I was born with a deteriorating eye condition called Stargardt’s, which was first diagnosed at the age of 11. I lost my central vision in my early twenties and am now only able to see shapes against a contrasting background to the side and underneath. I have total night blindness and also suffer badly with glare. However, this has never stopped me being able to achieve anything I have wanted to do.
My family have never had any interest in horses and still to this day my mother is absolutely terrified of them! I went for my first riding lesson at the age of eight to my local riding school and from that day onwards I was totally hooked. I was very fortunate to have a pony to share at the age of 11 and I owned my first horse when I was 14. He was a high-level showjumper who needed a slightly easier life and he taught me all the basics about showjumping. I was reasonably successful and competed for my school and college, then continued jumping until my early twenties when my sight become too bad to continue. Throughout this time I worked as a groom at an international showjumping and eventing yard.
My dressage career started in my early twenties when my sight was dwindling. I went to work for an international dressage rider andI owned and trained dressage horses, specialising in backing and training young horses. I had no idea about any opportunities available for para riders, so I paid someone to compete my horses for me. It wasn’t until I owned a horse, Welt Santa Cruz, who was so naughty and wouldn’t let anyone else get on him that I investigated competing again myself.
In 2008, I entered my first para-equestrian dressage competition and was quickly talent-spotted by the late Jane Goldsmith. She took me under her wing and before my feet could touch the ground, I was competing on the international stage! My first major achievement was being selected to ride at the Olympic test event in London in 2011. From here, I was taken on an exciting journey as part of the World Class programme and have since had much national and international success.
I’m very fortunate to have my horses at home and still to this day look after them myself.
Betty Boo, a 10-year-old mare owned by Nicky and Gary Greenhill
King Edward I, an 11-year-old gelding owned by Nicky and Gary Greenhill