Meet The Team

Learn about the team running our animal behaviour courses.

Alex Le Grand BSc (Hons). CHBC ABTC-AAB IASF-A

Managing Director and Tutor

Alex is registered with the Animal Behaviour and Training Council as a Registered Accredited Animal Behaviourist and is also a Certified Horse Behaviour Consultant with the International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants. He also holds a BSc (Hons) in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and is an IASF Level 4 Certified Advanced Saddle Fitter and IASF Certified Level 5 Educator and Assessor and tutors on their accredited courses.

Alex consults under veterinary referral for more than 15 practices around the South East, consulting on complex equine behavioural issues. He often deals with ridden behavioural issues, mixing his understanding of saddle fit and equine ergonomics with behaviour to resolve complex referred issues.

Alex is also one of the founding directors at The Berkshire Animal Connection Centre, a registered charity, animal sanctuary and education centre based in the Berkshire countryside where they provide a home for over 20 horses as well as sheep, goats and small mammals.

Alex started his behaviour journey with the Natural Animal Centre, gaining the NAC EBQ Stage 1 and 2 before moving on to undertaking two degrees and gaining CHBC and ABTC-AAB. The content delivered within Stage 1 and 2 was second-to-none and was on-par the degree level programmes in terms of the applied behavioural science and consulting knowledge and understanding covered.

Alex also guest lectures ad-hoc for colleges and educational institutions, delivering sessions on animal training, learning and cognition.

Debbie Busby BSc (Hons) MSc MBPsS CHBC CCAB ABTC-CAB

Director of Behaviour and Tutor

Debbie is registered with the Animal Behaviour and Training Council as a Clinical Animal Behaviourist and works with referring vets to resolve complex behaviour problems in horses and dogs. She supervises masters students on university courses and mentors new behaviourists coming through professional routes. She practices as a psychotherapist within a Transactional Analysis framework, using this modality to support her animal behaviour clients in implementing the changes that she recommends through her consultations.

Debbie started her animal behaviour career in 2006 when she studied at the Natural Animal Centre with Heather and Ross and achieved the Equine Behaviour Qualification, which she still says was the best training she had in equine behaviour! Debbie went on to gain a first class honours degree in Psychology and a Masters degree with Distinction in Applied Animal Behaviour and Welfare. Her professional memberships include the British Psychological Society, The Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (full member, ABTC-CAB), the International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants (Certified Horse Behaviour Consultant, ABTC-AAB), the British Veterinary and Behaviour Association and the International Society for Equitation Science.

Debbie is in the second year of her Doctoral PhD research in horse-human relationships at Manchester Metropolitan University, exploring the sustainability of horse riding in the contexts of training methods, welfare and social licence to operate.

Debbie writes articles and books on all aspects of behaviour and consulting, and presents talks and workshops internationally, both as an animal behaviour specialist and as a supporting expert in the Human Behaviour Change for Animals team, collaborating on psychology-themed projects. She contributes to equestrian magazines and wrote the chapter on Equestrianism in the book Equine Behaviour in Mind. Debbie co-authored the book The Horse, A Natural History, published by Princeton University Press.

Aliyah Woodland

Having been around horses all her life, the NAC's Director of Training, Aliyah, first found her way into the equine industry volunteering as a trainee instructor at the age of 15 and has worked since that day in the equine industry.

From medical supervisor to yard manager through to senior instructor and trainer, Aliyah has worked in a variety of roles. Now almost 10 years later she holds diplomas in equine rehabilitation and management, has a distinction in Equine Psychology, is a graduate of the NAC and continues her work as a behavioural trainer and positive reinforcement coach (certified BRS Coach) in her freelance coaching business Equine Thoughts, which won Runner Up in the Centre of excellence ‘Best Business Award’ 2020.

As well as dedicating her time to her own clients and NAC, Aliyah works as an equine tutor delivering KEITS diplomas and alternative education provision in the Education Department at HEROS, which shares a centre with North Farm Stud where she studied herself back in 2017. During her years at North Farm Stud, Aliyah encountered a vast number of rehabilitation cases and thus how physical ailments can manifest in a wide range of behavioural symptoms and how - alongside a team of vets and therapists - these behavioural issues can be addressed to help horses and owners continue to lead comfortable and fulfilling lives.

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