British-born Gareth Hughes spent much of his childhood competing in showing and Western riding while living in Australia.
When he returned to England aged 23 — more cowboy than dressage rider — he was offered a job at Paradise Farm in Oxfordshire. He moved on after six months, but little did he know he would be returning to the same yard some 10 years later.
Gareth became more involved with dressage after moving to the North of England. In 1999 he was offered a horse to ride and met FEI dressage judge and trainer Stephen Clarke, who has had a huge influence in his career.
Gareth first set up on his own on a yard in Cheshire in 2001. He moved back to Paradise Farm to launch Aspen Grove Dressage in 2004 with one of his owners, Ann Newton.
During his career to date Gareth has won numerous national titles, including the 2007 prix st georges and intermediate I riding Classic Sandman, who was produced by Gareth and his wife Rebecca. Sandman made a successful return to the dressage arena in 2011, after a three-year break, winning two international grands prix. Gareth is currently ranked sixth in the British Dressage big tour rankings with Sandman and the exciting young horse DV Stenkjers Nadonna.
Aspen Grove Duvie has also been a successful partner for Gareth, having claimed the national intermediate 1 freestyle, the prix st georges and intermediate 1 at Hickstead CDI and winning the intermediate 1 freestyle at the Festival of the Horse in 2010. Duvie achieved a plus-70% score in his grand prix debut.
After seven years at his Oxfordshire base, Gareth is in the process of moving and is setting up a new yard in Warwickshire with his wife. He and Rebecca have a young daughter, Ruby.
Gareth was named as reserve for the 2013 European Championships, and got the call up with with Jane Brewin’s DV Stenkjers Nadonna when Laura Tomlinson had to withdraw.