Merely A Rider: The Autobiography of Anneli Drummond-Hay

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  • Merely A Rider: The Autobiography of Anneli Drummond-Hay



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    Author: Anneli Drummond-Hay with Martha Terry
    Published: 2022
    Available as hardcover

    View now at amazon.co.uk

    About Merely A Rider: Anneli Drummond-Hay’s autobiography

    Anneli Drummond-Hay’s autobiography is a fascinating insight into the making of an equestrian champion through her struggle for survival. It is a heart-warming story of a war baby with aristocratic connections, who grew up with very little money and even less love. She never went to school, she had no friends growing up, but she did have a gift with the horses in which she sought solace.

    The big love story of her life was one particularly special horse, Merely-A-Monarch. He was invincible in eventing, but as female eventers were not permitted to compete in the Olympics in that era, Anneli switched to showjumping. She came so close to going to three Olympics but was foiled at the last moment each time, despite winning just about everything else in the sport.

    Besides her wonderful horses, Anneli gives an amazing account of the people she met – from Harvey Smith to The Queen, in front of whom she was asked to lend her horse for the British Olympic effort, and refused; to her asking a favour, in person, of Colonel Gaddafi.

    The jet-set life of an elite showjumper may be glamorous but there are more lows than highs, whether it’s her top ride being stolen, a potential plan disaster above the Alps, or the sudden death of a star horse.

    As The Princess Royal so rightly says in the foreword to this book: “Thank goodness Anneli decided to write her story.”


    I sat down one evening intending to read a couple of chapters of Anneli Drummond-Hay’s autobiography but, so captivated was I by charming tales of her bizarrely unorthodox childhood and her gung-ho introduction to top level sport, that before I knew it I was romping my way through the rest of the book. I cannot recommend this book highly enough!

    The name Anneli Drummond-Hay was legendary to me growing up, but I must confess that, bar her phenomenal achievements in the saddle, I knew very little about this gifted horsewoman. So what a captivating insight this is into her amazing life and riding career, as well as the wonderful equine heroes, many of whom she nurtures through an assortment of quirks. Her affinity with horses shines through and she is rewarded with immense success over the years.

    One particular horse was the “feisty” Xanthos, with whom she would “shut my eyes and let him charge at the first fence” before settling to jump the rest of the course. But I was also enchanted by an early pony, the home-bred Spider (the result of a choreographed mating which will make you laugh) and I feel privileged to have been introduced so intimately to a “naughty” and unbroken Merely-A-Monarch, whom she later likens to a Ferrari.

    There are wonderful tales from behind-the-scenes at great events such as Badminton and various championships before she embarks into the daunting world of showjumping where she describes herself as something of an anomaly, a recurring theme through much of her life. Anneli is propelled into the sport in part by “naughty Yorkshireman” Harvey Smith, who endearingly took Anneli under her wing and once gave her a lesson at 3am in how to clear a water jump.

    I was left open-mouthed by many of Anneli’s amazing adventures, but I admit I also found tears rolling down my cheek on a couple of occasions – the trust her horses place in Anneli pulls every heart string as they come and go through her life.


    An enchanting insight into the pioneering life of this gifted horsewoman that will charm young and old, and not just horse enthusiasts. Pack it in your holiday suitcase, put it on your bedside table, but be prepared not to be able to tear yourself away for quite some time.

    View now at amazon.co.uk

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