Meet Natasha Smith – Horse Loving RAF Medic

Spring 2022 Magazine – pg.10

Natasha, aged 34, is a medic in the Royal Air Force (RAF) and has been an IH member for two years. Growing up in Darlington, she is now based at RAF Valley, Wales.

“Being around horses has definitely helped my mental health, as it’s been a great wind down after stressful days.”

Did you enjoy a horsey childhood?

I grew up in Darlington with my parents Christine and Michael and older sister Rebecca.  I was very privileged to have a horsey upbringing and my own ponies, as did my sister.  My mum liked horses and I think that’s where my love for them came from.

What drew to you Intelligent Horsemanship?

I first heard about IH and Kelly Marks around 6 years ago when I was having a few difficulties with one of my horses, Autumn.  I was gifted Autumn by a Point-to-Point trainer, as she hadn’t made the grade as a racehorse, and had been turned away for a few years.  My mum was doing some research and came across Monty and Kelly.

What do you enjoy most about IH Membership?

I first became a member around 2 years ago after becoming very interested in Intelligent Horsemanship.  I love the fact that there is so much information available in different ways and at such ease.  The IH Magazine is a fab read.   I have learnt so much reading the magazines and mum loves to read them after me too!

I have done the 5 Day Foundation Course and also helped out on the Perfect Manners. The 5 Day Foundation was an absolute amazing experience, learning how to correctly Join-Up, and watching the instructors at work was just unreal.  It was an absolute honour to watch Kelly work her magic as I’ve grown to become a massive fan and am in absolute awe of her.

What are the most important lessons IH has taught you?

From a training point of view, how using correct body language when working with horses is super important.  But more than that, IH has changed my life as it has shown me that patience is so important, not just with horses but in day-to-day life too.

Tell us about the horse in your life

My first horse was a retired racehorse, Charm.  She was such a wonderful, kind caring mare who would look after anyone. 18 when I got her and my word age did not stop her!  She absolutely loved a flat out gallop round a stubble field and a swim in the sea.  My next horse was Autumn, a TB who hadn’t been ridden for 4 years.  After watching various Monty videos, I achieved my goal to ride Autumn on Christmas Day, with my mum riding Charm.

I don’t currently have my own horse, as I sold my last mare Boo, a palomino TB x WB, back in Dec 18.  I would like to get another horse one day once work has settled, and I know where I’ll be.

What role do you have in the RAF?

I have been a medic in the RAF since 2006 and have loved my time. I think my biggest, most rewarding experience was serving in the hospital in Afghanistan during the war back in 2010.  It was a really hard experience and mentally drained me.  But it was so rewarding being able to help the injured people from many different nations.

I think my work life and love of horses has benefited me both ways 100%.  Being around horses has definitely helped my mental health, as it’s been a great wind down after stressful days.

What are your other pastimes?

Apart from horses I love being outdoors and taking my whippet for walks in the country.  I love spending time with my family and friends and making the most of it, as I don’t always see them as often as I’d like.

What is your next goal?

My horsey goal is to become an IH Trainer and to be able to help others with their horses. I have done the 5 Foundation course and once settled at RAF Valley, I am going to plan my next course.

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