February 9, 2017
Katie is the human half of Deciphering Dressage, her current ride River completes the partnership and together they are part of the sponsored rider team supported by Equissentials Dressage.
How did you become involved in horses?
I was riding before i could walk! Mum is horsey and had myself and my brother on horses from a very young age, i was the only one to continue though! I’ve had periods without them, due to their injuries, trying to be “career focused” etc but it’s not the same. They keep me sane, fit and healthy and have very much been my best friends throughout life.
An introduction to River
River is my lovely 4, rising 5 year old Westphalian mare. After a stint of bad luck trying to find a horse last year a friend put me in touch with a lovely lady called Rhegan at Westphalian auctions. Rhegan completely understood my champagne taste, beer money requirements for a sane horse for the competitive amateur. Perhaps it wasn’t the most sensible option purchasing an untried horse – i bought her off a video!! But so far she has far exceeded every expectation, she has such a lovely nature and is very trainable.
My mum also still has my old horse Oskar, who i produced up the levels from a 4 year old to Advanced, he is enjoying life as a pet and is very much part of the family.
Ambitions for 2017
To have a healthy, fit horse who i can enjoy some competing on. I would love to qualify River for the Prelim Regionals/Nationals and also get her out to some young horse classes to gain her some exposure. Mainly, i just want to enjoy riding and competing, any result is an added bonus.
What are your top tips for people starting out with youngsters?
A supportive trainer – i am very lucky to be based with a brilliant trainer who helps me on my wobble days. They always have a good plan or exercises if i get stuck. Although i produced Oskar up from a 4 year old it’s been 15 years since i sat on a youngster so i have to remind myself to enjoy the ride, people will tell you you’re doing things too slowly, others too fast. Just listen to your gut and the pros, keep having fun along the way and if it gets tough don’t be afraid to ask for some help.
What have been your personal highs and lows?
Highlights – I have many great memories and gained a number of wonderful friends, especially being part of the GB student riders squad, which allowed me to travel a lot and ride some wonderful horses. Winning a Home International in Ireland was a huge highlight – we had nearly lost Oskar to colic the year before and never expected him to come back so well. It was a championship he deserved, he’s such a wonderful horse.
Lows – There’s been a number over the last few years, Oskar sustained an injury and so we opted to retire him from Dressage, it came much sooner than i anticipated and i was heartbroken. I then purchased my dream horse in 2015 but 6 months later he jumped the fence in the field and sustained an injury which meant he wouldn’t be able to do Dressage. Things like this break my heart, i nearly gave up as they’re problems you just can’t control.
What are your favourite products?
I adore the Equestrian Stockholm and PS of Sweden ranges – the quality and design of them is utterly brilliant. I am super excited to get my hands on a PS of Sweden bridle* (through Equissentials Dressage of course!) and see what all the fuss is about!
River loves the Naf treats and the Protexin Acid Ease/Gut Balancer have helped with her move across from Germany.
*PS of Sweden bridles are available to hire through Equissentials Dressage for those who wish to try before they buy.
The simply gorgeous S/S17 collection (pictured below) from PS of Sweden is due in stock at the end of February and pre-orders through Equissentials Dressage are now being taken.
What do you do as a rider to keep fit?
I work with a personal trainer (SCS Fitness) and also a Pilates instructor (Christina of Target Pilates). I try to go to the gym 4-5 days a week (i am very fortunate to have a gym at work) and do a mixture of weights and cardio programmes. I also try and do at least one of my Pilates stretches a day.
Finally, what do you like to do away from the yard?
Most of my spare time is spent at the yard! The people are lovely and it’s very sociable. Otherwise i do like to enjoy a nice meal and a glass of wine, or trip to the cinema.
Thanks to Katie for an insight into her horsey life, past and present. All the best to you and River for 2017 🙂