I was born and brought up on the Isle of Man, which is a small Island in the middle of the Irish Sea, 13 miles wide and 33 miles long, directly between Cumbria and Northern Ireland.
The Isle of Man does not have any affiliated BE Events, so I spent my formative years as a Member of the Isle of Man Branch of the Pony Club, competing in many different disciplines on the Island, and also competed for a few years in Working Hunter classes, qualifying for the Royal International Horse Show and Horse of the Year Show.
In 2010 I realised that I wanted to get into Eventing, which I’m sure is a natural progression from Working Hunters, and we found a feisty 8 year old Irish Eventing pony called Craig Mor Tom through my trainer, Mark Smith.
Tom wasn’t easy on the flat, or in the showjumping phase, but I knew he was special, and with hard work and determination, would be the pony to take me up through the levels.
I went on the represent the IOM Pony Club at the Pony Club Championships in 2011, finishing 2nd in the Open section, and won the Cross Country Horsemanship Award Bursary, which was a week’s live in training with Jane Holderness-Roddam. During my stay in Spring 2012, Jane showed me her scrapbooks from her Olympic achievements, and I finished my week totally inspired and with a dream of competing at the highest level in the sport.
Inspired I was, as later that year, I received my first call up to the British Team, to compete as an individual in the Pony European Eventing Championships in Fontainebleau in 2012. My debut didn’t quite go to plan, as I had a couple of problems on the cross country, but I completed my first Championship with a determination to win a medal the following year.
In 2013, I hit the road running, winning all but one of the Spring Trials, including the National Pony Championship, and again was selected for the Pony Team to compete in the European Championships in Arezzo, Italy.
Competing in such high temperatures suited Craig Mor Tom, as he was a miniature thoroughbred, and we put in our best performances in all three phases, winning both Individual and Team Gold Medals, thanks to my fantastic team mates, who are without doubt still my closest friends. The team spirit we had in Arezzo was so solid, and a memory that will last with me forever.
Back home on the Isle of Man later in the year, I was named Sportswoman of the Year, which topped off an unforgettable year.
After ponies and leaving School, I decided that an Equestrian Career was best suited to me, so I made the big move at 16 across the water to the Mainland to ride horses for Eddie and Sue Davies and Janette Chinn at the Pewit Stud in Cheshire. Eddie and Sue were Island residents, and had followed my success in the Pony ranks, so offered me the once in a lifetime opportunity to ride for them.
I was asked to take the ride on Fernhill Urco, a 5* horse formerly with Mary King, to compete in Junior ranks, and by the middle of 2014, Imperial Cavalier, who had been stepped down from top level after a glittering career with Mary King, was offered to me to compete in his twighlight years. I felt extremely honoured to be trusted with these two superstar horses, and they were perfect schoolmasters to take me up through the levels.
In 2015, when Imperial Cavalier and I were both 18 years old, we campaigned the Junior Trials, culminating in winning the Junior National title at Brand Hall, and were subsequently named on the Junior European Longlist for the Europeans. Sadly, Archie picked up an injury on the run up to the Europeans, and he wasn’t able to retire with another European medal.
By 2016 I had a couple of young horses to start, and was off the Teams radar for a couple of years, but bought my own horse, Night Line, a quirky but talented young horse to produce through the levels.
I also brought several of the Pewit Stud’s young home bred showjumpers up the showjumping ranks from breaking them in to competing at Foxhunter level, and then being sold on. An enjoyable couple of years learning my trade.
In 2018 I had another Youth title on my radar, with a young and very talented horse Rehy DJ. He was bought by Mr and Mrs Davies and Janette Chinn as a 6 year old from Ireland, and now at 8 years old was ready to step up to the International stage. He performed foot perfectly in all three phases in the National Young Rider Championships at Houghton Hall, and deservedly took the title, culminating in selection for the Young Rider Europeans in Fontainebleau.
We finished in 4th place at the Europeans, frustratingly on the same score as the Bronze Medal, but a showjumping time rule moved us down to 4th place. A very rewarding performance for a young horse at his first Championship – and certainly not his last!
2018 also gave me my first top ten placing in a CCI4*L u25 at Bramham with Night Line, who then went on to complete our first 5* at Pau later in the year, finishing in 16th place and qualifying for Badminton.
Another famous equine arrived at Pewit Stud in 2018, with the purchase by Mr and Mrs Davies and Janette Chinn of Sandman 7 from Pippa Funnell. I felt very honoured to be trusted with such a superstar horse, who was loved as one of the family by Pippa.
After a few runs getting to know each other, we ended the 2018 Season with a close 2nd place at Osberton in the CCI3*L.
I was very honoured to be awarded the Godman Cup in 2018, for the most points gained by a British rider in Eventing aged 21 and under. Some very famous names appear on the trophy so it is a very coveted award to win. Rehy DJ also won the Calver Wealth trophy for the highest scoring horse at 3* Level in the UK.
2019 is my first year in Senior ranks, so my aim would be to be on the radar for Nations Cup Teams later in the year.
Unfortunately my Badminton dream had to be put on hold for another year, as Night Line sustained a Kick to his knee in the field, so was sadly unable to compete, but we will aim for 2020.
My focus for the Spring was to aim Sandman and Rehy DJ for the Bramham CCI4*Lu25 class, which is a massive stepping stone, but I had my first tumble ever over a cross country fence whilst lying 7th in the Event Rider Masters at Chatsworth, so stepped Rehy DJ down the short 4* class, where he ran very confidently after a personal best Dressage score, so he has Blenheim 8/9yo in his sights for later in the year.
Sandman 7 was in the lead going into the Show Jumping on the final day, after posting one of only two clears inside the time on the cross country, but tipped a rail to finish in 2nd place, but best British rider, winning my fourth National title, the under 25 British Championship, an achievement of which I am very proud.
ACHIEVEMENTS TO DATE
2013 NATIONAL PONY UNDER 16 CHAMPION – CRAIG MOR TOM
2013 INDIVIDUAL AND TEAM EUROPEAN GOLD MEDALIST – CRAIG MOR TOM
2015 NATIONAL JUNIOR UNDER 18 CHAMPION – IMPERIAL CAVALIER
2018 NATIONAL YOUNG RIDER UNDER 21 CHAMPION – REHY DJ
2018 16TH IN MY FIRST 5* QUALIFYING FOR BADMINTON – NIGHT LINE
2019 NATIONAL UNDER 25 CHAMPION – SANDMAN 7