April 4, 2017
This month we caught up with Daina from Rio’s Wish Dressage to find out about life as a Dressage rider with a young family 🙂
Hello, I am Daina from Rio’s Wish Dressage!! I’m very excited to be answering these questions for you all and I really hope they might provide some interest and give you all an inside into my life based around my two horses!!
I own two stunning and very cheeky horses, firstly,
Rio- known also in the show ring as Casablanca. Rio is a 16.1hh, bay, Belgian Warmblood Mare who has just recently turned 15. Formally a show jumper who competed nationally up to 1m30 level and was due to jump international tracks but sadly had a significant injury to both deep digital flexor tendons that ended her showjumping career. However, every cloud has a silver lining and this lead to her dressage career taking full swing where she has competed up to elementary level and has competed at the Hickstead Dressage masters and Novice Summer and Winter Regional Championships.
Wish- also known as Wishful is a 16.2hh dark bay mare by the stallion Wolkenderry. We purchased Wish from the Fosshey Hanoverian Stud in Cheshire as a two year old and Wish is owned by my Mom Sheila Fearon. Wish was very lucky and went to Richard Hannover in Germany to begin her ridden career where she returned just last year for me to ride. We competed at our first Prelim together and winning our section and is now under the care and guidance of Gemma Moss of Gemma Moss Equestrian in Cheshire where she will continue her education and ridden career.
Myself? Well I am 29 years old and a non professional rider. I am a practice manager of a veterinary surgery for my main job, a mommy and very proud wife to my husband Nick. My aim with my horses is to give them the best care and attention I can and I will always put their health and interests before my own. I aim to do the best I can with both girls and I learn something new every single day. I have found the horse story is full of ups and downs but nothing can stop my pure passion and love for the animals themselves.
My favourite horsey products without question are my matchy sets!! I absolutely love my horses looking smart and I have to admit I have so many!! I have holes in my at home clothes but Rio and Wish have so many sets now its a wonder they ever wear the same one twice!! My name is Daina Harris and I have a match addiction!!! I also absolutely adore my La Valencio breeches!! I won’t wear another make now!! They are so comfy and fit me a treat plus the added bling is a big bonus for me!!! Matchy Dressage and Equissentials Dressage are a horse riders paradise!!
My favourite non horsey product?? Probably my ugg boots?? I constantly have cold feet and I wear them everywhere!! Work, the stables and going out and about it!! Don’t worry I have different pairs for different locations!! Haha!!
Have I found having children has affected me with my horses? Most definitely yes!! Having had my daughter has not only changed me with my horses but every aspect of my day to day life! In regards to my horses, I have found that I am a lot more safety conscious than I initially was. I fear getting hurt more than I did before and less risky of a situation where the outcome might not necessarily be plain sailing. Weirdly I am a lot more laid back when it comes to training and competing since becoming a mommy but that is because I have more in my life and my time with my horses is my release from day to day pressures and is my so called “me” time.
My highest point of my dressage career was most definitely competing at Hickstead. I was so in shock that Rio and I had qualified that I was totally star struck when we made it to the venue!! Especially in the warm up when I was riding alongside some of GB’s best known riders!! I had no expectations that Rio and I would come anywhere but last place and as I trotted down the centre line and saw pigeon land next to the side of the arena I thought I was done for!! Rio however, pulled it out of the bag and gave me an amazing ride and to my utter shock we came 10th!! I got the biggest rosette and I couldn’t believe I had come 10th in the country!! This was most definitely my most favourite ride with my special girl! Although it might not be much to some, I had all my family there and Rio was an absolute star and this memory will certainly take some beating.
My lowest point in regards to horses has to be the loss of my former horse Snowy. He was a stunning grey 16.2hh Zangersheide Horse who sadly lost his life at just the age of 8 whilst competing at a show. He was the kindest horse and won everything he entered in his showjumping career including a class at the national showjumping festival Scope. I loved to ride him and I even had a go jumping him myself back in the day but losing my best friend at the time in such horrific circumstances I feared for not only the pain of never seeing him again but would I be able to have another horse in his place.
