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Tell us a little about yourself and your horses

The perfect way to spend a day
I’m a 23 year old professional dressage rider from Hampshire, based on my own yard sharing this amazing journey with 8 fantastic horses ranging from 2 to 23 years old! I train on a regular basis with Jezz Palmer, and I love producing young horses. I went to college after finishing school and came away with 3 A Levels in English Literature & Language, Media Studies and Sociology. This allowed me to have a back up for a ‘normal life’ if the horsey life didn ’t work out! I went straight from college to a gap year as well as working on the yard my where my horses were based at the time; this gave me the chance to work out whether I wanted to make horses my full time profession going forwards! Safe to say I loved every minute of it, and I now run a livery yard in the heart of the Meon Valley as well as teaching ambitious riders.

How did your horses come into your life?

My family have always been quite horsey, especially my dad’s side. My nan used to run a riding school and bred New Forest Ponies, I was lucky enough to be gifted a mare she bred named ‘Flora’ whom I’ve owned for 10 years this year, we even share a birthday!

How long have you been riding?

What a flashy mover!
I’ve been riding 16 years this year but professionally I’ve been riding about 2.5 years.

When and where do you ride?

I am lucky enough to own my own yard, Webbs Green Stables, where I ride, run a livery yard and teach from.

How did you start riding?

When I was 7 years old my school started offering riding lessons at our local riding school on a Thursday, I managed to convince my parents to let me go literally just after my 7th birthday as that was the minimum age limit!

What are you and your horses currently working on?

I have a few horses in work at the moment but each horse is working at: – Perugia – Grand Prix – Inanda – Advanced Medium/PSG – Kapri – Medium/Advanced Medium – Eddie – Novice/Elementary

 

What do you love about riding?

When your horse has just given you everything its got
I love the feeling of when your horse truly understands and trusts what you’re asking of them and offers you 100% back

What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?

I’d like to reach Grand Prix on all my horses and of course the Olympics is every dressage riders dream but realistically my short term goals, I think, would be getting on U25 GP teams with Perugia and Senior GP teams with Inanda (as I will be out of U25’s by the time she’s at Grand Prix) would be absolutely amazing.  

 

   

Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding? 

I actually really struggle with nerves! Funnily enough I don’t suffer at all with Perugia, as there’s no pressure to get a certain score but we just get round and have a nice time. But with Inanda and Kapri, I put an immense amount of pressure on myself because they’re such amazing horses and I feel I need to do them justice. I always get that awful butterfly feeling in my stomach before I compete and it makes me feel like jelly. It sounds silly to admit now but I actually went back to my lorry after Addington Novice Music Regionals and cried because I ‘only’ scored 70% with Inanda. I felt like I wasn’t good enough for her and that I should have won that regional because it’s such a walk in the park for her. Luckily my trainer, Jezz, came after me and gave me a pep talk which made me realise how ridiculous I was being.

How do you deal with them?

I try to ask myself now, is novice the long term goal? Am I going to look back in 5 years time and kick myself because I didn’t score over 70% at novice? These days I try to only focus on improving the movements that I have been working on, whether I rode the best I could and whether I felt the horse’s way of going has reflected our recent training. It’s easy to get hung up on scores, but ultimately it’s not going to be easy the whole time and I have to take the rough with the smooth as it’s all part of the journey.

Your Top Tip

My top tip would be love what you do. You need to get up in the mornings with that excited feeling in your stomach to get on your horse. There is no point doing it, whether you’re an amateur or a professional if you don’t have that burning excitement to go and do it. Find yourself a trainer that not only understands you but pushes you in the correct way to be the best you can be and surround yourself with a team that supports you and always wants you to do the best. You’d be surprised in how much easier life is when you cut out negative people.

The Final Furlong

 

Who would be your dream horse to ride?

I think my dream horse to ride would be MSJ Freestyle. I love mares!!

Who is your equestrian hero?

Hmmm I can’t choose one but I really look up to Cathrine Dufour or Jessica Von Bredow Werndl.

If you could have 5 people to dinner who would they be?

Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, my late grandad, Captain Jack Sparrow and my mum.

Favourite colour horse?

Anyone that knows me knows I love black horses!

Favourite horse event

Hickstead is an incredible show.

Favourite food

I am a real sucker for a Chinese…

Favourite way to relax

Sitting on the sofa next to my boyfriend and dog with a cold glass of wine.

Favourite film

Pirates of the Caribbean! I could watch it 5 x a day and still want to watch it again.
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Sharon Howe

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