5 minutes with: Showing producer Katy Marriott-Payne *H&H Plus*

The showing producer on piano skills, fighter pilot ambitions and why there’s no place like home

  • Northamptonshire-based Katy is one of the leading producers of native ponies. She has won Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) countless times, scooping the mountain and moorland championship with Cadlanvalley Buzby in 2016. She has also won the native supreme at Olympia more than once; most recently with Welsh section B Cadlanvalley Sandpiper.

    What’s the best book or last book you’ve read?
    I’m not much of a reader; I don’t sit still for long enough to read unless I’m on holiday and then it’s usually something terrible I’ve bought in the airport on the way.

    What are your favourite tunes for a road-trip?
    As the sole lorry driver, road-trip tunes are so important to keep me going. My music taste is vast, but we always like a good singalong in our “red bus”. Anything from ABBA to Green Day, with Queen, Pink and Beyoncé mixed in.

    If you weren’t a rider, you would…
    Probably have joined the RAF. I was a cadet during school and my father never wanted me to do horses. I used to joke I’d be a Tornado pilot! Nowadays, I think I’d enjoy ambulance driving.

    Do you speak any other languages?
    I wish I did, but apart from a French GCSE, sadly not. Although, I was musical as a child and passed piano to grade six.

    What’s your favourite country?
    I haven’t found it yet. I love to travel, but there’s no place like home.

    What’s your most annoying habit?
    According to my husband it’s falling asleep in front of the TV, then waking up in a really bad mood.

    Which famous person would you invite to dinner?
    It would probably be Patrick Swayze – I could do with a dance lesson or two. Living guests would be Ant and Dec, and Pink; she’s an incredible woman with so much drive and she’s a hell of a performer. I’m glad she doesn’t show horses as she’d be a serious competitor.

    How many dogs do you have? Any other pets?
    We have a yellow Labrador called Darcy. She’s the kindest dog, but is not allowed to come to shows any more since she visited someone’s lorry and ate all their food. We also have a ginger yard cat called Tiger.

    What got you into the most trouble as a child?
    I was generally a well-behaved child; I was even head girl at school. My brother and I had to help our parents, who were market gardeners, whenever we weren’t at school. But I would always rather be with the ponies so I’d ride bareback and make my own jumps out of bricks or crates. I once decided to trim my pony’s mane with a pair of scissors. Mum was not impressed with the result.

    What is the best dish you cook?
    Roast dinner. Every Sunday we are not at a show there’s a roast on our table. I love baking, too, but I feel guilty eating too much cake so I don’t do it often.

    How have you coped during the coronavirus crisis?
    Now we’ve got over the initial shock of the shows cancelling we have adapted and the workload isn’t much different. The open ponies are enjoying lots of hacking and turnout. We’ve been doing more training with the young ponies and building partnerships ready for when competition restarts. We’ve also started some of next year’s projects and are enjoying working in the sunshine instead of the usual winter conditions.

    One to watch
    Liz and Mark Kilbey’s five-year-old Welsh section C stallion Fencers Royal Addition (Roy). He was very lightly shown last year, winning most of his novice classes. He ticks all the boxes for me; he is very true to type with great limbs and tonnes of welsh character. Charlotte Kilbey and I will share the ride.

    Ref Horse & Hound; 9 July 2020