One reason A Country Lady was established was to help support and promote talented riders. This month, we are very happy to introduce Charlotte Smith to the blog. Charlotte is a producer of both dressage and show horses and will be blogging monthly on her equestrian journey.
Hello! I am excited to introduce myself as a new blogger for A Country Lady. My name is Charlotte Smith, I’m 27 years old and I produce Show and Dressage horses, based at a wonderful yard in Oxfordshire. Horses are my passion, and have been from a very young age. As soon as I could sit, I sat on a horse! I grew up attending Pony Club rallies, camps, competed in teams for all disciplines, as well as having weekly lessons with my own trainer.
When I left school, I studied to qualify as a McTimoney Chiropractor, this was a part time Masters degree, and in order to pay my University Fees I worked as a Freelance Groom. The opportunities and experience this gave me was invaluable and has led me to where I am today.
Having worked for some top professionals, had the opportunity to ride, train and compete some lovely horses, and met some wonderful owners, I was given the opportunity to take on my own yard and be based in one place. It wasn’t quite that simple though…
The Set Up
First, we had to turn a run-down cattle farm into an equestrian establishment, but two years later we are nearly there and offer wonderful facilities.
I am very lucky to have such a brilliant team of people around me, and a wonderful team of horses to work with. There are too many horses to introduce individually, but we basically have one of each type! From a traditional cob, Arab, riding horse, Welsh, hunters, palominos and a cob for the show ring, as well a few dressage horses! I am sure you’ll hear about all of them at some point as we go through the season! Along with my two best friends… My dogs – Gin the lurcher, and Tonic the terrier. Coming to shows in the horse lorry is their favourite thing!
Preparing for the season
So, at this time of year it’s full steam ahead to prepare for the coming season. I find it really important to have a good support team around you, including vet, dentist, chiropractor, physio, farrier alongside your trainer and a trusty right hand man (that’s my mum!).
The horses will now all have their teeth done, checked over by the chiropractor or physio to iron out any niggles they may have, saddles checked as they are likely to have changed shape from last year. I will then set each horse a ‘goal’ for the season. Whether that’s a first show for a baby horse, or qualifying for Royal International or HOYS for the older horses, or grading for our young stallion.
Once I have picked a goal I then work backwards in the preparation, with training, and smaller practice shows which allow them to get the experience and show me the areas I need to work on with that horse.
We already have one horse qualified for The Royal International Horse Show, and one has half her dressage regional qualification points so that’s a great start the year and we look forward to the season ahead.
That’s me, in a nutshell. And I look forward to writing more throughout the season.