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About Us

Avoca Park Equestrian Centre

Avoca Park Equestrian is the only place like it in Australia. We provide all your equine needs in one place. We provide riding lessons and clinics for all types of riders. We have a wonderful team of school horses that we provide lessons on, but we do offer lessons to our clients that are horse owners as well.

Avoca Park also offers agistment, facility hire, pony parties, AI breeding services, Pony Club Australia accredited courses, Equestrian Australia Courses, holiday accommodation and of course our dressage equine holidays!

We take so much pride in the work we do, and we love horses so much. We can’t wait to share your equine journey with you. We hope you enjoy exploring our site.

Love Horses
Leanne Williams

Leanne Williams is the mastermind and backbone of Avoca Park. Leanne’s passion for horses and caring for them to succeed amounted to an impressive resume. In the past 30 years Leanne has achieved her Equestrian Australia, National Coaching Levels 1, 2 & 3 in Dressage. She is also a level 2 Jumping Equitation Judge and is a level 1 licensed teacher in Philippe Karl’s School of Légèreté.

During her riding career Leanne trained and competed Avoca Black Saint to Grand Prix and in that time represented both Australia and Victoria. Leanne’s currently continuing the development of her riding with the School of Légèreté and studies many aspects in maintaining and improving the horse and rider’s wellbeing.

Leanne continues to self-educate, experiencing regular clinics each year to improve and learn more. Her main focus for teaching both horse and rider is to teach in Lightness. Her goal is to improve and maintain the well-being of the horse-rider duo. Horses are never nasty or mean, they are telling you something and you are not listening. The reason Leanne is so successful at training horses is because she starts from the ground and listens to what the horse tells her.

Leanne and Avoca Black Saint, in his prime. 

Leanne’s Qualifications
  • July 2020– Racing Victoria – Restricted Trainer License

  • August 2017 – Racing Victoria – Pre Trainer License

  • August 2015 – Neue Schule Academy – Fundamentals of Bits & Bitting Foundation Course – Distinction

  • April 2015 – School of Légèreté Level 1 Licensed Teacher

  • June 2014 – Equestrian Australia Level 3 Dressage Coaching Certificate

  •  March 2013 – Equinology EQ50 – Equine Anatomy & Body Worker Distance Learning

  •  January 2010– Diploma of Equine Performance Management

  •  July 2002 – Equestrian Australia Level 2 Dressage Coaching Certificate

  • May 1998 – Torrens Valley Certificate 4 in Horse Studies

  • June 1996 – University of Melbourne, Glenormiston – Certificate of Equine Artificial Insemination

  •  May 1995 – Equestrian Australia Level 1 Dressage Coaching Certificate

  • February 1993 – Equestrian Australia Level 2 Jumping Equitation Judge

  • August 1992 – HRCAV Level Assessors Certificate

  •  August 1992 – Pony Club Australia C & K Coaching Certificate

  • November 1991 – Pony Club Australia D Level Coaching Certificate

  • September 1991 – HRCAV Dressage Judging Certificate Levels 1 – 5

  • July 1991 – Equestrian Australia Level 1 Jumping Equitation Judge

  • February 1991 – Victorian College of Agriculture & Horticulture Horse Husbandry Certificate

  • Leanne's Story

    Leanne never got to have a pony when she was a little girl, but she did go to a riding school for a few years during her Primary School years. It was a strict environment and in hindsight now, it taught her well.

    As a child Leanne’s love of horses grew as her childhood friends all had horses. She worked and lived for the horse lifestyle enjoying her teen years just riding horses, on trails, swimming in dams, making jumping courses, hunting, and going to Pony Club with her dear friend to watch and cheer them on.

    In 1988, at 19 she purchased her first horse, Mica, a float, and a car to tow them both with. She joined Pony Club for the first time and during this year she had her first official riding lesson!! She stayed in Pony Club for a few years then moved onto the Adult Riding Club as she continued with her lessons relentlessly, as many as she could afford (sometimes 2 and 3 a week!).

