I was in school until 16 and supposed to go back to school to do A levels but as my GCSE results were good, I argued I had done enough education and wanted to start on my real education for my career with horses. (Was it Mark Twain who said "don't let schooling get in the way of your education"?) Eventually I won the argument. Since then, I've been working full-time with horses!
I first rode when I was about 2 or 3 – it was all going well until we went to the beach one day. The pony I was riding (which was quite small and usually well behaved) suddenly took off – I was soon decanted onto a large stone which missed my body protector, hurt me and put me off riding for quite a few years. The pony ran about 2 miles up the beach until recovered by my older brother – the pony is no more but the stone is still there!
Later, we had the most brilliant family pony, Royal, who was my sister's pony (she is 14 years older than I am) and then my brother's. He was a real quality pony, about 14 hands and careful as a cat. He had the phenomenal ability to be nice to kids who couldn't ride and go perfectly, as if on the bit for them but if they could ride, he had to be ridden. So he gave you the taste of success and then if you wanted more you had to work for it, but it was all the sweeter for that! He taught me so much and sadly died last year aged 28.
After winning the Pony Club National Novice Championships at 12 on a pony I had brought on myself, I found I was growing pretty fast. My parents were looking round for a nice 15.2 when Pip Higgins, my dressage trainer and a good friend absolutely insisted we needed to get a proper 14.2hh and have a go at pony trials. As a result we ended up with Catherston Nutsafe and Three Wells Breeze and my career was settled! Snoopy took me to team gold in 2010 and Breeze to Team Bronze and individual Silver at the Pony Europeans 2011.
I have spent the last year under the tutorship of Sarah Higgins and Alex Hua Tian, the Chinese Event rider at their beautiful yard in Cheshire where I have 6 horses – it has been a good year with several good wins with Wodan and Opera House and being on the GBR team for the Junior Europeans at Bishop Burton. I plan to spend the winter training and improving my dressage and show jumping and to come out next year and be unbeatable!