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Lockdown Q&A with NSEA Bursary Winner Ella

Lockdown Q&A with NSEA Bursary Winner Ella
Lockdown Q&A with NSEA Bursary Winner Ella
Lockdown Q&A with NSEA Bursary Winner Ella
Lockdown Q&A with NSEA Bursary Winner Ella
Lockdown Q&A with NSEA Bursary Winner Ella
Lockdown Q&A with NSEA Bursary Winner Ella

How did you get into horses?

I am very lucky to have been born into a horsey family and I think I was first sat on a horse when I was 3 months old! My mum evented up to Advanced and I’ve got many happy memories of trips away in the lorry to watch her compete, including a trip to Aston le Walls in the middle of the summer- it was so hot that I climbed into the horse’s water bucket for a bath!

What is your earliest riding memory?

I was very lucky to get my first pony when I was two years old- a palomino Shetland cross Falabella called Peanut. He was a typically cheeky first pony but absolutely loved children and I remember passing many hours in the fields at home with my neighbour acting out scenes from my favourite book at the time ‘Sheltie the Shetland Pony.’ I also remember a particular occasion when he was being led in from the field and I hopped on bareback only to be blown off the side in the wind where he was so fluffy!

Who is your biggest equestrian role model?

I really look up to local event rider Harriet Upton.  Having known her growing up through school and pony club I have always admired her positive attitude and down to earth approach to the horses and life in general! I think her WeAreAthletes campaign is amazing and it has definitely inspired me personally to think as carefully about my nutrition and fitness as I would my horses, which has hugely benefitted my riding.

What was your most special riding moment so far?

Completing Bicton CCI-2*S 6/7yo with Happy last autumn was definitely very special. It was my first international run having actually entered my first 2* (then 1*) back in May 2017. After a string of unfortunate injuries, it was very special to start at 2* two and a half years after entering my first! Completing with Happy was even more special. We had started eventing as a new partnership at BE90 5 months previously so I was over the moon with a top 25 finish and a clear cross country in pretty horrendous conditions, especially as he was a young horse just starting his eventing career!

What is your funniest horsey memory?

After I had very sadly grown out of him, my first pony Peanut stayed with us at home, teaching both my sister and cousins to ride before going on to a very happy retirement. We are very lucky to have the horses at home and being quite the cheeky Shetland pony Peanut had the run of the place! He used to free-range around the yard and in our garden. He even ventured into the house a couple of times and I remember a particular incident when he removed a bag of carrots from the Tesco’s delivery driver’s van which is something we still laugh about to this day!

Who is your favourite person to train with?

I have been training with Duncan Gipson on the flat since February and the difference in both myself and the horses has been incredible in such a short time. The horses have really benefitted from Duncan’s systematic and calm approach and going back and re-establishing the basics has done us the world of good.  We also train regularly with Caroline Moore. Despite the 4 hour journey, I hugely look forward to our trips up to Valeview and always learn masses, benefitting from Caroline’s in-depth and detailed approach.

Who could you not be without when it comes to managing your horses?

Definitely my amazing mum- I definitely wouldn’t be where I am now without her and I am endlessly grateful for all the support, early mornings and lengthy lorry journeys to all ends of the country more often than not to stand in a muddy field in the pouring rain!

If you could own one horse from past or present, who would it be?

I would absolutely love to have a six-year-old version of Sky and preferably one that’s not made of glass! I started riding Sky when we were both 12 years old and he taught me absolutely everything I know, taking me from show jumping 70cm too BE Novice. Sadly, he suffered a tendon injury in 2018, a heartbreaking end to his eventing career. He is the most unbelievable jumper and I would love to go back and relive his eventing journey knowing what I do now as it would be amazing to see what we could have accomplished without the restrictions of his rather accident proneness!

What are your post-lockdown aims for the future?

I’m keeping everything crossed we may be allowed out for the second half of the competition season and if we are, I hope to step Happy up to intermediate and perhaps compete in the 3*-S junior championships at South of England depending on how many runs we get. Lexi is coming back into work brilliantly so I’m hoping to get her to some BE100s this autumn and take April to the 2*-L at Bicton International. I would love to jump some Foxhunters on Sky and hopefully qualify for the National Amateur Championships either this year or next depending on when we are allowed out!

In the longer term, I am hoping to trial for young rider teams whilst having fun showjumping with Sky and hopefully building up my string with the aim of setting up professionally in the future!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

I would love to make eventing my profession and have my own yard of competition horses. I would love to compete professionally and produce young horses alongside. There’s no harm in aiming high and it would be an absolute dream to compete at Badminton and Burghley and to represent my country at senior level!

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