I started riding at the age of 18 months old getting rides off my instructors Shetland pony and anything else I could have a sit on! When my sister moved on to horses I luckily inherited her Welsh Section B pony “Cavara Toffee Cream”. Together we had many enjoyable years at Pony Club doing all activities and disciplines including team competitions. When I became too big for Toffee I moved onto a 13.2hh Connemara cross pony called “Felicity Marzipan”. She turned out to be younger than we thought so I schooled her on and found a love for BSJA as she was so honest and careful. We had such a great time going to all the shows to include winning the Pony Club Area 13 team SJ and then coming 2nd at Hickstead the following day in the Pony Club team competition. Sadly I soon became too big for Flea and bought an interim pony, a 14.1hh Connemara X TB mare called “Whiskey Bubbles”. Again I schooled her on and found the buzz for eventing as she loved the cross country!
When I became too big for Whisky the search began for an eventer. Sadly I became seriously ill and my plans had to change. This meant I bought a horse to look after me, which came in the form of “Bolder Alexander”. He was fresh from Ascot sales where my then trainers Mark and Denise Hallion had bought him. Mark had had Bolder – then known as Lot 78 – for several weeks and Bolder hadn’t put a foot wrong, so on a break from hospital my parents and I sneaked down the yard and I was hoisted onto him and instantly fell in love... so we bought him! – The doctors were rather shocked when I told them I had just ridden and bought a horse! We were liveries at the Hallions yard which was close to the hospital I was at, so when I was allowed out for a couple of hours I would go to groom Bolder until I became strong enough to ride him. This time with Bolder always made me feel so happy and it really helped Bolder (who was very nervous) come out of his shell and enjoy the attention.
Soon I became well enough to begin to ride and I taught him dressage which he quickly learnt and we would participate in the competitions held at Mayhill Stud and by the third test we were winning! I then started to teach Bolder how to show jump, again he got the hang very quickly and we started doing the odd British Showjumping and British Dressage shows where we were nearly always coming home with a top placing. Because I wanted to event we tried our hand at XC schooling and he loved it!! We did a pairs XC and won it and then did our first unaffiliated ODE and won this – I was over the moon after I got over the initial sick feeling from my nerves!
Time soon came for me to have a kidney transplant and whilst I went through that, Bolder had some time off to digest all he had learnt and was sat on a few times before I got on him by Denise. He was such a clever little horse and knew exactly how I felt, if I was poorly he was an angel and would look after me, yet if he knew I was well he would be tricky and make me work for what I wanted... which taught me so much.
We soon continued where we left off in BD and BS qualifying for second rounds and the Regional Finals and we became affiliated with British Eventing. In one year we came in the top 10 in Pre-Novice all season and qualified several times for the regional finals. We also qualified for The Race Horse to Event Horse Final. Bolder and I participated in a national competition called Quest-X, this was a search for the next eventing star. Together we competed through different stages being judged by HRH The Princess Royal, Sarah Cohen and Yogi Breisner. We eventually came second which I was amazed at and I was then very lucky to be supported by Toggi and Champion. Throughout my life with horses I have been very fortunate to receive regular training from some of the best horse men and women in the industry. After Quest-X I we moved up to Novice and again qualified several times for the regional finals, but we started to notice something wasn’t quite right with Bolder so had him checked and found he had spavins of the hocks. He was treated for these but never fully came back to where he was so we decided to bring him down the levels and just let him enjoy himself. Within a couple of years he was sadly put to sleep due to ill health, it was a horrible decision to make but it was my turn to look after him, he owed me nothing and was my horse of a lifetime and I treasure every moment I had with him!
During my late teens and early twenties I started to work through the BHS stages and took the Preliminary Teaching Test (PTT) whilst studying for my A Levels and eventing most weekends. My plan was to get the BHS Assistant Instructor (BHSAI) qualification as a fall back but I soon became hooked with teaching so decided to pursue a career doing what I loved! In this time I also bought a couple of project horses which I schooled up and sold on to lovely lifetime homes and I still see them out and about which is brilliant.
When I finished my A Levels I started working at Lavant House Stables on a Sunday to help gain the 500 hours needed to complete the BHSAI and learn valuable experience training children through to adults, who ranged from complete beginners to the more advanced rider. After a few years of Sundays there, working at Oldwick Saddlery and doing my own freelance riding and teaching business, I took up the position of Chief Instructor at Crofton Manor Riding School. Again this provided me with a vast range of riders and horses which developed my coaching skills further. In my time at Crofton I started to work through the BHSII exams and was awarded a bursary from Hampshire BHS to take the Intermediate Teaching Test. I also became Manager of Crofton after only 6 months. I learnt so much.
I decided to move on and started working at Merrist Wood College. I worked there for 18 months whilist also providing some private free-lance lessons.
I enjoyed producing the college’s horses and helping the students on the yard, however it was during this time that I discoverer the enjoyamnet I got out of free-lancing.
I made the leap to go fully self-employed in 2014 and havn't looked back!
In 2013 I qualified for the Southern Regional Final of The BHS Instructor of The Year.
In 2015 I was nominated and awarded through the Pony Club to receive the ABRS Scholarship.
I have spent the last year working towards taking the BHSI... I am pleased to say I have successfully achieved the Senior Equitation Certificate and Stable Managers Certificate. I am under training for the Senior Coaching exam, which I hope to take in 2016. Upon gaining the BHSI I would love to become a BHS assessor, along with continuing my coaching, riding and pony club training/assessing. Next step would then to become a listed British Dressage Judge.