Let me introduce myself. I am an amateur event rider based in the wrong end of Cornwall (only 25 miles off Lands End) but at least it means I always set off in the right direction! I work full time as a dreaded Health and Safety Inspector and Animal Licensing Officer for Cornwall Council. I am lucky the job is relatively flexible and allows me to start work at 7 and leave at 3 although the 5am starts to do the horses before work can be a tad tiring!
I have always ridden, an expensive hobby for which I totally blame my mother who rode when I was a small child and encouraged me to follow suit. Luckily she is still involved and a great help and support. Years are advancing now and I seem to be getting more enthused not less despite having passed 40 (only just).
I did my first affiliated event in 1996 when my farrier kindly allowed me to ride his experienced Novice eventer Poldark (aka The Swordsmith). Lets’ just say my inexperience certainly showed to begin with and that horse taught me an awful lot.
Since then I have always sourced and produced my own horses from scratch. I would love to be able to go out and buy expensive made horses but the budget just doesn’t stretch! Also at the end of the day I think you have a better relationship with the horse if you have started it from scratch. My initial driving ambition and what I hoped would be a pinnacle was to compete at Intermediate level.
I have been very lucky and found that special horse that has helped me achieve that goal and really made me consider how far I can go in this sport. I bought Sarnita as a 5 year old with no competition record - a reject from a show jumping yard. We started at Intro and in 2 seasons we achieved my ambition of competing at Intermediate. The problem was we did it quite well and the goal posts shifted to being placed at Intermediate and then to winning one (didn’t quite manage that!). With Sarnita I have been placed at CIC**, Intermediate, and a CCI*. In 2009 we competed our first advanced classes finishing a very credible 14th at Gatcombe International Horse Trials.
We have also competed internationally, something I hugely enjoyed and was proud to represent my country abroad. We were 19th in the CIC** at Pau.
As well as the eventing I enjoy and successfully compete at British Dressage (To medium level) and BSJA with successes up to 1.30 level competing regularly at county shows
Hopefully Sarnita was not a total fluke as Pippa is also reached intermediate level before my hip problems and financial necessity meant Pip was sold.
Sadly injuries have taken their toll and with metal work in my hip, ankle and collarbones I do creak a bit.
By having this website I don’t want to be pretentious claiming how wonderful I am and constantly boasting about successes. I want it to be an accurate reflection of the struggles that an amateur event rider with limited resources faces. I look forward to sharing my successes, hopes, disasters and disappointments!
It is possible to achieve success at eventing (or other equestrian disciplines) with hard work, dedication and limited funds. I keep my horses at rented yard and do all the stable work myself, I have no school at the yard so either have to hack to a friends’ arena (30 min each way) or box up to school. It does mean the horses don’t get too bored with schooling and I have adapted half pass and transitions into my hacking! My local event is an hour and a half away and on average we travel 4-5 hours to British Eventing competitions. I don't have limitless funds and work hard to earn the money to achieve my dreams; there are sacrifices with very little social life away from the events but it saves buying lots of new outfits!
I would love to find some sponsors to help me along the way with what could be an exciting journey. But for the present we will be doing it on a shoestring!