I’ve ridden since I was a little girl, my family are into racing and horses have always been part of my life and always will be. Tom is an ISH, Emi is a KWPN and Tiny Tigs is a Section A. I love them very much; they have such wonderful characters and they are such a special part of our family. They live at home with us, I can watch them in the paddocks whilst washing up, doing the gardening or lying in bed!
How did your three horses come into your life?
After I lost my thoroughbred of 17 years who I adored, I knew the next horse had big shoes to fill. I wanted an arena horse. The second I saw Tom I knew he was coming home; he is extremely sweet natured. I then bought Tiny Tigs through an internet advert as a companion. I bought him on the spot and rang my husband to bring the trailer over so I could get him home, he reminds me of my childhood pony. Then Emi, well I never wanted a mare ever! A lady knew what I was looking for and promised me Emi was it. I deleted the email! Something made me read it again. I rode her for 5 minutes and again knew she was coming home. She is such a special mare I love that she’s mine.
How long have you been riding?
I’ve been riding for over 30 years and I will ride for as long as it is physically possible. I see the Queen riding in her 90’s so I know it’s possible. Definitely need to find a quieter horse by then!
When and where do you ride?
I ride most days when I can. I love a good hack but with two talented arena horses I also love my flatwork lessons. My trainer is exceptionally good, so I always look forward to my lessons. I am not competitive at all, but I like something to work towards
How did you start riding?
I was horse mad and would watch, read or touch them at any available opportunity. My mother took me to a farm once to see her friends’ horse, I stayed there for almost 10 years. A lady let me ride her horse and I used to muck out the entire barn in the school holidays for everyone finishing work. Horses were the only thing I was interested in. Weekends from 6.30am I would be sat on the bottom step of our stairs waiting for my Dad to take me to the yard.
What you and your horses currently working on?
Flatwork. My horses are much more talented than me! So, I am working on my own technical skills and my aim is to have them both at, at least one flatwork camp each year.
What do you love about riding?
The special friendship between horse and rider. The unspoken communication, the special bond, the knowing what each other likes or is scared of. With my last thoroughbred I didn’t even have to steer, he just knew what I was thinking through my body movements. That is a real bond achieved over years of commitment to each other. My horses are so much more to me than a ‘ride’.
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
I would like to take part in local dressage competitions, I’m not competitive at all but I like something to work towards. I want to take part in the flatwork camps, and I would also like to enjoy the countryside with my horses doing some endurance rides.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
Every day! Both Emi and Tom are 16.2, they are big, strong animals and I’m only small. Riding and horse care are dangerous, you have got to be so careful. I work on building confidence in them, myself and us together every single day. I like to keep a log of our progress so on the difficult days I can remind myself that the majority of the time our confidence is each other is strong. I listen to the horse, if for example Tom is wound up, I might swap a ride to lunging or flat work so we can both feel safe and achieve something positive. I always finish on a positive. I’d rather small wins every day than a rollercoaster ride.
How do you deal with them?
Many ways, I never push myself or my horse when it feels wrong, I listen to them and observe their behaviour. I will stop riding, reassess what is happening then start again. I’m realistic in my capabilities and I have a fabulous trainer who pushes me just enough to increase confidence without complete fear! It’s a fine line. Especially with new horses. I also do a lot in hand. In hand on the ground is so important. I do this most days. I want my horses to always feel safe with me. I build up trust and respect through my voice and how I handle them.
Is to get to know the horse on the ground. Riding is a partnership whatever discipline you do, knowing and understanding their temperament and personality is key to success.
The Final Furlong
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
Tom and Emi. If they are out of work I don’t ride, I just spend time with them either in hand or groom.
Who is your equestrian rider hero?
Carl Hester, he always seems so down to earth, kind and excellent with his horses.
If you could have 5 people to dinner who would they be?
Carl Hester, Julia Roberts, Kate Middleton, Michelle Obama and Faith Hill to sing!
Favourite colour horse?
Favourite horse event
Burghley – the cross country shows just how fabulous the partnership of horse and rider really is.
Mexican and I eat chocolate every day!
Favourite way to relax
Having a cuppa down at the stables listening to the horses chewing away, that sound is so relaxing. I always try to use my lovely spa membership but being with the horses usually wins.