed forever..... I was smitten with these wonderful gaited horses. My first Icelandic horse Kraki, my soulmate and herd leader, was born in Germany,
I qualifed as an Equine Podiatrist with KC La Pierre. I qualifed in Equine Natural Movement in USA.
I gradually increased my herd: Aros a 3/4 Lusitano (& 1/4 smartarse), then a further Icelandic, Glamur (featured gaiting in my Equine Gallery).
I discovered Paso Finos: Passionate, Charismatic, Expressive, Flambouyant, Affectionate, People-Orientated, Fun-Loving and full of Brio. I have had the privilege to share my life with Ambrosia (from the USA), Elegante, Rosa, Theadora, Habiloso (from Germany) and finally the amazing Domingo la Roca (also bred in Germany), featured in the Equine Gallery. I wanted to buy Domingo as a 3.5yr old, but someone else had first refusal on him and bought him. He was started in the most amazingly respectful way by Christina Dietmann (who is in the Rolkur picture on my home page -See video with Christina working with him as a 3.5yr old in Equine Gallery Domingo La Roca in Education). In a bizarre twist, I rediscovered Domingo 10 years later, and his owner gave him to me. He is one of the best, willing, most generous, sensitive horses a girl could wish for and I am forever indebted to Jane Hammersley for allowing him to spend the rest of his days with me.
I studied the impact of Mind/Body/Ancestral clearing (Abraham-Hicks, Diane Merrick 'It Will Come to You', Ellen Langar 'Mindfulness', John Newton -Ancestral Clearing) and continue to be entranced by how clearing concerns that we carry ourselves massively changes our perception of our own life, our relationship with other people and most particularly how our animals see and relate to us.
I am totally besotted with my guys. They make my heart sing and my soul fly. I revel in trying to be what each of my horses needs me, to be to be the best for them, of understanding their individual needs and preferences .... and like a chamelion, they all demand completely different things from me. I rise to that challenge. I'd love to lie and say that I always get it right, but I don't. Each horse has different needs and each horse requires a different approach. Whenever we, as humans, think we've 'got it' they're very quick to point out the error of our thinking. I have shares in the 'Humble Pie Shop' too! I hope I NEVER stop learning, and NEVER stop listening.
I continue to work with other high level sports in parallel.
I really enjoy working with the Oxford Rowing Team alongside Andy Nelder and Sean Bowden who are two of the most diligent, committed, open minded, forward thinking, most respected coaches at top level. there is nothing like watching a hard working athlete perform at their best. I have worked with OUBC for the past 11 years.
I work with top level Artistic and Team Gym Gymnasts in more than one club (See Human Gallery and Testimonials). The most often comment afterwards is that 'It feels like about 60% of previously perceived effort'. One of the most exciting Gymnasts was Connor Wharram, who joyously bounced around the gym performing tumbles afterwards that left us mere mortals spellbound (5.5 rotations whilst doing a double straight somersault AND landing the right way up into the foam pit). To work with such an exquisitely fine tuned athlete is well....awesome.
Whenever it is possible, it is the highest benefit to do a session with both the horse and the rider on the same day. Both have a factory reset. No one then 'leads the other astray', no one has to compensate for the other. The two pieces fit together on the same page. A fresh start.