    In 1991 Leanne purchased the amazing ‘Ziggy’ (Avoca Black Saint). Her riding still needed improving and he taught her to up her ante as he was way too much horse for her to handle. She purchased him to show jump and competed in the Equestrian Australia classes at C & D and D grade levels, which she enjoyed but discovered it wasn’t her destiny.

    During 1991 she achieved her Level 1 Jumping Equitation Judging certificate and then in 1993 her Level 2 certificate, she loved that part of the industry, and still does now… she has judged at the Pony Club State Qualifiers and Adult Riding Club Top Team Trophy for many years as well as sitting on many Show Jump Club committees.

    This is when Leanne’s dressage had started to develop and they tried eventing, this was also a fantastic growth stage in her riding career, the final event Leanne participated in was the Wandin horse trials where it was still required to do roads and tracks and a steeple chase prior to the cross country. Which was a HUGE fitness effort for the horses and riders.

    In 1995 she achieved her Equestrian Australia Level 1 Coaching certificate and commenced her coaching business at Avoca Park. Her final career move was into the Dressage arena, as this is what she had truly come to love. She and Ziggy moved through the grades methodically, although they may not have been super stars, they were consistent and a force to be reckoned with… In 2000 Leanne represented Australia in the World Dressage Challenge and in 2002 she achieved her Equestrian Australia Level 2 Dressage Coaching certificate.

    In 2007 she received the honour of EA Victorian Coach of the Year, an amazing achievement, followed in 2010 to receive Equestrian Australia Coach of the Year for the second time!

    From there Leanne’s search for knowledge led her onto a journey within Philippe Karl’s School of Légèreté in 2009. It was a 3-year program in which at the completion of the 3 years, the students could go for their Level 1 exam. Leanne passed this very intense course in 2015 and became the first Licensed teacher of the School of Légèreté in Australia. Before completing the School of Légèreté program Leanne was invited to apply for the Equestrian Australia, Level 3 Dressage Coaching 12-month course. She applied, was accepted, and passed- receiving her certificate in 2014.

    After a huge step in her coaching career Leanne now started to develop her knowledge about the impact of training horses on their biomechanics and she wanted to know more so she started her studies again. Working with Equinology, she did her first dissection with Sharon May-Davis along with her other Anatomy and Palpation workshops. She then hosted and participated in a lot of Equine biomechanics workshops at Avoca Park, where she learnt so, so much from all the presenters. From Equestricare Massage Specialists, Equine Osteopathy specialist from the UK, Stuart McGregor, Cranio-Sacral specialist from Canada, Sandi Howlett, Gillian Higgins, many Equinology courses and specialists. They have all contributed to her knowledge and ways of teaching.

    Leanne’s final qualification was becoming a Racing Victoria Pre-Trainer in 2017, with the intention to create a positive impact on the way trainers train racehorses and work with the trainers from a bio-mechanical angle to aid in the health and longevity of these horses.

    In 1991 I saw these 12 acres for sale, in a place called Macclesfield, no-one had heard of it. I came and had a look and it just felt right, unfortunately we couldn’t afford it. It was 12 acres of Tee Tree with not a thing on it.

    I watched it for over 8 months, and it slowly came down in price, eventually it got to a price close to what we could afford, so we put an offer in, the real estate agent rang back with an acceptance of our offer in I would say, 2 ½ minutes. Somehow, I don’t think we bartered enough, but it doesn’t matter now.

    We paid our deposit and took over ownership 3 months later, we were renting about ½ an hour away in Mt Evelyn at the time. We moved the horses onto the block and then purchased ourselves a 20 x 40 foot shed. We spent every weekend building and preparing for us and the horses. We’d paid our deposit in the April and taken over in the July, right in the middle of a Macclesfield Winter, back then Winters were very long and muddy!

    Our Team



    Mandy joined us at the beginning of 2020. After over a decade working with racehorses, she wanted to get into an administrative role to create a better work-home life balance for her and her young family.

    Mandy works both as the Office Manager and as a personal assistant to Leanne. She does everything needed in the office including taking and organizing bookings, contacting clients, payroll for staff, giving occasional lessons, and so much more. With her equine experience she can often understand the needs and wants of our clients when they contact us for the various aspects our business offers.

    If Mandy had a motto, it would be “Always try your best and be honest, you can never go wrong."

