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Horse_amp_amp_Hound__06_February_2018

EXTRAORDINARY AMATEURS

EXTRAORDINARY AMATEURS Cora Kwiatkowski and dressage horse Troy Sharon Polding gets up at the crack of dawn to ride her event horse, Findonfirecracker work because I know I only have so much time. Switching off completely [with horses] is good for your brain; the effects of fresh air and sport are well documented.” Lauren Innes admits that she only works to afford her horses — advanced eventer Monarchs Larko and promising eight-year-old Fision M. “I put off being an adult for so long, but I needed some real income to have the right training and support,” says Lauren, who recently started as a trainee auditor at KPMG in Reading. “I’m still feeling my way, but I hope to make it work. This will be a key season.” Lauren, who is also studying for accountancy exams, plans to be on the gallops in summer before she starts work at 9am. It helps that her horses are based at home. “Skipping them out at 10pm makes morning mucking-out easier,” she explains. “I save time with rubber matting and autowaterers, and cereal bars that I eat in the car for breakfast.” Day-to-day management is one thing, but how easy is it for an amateur to switch into competition mode? “Once I’m at a show, it’s all I’m thinking about,” says Claudia Rees, who is jumping 1.35m tracks with Renkum Knopfler when not working as operations director at stem cell company Cells4Life. “But showjumping against professionals who ride a lot of horses every day can be difficult. When I start again after a winter break, I’ll feel a bit more rusty than I did in October.” Despite a lot of juggling, Claudia values all aspects of her busy life. “I never wanted to turn pro and was always keen to have a job,” she says. “Doing horses full-time is a different type of hard work, but I enjoy the more intellectually rigorous side of things. “Time management is key — and being prepared to get up early,” adds Claudia, who is also bringing Ashbank Arabella through Foxhunters. “At first, I paid someone to do the yard so that I could have a lie-in, but I couldn’t justify the cost. Now I set the alarm and get on with it.” H&H ‘I’m knackered most of the time,’ says Sharon. ‘Horses are how I de-stress’ RALLYING SUPPORT GOING it alone can be tough. Two years ago, Emily Green set up a networking group of like-minded horsey friends. “I’d met a few girls through groups such as the London Riding Club and #twittereventing — lawyers, consultants and accountants who were working in the City and competing,” she says. “We’d get together occasionally to discuss how ridiculously busy our lifestyles were. Now there are 50 or 60 in the group and we meet for drinks once a month. “It’s amazing to learn from these girls — many of whom have been through Pony Club, unlike me — and reassuring to have someone to text the night before if I have a big deadline and can’t do the horses. We synchronise competitions and discuss issues that often arise when you move somewhere new: a nice yard, someone to train with and the best vets or equine dentists. It’s a massive source of support.” ‘Paying for the horses and planning the next competition is what motivates me,’ says Emily Green Picture by Lucy Merrell 34 Horse & Hound 8 February 2018

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