Not just a dressage rider…..

Coming from a non horsey family with a limited horsey budget I was always going to have the more tricky, completely unsuitable ponies.

However, these ponies were the ones that taught me how to stay on and keep going, and they also taught me the true value of perseverance and hard work.  Once my ponies were on side there was no stopping us. I loved to go fast and jump so was determined to make it as a professional event rider and so the journey began…

My journey has not been a lonely one so I have a lot to people to thank for their support, encouragement and true life shaping influences along the way; firstly I would like to thank family, my mum who has been a constant support throughout my whole life and has always been there when times get tough with a smile and a cuppa. Luckily I inherited her drive, determination and solid work ethic that has pushed me through my career and made me the person I am today.

My dad also gave me some very wise words  “Make sure you do a job that you love as you’re a long time doing it”, which is very true so luckily I chose a job a fabulous career which I love every day.

Mark, my fabulous husband for over 25 years has been my constant rock and support, by my side through the good and the bad. I’m truly blessed to have him.

Straight from school I went to work at a local riding school where I got my BHSPTT and stage 3 qualified AI. On leaving there I went to work for Sue Charters BHSI and event rider. Sue was a great inspiration to me and allowed me to ride and compete on some beautifully talented horses. While with Sue I gained my BHS Intermediate Instructors qualification plus Stable Management level 4. Which I loved doing as it involved eventing and jumping which was always my first love and still is…. a little.

After passing my BHSII qualifications I made the tough decision to move on and teach freelance. I started teaching at Rockmoore Riding School for Derek Maidment who was a lovely gentleman , which allowed me to build up my confidence in teaching.

While working freelance for Carol and Geoff Simpson their trainer was Lucy Farrer. I started working for Lucy on a regular basis, she grew my love and intrigue for dressage. Hacking, lungeing, handling these beautiful horses stirred the dressage passion within me that I didn’t know existed.  Over the years we’ve become great friends and I still call upon Lucy for her support. I have a lot to thank her for.

This also gave me time to work with a few professional riders, helping them produce their young stock and groom at top level competitions. This time spent was invaluable to my training, knowledge and experience.

My desire to learn and to ever improve drew me to contact Serena Pinccus.  Serena was so generous with her time and knowledge and allowed me to train on her school masters.   It felt like magic, taking a hot difficult horse and challenging all that energy into something amazing.

So, this leads us nicely onto Lizzie (Flyaways Alys), an interesting character. A very spooky character and quite challenging mentally but once she gained her confidence in me, she was the one that truly changed it all.  I am truly indebted to her.

Even though she wasn’t easy I had great success with her from Novice all the way to Advanced Medium BD and trained upto Prix St George.

Whilst working as a freelance groom for Rita Johnson who was having lessons regularly with Carl Hester, on one occasion I grew enough courage to ask Carl if he would consider looking at my horse (Lizzie) and advising me on what level I should be competing at in British Dressage and what I should be aiming for.

To my surprise he agreed, this was after telling me he had a waiting list as long as his arm, I said “don’t worry it will only be one” and that was 20 years ago. I have trained regularly with Carl ever since.

With Carl’s help I found Twiggy (Donerstar Song) which was brought as an unbacked 3 year old, Nic and Lorenzo backed her for me through many weeks of pogoing around a very small space! I produced her upto Prix St George level.  Unfortunately, this mare was sold before reaching her true potential due to being part of a joint ownership.



At which point Carl was nagging me that I needed another top horse and he had got a group of youngstock coming over from Anne Van Olst stud in Holland which were all 6 month old foals, as to which I ended up with one (this is most defiantly the edited version, ask me one day and I will tell you the whole story…. Carl mixed the passports up!!!!) and this is Zeb.

Lizzie had to retire from Dressage at the age of 19 due to fluid in the tendon sheath, she was very fit and healthy besides the injury so I decided to breed from her as she had previously had a foal. Her first foal Neo (by Negretto), he had a fabulous trainable attitude to life and was sold to Vicky Hill.



Then she bred the beautifully Sonny (Sanguine Hit), who has brought hours of immense joy to my life, he is just so fun and cheeky. The thing that makes this horse is fabulous is that he gives you that feeling of being a kid again, that time in your life when horses were for pure joy, and what makes him extra special is that he is amazingly talented and finds life very easy.  And anyone that knows me will know my pet name for him is the “Little S**T!!!!”

He is currently flying up the levels finding each stage easier than the one before.

I feel very privileged that over the last 20 years I have competed at national and regional competitions, and many BD qualifiers. So what’s next?

Well, looking forward I have some beautiful talented horses that I hope will blossom over the next few years and move further up the levels.

Watch this space, I’m excited about what the future will bring.