    Mandy has her EA Introductory Coaching qualifications and is often helping the team teaching lessons and holiday clinics during busy periods. She loves that feeling horses can give you, that make everything feel just right !



    Danya started with Avoca Park as a junior stable hand in May 2019. She is now an EA Introductory Coach, helps in the office leading our marketing , and helps run out school holidays clinics and pony parties. An incredibly smart girl with a quiet and gentle approach. Danya attends university full time and is a huge part of our team.

    We asked Danya what she has learnt during her time working at Avoca Park and her response shows the maturity and wisdom she has: “that working faster isn’t always best, you could miss something or forget to do something, so it’s better to work harder- as a simple mistake could lead to something fatal”.

    Danya describes Avoca Park “as a well-organized work environment where we are all a happy family. We cherish what each other does and can rely on one another for support. No one’s there to bring you down, instead help you to improve and build you up”.


    Our Maintenance team play a huge role in creating and maintaining our wonderful facilities. Their hard work and dedication is visible and very noticeable each and every day they are at work. We are blessed to have them in our very hard-working team.

    John Williams - Co-Director

    Johns’ role in Avoca Park’s maintenance began shortly after purchasing the block, with excavating driveways, the shed site and of course the site for the indoor arena. As time progressed John has been involved in all the designing, building, repairing, and remodelling on the property.

    John is integral in making sure everything is working as it should and his favourite part of the job is seeing progress in the way horses develop in their training.

    His favourite horse is Spencer (Avoca Park’s Resident Stallion, aka “Avoca Flaunt It”) because he is a gentleman.

    John’s fondest moments at Avoca Park are "when I come home and look at how much Leanne and I have achieved.”

    John Williams


    James has been working in maintenance and gardening for us at Avoca Park since December 2019. He has loved seeing the changes in the grounds/gardens and paddocks since he started.

    James has become an integral member of our team and he keeps the property looking amazing.

    James’ favourite part of the job is “working outdoors in the quiet countryside among trees, when the weather is fine” and he likes the donkey Johnny Simpson, because he can be overlooked sometimes with all the horses running around. “Plus I like the sound he makes when he sees breakfast coming up the hill”.



    Tina become a student of Leanne's in late 2023. Wanting to find a coach conducive with her beliefs in classical dressage and with hopes to improve her skills.

    Tina fell in love with Leanne's teaching approach and began weekly lessons. In March 2024, after some good ol' Avoca Park family love, she's jumped back into the equine industry after a little time away due to previous unpleasant experiences. 

    Tina has thrived in our stable block, she is efficient, intuitive, kind and happy. She has been an amazing addition to our small team.


    Amelia joined us as a client in 2020, becoming a horse owner in 2021- Amelia has been involved with Avoca Park for a few years. After completing her Equestrian Australia course, Amelia joined our junior staff team and now regularly works every Thursday.

    Coaches & Trainee Coaches


    Qualified EA level 3 Dressage Coach.

    Qualified level 2 Jumping Equitation Judge.

    Licensed level 1 teacher in Philippe Karl’s School of Légèreté.

    Teaches high level dressage on our FEI Trained Mare.

    Leanne is currently continuing the development of her riding with the School of Légèreté and studies many aspects in maintaining and improving the horse and rider’s wellbeing.


    Vicky has been a part of the Avoca Park family several years as a client riding with Leanne as her coach.

    She has been a qualified Introductory EA Coach since December 2021 and is now studying for her Level 1 Coaching. Vicky challenges our riders to push themselves and she has a huge following.

    Vicky is often competing and continues lessons with Leanne to always work on herself and her skills to become bigger and better all the time.


    Amy has been a fully qualified Introductory EA Coach since 2022 but has over 9 years’ experience coaching young riders and groups. 

    She loves coaching and guiding riders with a passion for horses.


    Danya became a qualified EA Introductory coaching in December 2023.

    Danya has riding lessons each week with Leanne, persistantly working towards improving her skills and knowledge. Danya currently works with school horse Perry and his ongoing training.


