• Qualified Personal Trainer
  • Women's Fitness Specialist
  • Experienced Horse Rider
Registered Exercise Professional

Melissa Ocelka

I am a qualified Personal Trainer, Women's Fitness Specialist and experienced horse rider. I really wanted to combine my passions - horses, fitness and wellbeing. So started Fitter Rider - an obvious choice for me to encourage horse rider / equestian fitness.

In 2005 I had a fall and fractured two vertebre, this was two weeks after I had bought a foal, Milli. She was just four months old. For three years my back was in agony; I had physio, acupuncture, sports massage – you name it. It all helped for a while and then got progressively more painful. Stupidly I carried on regardless with some days being better than others, realising what my limitations were etc...

I backed Milli and rode her for about three years but then she learned that if she reared up and went over backwards, I would come off, otherwise I would just sit there and ride it out. My confidence was at an all-time low and I started to question myself and my ability. After putting up with this for several months and her having every test, x-ray, scan & treatment you could think of (nothing showed up or was unusual!) I decided to retire her to grass at only 7 years old.

In the meantime, I had met Marek. Now husband who was very into his health and fitness and has been all of his life. He is a Personal Trainer and runs group training classes. I did the dutiful thing and took part in his classes and had some PT sessions. I won’t lie it was difficult and hard work but what amazed me most was that I was no longer suffering and in pain from my back! Realisation hit me, I was finally being consistent with exercise and I actually enjoyed it. It gave me a strength & fitness I had not had before and I was enjoying all the benefits that came with it!

With this new found passion, I decided to give up my day job and qualify as a Personal Trainer. I absolutely love it! It is amazing to see the change in my clients, not just the physical change but also a change in their mindset and an awareness of external factors that effect their daily lives, both in and out of the saddle.

Last year I brought Milli back into work (after 6 years off!). This is something I could only dream of but we have not looked back... she is going better than ever and now I am a stronger and more effective, confident rider! I put this down to several things but a key factor is my fitness and consistency.

What I have learnt is that the more effective you are as a rider, the more effective the communication with your horse, the happier your horse will be and ultimately you will both perform better as a partnership.

This is achieved through specific exercises, targeting strength, balance, mobility and cardio vascular fitness. For this, you need to build your foundations, including your core - a foundation from which you can build. Using the correct form and technique is vital to avoid injury and this is something I won’t compromise on! In turn, by working our body evenly and equally this will improve any imbalances we have both in and out of the saddle.

If you are not straight and balanced how can you expect your horse to be?!

I firmly believe that what you do in the saddle directly translates through to your horse; the horse being a mirror of the rider’s influence.

My aim is to help you become fitter and stronger, making you more aware of what you do physically and how this translates into your riding. Essentially helping you become the best you for your horse!