‘I work hard in a different way’: award-winning amateur event rider on the key to succeeding in horses and a career

  • Lauren Innes – who won the Pikeur Amateur Rider of the Year at last year’s H&H Awards, in partnership with NAF – says having the right support team and horses you love are the vital ingredients if you want to succeed in equestrian competition at a high level alongside a career outside horses.

    “It’s always difficult and I think everybody has to work hard, but the way I look at it is when you ride professionally, you work really hard. The way that I work hard is just a slightly different kind of hard work,” says Lauren in an interview on this week’s Horse & Hound Podcast. “If you have a horse or horses that you love, getting up before work in the dark, in the rain, is that much easier.

    “I think the other thing that has been so important for me is having a great support team – not only my parents, but my trainers who I’ve been with years. They help me, they’re there at the end of the phone whenever I have any doubts. I have the number of runs in a year that some of the professionals get in a weekend, so I think it’s really important to have that great support team around you to make every run counts as much as it can.”

    Lauren, 31, is qualified for five-star with her top horse Global Fision M. She has trained with Mark Corbett since she was 13.

    “He’s at all the big events with me, telling me how to ride and to stop fretting over little things,” she says. “Richard Barrett is my dressage trainer, who I’ve trained with since I was 15. And Corinne Bracken and Lizzie Murray also help me. Eventing is such a team thing and I can’t thank them enough because I wouldn’t be here without them.”

    Lauren Innes also talks on the podcast about making the decision to keep horses as a hobby rather than trying to become a professional event rider.

    “I think when I was younger, I did dream of becoming a professional,” she says. “But I became very aware that it was really hard to get owners and sponsors and it is a very expensive sport.

    “I was lucky enough to have a good education and my mum was quite keen for me to get a job and have the horses as a competitive hobby. I had to weigh all the pros and cons and I decided that with the sport being so expensive, I would be better off being able to afford to get the training, pay for my physio, pay for the vet, pay for nice horses and support it myself, rather than going into eventing from a professional perspective.

    “However, I do sometimes wish that I had more horses to ride and I could get more experienced so it is definitely a trade off.”

    Hear more about how Lauren Innes juggles horses and her job as an accountant by tuning in to episode 85 of The Horse & Hound Podcast, or search “The Horse & Hound Podcast” in your favourite podcast app.

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