The Larkspur team are committed to providing you with the best riding experience you could ever have, whilst having fun along the way.

Ellie Allcott

Ellie started riding when she was only 5 years old and despite having no horsey family soon rose through the ranks of Pony Club coaching. She now shares multiple horses and ponies and outside of teaching at Larkspur produces young horses for riding schools and has competed up to a Novice level in dressage. Since joining us in the summer of 2020 Ellie has quickly become a beloved instructor.

Simone Russell

Simone was, in her own words, thrown onto ponies before she could walk. She owned her own horses for over two decades competing in dressage, showjumping and eventing, achieving her AI in 2001. Outside of horses but often demonstrated at the yard, Simone is a great mum and loves a chin wag!

Sam Backstrom

Sam is a highly decorated rider, she won two European team golds and one individual silver medal on ponies and went on to represent Great Britain on over 100 occasions during her showjumping career. She was selected for the British elite training squad every year from when she was 16 years old before suffering a personal tragedy at 22 that knocked her self-belief and put her competing on hold. Despite this she’s gone on to use this experience to help other young riders. Having suffered first-hand and recovered from a complete loss of confidence, Sam can help riders of all ages and abilities  achieve their goals by understanding first-hand how to overcome fear.

Fliss Goater

Jo Appleton

Jo is the newest member of our instructor team and she’s fit right into the fold. From a horsey family, Jo started riding as a child and has been competing in British Showjumping and British Dressage since the age of 10. Since becoming a busy mum of two she prefers to keep her feet on the ground which fit perfectly with her discovery of her love of teaching 6 years ago.

Lucy Amy

Lucy qualifying with Basheera for Horse of the Year Show 2021!

Lucy is part of a fabulous equine family that have run a livery business for over 50 years, her brother Andrew Amy even competes our beautiful skewbald gelding Louis (Just Like That) in showjumping and working hunter showing! Lucy herself has been showing our very own home-bred Arab mare Basheera (Xquisite Dream), as seen in our riding school, and has qualified for HOYS in October 2021. Recently Lucy represented Team GB U25s at the FEI European Championships 2021. As well as running dressage clinics and teaching, Lucy schools our fabulous horses and keeps them on the straight and narrow, giving them a touch of that spotlight (..without the spotlight). A fantastic rider and an even more fantastic person!

Amanda Lysaght

Amanda competing at Hickstead

Amanda is a 23yr old international showjumping rider and coach who started riding age 2, with both her parents involved and loving horses! She has been producing and competing a team of 5 horses across Europe and in 2018 was selected for Sport England’s “Step Up to Gold Programme”. Amanda competed with the programme internationally last year in Belgium jumping up to 1.40 level. Despite having more recently specialised in showjumping, Amanda has won Dressage championships at Hickstead and won Southern Horse Trials Championships. Her love of horses, showjumping, and passion to help people succeed in the sport lead her to coaching and she is now a UKCC level 2 show Jumping Coach.

Gina Fletcher

Convenor of our brand new Stable Management course, Gina has certainly made her impact on Larkspur. Co-founder of Pommel grooming products (, Gina has been riding since she was 4, owning and competing her own horses but her true passion lies in horse care. Using her BHS qualifications and Equine Management Diploma as well as her experience nursing her own laminitic and lame pony she has cultivated a unique insight into horse welfare and she can’t wait to pass on her knowledge to our clients.