I started riding as a child, literally in nappies. Health and safety was different back then! I evented as a teenager and enjoyed lots of freedom riding my ponies across country. My favourite was a naughty Welsh cross thoroughbred palomino who loved jumping and generally had very few brakes! Even back then I loved the dressage though, and spent many hours trying to coax my feisty cross country steed to do it!
In 1987 I left school and had planned to take a year out before university to go with a friend to South America. My dressage trainer at the time was training with Hasse Hoffman in Denmark, and she knew they needed summer staff, she suggested I might enjoy working there for awhile. It was a totally new experience, there were more than 50 horses from youngsters to Grand Prix. They were mostly in to sell but I was lucky the Bereiter I groomed for let me ride a lot of the horses. They felt like nothing I had ever ridden before and I was hooked. I never went travelling and only made it to South America on my honeymoon in 2002!
From there, it was working out how to make my way in the financially demanding world that had chosen me. I worked as an apprentice in a nearby dressage yard and was short listed for the young riders teams, but it was apparent even back then that getting the horsepower to get to the top needs luck and money. I had a young horse that I planned to back and sell, but the more I worked with him the more I recognised that he had the heart to work with me.
At that point without realising it, I was shaping my future and my journey was going to be as much about the relationship with the horse as well as the winning. That horse, Pipsqueak, went on to contend National Championships at almost every level, represented Great Britain at small Tour and competed Grand Prix. He was 16.1 but the length of an average 14.2 pony, so not your classic dressage swan! This star of a horse is now happily retired and causing chaos with his strong opinions.
Since then, finding a replacement for him has been elusive, I have been lucky enough to compete a number of horses for clients and have built up a successful training yard and business. I have also set up a small breeding programme, aimed at producing that mix of talent and trainability for the future. My dream would be to ride a home bred horse at Grand Prix, all the way from 'mid-wife' to International, I can't wait....
Along the way I have developed a strong philosophy on the training of both horses and riders. I aim to use an empathetic and psychological approach to bring out the best in my horses and pupils. The way I see it is this is a chosen life path for me, and it is as much about the journey as the results.