Please introduce yourself
I am based on the Rutland / Leicestershire border where the countryside is ideal for producing event horses – with big hills, grass fields, and quiet lanes. I tend to have between 12 and 15 horses in work. We have two yards, one family yard and another yard that I rent in the village.
My parents both hunted, and my Mother evented and was a Silver Medalist in the GB Junior team. I was brought up attending Pony Club, meets with the Fernie Hunt branch of the PC, PC rallies, and all of the normal fun childhood actives.
I had a few very special ponies that we competed in working hunter ponies, and this led to wins at the BSPS summer championships, Horse of the Year show, and many other amazing memories. Killacoran Blue, who we found as a super green 4yo, gave me my first taste of success in Eventing, and we went on to be very successful including winning many Pony Trials together and winning a team Silver at the Pony European Championships and finishing 5th individually in 2008.
Introduce your team, trainers and helpers
I have a small team who all work very hard to make the yard run smoothly. Shelby Smith and Kim Dalton are my home grooms, and Maya Nicholson is my working pupil.
My parents are both around everyday, Dad helps to keep the arena immaculate, and Mum helps with the organisation of the yard when I am riding.
I am trained by Caroline Moore who gets me competition ready, and it is useful to have Vale View as my local equestrian centre where the facilities are brilliant.
Amy Woodhead has trained me for the last few years on the flat, and I try to go up to the Yorkshire Riding Centre to train with Chris Bartle once a quarter (COVID allowing!)
Tell us about your career highlights to date
I have been so lucky to have had some great highlights so far:
Team Silver and 5th individually – Pony European Eventing Championships, Avenches, Switzerland 2008 – Killacoran Blue
2nd and Winning Team JRN Championships 2009 – Strike A Pose
Junior National Champion, Glanusk CCIJ2* 2010 – Strike A Pose
Shortlisted Team GBR Junior European Championships 2010 – sadly unable to take part due to injury – Strike A Pose.
1st Young Rider Final Trial, Aston Le Walls. Selected as Team GBR reserve. – Strike A Pose
1st Chatsworth CCI2*- and reserve for Le Lion 6yo World Championships. – Rich Junior K
6th Grantham Cup, Belton International HT, CCI4*S 2019 – Dick O Malley
Selected to represent Team GBR in the Nations Cup Team at Houghton Hall 2019 – TEAM BRONZE – Dick O Malley
5yo National Eventing Champion 2019 – Codebreaker
5yo National Eventing Champion 2020 – De Pleasure
6yo NEXGEN Eventing Champion – Hickstead – Codebreaker
2020 3rd Burgham CCI2*S – Codebreaker
Aims for 2021?
The aim would be for the British Eventing season to start smoothly – I am sure I am not alone in hoping this.
I have horses competing at all levels, from 4yos to 4*, so they will all have their own individual plans. It is hard to have aims as the calendar is shifting all the time but I hope that they will all have made improvements from last season, be more confident in their work, and be the best that we can be.
Renaissance Man will consolidate at 4* level following his CCI4*L at Burnham Market, and we will have some lovely youngsters to aim for Young Horse Championships.
Ones to watch from your string
It is very difficult to pick one, as I have some talented horses in my yard at the moment and I am hugely grateful to the owners for their support during this difficult time.
One horse that people may not be familiar with is Idonna W – who I was very lucky to be given the opportunity to compete at the end of last season, she is an 8yo mare by Quidaro and I am excited to develop our partnership this season.
I am just cherishing every opportunity and I love riding all of the horses in my yard which is an incredibly fortunate position to be in.
Ones to watch with other riders
When I was 18 I rode for Tim and Antonia Brown at their yard in Brigstock, where I rode many lovely young horses.
At the time 3yo Dargun was one of the horses that I rode regularly during his breaking process, and I loved riding him – I think he will be one to watch with Piggy French.