I started riding when I was 6. I didn’t have my own pony, but we were allowed to borrow a Shetland from the farm down the road. So in the holidays and on free weekends Mum would take me down and we’d ride around the farm.
I started having formal lessons when I was 10, at a local riding school. After a couple of weeks they asked if I’d like to come and help out on a Saturday. Saturday soon turned into the whole weekend and then the school holidays. 2 years later my parents realised I probably wasn’t going to give up and we bought my first pony, Thunder.
Thunder allowed me to have a taste of going out and about to shows and training and as soon as we could we joined The Pony Club and became members of the Hampshire Hunt. Throughout my time with Thunder we tried pretty much every discipline, we won the Pony Club Novice Endurance Championships in 2010, were on the dressage teams, jumped lots of clear rounds show jumping and started taking our Pony Club tests. He was amazing, he’s since been ridden by all my siblings and now at the grand old age of 27 is in the Royal Artillery Branch teaching another rider.
Despite Thunder being the wonder pony, he had a few lameness issues and when he was off I needed something to do so I got involved with the Quiz and Horse and Pony Care competitions. Our team qualified for the Quiz finals on our first attempt in 2010, finishing 6th. We followed that up with a 2nd and two wins in the next three years.
Unfortunately I did eventually grow too big for Thunder and we started looking for a horse. We went out to look for a schoolmaster, ideally a gelding around 10 years old. What we ended up with was a little, 5 year old bay mare, Maria. At this point I had very little knowledge about young horses, so we based ourselves with Cheryl Bezants. Cheryl was our eventing mentor and produced both of us from zero eventing experience to our first international, she was always on hand to offer advice and get us back on track if we were struggling and it was a fantastic start.
I still have Maria who is now 17, we are a proper team and together we have completed so many firsts together at all levels up to 3*, including wins, placings and double clears. She’s a proper fighter and my favourite memory so far was competing in the CCI2*S at South of England in 2018. It rained so hard overnight that we show jumped out of a foot of mud, we were last to go in our section and it was still raining so hard that the photographer went home and at one point I turned to a skinny and the rein went straight through my hand! Two thirds of the section withdrew or faulted, Maria skipped round loving the bad weather and flew up the leader board to finish in the top 20.
In 2013 I went to the University of Leicester to study Geology and I became involved with student riding. I qualified for nationals in 2015 and was awarded a Sport Scholarship in my final year. In the autumn of 2015 I competed in my first Student Riding Nations Cup representing the Netherlands where we won team silver. Through these competitions I was able to compete all over Europe in places like Poland, Ireland, Germany and Switzerland and in 2016 I was selected to be part of the team for the World University Equestrian Championships.
In 2017 I went to work for Nick Gauntlett. I spent 2 years there and it was a great experience to be part of a larger set up. I had the opportunity to groom at overseas events, ride lovely young horses and work with the stallions and youngstock. It was also really helpful to have someone so experienced on hand to go to for advice and training. Working here allowed me to gain experience with lots of different horses and helped me to pass my A Test in 2019.
In the autumn of 2019 I set up on my own and even though we’re in the middle of a global pandemic my business has grown quickly. I teach regularly for the Wokingham and Garth South pony club branches in addition to training the area 13 AH Test candidates. I really enjoy teaching as it’s so lovely to watch partnerships grow and be involved in their journey. I particularly enjoy teaching younger children and riders who lack confidence as I am good at breaking down concepts and making sure the rider has all the skills they need to progress and work on their own.