This week I’m chatting with young British international dressage rider, Izzy Lickley. Based at the family owned Kingswood Equestrian Centre in South Staffordshire, Izzy is a hugely talented international dressage rider who, at just 18 years old, has established an impressive CV of producing and competing at some of the biggest shows in Europe and is consistently in the top 30 ranked riders in her age group in the world. Read on to discover more about Izzy, her ambitions, and top tips for success.
Tell us about you and your horses
So currently I have three ridden competition horses, Mount St. John Furstin Fugger (Fiji), Katniss (Kitty) and Noire NA (Nelly). Fiji is owned by Emma Blundell and we own Kitty and Nelly. Fiji is my current international horse. We campaigned Juniors last season and were reserve for the European Championships. Next season I move up to Young Riders and Fiji and I will be starting the season at that level. I’m so happy because Fiji is just an absolute dream to ride! Kitty is 7 and currently competing at Advanced Medium and is just the most amazing horse, she is super talented and has such a wonderful character and is just an absolute pleasure. Mum and I quite regularly fight over who gets to ride her as we just love her so much. Nelly is a 4y/o Painted Black x Lord Leatherdale x Negro, she is still very green and learning so we are just taking our time with her as she is definitely a superstar in the making. She is honestly the best behaved 4y/o ever, nothing fazes her, and she does everything with a big smile on her face. Of course, I can’t forget about the king of our yard Lordy (Lord Leatherdale), he is 19 now and has taught me so much in the nearly 2 years I have had him, he is now enjoying life to the fullest spending lots of time hacking and having fun in the field.
How did your horses come into your life?
So, during lockdown as I was moving up to Junior’s we were actively looking for horses and I had decided that after school I wanted to continue doing horses as a career so we were also looking for younger horses for the future. The Excellent Dressage Online Sales were on, and we were looking at the videos and stumbled across Katniss who we totally fell in love with and bought her in the auction. Fiji came into my life thanks to the generosity of Emma Blundell, she is literally my fairy godmother. I can’t thank Emma enough for letting us lease Fiji. Last season was just incredible, and I had so much fun competing her. We bought Nelly in the Van Olst online auction in November 2021, she was so talented for only 3y/o and we thought she is definitely a star for the future. It turns out when we read more into her profile, we know her breeders really well as they bred mums horse Gullit who is Nelly’s uncle.
How long have you been riding?
Since before I could walk! My mum put me in a basket saddle on my pony Poppet and lead us around.
When and where do you ride?
I am lucky that my family own Kingswood Equestrian Centre so I am based and ride there. I ride every morning under the watchful eye of mum and go training down to Peter Storr every fortnight.
How did you start riding?
Through my parents.
What are you and your horses currently working on?
Fiji and I are working on the young rider’s stuff, PSG is a very new level for me having only ridden one so Fiji is showing me the ropes of all the work. Kitty is working on moving up to PSG level and Nelly is spending the winter maturing so she can compete in some 5y/o classes next year.
What do you love about riding?
Everything! I love training and the sense of achievement you get when mastering something difficult or training a horse to do something new and of course I love competing. The thrill of it and getting to showcase all the hard work you have put in training.
What would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
I would love to continue running the Equestrian Centre when my parents have retired. Riding wise like every rider the ultimate dream goal would be the Olympics but more realistically I would love to have a nice, very competitive string of horses and to get my big red badge competing in a Nations Cup team at Grand Prix.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
Yes, quite a lot when I was younger.
How do you deal with them?
I think working with a sports psychologist helped me a lot, we worked on techniques which meant when I get butterflies in my stomach from nerves, I almost metaphorically set fire to them to create drive and wanting to do well instead of nerves.
Your Top Tip
Always have fun.
Down the Centre Line
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
Glamourdale- his canter is to die for!
Who is your equestrian hero?
If you could have 5 people to dinner ,who would they be?
Harry Styles, Lando Norris, Natasha Baker, Isabell Werth and Anne Van Olst- quite a mix there
Favourite colour horse?
Favourite horse event?
Favourite way to relax?
Top Gun Maverick, at the moment
If you enjoyed meeting Izzy you might like to view more dressage rider “chatting with” interviews here You can keep up with Izzy’s progress and check out her instagram page here