Enjoy pictures from Eventing magazine's photoshoot with bright, young British talent Harry Dzenis
In what was his first season flying solo, having made the daunting decision to move from his parents’ base to set up his own yard, 24-year-old Harry Dzenis’ career has gone from strength-to-strength.
2014 saw him make debuts at both Badminton and Burghley — the latter of which he completed on two rides, Xam and Dromgurrihy Blue — and his string of horses has more than trebled.
Learning from one of the best, Harry spent 2013 under the tuition of William Fox-Pitt at his Dorset yard, which Harry describes as “an incredible experience.”
“My parents own a livery yard with a sand school in Fernhurst, West Sussex, but when I came back from William’s I thought it was about time I had my own space,” he says.
Having advertised for yards to rent in the area, Harry heard back from Robert Wilkins and his wife Vicky — joint master of the Chiddingfold, Leconfield and Cowdray hunt — who own Pallingham Manor in Wisborough Green.
The 600-acre estate, farming both arable and dairy, is nestled in the West Sussex countryside and proved to be a perfect base. Harry’s string of 14 horses now reside in the old racing stables, previously occupied by former trainer Lawrence Wells.
“I rent an indoor barn of stables, a tack room and a rug room, plus there is use of a covered horse walker and a 60x20m sand school. There are also all-year turnout paddocks and cross-country jumps,” Harry adds.
There are two further stable blocks on the farm. One is used by the nearby Arundel Equine Hospital and the other houses some ponies, while Vicky also has her hunters on site. Harry is fortunate to have almost exclusive use of the sand school.
Robert and Vicky also host meets on the estate, which means Harry has good hunting on his doorstep — ideal for his younger horses.
“There are some great hunt jumps around the estate, including plenty of ditches,” he says. “It gives the horses lots of variety while out riding. What I particularly enjoy about being based here is the amazing hacking: we don’t even need to leave the estate.”
When it comes to fitness work, Harry has the choice of two gallops within close proximity to the yard.
Behind the bar
Harry’s daily commute consists of a 15min drive from his family home, where he still lives. He is at the yard by 7am and helps his head girl Sally Day and groom Annie Forsyth with the mucking out before riding each horse.
“The rest of the day I will either be off teaching, showjumping or cross-country schooling. I also ride horses for a couple of people locally,” he says.
On top of that, he can also be found working behind the bar at a local pub, The Mulberry Inn near Chiddingfold, three evenings a week.
“I have been really lucky with the people who have supported me. I arrived at Pallingham Manor 15 months ago with just four horses, and I now have 14. It was daunting, but I am so glad I did it,” he concludes.