Horses and ponies have been part of my life as far as I can remember, I began sitting on my sister's pony as soon as I could walk and have never looked back. Our first miniature Shetland, Inky, is 8hh, we still have her but as she is older now she is far less naughty, although she still tries to come into the house! My family are all horsey - my Father Show Jumped to International level and my Mother groomed for different riders for many years. So it’s a real family team.
Being quite small for my age my parents found it difficult to find the right first pony for me, but in a chance conversation with one of their clients Toby was found. Toby was 10.2hh, we struggled along to begin with, me mainly spending quite a lot of time on the floor but our partnership grew with hard work. Toby and I attended pony club, hunter trials and unaffiliated show jumping with great success. But I was desperate to jump at affiliated competitions. Toby, however ,was really too small to jump the Tiny Tots classes at 90 cms, so we carried on looking for a bigger pony. By chance we went to see a friend at a show, and there Lullaby found us!
Lullaby had been a show pony, jumping working hunter classes, so we agreed a trial and finally after much persuasion from mum, dad finally agreed to buy her. Lullaby taught me everything she could, she was a saint with the heart of a lion. She gave me the experience from jumping Tiny Tots classes to Horse of the Year Show qualifiers which at 12hh was a big ask. My sister Laura had a 12.2hh pony called Gunner, who we kept when she decided she did not want to compete but I was too small to jump him as he was very powerful. Finally, in my last year I had grown enough and started jumping him. He was quite inexperienced compared to other ponies on the circuit, but we worked hard and qualified for Horse of the Year Show in 2012.
In 2013 my first year of 13.2 ponies began. These classes can be very big, up to 1.35m so we decided that a schoolmaster would be a better option than a novice pony. Errigal Blaze (Eric) was bought; he was 20 years old and quite strong,but kept me safe and knew himself when we were wrong. We qualified for Pony of the Year Show (POYS) and then went on to qualify for the Royal International at Hickstead. He was a superstar at POYS, he turned and twisted in the jump-off and we won our first Championship, he loved the presentation and jumped over the spotlights!!
2014 was a year of major highs and lows! I was very lucky to be loaned a horse for Children on Horses classes, with a view to competing on the European Team. Sir Graditz - ‘Silvi’ had been a Grand Prix horse for his former rider so he was very experienced. We attended a show before the European Trials, but the second day I could tell that he didn’t feel right in himself. We were worried that he may have had a touch of colic, but whilst we were waiting for the vet Silvi took a turn for the worse and had a heart attack and died. I was devastated, but also very lucky that this hadn’t happened when I was jumping him. So with the hopes of competing for Team GB dashed, I concentrated on my 138 pony Eric as we had the Winter 138 Championship to contest again and Horse of the Year Show to qualify for. Eric proved to be the most consistent 138 pony and was placed in every HOYS qualifier he jumped, qualifying at Arena UK. We concentrated on keeping him in peak fitness as he was 21, but this paid off as at the Royal international we went on to win the 138 National Winter Championship.
In 2015, I have now moved onto 148 ponies. I gained a new ride Kingstown Rebel who was sent to sell for the owner. Unfortunately, my top pony ‘Some like it Hot’ sustained a tendon injury, so we decided to purchase Rebel. During the year I qualified Rebel and Dan for Horse of the Year Show and have competed abroad winning my first International class. I am looking forward to 2016 as I am very fortunate to have some lovely ponies to compete, hopefully with success to look forward to in both in the UK and Europe.