I grew up around horses with my mother, Jackie having a small point-to-point yard and horses and ponies to break in, and buy and sell. It proved to be a good all round education and I had a go at most things with my ponies and later horses. This included mounted games and gymkhanas, showjumping, dressage, eventing, hunting and point-to-pointing. I was proud to represent my Pony Club, Radnor and west Hereford in all of the teams, and now enjoy teaching and giving something back to this and our other local Pony Clubs.
In my late teens I really got the bug for eventing. It seemed to me that if you were a good enough rider you could produce your own horses to be top eventers even if they weren’t the most expensive or talented horse. However with racing I decided it would be hard to be competitive in this sport if you weren’t able to have the fastest or most talented horse, which would probably come at a price! One of my first event horses was a lovely mare that my mother had bought as a three year old with a foal at foot. The foal was sold as a youngster and the mare ‘Gerfuffle’ was broken in and produced to be a racehorse. I used to lead her up in her races and was so proud when she won two point-to-points.
Unfortunately two tendon injuries ended her racing career. However when she was 12 and I was 15 I decided that I was going to turn her into my eventer! Poor Gerfuffle had never been in a circle in her life. She took to it like all other things absolutely brilliantly. We came 2nd in the novice rider championships, having had her only rail down of the whole season at this event. We won the Pony Club area trial and went to the championships. We won some JRNs and went to the JRN championships which was exciting and all new ground for me. One of my proudest moments was placing 3rd in a Junior Open Intermediate Trial at Bicton and qualifying for the Junior National Championships. She was an absolute star and unfortunately only had to be retired from eventing when her eyesight started to deteriorate. We were very fortunate to breed three lovely foals from her.
Her first was Bit of a Barney who was my first horse I took to four star level. The next was a full brother, Partly Pickled who also went to four star and won me my first three day event, the 3* at Blair, and also the best first timer award at Badminton. Her final foal was a filly, Much of a Muddle, who I took to intermediate level. We bred a foal from her when she was young and this is Mr Potts who I have also produced and competed at four star level like his uncles. So luckily for me we have bred our own four star horses.
I have produced about 12 horses to advanced level over the years. My latest advanced horses are Mr Potts, Whitson and Jenga.
At the end of 2014 Whitson was the highest ranked horse in the UK. He won various awards for having the most points and being the best British bred horse. We were a reserve for the WEG too. In 2015 we were on the winning Nations cup team at Ballindenisk in Ireland and were a reserve for the British team for the Europeans.
This year we are hoping to be included in some more Nations Cup teams and are looking for some good four star placings, as well as bringing on my younger horses up the grades.
In 2016 I finished 15th in the UK rider rankings (8th best British). I was placed 8th at Luhmuhlen CCI**** with Whitson. Mr Potts went clear cross country at Burghley CCI****, finishing in 24th place. He also completed Badminton and Luhmuhlen four stars. Balladeer Miller man stepped up to advanced and three star competitions, having a fault free cross country season, and finishing Blair Castle CCI ***. We had a great completion of the season at the last event Aldon with a win in the CIC** with Jenga.