About Mary L Longden

How to become one of the world’s most highly qualified Equestrian Coaches, Trainers and Educators?

Well, it takes an exceptional person, years of experience and dedication in a vast variety of global locations and cultures, a passion for excellence and a genuine desire to develop outstanding horse/rider combinations at all levels of the sport!

Born in the UK, Mary had a traditional Pony Club introduction to her equestrian years. As a member of the Hampshire Hunt Pony Club, she rode alongside Badminton Director Hugh Thomas and Princess Anne, and was a working pupil for Janet Sturrock, a Fellow of the British Horse Society (BHS).

At 19 Mary was already competing in show jumping and intermediate level eventing.

Mary attained her BHSA1 exam at 19 then took up the role of head rider with Baron von Blixen-Finecke – a team and individual Gold Medallist at the 1952 Helsinki Games and a former Head of the Swedish Cavalry School - who also taught Badminton winner and Olympian Christopher Bartle at the time.

At 21 and with the desire to compete, hunt and further her knowledge of training, Mary accepted a position with Irish event rider Jacqueline Doherty in Kill, County Kildare where she was exposed to a wide variety of top horses.

After a few years in Canada where she continued to successfully compete and train show jumpers and show horses and working hunters and ponies Mary returned to the UK to obtain the highly sought after BHS Instructors qualification. She passed all three sections of riding, coaching and stable management at the first attempt. Only 5% of applicants manage this achievement. Mary then returned to Canada where she rode the well known buckskin show jumper Turf Valley Royal to placings at Grand Prix level alongside her other jumpers, show horses and eventers. She ran a boarding and training stable north of Toronto where she worked with competitive young riders. Wootton Nell, a large pony she broke in and produced, is now in the Equine Canadian Hall of Fame.

Whilst in Canada Mary discovered Therapeutic riding and began using her extensive base of knowledge to help many riders with disabilities enjoy a better quality of life through their riding experiences.

Following a conversation with UK event rider Lucinda Green, Mary realised that coaching - and not competing - would become her top priority.

Mary moved to Australia in 1975 and obtained the Equestrian Federation of Australia’s NCAS level 3 coaching qualification. She was then heavily involved in setting out future qualification requirements for coach and judge education in Australia at state and national level.

In 1982 Mary became the National Coach for the Philippines in their lead up to the Asian Games. Her coaching appointment continued following the Games, coaching the junior team to second place in the International Young Rider Three Day Event in Melbourne in 1983, relegating Australia into third place

Throughout this period Mary trained many Australian riders to success in every sphere of equestrian sport including wins at Sydney International Three Day Event, Dressage, Show Jumping, Pony Club and Barastoc.

Still on the hunt for knowledge, Mary was awarded a Masters Degree in Special Education by Monash University. This period included work at the University’s Krongold Centre for Exceptionally Gifted Children and specialist work with the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), Victoria.

Including: coaching riders to the World Equestrian Games, the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games, becoming Vice President then Secretary General of the FRDI (the international body for Riding for the Disabled), writing books and delivering academic papers at major international conferences and much, much more.


International Competitions