I’m a horse owner, business owner, mum, wife and lots in between to a family of 2 children, 3 stepdaughters, a dog and three horses. My poor husband usually comes bottom of the list! We have a lovely, busy, crazy wonderful life and you’ll usually find me running around after the children, doing school runs, taking to parties, clubs, riding the horses and trying to run a business, all at the same time!
I have three horses who I am utterly devoted too. A palomino warmblood whom I attempt to compete at dressage (if I can stay within the boards!!), an ex-polo pony who is a superstar and I galivant around on just having fun and pretending I’m back in pony club again!, and a retired Irish sport horse who lives a very feral life compared to the other two, but is super happy living out his days in his field.
How did your horses come into your life?
I have always had a huge passion for horses from a very young age. I come from a mainly non-horsey family and so my parents were more than happy to drop me off at the local riding school every weekend where I would stay all day getting mucky, helping out, riding and generally just loving being around all the horses.
I had ponies on loan as a child and then my first horse bought for me when I was 16 and have never looked back.
How long have you been riding?
Since I was 5 years old and taking my current age into account, that would be 35 years!!!
When and where do you ride?
As home life is pretty busy with the children, I prioritise my riding days to be Monday to Friday when the children are at school/nursery. Some days I will ride two and other days just one. Often it depends what is going on with work etc, but I try and make sure they are ridden at least 4 times a week.
How did you start riding?
My aunty used to have horses when we were kids and we had friends with horses so I would always have a sit on them when I was young. It then developed into lessons at a riding school before I got my first pony on loan.
What you and your horses are currently working on?
Currently I’m recovering from spinal surgery so I’m not actually riding at the moment, but once I get the all clear to get going again, I’d like to move up to Elementary and hopefully qualify for the Area Festivals this year. I’d also like to get into polocrosse a bit with my ex polo pony as he’s pretty good and it’s something I’ve had a bit of a go at but really enjoy!
What do you love about riding?
The connection between horse and rider. I love doing groundwork, as much as I love riding. I love being able to teach the horses and being able to learn from them at the same time. I spend a lot of time working on the relationship I have with the horses.
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
With my palomino boy, I would just like to see where we end up. I have no real goals of a particular level or anything, but I’d just like to continue learning and see how far we can go. But as long as all my horses are happy and healthy that’s all I need.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
Yes, big time! I really lost my confidence about 5 years ago when my, then 5-year-old, was going through a phase of napping, rearing and generally throwing himself around. I didn’t feel at all confident in riding him and on many occasions let the nerves get the better of me and just not ride.
How did you deal with nerves
Whilst I knew I was nervous and lacking confidence at the time, I also knew my horse was too and that was why he was acting out. I wasn’t giving him any confidence or reassurance. I decided I had two options, either give up or find a way. I went right back to basics with him, lots of groundwork, lots of time just focusing on building a relationship, and slowly my confidence came back and my nerves got less.
I still suffer with nerves when I enter a dressage arena for a test though, but I’ve worked with a confidence coach on that which has really helped.
Your Top Tip
I have a ‘thing’ about cleaning tails, and two of mine are white! Always use warm water to wash a tail – the dirt comes out far easier. I use kettles, or flasks if there’s no hot water at the stables.
The Final Furlong – Eight Quick Questions
Who would be your dream horse to ride? Milton (if he was still alive!!)
Who is your equestrian hero? Pammy Hutton
If you could have 5 people to dinner who would they be? All of Westlife which is only 4! Ha ha