Five minutes with: Event rider Willa Newton *H&H Plus*

  • Willa is a junior and young rider team gold medallist in eventing and won individual silver at the young rider European Championships in 2011 with Neelix. She finished eighth at Burghley in 2018 on Chance Remark and won the eight- and nine-year-old CIC3* (now CCI4*-S) at Blenheim in 2016 on Caja 20.

    What’s the best or last book you’ve read?
    My cousin James Taylor’s autobiography, Cut Short. James played cricket for England before his career was cut short when a serious heart condition forced him to retire. His journey and story are amazing – he’s a true sportsman with incredible strength of character.

    What are your favourite tunes for a road-trip?
    I’m a real mixed bag in terms of music taste – it ranges from George Ezra to the old classics of Dolly Parton, Fleetwood Mac and Paul Simon.

    Which famous person would you invite to dinner? Nelson Mandela.

    If you weren’t a rider, what would you be? It would have to be working outdoors and in some competitive field.

    Do you speak any other languages? Sadly not, much to my mother’s disappointment!

    What’s your favourite country? England for sure, but I do enjoy travelling.

    What’s your most annoying habit? Saying sorry too often!

    How many dogs do you have? Any other pets?
    On the yard we have a whippet, Bramble, and a lurcher, Shrimp, who love to come riding, and I couldn’t forget my sister Chloe’s regular pug visitor, Mushroom!

    What is the best dish you cook?
    I can’t say I’m Delia in disguise, but I love good food and have a yummy prawn pasta dish up my sleeve.

    How are you and your horses coping during the coronavirus crisis?
    We are doing everything we  can to keep going and keep the horses in the best possible shape for when everyone is back to full health and the show can go on. I am very grateful to my owners and sponsors who are all being so supportive in these difficult times.

    Give us the lowdown on your current top horse
    Moonlight Dance S is a real character and has everything you need in an event horse, but she’s definitely the princess of the yard. I found her from Dirk Schrade in Germany when she was a six year-old – I just happened to be going out there and she had arrived in the yard the day before. Dancer is her stable name and is very appropriate as she definitely likes to dance.

    Ref Horse & Hound; 14 May 2020