Featured Rider April 2018
AADA Featured Rider
For as long as I can ever remember, I have always wanted to ride and be around horses. My childhood was spent in South Africa, galloping ponies along the edges of sugar cane fields and swimming with them in a lake, bareback, and with just a halter. Being a member of the South African Pony Club was fabulous, with no formal dressage or show jumping, but just focused on horsemanship, gymkhanas, and having fun.
Moving to the UK as a teenager, I never had my own horse so would catch ride whatever I could get my hands on, usually the naughty and unruly. Before going to University, I worked at a riding school for a year, giving basic lessons and helping to break horses (I was young, fearless and bounced!). After graduating with a Masters degree in Environmental Planning and starting my first “proper” job, I bought my first “proper” horse and found a passion for fox hunting which still exists today. I joined a riding club and got my first introduction to dressage. Gradually my ownership of horses increased, and I started eventing. I loved the cross country phase, and surprisingly found the dressage easy. I began focusing on dressage to improve my knowledge and scores for eventing. I loved the training of the horse, the precision, the dedication for correctness, and the buzz from competing so I was hooked!
My husband and I moved to the USA in 2013, initially to New Jersey and then to Texas in 2016. We flew in our 3 horses and dogs over because leaving them in England was non negotiable! In both states I have been lucky to continue my passion for fox hunting and dressage. I stopped eventing and instead set my goals to ride at the Grand Prix level.
There are many differences between competing in the UK and the USA, the most shocking to me was the cost of showing stateside which is exponentially higher than in the UK. In New Jersey, I started riding other boarders’ horses and giving lessons, not realizing the significance of the Professional / Amateur status for USEF recognized shows. As such, I rode in the Open divisions at Dressage shows. I was still successful with my 2 horses but felt at a disadvantage competing against trainers with FEI level experience. So in 2017, after 18 months of not engaging in activities defined by the USEF as making one a professional, I successfully applied to be reclassified as an Adult Amateur. And, last year competed very successfully with my new youngster at Training and First levels.
My key successes to date have been:
- 9that British Eventing National Championships BE90 at Badminton 2010
- 8thin UK National Winter Championships 2003 in Novice level
- Represented Wales at the UK Home International dressage competitions, where England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales compete against each other in 2011, 2012, 2013
- USDF Bronze Medalist 2015
- Top 10 placings in USDF GAIG Regional Championships in First and Second Levels in 2015 and 2016 in the open divisions
- USDF GAIG Region 9 Training Level AA Champion 2017
- USDF GAIG Region 9 First Level AA Champion 2017
Are you a Dressage Amateur and want to be a featured rider? Contact us!