Tell us about you and your horseI am Beth, I’m 28 and work in accounts. Spirit is my 15h 7yr old cheeky little piebald cob. We live on the outskirts of Leeds, West Yorkshire.
How did Spirit come into your Life?I bought Spirit in September 2016 after my Mum was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour. I used to work as an Executive Assistant for a restaurant company – working 60 hours a week and having not much time for anything other than work. In August 2016 I decided to hand my notice in and take over my mums role doing the accounts for our family’s engineering business. I had so much time on my hands that I decided now was finally the time for me to buy my first horse.
How long have you been riding?I had my first riding lesson for my 2nd Birthday
What made you start riding?I’ve always loved horses. My love started as a child, my grandma used to look after me and had a private yard next to her house, ironically where I keep Spirit now. So every day we used to go up and feed the horses, and occasionally the owners would let me have a little ride up and down the lane on them.
When and where do you ride?I try to ride as often as I can. In summer I usually ride every other day, a mixture of schooling and hacking. In winter we are more restricted as I only have a paddock to school in which means we are tied to weekends only and if the ground is bad then we don’t school and have to hack, which I’m not a massive fan of. The roads are very busy where we live, and there is not much off-road hacking as it’s very built up. We do have a country park; Oakwell Hall, which is about a 15-minute ride and you will mostly find us there.
What are you and Spirit currently doing?We’re currently just schooling and hacking. Spirit has only just turned 7 and is still very green, I think that’s normal for a cob as they take longer to mature than other horses. I find in summer our schooling comes on well, and then often because I struggle to school in winter, we go backwards and have to start again in the spring. But I own her solely for my pleasure, I have no intention of showing her or anything like that so there is no pressure on either of us to be good at anything.
What do you love about riding?I just love the feeling of freedom it gives you. Spirit & I went on our first fun ride last year; to be honest I was dreading it as I’d never done anything like it before but had an absolute blast, both of us. We need to do more of that.
What you would like to be doing in the future with Spirit and do you have any goals?I’m hoping to buy a trailer this year so that we can get out and hire an arena, go on fun rides etc. I have riding lessons with an instructor who is Philippe Karl School of Légèreté trained and I would love to take Spirit there for lessons and clinics.
Tell us about how you are as a riderI never used to be, but now I am quite a nervous rider when it comes to hacking. The longer I leave it between rides, the worse my nerves get too. Because Spirit is quite young she is typically quite spooky which often isn’t helped by the fact it is so busy where we live. There’s always off-road motorbikes, yapping dogs & busses/lorries to contend with! In an ideal world, we would move to the East Coast and have quiet, scenic hacking and I know I would love it!
Was there a particular incident that made you become nervous?We had a very hairy incident when I first bought Spirit we were riding through our (busy) village to get to Oakwell Hall, and there is a TV repair shop on the corner which leads up to a steep hill. As we rode past the TV shop they dropped the roller shutters and the horses just had a meltdown and bolted through the village. We couldn’t stop and it was quite terrifying. Fortunately cars stopped for us but it really unnerved me, even now if we ride past and they rattle she starts getting silly.
How do you deal with your nerves?I just try and talk to Spirit calmly, pat her and tell her she’s good. Because she’s not too big, if she is panicking quite badly I will jump off and reassure her as she calms down a lot quicker if you’re on the ground with her.
The Final Furlong – Eight Quick Questions