Horse & Hound's coverage of The Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby Meeting (24-28 June) is brought to you in association with Equestrian.com
Young showjumper Emma Stoker, 22, has enjoyed a fruitful Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby meeting this year, topping Sunday’s Hickstead Under-25 Masters and Friday’s five-year-old Championship – during what has been her most successful year of her career so far.
Have you ridden at Hickstead before?
This is my first year riding horses. I first came 12 years ago on ponies and also won here in the 128m Championships on my pony Flinor Songbird.
Who was your first horse?
I switched to horses at 16 and my first horse was called Pit Stop. He was a little bit crazy but he taught me a lot.
Where are you based?
In County Durham, which is an eight-hour drive from Hickstead! I am based at the yard of my boss, Bob Young, who owns all the horses I ride. Showjumping is a hobby for him but he’s an inspiration to me – he started with nothing and built up his business. I am the only rider based with him.
How did the partnership with Bob come about?
He approached me after I won a class at the Scope Festival about four years ago and I started riding and being based with him three years ago – Sunday’s win in the under-25 Masters was by biggest win yet for him.
Tell us about the horses you currently ride?
My top ride is Bob’s mare 10-year-old mare Townhead Tallulah V [under-25 Masters winner] who he purchased as a young horse. I have nine to ride each day at home and alongside the ones I compete, we also produce some from three-year-olds.
Are you from an equestrian background?
Both my parents showjumped but not internationally. My younger sister does ride but my older brother doesn’t.
What’s the best advice you’ve received?
You only get out, what you put in – Bob is always telling me that!