It’s great to join the Pegasus team. Over the next few months, I’ll be introducing you to my world – showjumping – and to the horses who are not only part of my career, but part of our family.
You can find out more about me via my website, but to sum up, I’m a 21-year-old international rider based in Lincolnshire and I’m currently number 28 in the UK rankings. I’ve represented GB for the past three years and I’m lucky to have a great team of horses and people: I’m the one holding the reins, but I can’t do it alone.
The highlight of my career so far has been as a member of Britain’s winning senior Nations Cup team in Switzerland, earlier this year. To be chosen for the team is an honour in itself and to find myself on the winner’s podium alongside Robert Whitaker, Guy Williams and Dan Neilson was a dream come true.
I’m often asked how I got started. Most people assume that because I come from a horsey family, I followed in my sisters’ footsteps and was a pony-mad kid. Although I hate to admit it, I wasn’t really interested in ponies to start with – I much preferred cars and they got really fed up with me driving remote-controlled tractors and trailers between their ponies!
I didn’t really get the horse bug until I was about 13 and started jumping in 138cm classes, which brought out my competitive streak. Even then, my Dad said that once I was out of pony classes I’d lose interest and would never go on to horses.
I had a mare called Creative Dancer who had done well in Ireland. Dad and I saw her at a show in Cavan, but didn’t tell Mum anything until we’d bought her. We did well, but I certainly wasn’t allowed to get big-headed. I had my own riding style that my sisters called “the wiggle” – and, of course, there are plenty of videos to prove it.
Next, I had a fantastic 148cm pony who helped me do really well and I was chosen for pony Nations Cups teams. It was all going brilliantly, but then I had my first and very hard lesson. With horses, you never know what will happen next and very sadly, this pony died just before the Europeans.
As I was getting so tall – I’ve finished up at six foot three – the obvious move was to go on to horses. I’ll tell you about that next time, when hopefully, I’ll also have some great news to report.