My name is Ria and I am an aspiring amateur dressage rider. I have been riding since I was 7 and horses have been a large part of my life ever since then. As a child, I was pony less but after much pestering, I got my first horse at 17. Prior to this, I helped out in a riding school/dealing yard. Getting up early to help with the ponies in return for free rides on the naughty ones at lunch time. Learning as much as I could from the many great instructors that were there.
I grew up in Warwickshire in the heart of Showjumping country, with Nick Skelton and the Edgars as close neighbours. Dressage was initially not on the agenda. My first horse changed all of that.
Later I moved to Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Hampshire and Norfolk. Before settling in sunny Suffolk, more specifically Newmarket. I have lived in the home of the Horseracing for over 10 years now. I do not plan on moving anytime soon!
About My Horses
Murphy/Waterford Blue Diamond
When I got Murphy as a fresh broke 4 year old, he couldn’t even canter on both leads. Over the next 9 years he progressed to Medium level training wise with a decent change when it suited him. We were regularly on the Riding Club team, qualified for Regionals and enjoyed many showing wins including at County level.
Circumstances were not always kind to us and I had to put him on loan due to a massive change in my life. So I loaned him to the Paralympic Association. He was placed with a lovely young rider and helped her on her journey. He went International with her and gained her a place on the World Class Start programme.
Sadly he broke down so badly his career came to an end at just 12 years old, he retired for a year then had had enough. Losing him broke my heart. He was such a legend, he hunted, did endurance, showed including sidesaddle, jumped in a fashion when he wanted and was a dressage beast despite being just a 15hh Arab x Irish Draught.
Mac (Love Triangle), Little Ridge and Flora (Merryford Flirtatious)
Mac, Little Ridge and Flora all came into my ownership while I was running my own business in Hampshire. All were bought as projects and sold on. The first two were ex racers. Mac I bought at Ascot Sales, he was tiny at just 14.2hh and a real sweetie. Little Ridge I had ridden from a yearling while working for Hughie Morrison. He was a bit of strong ride in training and won a fair few sprints before falling out of love with the game. Hughie let me have him to retrain and he went to a lovely girl who worshipped him. Then there was dear Flora, a British Riding Pony. Super talented and super sassy. She is the one that got away but I did find her a few years after I sold her and she had a wonderful home until her untimely death to cushings at just 13.
Tarquin was the most challenging horse I ever took on. Breaking him in took a whopping 18 months and in the time he stumped many professionals. He was chosen to be part of Monty Robert’s Rides Again Tour back in 2007. He was very talented, which made his progress so frustrating. We did get going and he was very successful. Sadly I decided that I wasn’t the person he needed and I sold him back to his lovely breeders. They still have him and enjoy him immensely.
Finally Nickel, my current Unicorn. A lovely oversized Connemara with a heart of gold. When I bought him I had had a break from horses and wanted to give up. He popped into my life unexpectedly and like the moment I first saw Murphy, I wanted him. His story will be update on the page as it progresses.
About My Education
After my start in the riding school, I went to Oxford Brookes University. I gained a 2:1 in BSc (Hons) Equine Science with International Thoroughbred Management. I also won the Dedication to the Thoroughbred Industry Award.
As many people will know, working with horses does not pay well but Thoroughbred work does pay above the average and the conditions are much better. In my first year at Uni, I applied for the British Racing School‘s Introduction to Racing for University Students and won a place. It was a very tough course and at the end I was placed with Hughie Morrison.
After Uni, I ran my own business for 2 years down in Hampshire, that is definitely deserving of it’s own blog post. It was a strange time and very difficult but I do not regret it.
After that I went back to racing, this time to work for Shadwell in Pre-Training and Rehab. However at this point I realised that I was beginning to not enjoy riding wild horses and so I switched to stud work in Newmarket.
I did this for over 10 years, foaling countless mares and attending the sales with their progeny before my body said enough was enough. Finally returned to where I started and landed the best job in the world. Now I organise the transport of horses round Europe, by land, sea and air. It’s a great job and helps fund my very expensive hobby! So now I am very much the amateur rider with a desk job, which is a whole world of new to me.
Away from horses, I love to go out eating and visiting as much as Europe as I can. Portugal is my favourite, followed closely by Germany.