Hello Mulberry Tree Lifestyle readers, my name is Tilly and I am 23 years old. By day I work for an accountancy firm to help fund my passion for horses. I would describe myself as an amateur eventer. I have two horses in my life; a grey Irish Sports horse called Terry and a Chestnut Welsh Mountain Pony called Romeo who is mainly ridden by my Mum. You may know of us from our Instagram and Facebook page ‘Houligan’s Legacy’.
How did your horses come into your life?
Romeo came into my life when it was clear that our ex-racer, Houligan, needed a slower pace of life. At the time I was more keen on my dressage. We searched and searched for a fabulous all-rounder that could do the dressage I wanted and take my nervous mum for a plod whenever she wanted. We were looking for an absolute unicorn! Enter Romeo. We went to try him 3 or 4 times, and even though his previous owner told me he has quite a jump in him all my questions were very dressage based.
Once we got him home it really did become apparent that Romeo really did have springs in his back legs. This definitely wasn’t in my comfort zone but I had a few lessons and ended up dipping our toe into some working hunter classes, local level show jumping and my first ever hunter trial.
Romeo was a talent and we were soon out every weekend either training or competing. Romeo took me to my first ever BE events and together we had so much fun.
Unfortunately it soon became clear that Romeo wasn’t as keen on competition life as I was. However talented he was not enjoying himself. I took note and following a conversation with mum who agreed to take Romeo on as her own, I got in touch with my trainer to see what he had in. I was shown some lovely horses but the one that really stood out had to be Terry, he was bang on budget and sounded fabulous! I was due to go on holiday the day after so arranged to see him with my non-horsey other half (NHOH) in between packing.
We walked into the barn, and were shown to Terry who was having an afternoon snooze over the stable door. Even my NHOH liked Terry as he gave him scratches on the neck to which Terry reacted by pulling some very adorable faces. We put the deposit down that day and went to pick him up when we got back from our holidays.
Terry certainly has been a huge learning curve for my riding from Romeo but both boys certainly have a home for life with mum and me. We wouldn’t change them for the world.
How long have you been riding?
I started lessons at a riding school when I was 8 years old. Having non-horsey parents myself this was pretty special. When I was around 11/12 years old, once I had proved to my parents I was pony obsessed, I was allowed to loan a pony for the first time. I fully loaned horses until I turned 13. By this time I think my parents were tired of me pleading and finally mum and I brought our first horse, Summer. She was a lovely thoroughbred x New Forest pony. From here on in we owned some beautiful horses 15 years later I’m still as horse mad as ever and I can’t see this letting up any time soon.
When and where do you ride?
I ride at any opportunity I have and wherever I am able to. I certainly have a few places on the bucket list of new places to ride including the beach; this will hopefully be fulfilled in September corona pending, and on a ranch; that would be an absolute dream.
My favourite place I have ridden to date has to be around Thetford forest, it really is so gorgeous and the tracks are just endless!
How did you start riding?
After what felt like years of us going past the local pony club riding centre my mum, not being horsey herself at the time, would always promise me that one day she would get me riding lessons. This day eventually came on my 8th birthday and it’s safe to say from then on I was hooked!
What are you and your horse currently working on?
Terry and I are working on consistency. The aim is to get a very similar level of work at home as to when we are competing.
While on lockdown, to help with this, I have been having mind-set coaching. This has been really beneficial and I can’t wait to see it all in action once we are allowed back out to competitions. It will be really amazing to see the amazing results in action.
In mine and Terry’s schooling sessions I have taken the approach to not take ourselves too seriously. This more relaxed way of schooling has given me much better results and really appear to be sinking in more effectively as a result.
What do you love about riding?
I love the freedom riding brings. You can have all the stresses in the world but when it is just you and your horse out in the open fields or on the course there really is nothing quite like it.
I also find riding very rewarding, it really shows to me how when you stick at something through the good days and the bad it will work out for you. Even if it’s hard to see the end right now.
Finally I love the friendships I have formed as a result of the sport. I love that I can now go to shows and be competing alongside friends or go to support them, train with them and just generally help each other get towards usually a common goal.
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
With Terry I would like to carry on our progress in the world of eventing. Ideally I would love to get to Badminton Grassroots, wouldn’t we all! But at the moment I’m very happy with our little wins just plugging away at our own pace.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding and how did you deal with them?
Part of the reason I have been having mind-set coaching is for the nerves I had been experiencing on Terry while out on the cross country course, particularly at jumps before water. They have really helped so far and I’m hoping I will only go up from here.
I highly recommend getting mind-set coaching when dealing with some sort of nerve or confidence crisis. The power of the mind is just amazing.
Your Top Tip
With having a grey I have come to get loads of fab tips and tricks for keeping him white and ‘clean’. My favourite one at the moment has to be using some sort of coat sheen just before you turn out. This way they can get as muddy as they wish but the mud doesn’t stick around for long!
The Final Furlong
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
Its got to be Oliver Townend’s Grey, Ballaghmor Class!
Who is your equestrian hero?
Definitely Oliver Townend
If you could have 5 people to dinner who would they be?
Oliver Townend (Can you see a trend yet?)
Favourite colour horse?
My all-time favourite horse colour has to be liver chestnut, just beautiful!
Favourite horse event
To ride at myself: Stratford Hills or Goring Heath
To go and watch: Got to be Burghley!
I think cheap milk chocolate. Only cost 10p? Get in my belly!!
Favourite way to relax
I love to relax on the sofa in front of some rubbish on TV such as family guy or American dad.
This goes to The Shawshank Redemption, such a classic.