My passion for horses comes from my granddad who would tell me stories of when he looked after heavy horses at a local farm when he was young. He would take me to feed the horses near his house and tell me all about how to care for them. I started having riding lessons at the age of 8 and like many horse mad girls I spent every spare moment at the stables. When I was 12 my family moved to small holding in Co Cork, Southern Ireland. We had a small paddock and I was finally allowed a pony! My family had limited funds and equine knowledge so I was presented with a 4 year old chestnut mare who had failed as a racing pony, needless to say she taught me how to ride and to have endless patience with horses as they have not all had the best start in life.
I left school at 16 to work in the racing industry, I was lucky enough to work with and ride some of Irelands best race horses of the time. While living in Ireland I was fortunate to have some fantastic training in coaching riding and the care of young horses. In my early 20’s I moved back to the UK where my love of Fell ponies and showing came to the fore. I rode and competed friends Fell ponies which reignited my competitive side. I would work all week at a large riding school in York and on the weekends travel to Cumbria to ride and show Fell ponies. Then I have a live changing event at the age of 25, I lost my mother and it really made me think about what I wanted out of life, so I enrolled on an Equine Business degree course in at Warwickshire College to further my education. While at college I worked as a freelance Coach, groom and rider.
One very cold march weekend I was at a loose end decided it would be a good idea to go and look at the horses at Henley – in – Arden market with some friends, I hadn’t gone with any money so did not intend on buying anything. However when I saw Mr Woo (Solly) across the busy yard I knew there was something special about him. I went over to him and his big brown eye had me at hello! I tried to walk away as I had not gone to buy but every time I looked back at him he was watching my every move. So that was it he had to come home with me. I has not been a smooth journey to where we are now as had had several health issue while at college and we had to take things slowly with Solly as he could be nervous. We also managed to have a freak accident were he slipped on the yard after a schooling session rendering me unconscious and resulting in plastic surgery to my face to correct complications from the fall.
Despite all of this we have persevered and regained our confidence together and we have gone from strength to strength in 2014 culminating in winning the Ultimate Quest for a Star at the Traditional Gypsy Cob of the year show being placed above professional riders. We are very much hoping we can do as well in 2015. I currently work as an office administrator and fit in riding around this so I have very long days and can often be found at the yard well after dark when everyone else has gone home making sure all of Mr Woo’s needs have been met.
Our results from 2014 Qualified for:
- PUK 2014/2015
- Royal London
- CHAPS Champs
- HOPE Show Reserve in hand champion and ridden champion.
- Several placing’s and 1st at riding club shows
- At Royal London where we were Reserve Reserve Champion in the Traditional Cob section and went on to be Reserve Champion in the Open Coloured final.
- At TOYS in our first ever workers class we were reserve champions on the Friday and on the Saturday we were Reserve Champion in hand and ridden Gelding, Cob Achiever of the year and Ultimate Quest For a Star Winners.