    Primarily the ‘Office Lady’ Mandy is also a qualified Introductory EA Coach and worked for a riding school in England for over 5 years before moving to Australia. She completed an Advanced Diploma in Horse Management and went on to ride trackwork and work senior roles in racing at Caulfield Racecourse for 10 years. Mandy enjoys teaching both children and adults throughout the week, occasionally you will see her covering other coaches on a Saturday.


    Tina has been a client of Leanne's since mid-2023. Enjoying the dressage training. 

    She has already worked through her EA manuals but is due to work through her assessments to become a qualified Introductory EA Coach. We love Tina's bubbly personality and she has an amazing energy, which the horses and clients both love.


    Our juniors work after school, weekends, and during their school holidays. Working hard while they learn more about their passion of horses. During their shifts they make up and feed the horses breakfast and dinner, clean out the stables, prepare the horses and ponies for their lessons and make sure the stables and yards are clean. They also help with our pony parties and school holiday clinics and camp activities.








    The Creation of Avoca Park

    Written by Leanne Williams

    It seems like an age ago but realistically it is all within our lifetime.

    In 1991 I saw these 12 acres for sale, in a place called Macclesfield, no-one had heard of it. I came and had a look and it just felt right, unfortunately we couldn’t afford it. It was 12 acres of Tee Tree with not a thing on it.

    I watched it for over 8 months, and it slowly came down in price, eventually it got to a price close to what we could afford, so we put an offer in, the real estate agent rang back with an acceptance of our offer in I would say, 2 ½ minutes. Somehow, I don’t think we bartered enough, but it doesn’t matter now.

    We paid our deposit and took over ownership 3 months later, we were renting about ½ an hour away in Mt Evelyn at the time. We moved the horses onto the block and then purchased ourselves a 20 x 40 foot shed. We spent every weekend building and preparing for us and the horses. We’d paid our deposit in the April and taken over in the July, right in the middle of a Macclesfield Winter, back then Winters were very long and muddy!

    We did some excavating for the driveways, the shed site and of course the site for my arena. We then started erecting the shed, we were getting into the warmer months by now which was making things a bit easier. Once the shed was up, we decked it out and that’s where we lived for 11 years whilst we built the stables, the arena, and our house.

    Over the next few years, we worked and built, and worked and built, and worked and built.

    We cleared the whole block of tee tree with a hand slasher as we could not afford a tractor then. We slowly built the fences, initially we had no fences and whilst we were living in the shed, we would wake up in the morning and the horses would be looking at us through our front windows.

    Around 2002, we went out on a limb and purchased the property next door, it was 23 acres and almost completely covered in tee tree. We did what was called a boundary re-alignment and sold the house with 5 acres and put the other 18 acres onto our title which then gave us just under 30 acres. And once again we were back to clearing tee tree!

    Not long after we started looking into the idea of building an indoor, this had been an absolute dream of mine but now starting to look like a possibility. We discovered the materials were affordable, but the labour was not, so we decided to do the build ourselves and as owner builders we could do that. And so, the indoor was built.

    As the business grew so did the type of clientele and now, we were wanting to run clinics, the Bunkhouse was designed and developed along with our Apartment to host the presenters. This led to us needing an outdoor arena for the development of the riding school side, so our little outdoor of 18m x 35m was built.

    The final part of the progress of Avoca Park was into the educational side, we built the small classroom first over the indoor which holds up to 20 students or our smaller social functions. We then built the large classroom which holds up to 50 students either for classroom set up or 50 guests for a social occasion.

    During all this time I continued to compete and develop my teaching skills to the highest level.

    The last 29 years feel like a dream and sometimes I look around and wonder how it all happened.

    Most of all we would like you to enjoy your time here with us, in whatever capacity you are wanting, we really hope we can help you out with your dream. Because this was ours and….. DREAMS DO COME TRUE!!

    Our Pets

    Leanne and John have lots of pets at Avoca Park. They all have a unique tale of how they became part of the Avoca Park family. This page is dedicated to our furry (and feathered) co-workers and their unique stories.


    The newest addition to the Avoca Park family! Arthur is a cheeky boy full of energy and can often be seen in the company of Audrey. He is full of curiosity and still learning the ropes but taking to it like a fish to water. 


