Tell us a bit about you, the horses you ride now, and perhaps a little bit about where you are based in France
Hi I’m Louise and I write an equestrian blog called In Due Horse. I started riding when I was ﬁve years old and have been obsessed with horses ever since. I am British but now live in Toulouse, in the south west of France due to my husband’s job with Airbus.
I currently ride Mya, a black 10 year old Frisian / cob/ Irish draft mare. I have her on part loan and this suits me very well at the moment. I can ride her as much as I want, but as I live in Central Toulouse and drive about 40 mins to see her, so I usually ride 2 or 3 times a week. I love escaping to the countryside on those days but also love being in the city close to my friends and lots of bars and restaurants!
Tell us the story of how and when you started riding
My parents could never understand why I was so horse obsessed as the rest of my family were not horsey at all! I took riding lessons every weekend until I was lucky enough to get my own pony Cassie when I was 12 years old with some money my grand father had saved for me. I had my own horse during my teenage years (Cassie who was a 13.3hh welsh x then Stanley who was a 15.1hh thoroughbred) and competed fairly regularly in unaﬃliated show jumping up to 100 cms and was always oﬀ at riding club camps, local shows or fun rides. Unfortunately it all came to an abrupt end when Stanley passed away unexpectedly in his ﬁeld one day. I was devastated. Sadly this is why I became a returning adult rider as after Stanley passed away I stopped riding completely for just over a year as I was just so upset. I didn’t want to ride any other horses that weren’t Stanley. Luckily I did move on, and to get me out of my funk I decided to train for my British Horse Society exams and completed my Stage 1 and 2 and have part loaned 3 horses since then.
There were sometimes big gaps in between but I always returned to horses!
How did you start riding again after your move to France?
When I moved to France in 2017, after being here for about a year I was so excited when my friend introduced me to her friend Kate. Kate was looking for someone to share her horse Mya and I have been part loaning her ever since. It was a perfect situation really, Mya was being brought back into work after a really long break following an injury to her leg she had needed operating on and I was returning to riding after several years oﬀ due to moving/ changing career etc. So it took us a while to get back into the swing of things, but now we enjoy competing in online dressage at Prelim level, with a goal of starting to compete at novice level by the end of this year.
What differences have you noticed between keeping and riding a horse in the UK and in France?
It’s been fun starting to ride in France as there are subtle diﬀerences in the way people do things with their horses. It’s much the same of course, however the weather is not and I have had to really get used to Toulouse’s boiling hot summers! However the winters are still comparable to the UK but normally a bit drier, which enables Mya to live out all year round. I have seen some strange pieces of tack, that I have never seen before and my favourite diﬀerence I have noticed is that French people feed their horses left over baguettes! Which really surprised me as that does not seem like a horsey snack to me!
What you are currently doing in your riding and do you have any riding goals?
Mya and I have found the online dressage to be an amazing goal to focus on each month. I pick a diﬀerent test each month so there is something diﬀerent to practice and focus on for each test and also try to have fun with it too, like in December I did the fancy dress class and dressed Mya and I up in Xmas decorations. Also it is a great way to record your progress, as you literally have to record yourself each month. I managed to record 5 tests since September and was delighted that I won a Limited class in October, which was the perfect class for a newbie to dressage like me as it only allowed people to enter if they had not ever scored 64% or more in a prelim test. We also managed to come third in the Xmas fancy dress class. I must admit that winning those rosettes really got my competitive spirit in gear and it really spurs me on to do better! As for goals, I mentioned earlier that we are hoping to start competing at Novice level by the end of this year.
Who would your dream horse to ride be?
My favourite dream horse to ride would be Milton, as I grew up watching him and John Whitaker competing. I used to have a Milton VHS tape that I watched all the time and always wanted to ride him.
Who is your equestrian hero?
My equestrian riding hero is Lucinda Green. She is just a legend. I also adore Mary King. I think they are both excellent female sporting role models.
If you could invite any five people to dinner who would they be?
If I could have 5 people to dinner I would invite Dolly Parton, Ben Hobday, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lucinda Green and Geoﬀ Billington.
What is your favourite colour horse?
My favourite colour horse is Palomino. I have always wanted a palomino horse they are just beautiful!
And your favourite horse event?
My favourite horse event has to be Badminton, I am from Bristol so the Badminton estate is only a 15 minute drive from my parents house, so I have been lucky enough to go every year since I can remember and I just love it!
Do you have a favourite food?
My favourite food is pasta for sure, my grandparents on my dad’s side were Italian so I used to love going to my grand parents house for dinner and eating masses of pasta that my granny cooked.
Which is your favourite way to relax?
My favourite way to relax is to lay on a beach reading a book. I can read very fast and when I go on beach holidays I can easily ﬁnish a book in 2 days, so I take my kindle ﬁlled with books to keep me occupied.
And finally, your favourite film?
My favourite ﬁlm is Batman Dark Knight. I’m not a comic book fan but that ﬁlm is awesome! My husband and I have a tradition that we watch it every Christmas during the holidays as we both love it. Not because it’s Christmassy just because we usually have some time oﬀ together then.