I am pretty sure my first words as a child were “I want a horse”! I did not come from a “horsey” background and none of my family ride but I believe that the equestrian gene must be in my DNA!
My mum bought me my first horse when I was 16 after a few years of helping at an equestrian centre and I paid for his livery. I always wanted to compete and at that age I thought so wanted to compete BSJA. A few years later I bought another horse with the idea of jumping, we did a couple of intro shows but it soon became apparent that I was not cut out for jumping.
I later attended a local show and this is where I picked up the Showing bug. My horse didn’t fit into a specific category and was between a small hunter and a small riding horse. He did very well at small agricultural shows and we did do some working hunter classes. If I wanted to take him further with working hunter I was going to have to jump bigger than I was comfortable with or capable of doing. I didn’t see the point in pushing myself to do this if I was not going to enjoy it. So I then bought Billy to do a bit more showing with. He is a Traditional Gypsy Coloured Cob and we have been competing since I got him as a 4 year old, even entering HOYS qualifiers in Scotland, not ever expecting to make the placings.
As a genuine amateur, it can be quite daunting at times being in the show ring with very well known producers and sometimes ask myself, do I really belong here?
Then, at the Royal Highland Show 2017, our number was called forward to 2nd place in the HOYS qualifier and I could not believe it, I will never forget how I felt that day! Maybe we are good enough to be here after all?!
I recently registered with British Dressage too and have set myself goals in dressage this year and headed out for our first affiliated competition. We came away with 2x firsts and 1x third with great scores and gaining sheets for PetPlan finals.
As I have had Billy for 7 years, my goals are much more ambitious with him than they are with my 4 year old, Cash. I am in no rush with him, my aim is to have him happy and riding well at home and when he is ready, we will go and do a little Intro test.
Sometimes things happen and you can finally see your hard work and dedication beginning to pay off and that could be placing high in a qualifier, having a really successful first outing at affiliated dressage, getting results from schooling at home or even just having a nice hack or beach ride. I do push myself to be better and aim for certain goals I want to achieve but ultimatelyI ride and have horses because it is something I have always had a passion for and really enjoy! Sometimes I think we can put too much pressure on ourselves to reach our goals that at times it is easy to forget that! I may not have achieved what I set out to do as a 16 year old, my goals changed massively, but I’m so happy with what I have achieved.