    Audrey was born in 2018, the smallest of 9 puppies, in a litter that was surrendered at 6 weeks to a shelter. She was listed as ‘tan runt’ on her paperwork and had to be hand fed to catch up to the size of her siblings.

    When she was 9 weeks old, we took over her care. Little did we know, we took on a puppy who would never understand no, as it had never been said to her.

    Audrey is a delight to have around even though she still doesn’t understand that the sitting area at the arena, in fact any seat, is not for her bottom too.


    We don’t actually know how old Cocky is exactly, but we know he is older than 33.

    His owners were moving to Sydney, and he couldn’t go with them. He’d lived in Macclesfield and Emerald for as far back as we could find of his history, so we offered to take him.

    In his earlier life, he had lived in a cage out the front of the Emerald Pet Shop, and children walking past would always stir him up. If you visit him today, you’ll notice he dances, talks and jumps around when he gets overstimulated. He also starts to mumble drunkenly when he hears raised voices, and his vocabulary does include profanity! The experiences from his earlier years certainly had an impact on him.

    The plan was to release him but every time we tried, he wouldn’t get up off the ground, and it would only have been a matter of time before something tried to kill him. So, we built him a bigger aviary and now he lives a quieter life by the stables but always has some kind of company, whether it’s horses, dogs, cats or humans.

    He is a wonderful part of life at Avoca Park and is always making us laugh.


    Sebastian has a super important job…keep the kitchen clear from mice! And he does it very well.

    To fit in at Avoca Park, he had to meet certain criteria, such as liking strangers, not fearing dogs, horses, and other cats, happy to sleep alone, unfazed by vehicles, and not likely to go wandering.

    The shelter we called had two potential candidates; the first was a Tabby and he was walking up and down the aisle way, we thought “he is just going to march straight off our property”.

    The next was in an enclosure, he was on the top shelf of the cat climber hanging upside down.

    We looked at him and thought “He is the ONE!!”

    He truly is unique, meets all of our criteria and is loved by all. He sleeps in the office, loves the heater and keeps the mice at bay.

    He was perfectly picked.

    Johnny Simpson

    Johnny came to Avoca Park as a 7-month-old on 24th April 2010, the eve of ANZAC Day. My birthday to be exact. He was named Johnny Simpson after John Simpson’s Donkey in World War 1.

    I had always wanted a donkey but never had time to make my desire a reality…but my nearest and dearest friends lovingly schemed on the day of my Great Niece’s wedding to surprise me with an amazing gift.

    They drove for hours, backwards and forwards, from Abbotsford to Wonthaggi, Macclesfield to Colac, to gather first a car that could tow a float, then the float, and finally the donkey himself.

    They were over an hour late for dinner but at that first Brae, followed by ‘Happy Birthday!’…all was forgiven!

    Jenny Simpson (AKA Cuddles)

    Cuddles is a 100% Miniature American Mediterean Jenny (NO Light Points). She joined us in September 2020. At only 31.5” high she is just adorable! She loves people and Johnny. We named Cuddles "Jenny" as that is the term for a female donkey and we think it went well with Johnny. However the name "Cuddles" has stuck as she is so adorable and cuddly. Her birthday is 17th June 2004


    Olive joined us as a kitten in 2001, after recovering from a very serious illness that was touch-and-go for some time.

    Nowadays, she is never far from the stable block but if she does venture, it’s usually to a sunny spot in the hayshed to sleep, or on the dummy near the undercover yards but what she loves most is when she hears us teaching on the outdoor arena; she loves to come up for a visit and a chat.

    Say Hi next time you see her, she will love you for it! And she has the best purr in the world if you give her a pat.


    Oliver is a medium haired boy who came to us as a kitten, just a few days after Olive. He was exactly what we were looking for, a male tabby that matched Olive for looks (just a bit more floofy). We found him at a shelter and we couldn’t resist him.

    He can be a little timid with strangers but once he gets to know you, he’s incredibly happy to hang out…but only in the stables. His favourite places to chill out are the rafters, sitting on a stable door or anywhere high; he’s rarely on the ground.

    When you visit the stables, look up and see if you can find him hanging around his high spots.