Bryony has been a horse enthusiast since she was a little girl. Her family where not horsey at all, so getting into the sport was a
challenge and something she worked incredibly hard for. “My family wouldn’t have known whether I was riding round Badminton or doing an egg and spoon race” says Bryony, but she has since evented up to advanced level and is now competing as a top level show jumper.
Bryony worked at a riding stables, just to get the odd ride here and there. She then progressed to working on dealers yards and networking with people in the equestrian industry. She worked in advertising and marketing for some time, so had excellent people skills and would do anything to help anyone. She was always grateful for any opportunity that enabled her to spend time around horses and gradually this hard work paid off. “I eventually sold my car and clothes and bought my first horse and started eventing with him” says Bryony. Her goal was to take him around Windsor Horse Trials and he did.
Eventually, people started to give Bryony horses to ride and people kept giving because she treated them with so much respect. She will never forget the kindness that so many people showed her which enabled her to follow her dreams.
Bryony considers herself a traditional rider. She uses old school methods in today’s modern world. She doesn’t necessarily embrace the latest fads and trends and sees that the original horsemanship fundamentals are a good basis for producing quality horses. Bryony applies this style into their train
ing today. Her traditional methods come from her eventing background where a variety of training was required to be able to be successful across all three disciplines. Bryony believes that this has been integral for her successes.
Bryony has worked hard for an incredibly long time to achieve the results she holds. Bryony found that her idea of management and horse care worked for all horses that came to her, which is exactly why she is incredibly particular that her staff maintain this high level of care and stick to the seamless routine to ensure all horses feel their best. “If my horses have the top care it will enable them to perform to the best of their ability” states Bryony.
“We have a walker but we would only use it in addition to another form of exercise. We have great facilities for schooling, and I am incredibly lucky for this, but our hacking is definitely the best part of living here. It is fantastic for the fitness of our horses. The hill work is phenomenal, the undulating ground helps for when competing on grass and the freedom and change keeps the horses’ brains engaged. I do not believe that keeping my horses trapped in the stable for hours and hours and only ever seeing the four sides of a school is healthy or beneficial. “I want my horses to have the freedom that they need to be a horse,” described Bryony.
When Bryony was eventing she would do a lot of her training hacking and to this day she still hacks most days. “I can’t get it out of my system, the hills and cantering is just as valuable to the show jumpers” says Bryony.
Bryony points out that everything she has achieved is not down to bravery but preparation. Her training and practice is what has played an enormous role in getting her to where she is today. “When I am prepared, I feel less scared!” explained Bryony.
For the first five years of Bryony’s eventing career she didn’t have a school, so would do all the schooling she could out hacking and would only jump when she could get out to a training venue. However, she felt she was never competitive enough on the eventing circuit. She would never push for time round the cross country as she wanted her horses to jump well rather than get home without time faults.
When Bryony was growing up, her dream was to be an eventer. She loved the environment and the people that were associated with it. “Eventers are very humble. However, I wish I had made the swap 10 years earlier. I now love what I’m doing and the sport is more flexible. I can do more things around my horses and I can focus on schooling for one discipline. I don’t consider myself the bravest person, so knowing I have done plenty of ground work is what gives me confidence. I really love the jumping and I am learning all over again which is a whole new challenge! I know that I will never jump as well in competition as I can at home, so if I can perform at 150% in training, I should be able to ride at 100% under competition conditions. This is what gives me confidence and I couldn’t do it without the wonderful practical, emotional and financial support I get from husband Paul. I still love going to the big events like Blenheim and the atmosphere makes me miss the sport, but I couldn’t imagine even jumping a log these days!” says Bryony.
Bryony had achieved everything she wanted to do in eventing and this made the decision to move to show jumping relatively easy. The time commitment to the training is less and having a team of four horses with just the one discipline to organise; plus going to fewer, better shows enables her to fit in her “other life” also.
“Preparation over bravery” exclaimed Bryony.