Welcome to Inside Track Eventing! I’m Natalie, an ambitious amateur rider just starting out in the wonderful world of Irish eventing. I have a full-time job, and I spend pretty much every other minute of my spare time doing something equine-related, even if I’m not on a horse!
I’ve been riding pretty much all my life, but it was always on ‘borrowed’ horses – throughout my teenage years I was lucky to have the opportunity to ride and compete many wonderful ponies in both IPS and SJI shows, to build up their ‘competitive CVs’ and allow them to be sold on. I also had the pleasure of working in a very busy riding school/livery yard part-time throughout school and college, where I learned a lot about the practical side of looking after horses, and even took some of the BHS Exams.
A demanding Psychology degree and a move to a new city meant that horses took a back seat for a few years, but I finally got myself back in the saddle and shared a few horses for a couple of years, which is where I first discovered my love for dressage – as a teenager I always found flatwork a necessary evil before the jumping bit!
After a few years of sharing I was finally in a position to have my own horse – enter Betsey! I got her on loan in 2014, and she’s been with me since. She is the most honest and forgiving horse I have ever ridden, and is just bucketloads of fun. She does have an opinion on most things, but is not mareish – she’s just exceptionally smart and needs to be constantly challenged to keep her engaged. Cross-country is definitely her best discipline, but she’ll give all of them a fair shot!
2015 was our first season out eventing – we managed to get out to three EI90 events, and placed 5th in one of them. We also competed throughout the year in Riding Club and Dressage Ireland events, as well as placing in some unaffiliated Combined Training classes.
A diagnosis of arthritis in Betsey’s left hock (spavin) in late 2015 meant we were out of action for a few months, but thanks to the excellent team at Troytown Greyabbey, we are now back in full force, and have even affiliated with Dressage Ireland this year, and won two classes in two outings! My goal is to event unaffiliated/on day tickets this year at 90cm, and begin schooling 1m at home, as well as focusing on qualifying for Dressage Ireland National Championships.
Hopefully 2016 will shape up to be a pretty exciting year for us, if the first two months are anything to go by – stay tuned for more updates on my blog. Hopefully it will be helpful to anyone just starting out in the world of Eventing!
I always welcome feedback and suggestions for posts, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have ideas!