It is amazing though how they say everything happens for a reason, because without losing snowy, I would never have found Rio. She truly has been my horse of a lifetime and given me everything and more!! Rio truly is my best friend and I could not be without her!!
In 2017 I would like to compete at my first dressage to music with Rio. I would like to aim for another Regional Championships again but think winters may be a better option for myself with other commitments I have this year. With Wish I am very much looking forward to seeing her and Gemma develop together and seeing this super horse show her talents! Wishy really is amazing!!!
Away from the yard, I know its cheesey but I absolutely adore being a mommy!! My daughter is my greatest gift to my life and I smile everyday I am with her. We have a beautiful yellow labrador called Raya, those who follow the Rio’s Wish page may know her as Co-pilot Raya as she comes to every show and visit to the yard, so we do lots of dog walking and trips to the park. I think children should be outside playing so I hope my daughter grows to love outdoor activites like myself!! In 2017 I have tried to take a bigger focus on myself and my personal training so I have developed a huge interest in Crossfit and I work out a minimum of three times a week! I cannot even begin to explain the benefits this has done for my riding and personal confidence to!!! I have also set up my own little business “The Health Project by Daina” helping me live a healthier lifestyle, so I am enjoying all the learning and positive steps in this industry also.
As I mentioned above for myself I believe strength, fitness and good nutrition for the rider is critically important and I have seen the benefits in working on myself from the difference in my riding. Everyone has commented on how much stronger, straighter and confident I look in the saddle since starting my health and fitness journey.
In regards to my horses, I use my Equissage machine daily on Rio. I believe this has played a huge part in her recovery from the injury and her maintenance following her recovery. I wouldn’t be without the machine. I believe daily turnout is crucial for horses, especially the young horses like Wish! I like horses to be horses and I am lucky that on both yards the yard owners have the same beliefs as me and like them to have their own time in the field doing what horses do best!! A good diet that is right for your own horse is crucial to!!
Well my weekly routine????? Being totally honest I DON’T HAVE ONE!! Like i said I am a mummy, I have a full time job, I workout and I am a wife to a husband who works incredibly hard. My family and I all pull together to allow me to work ride and train but with other people’s work commitments, each week we club together and work out who can do what when, so Rio’s work regime works around that also. I would love to tell you we spend three days a week in the school, two days hacking and one day galloping across fields for variation and fitness work but thats simply not the case! Hahaha! Rio has learnt she has to help me and fit in with the schedule to and I am so lucky that she has a kind enough nature to work like this! On average I am to ride three times a week if I can and then she goes on the walker twice a week to on the days I can’t ride. If I get to ride more great, if I don’t, it can’t be helped.
Wish with her being young needed a bit more stability. Wish has an amazing life with Gemma where she schools, jumps, hacks and goes on the gallop tracks to and she is thriving off it!! You have to just find the routine that suits them and you!!
My top tips for affiliated competition………..hmmm………….use every show as a learning curve. No show whether its affiliated or unaffiliated will go right 100% of the time. Find the positives from every bad day and remember there will always be another show!! With every great day try to process how you can make these great days a more regular occurrence!! Losing snowy taught me that there will always be another day another show but there might not be another horse that can replace the one you have!! Cherish every ride, every show and every moment because these animals are our partners and friends!!
I hope you have enjoyed reading these questions and answers!! Please if you have any questions what so ever I would love to hear from you!! Just drop me an inbox message to Rios’s Wish Dressage.
A huge thank you to Gemma for choosing me to be part of her blog and also the amazing team members at Equissentials Dressage, Equiture, Matchy Dressage, Harrege and Brook Equestrian and Horse Photographer UK who choose to sponsor and support not just myself but Rio and Wish on our dressage journey.