This week I’m chatting with a highly talented young British rider Anna Bates. Based in County Durham Anna is a qualified BDCC L2 coach and combines her role as a veterinary receptionist with riding and coaching. Anna has recently been selected for the BEF Young Professional Program 2022/23, which is a program dedicated to supporting young professionals within the industry across British Dressage, British Eventing and British Showjumping in developing their own business. Read on to discover more about Anna, her ambitions, and top tips for success.
Tell us about you and your horses
Hi my name is Anna Bates, I am twenty years old and based in the North East at County Durham. I don’t actually work with horses full time, so my main job is as a veterinary receptionist at Darlington Vet Clinic but I am also a qualified Veterinary Care Assistant so I work my horses around work the best I can. I am recently also a qualified BDCC L2 coach and trying to make that transition into working with the horses more often. I have just retired my main girl Jolianna (Jo) from competition due to injury. I got Jo as a 10 y/o and in them 7 years we’ve gone from competing Prelim up to Prix St George at Premier League and training Inter1. We campaigned at Junior level for 2 years but unfortunately Covid hit us right at our peak. She is eventing bred, she is Jumbo x Mimic but she is well and truly my heart horse so although she is retired she’s not going anywhere. My other horse is called Gitina (Xena at home) and she is a 11 y/o KWPN mare. She is super well bred by Johnson x Sitina. We have been together 4 years now and we’ve definitely had a rocky road but very happy we are coming out the other side. We have taken her from Novice to Advanced Medium level and she is training PSG at home. We’re hoping to campaign at Young rider level next year.
How did horses come into your life?
My gran use to have the Pit Pony’s in her back field so naturally my mam got into horses and she evented to a high level so it was kind of in my blood. I was never fortunate enough to sit on one of my mams horses but I remember having my first pony at the age of three.
How long have you been riding?
I think most peoples answer, for as long as I can remember.
When and where do you ride?
I am fortunate that I keep my girls at home but we don’t have the training facilities so we are always on the road. I’m lucky that we have a livery yard 10 minutes drive that let us hire their arena. I normally school 3 times a week and then hack 2/3 times a week.
How did you start riding?
I got my first pony Bailey when I was three and some of my earliest memories are of me out in the hunting field with my mam on the lead rein. We have always been a hunting family so I started with that. I went though Pony club and did everything as I got older showjumping, showing, eventing. Following my mams foot step’s I was an eventer and we were also very competitive at Pony club Games. Until I got my last pony Bumble (who we have home for retirement at the age of 27) I turned to the dressage as I fell in love with the Dressage to music.
What are you and your horses currently working on?
At the moment with Xena we are upping her work to Prix St George level and working on her canter pirouettes. She has started with Piaffe and Passage to with she is finding super fun.
What do you love about riding?
I just love having the horse as your dancing partner. The feeling they give you when everything falls into place isn’t like anything else.
What would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
I would love to be working with the horses more full time and bettering my rider and coaching knowledge. I would also like to have an arena at home to make training easier. With my horses I would love to have gotten Xena to Grand Prix and if we can earn that GB flag along the way that would just be the cherry on top.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
I have always been one that is cool as a cucumber when competing but since Xena the nerves hit. I got that bad I gave myself stomach Ulcers.
How do you deal with them?
I was given medication and I know when they are coming so I know when to take a tablet. I do my best to keep clam and I find plaiting up keeps me very content. If it’s an everyday competition it doesn’t faze me but if it’s a championship and I know she is on top form they can sometimes get a hold of me.
Your Top Tip
Enjoy every second with your horses because you don’t know when is going to be your last ride!
Down the Centre Line
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
This is probably a lesser known horse, but Ellie McCarthy’s, Beau looks like a fire cracker to ride.
Who is your equestrian hero?
I don’t really have one because I think there is something in every rider that you can take something away from and learn.
If you could have 5 people to dinner who would they be?
I’ve never thought about this! Probably Alex O’laughlin, Lee Evens, Amanda Holden, Adele and Jason Statham.
Favourite colour horse?
Anything with four white stockings and a white blaze.
Favourite horse event?
Can’t live without Chicken Wraps.
Favourite way to relax?
Going out with friends or lazy days with puppy cuddles and films.
I don’t have just one as I’m a big film fan but anything Disney.
If you enjoyed meeting Anna you might like to view more dressage rider “chatting with” interviews here You can keep up with Anna’s progress and check out her instagram page here