Young dressage rider Emily Harris has needed to become something of a juggler in order to compete at the LeMieux National Dressage Championships at Stoneleigh (14-17 September) this week.
The 26-year-old only manages to ride three times each week due to working four-and-a-half days a week for an MP in the House of Commons in London.
“I worked with horses full-time for a couple of years after I finished my degree in international relations at Warwick University,” says Emily. “But I always had in the back of my mind that I would like a job outside of horses and that I quite fancied working for an MP.”
So Emily went online to find herself a job.
“It was as simple as going onto Google and typing in ‘work for an MP’,” she laughs. “This website called workforanmp.org popped up and that was it.”
Emily fits in riding on a Friday afternoon and over weekends.
“Luckily the lady I work for is very supportive and my home team, including my parents are brilliant,” says Emily, who is competing in the advanced medium gold championship this week.
Her horse is Freya FST, a seven-year-old chestnut mare, owned by her breeder, Fay Thomas.
“I’m very lucky to ride Freya,” says Emily. “I saw a picture of her when she was two — she was stood perfectly square, nicely uphill with this big bum and I’ve been excited about her ever since.
“I started riding Freya as a just backed three-year-old and she’s just great. She’s sparky and hates to get things wrong. She’s a bit of a career girl and just wants to get on with it.”
While Emily was working full-time in London last year, her father, Andrew, took on the ride on Freya.
“Dad rode Freya in the novice gold championship here last year,” explains Emily. “He rides her for me during the week now and I have a bit of a job wrestling him to get her back at the end of each week!”
Emily, who has ridden on both the Great British pony and young rider European teams, is looking forward to what the future holds.
Meet the rider who won't let an injury…
“I’d like to aim for some premier league competitions next — Freya is only seven so it’s exciting.”
Keep up-to-date with all of the news from the National Dressage Championships by keeping an eye on the Horse & Hound website, and don’t miss the full magazine report, out on Thursday 21 September.