Meet our exceptional Equestrian Instructor Team, a dynamic group of individuals fueled by a shared love for horses and a commitment to nurturing equestrian skills. With diverse backgrounds and a collective dedication to providing an unparalleled learning experience, these instructors are more than guides in the saddle; they are the cornerstone of our equestrian community. Join us as we introduce the faces behind the reins, sharing stories, insights, and a glimpse into the vibrant world of Cherry Orchard Equine Centre.

Nichole Murray

B.H.S Stage 3 Coach & therapeutic riding coach at Cherry Orchard Equine since November 2023.

About Nichole

I am from the midlands, living on the Roscommon side of Athlone. I started riding at 5 and had my first pony at 7. Growing up, I had several ponies, starting with Bloondy, then Penny, and Smoking Joey, who unfortunately passed away. This was the only time in my life I wanted to give up horse riding. With encouragement, I got Calypso and finally Mac Murray’s Lad, whom I outgrew and sold at 16. From a young age, I helped out at Derwins riding school, which contributed to my livery and lessons.

I loved hunting and hunter trails as a kid/teenager, particularly cross country. I also participated in show jumping leagues, earning numerous trophies and rosettes.

After selling my beloved pony Mac, whom I still miss, I rode thoroughbreds on the gallops and helped train them. After school, I worked in a dealer/hunt yard in Coxwalls, England. Upon my return, I obtained my Stage 2 teach and worked at Halston Stud, handling stallions, weaning and halter-breaking foals, and breaking horses. I then accepted a position in Clonshire, working in the livery yard and completing my Stage 3 BHS exams.

I spent 3 months in America, riding and caring for horses in LA and learning Western riding and Perelli Natural Horsemanship at a ranch in Montana. My journey concluded in New York, where I visited Pal-O-Mine in Long Island, offering a variety of equine-assisted therapies.


Horses, even when I didn’t realize it, have always been a source of comfort and therapy for me. Wanting to share this experience, I discovered Equine Assisted Learning/Psychotherapy and became EAGALA certified. EAGALA, led by an American model, is the global leader in equine-assisted psychotherapy and personal development.

My passion lies in horses and wellbeing (mental health), and I aspire to continue developing this in the future.

Caroline Sullivan

B.H.S Stage 3 Coach since 2021

About Caroline

One Easter I went to watch a friend horse riding, I thought oh yeah this would be something I’d like to do. My first time/week going was to Easter camp. I Learnt to walk trot canter and jump in a week!! I’ve always been very determined; my obsession grew from there. I spent all the hours possible horse riding growing up. I was very lucky to have gotten my own pony when I was 10 years old and developed along the way with different ponies and instruction from many wonderful people. The yard owner was a major role model and guidance in all 18years I was based with her. She was a fantastic woman to have learnt from.


I was very lucky to have competed in showjumping, dressage, cross country, evening, hunting, showing with many wonderful ponies and horses throughout my childhood, teenage years and even adulthood.
I received some fantastic showjumping coaching through my teens with Jack Doyle and the Bourns family in Galway.

Post college, I began working in the horse industry more permanently and constantly building my knowledge and experience before beginning my B.H.S education and qualifications

I continue to compete regularly, being very active in riding club (adult pony club). I Continue to train with many fantastic coaches. My uncle once told me ”you’re never too good for a lesson, there’s always more to learn”

I love coaching, I get to teach all ages and levels of riders, from everyday lessons to competition riders.

 I have some of the best memories from over the years from achievements to horses I’ve had to people I met/learnt from/became friends with. A weekly hobby became an obsession and a passion very quickly and that has never changed, and never will. After 29 years it’s fair to say I’ve been there, done that.

Kirsty McKenna Keogh. 

B.H.S Stage 3 Coach and Office Administrator

I did horse riding once when I was around 9 years old. This led to me constantly begging my parents if I could do horse riding. My mam lied and said you had to have your own horse first, hoping I would just forget about it. I saved up all my birthday , Christmas and communion money until I had enough for a horse.

My mam then told me I had to start lessons before I could buy a horse, again hoping I would start and hate it and give up as she was terrified of horses. I started horse riding at 10 years old. I loved it so much that within my first year I had bought my first pony Rosie. Who I still have and is happily living out her retirement at age 27. 


Since then, I have only continued to progress in the equine industry. I studied Equine Studies and Coaching in Grennan Collage. I completed the Ride Safe, Stage One Complete, Stage Two Complete, Stage Three Ride, Care and lunge along with my QQI qualification in 9 months. I progressed on to do a level 6 course and my BHS Stage 3 Teach. 

Since then, I have been working here at Cherry Orchard Equine covering all areas on the yard, teaching and training along with some of my favourite clients and co-workers.

Abby Parkinson

Equine Instructor since September 2019

I started horse riding when I was 4 years old in South Africa. My parents bought a house that had land, two horses, and a small stable, and my passion for horses started. My nana had a friend, and her daughter was an instructor. I started to take weekly lessons from her.

When I was 9, my parents bought me my first pony, Fair Lady. We went to many horse shows together and had the best time owning her. I had her for a few years before we moved to Ireland. I would take weekly lessons at Brook Lodge and Festina Lente and help out in the yard whenever I could.

When I finished school, I went to St Patrick’s Community College in Naas, where I studied horse breeding and management for a year. In 2009, I started studying for my BHS exams at Cherry Orchard Equine Centre, and at the end of 2010, I took some time off when I was expecting my first baby, soon followed by my second.

I continued horse riding in my free time, and in 2019, I went back to complete my Stage 2 coaching certification. I have been teaching horse riding in Cherry Orchard for the last 4 years and have also achieved qualification as a Therapeutic riding coach. I’m currently studying for my Stage 3 exams.

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