Posted on February 27, 2020
My name is Sophie and I am a 25-year-old amateur Eventer and Dressage rider based in the South Shropshire hills. I compete my 3 gorgeous boys, Gusthoff, George’s Boy and Helvick HSH Hero, nationally whilst also travelling worldwide as Chairman of the Great Britain Student Riders squad. I would probably say my proudest achievement to date would be winning individual silver and team Gold at the Student Rider World Championships for Team GB and winning the EHOA award at the Badminton Mitsubishi Motors Cup.
I wish I could say that I get to ride full time but as I am sure many readers will relate to, horses cost a lot of money(!) so I do have a ‘normal’ job to fund my horsey heaven. Half the week this means I am living the city life, working as a Marketing executive for American Express in the big smoke of London. I am incredibly lucky that work life balance is a real priority for this company, so I am given the opportunity to work from home part of the week. Whilst financial services might be a long stretch from British Eventing, the marketing skills have really helped me develop content for my sponsors so the office job does come in quite handy.
Fridays are what I would describe as… frantic. An early morning start to get all 3 horses fed, mucked out, ridden and turned out before my 9am work begins can sometimes be a bit of a manic rush. I am 100% a night owl and not a morning person so I absolutely relish the long summer evenings when the horses can be ridden leisurely at 5pm but during the winter I must learn to love the dark chilly early hours. Fridays also mean competition prep! Sometimes we can be out competing with 1 horse on Saturday and another on Sunday so plaiting, bathing and tack cleaning are the focus of my ‘big Friday nights out’. Don’t feel too sorry for me though, a home cooked meal and a good glass of vino in front of the fire welcomes me after the jobs are all done.
The weekends are all about pony partying! I am really lucky to have 2 horse crazy parents and they truly are my dream team. My dad drives the horsebox and handles the youngsters, my mum ensures the tails are always gleaming and has the dressage test ready for any last-minute memory loss and my little dog Ruby is my number 1 course walker companion. In fact, it isn’t just weekends that I rely on their support but even more so during the week. When I am working in London it is these 2 superheroes who look after the horses back home. They may not ride much anymore but they will put them on the walker, lunge them and occasionally even hack a couple of times a week. Without this I wouldn’t be able to compete, so I am enormously grateful to them! Social media often focusses on the horses and the results, but it really is the people behind the scenes that make it all happen.
Without a doubt another group of incredibly important people I could not do this all without is my team of super sponsors. It was this time last year I got the exciting call that I was being welcomed into the Just Togs team as one of their sponsored riders. It has been the most amazing year working with their talented, friendly team and testing the most gorgeous new product launches! As a young rider growing up, I have of course tried a thousand different equestrian clothing brands along the way. What stands out for me is how the Just Togs ranges show the same quality and attention to detail as the super-premium competitors, just without the price tag! I mean this wholeheartedly, but I couldn’t believe the quality of the new 2020 products when I knew how affordable they were. It truly is second to none and the reason I feel so strongly about promoting this super brand.
I often get asked what my favourite product is which is THE hardest question ever – there are just so many! But if I had to choose, here are my top 3:
2020 is looking to be an exciting year. My youngster Helvick HSH Hero has the National Connemara Eventing Championships in March and then will be aimed at the Burghley + Badminton Grassroots championships before stepping up to FEI next year. George’s Boy will be focussed on reaching the British Dressage National Music Championships at Medium level, the Nettex Associated Championships at Medium level and the Area Festival Finals. Gusthoff will be competing British Eventing and I will be travelling to Belgium, Sweden and France for the international Student Riders Nations Cup series. All this being said, it is hard to ignore the current Coronavirus crisis. Who knows how this will effect the equestrian world this year but one thing is for sure, competing or not competing, I will be so grateful for my four-legged friends. Stay safe everyone and remember if you’re feeling anxious, give those fluffy friends a cuddle!