This week I’m chatting with the very talented British dressage rider and coach Emily Watts. Based in Staffordshire, Emily runs her own yard training dressage horses and coaching clients as well as competing. Read on to discover more about Emily’s story to date…
Tell us a little about you
I’m a UKCC Level 3 British dressage coach and UKCC Level 2 British showjumping coach who just loves horses and is very lucky to call it my job! I am based in Audley, Staffordshire and run a small professional yard training dressage horses mainly but with a little bit of jumping mixed in to spice it up a bit!!!!
How did horses come into your life?
Horses came into my life at a young age as my mum, Jill, is very horsey. She has her BHS stages and teaching qualifications but has never really done a lot with it as she has always been busy bringing up me and my sister, Lucy. Mum is a big part of running our family haulage business with my dad, Richard. As you can probably tell we are a very family orientated family and I am very lucky to have had the support I have had from my parents from a young age. I started riding properly at our local riding school where my mum used to work at about age 7 and have not stopped since!
How long have you been riding?
I’m 28 this year so about 20 years. Wow I feel old!
When and where do you ride?
At our family base in Audley, Staffordshire. I also do ride for other people who mainly have their horses based with me but I do also do some freelance when time allows.
How did you start riding?
I started riding because I loved going fast!! I remember falling off countless times in one week. That’s how we learn to stay on apparently! I also loved going to pony club camp and having great fun. I think that’s what it should all be about when your young and learning the ropes, I still try to have some fun now and love nothing more than a canter round Somerford farm ride!
What you and your horses currently working on?
We are currently working on various different things, I always try and link all my work back to the scales of training and I’m a firm believer that the basics can always be better! I am incredibly lucky to have 2 great dressage coaches in Patsy Bartram and Matt Frost and a super mentor in Susie Gibson who is also my jumping coach.
I also work on myself a lot with the help of a great sports therapist (Ruth Kennerley sports therapist) and Pilates with Jo Titterton where we do sessions both on and off the horse!
What do you love about riding?
I think what I love most about riding is that you never stop learning, there’s no boring day at the office when you’re riding different types of horses and I also love to see my clients learn and develop!
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
My future goals are to continue to develop my coaching and hopefully do my level 4 at some point and to ride a Grand Prix in the near future on Razzy!!!!!!
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
I’m quite lucky I don’t really get nervous but I do get caught out for the old “trying too hard” thing!!!!! I think I ride better under pressure at a big show, that’s what makes me enjoy competing so much!
How do you deal with them?
To deal with any nerves or anxiety I suggest grabbing yourself a good sports psychologist – I was very lucky to have a lot of support from Dr Moira Lafferty when I grew up through the BD Youth North West system!
Your Top Tip
Never compare yourself to others, a bit of healthy competition is good to fire you up but we are all on our own journeys and especially in dressage you have to compete against your last result. I find especially at the higher levels it can become a little demoralising when you’re not riding a super posh horse … you have to remember why you do it. For me it’s for the love of training and actually for the fact I love my horses.
The Final Furlong
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
My dream horse to ride would have to be Milton…. as in the show jumper.. I grew up in ore of everything he achieved, an obvious answer would also be Valegro, I mean who wouldn’t want a whirl on him!!! Such a power house!
Who is your equestrian hero?
My Equestrian rider hero would have to be Rachael Blackmore – after watching the way she rode the national this weekend, I’m amazed at the amount of guts that girl has especially in a sport dominated by male jockeys! I also admire anyone who is willing to work really hard to achieve their dreams, just like she has and many others have across a lot of different disciplines. I don’t believe in luck … maybe we need a little of it, but hard work certainly makes you luckier! It is Not a coincidence!!!!
If you could have 5 people to dinner who would they be?
John bishop, Taylor swift, Mary Berry (she can make Pudding!!), Stacey Solomon , Mrs Hinch (maybe she would clean for me!?)
Favourite colour horse?
It has to be a nice jet black horse just like my Razzy or a beautiful grey … as long as I don’t have to keep it clean and it must have big dapples!
Favourite horse event
My fave horse event has to be to ride at the winters at Hartpury ….. or to go and watch it has to be Badminton or Burghley!
Pizza 100% … and crisps!
Favourite way to relax
Fave way to relax is in a nice bath … or on a sunny evening with a gin in hand some good food on the way and a nice view of a good pub garden!
My favourite film is “you didn’t need to blow the bloody doors off!” The Italian job!
I also used to watch racing stripes over and over when I was a kid! Love it!