Early starts and plenty of planning: 7 horsey life hacks for home-produced riders

  • In this week’s showing special, H&H meets five inspirational home producers who combine family, work and the general stresses of daily life with successful careers in the show ring.

    Turn to page 34 in 28 March 2019 issue to read the full feature but for now, learn how these brilliant amateurs juggle the plates and manage to show at top level without burning out:

    1. Be super organised

    “I keep all my show stuff separate and most of it stays in the lorry,” says Charlotte Massey-Dales, a learning support assistant at Lincoln College who rides her own small hunter Whittlesbach Diamond. “I get the lorry packed up the day before a show as it helps soothe my nerves.”

    2. Study the professionals

    Dental nurse Sophie Burrows — who was placed sixth at the Royal International Horse Show (RIHS) last year with young small hack Penharver Bright Light — says: “Learn from the pros and don’t be afraid to ask for advice.”

    3. Establish a good routine

    This is how Rachael Holmes — a medical textiles design manager specialising in creating made-to-measure sensory dynamic orthosis for children with brain injuries and cerebral palsy — keeps her horses happy throughout the season.

    “I have four horses and they all fit into a routine before and after work, which usually starts at 5am and finishes around 9pm,” she says.

    4. Save time at the weekends

    “At weekends I will do a week’s worth of haynets and feeds to save time,” says customer contact team manager Raquel Dickin, who qualified her middleweight hunter, Raconteur, for HOYS last season.

    5. Plan around your work

    Emma Staton, who was reserve supreme in the SEIB SFAS mountain and moorland finals last year with her New Forest Buckland Romantic, says that planning is the key to her having a stress-free show season.

    “I book as much as I can in advance so I know when I need to take time off; not just for major competitions, but for the farrier, dentist and vet visits,” says chiropractor Emma.

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    6. Be resourceful and spend wisely

    “I saved up a few years ago to buy LED floodlights in my arena so I can ride before daylight,” says Emma, who sometimes does not finish work until 9pm.

    7. Don’t get disheartened

    Adds Sophie, who also admits that it can be quite stressful trying to balance her job and business, childcare and horses.

    For all the latest equestrian news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday. In this week’s issue don’t miss the showing special issue, filled with interviews and exclusive features.

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