You probably know her from Youtube or Instagram, her love, passion and skills in multiple disciplines keep up reminded that we are all in this together, regardless of what saddle we ride in.
Q1: For anyone that hasn’t come past you and your Instagram and youtube, describe what you’re about two sentences.
A: I suppose I am all about showing variety in the equine industry, I do Show Jumping up to 1.25m level, attend dressage and eventing competitions as well as a lot of trick training with both my horses, especially my mare Boo. I also work as an equine sports therapist and I am currently studying my Master's degree in animal chiropractic.
Q2: You have an undoubtedly strong bond with your horses, what your top 3 most memorable moments you’ve had?
- The first time Boo I laid Boo down at a show in front of a crowd of people.
- Producing River from an untouched 2-year old into the 5-year-old she is today.
- Jumping my first 1.20m classes with Naiger.
Q3: What’s been the hardest thing you've had to overcome with your riding and training?
A: I suppose like any rider it's working and training to overcome any bad habits and trying to be the best rider I can be. Before I moved to Dubai I knew so little about dressage and correct riding. I've been learning so much, not only about my own posture and my horses' posture, but also a lot about the importance of lateral work in helping to straighten and balance the horse.
Q4: Give one of the worst and best traits of all your horses
Best: She is very intelligent, once she learns something once she knows it.
Worst: Boo can be lazy sometimes especially, in the beginning, she takes quite a long warm up. Conversely, she can also be very hot and rush when jumping if not ridden correctly to the fence with a quality canter.
Best: She has a great jump and is a very scopey and careful mare. She gives such an amazing feeling in the air.
Worst: I guess it would have to be her canter. It is still very big and difficult to collect as she is still young and quite a large mare! In time she will develop a stronger more balanced canter.
Q5: If your horses were famous people, who would they be and why?Boo - She would be some kind of laid-back surfer dude that gets really into the things he likes haha.
River - She would be Albert Einstein. She has an amazing ability to open any door, bin or gate!
Q6: You and Boo have been together a while now, do you remember the first time you met her? What happened from there?
A: I will have owned Boo for 7 years this year. I will never forget my first ride on her as we had a rotational fall when jumping and I got a bad concussion and passed out. Boo was fine thankfully. When I bought Boo I way over horsed myself and I really couldn't ride her back then. It seems so far away thinking of how she is now! Just some background information, small story.
Q7: We all have known you on Youtube for a while now! What has been your fondest memory of starting youtube?
A: Before Boo I had never ridden tackless, or trick trained a horse. Now Boo knows so many things, she can rear, lay down, bow, smile, Spanish walk, kiss, kneel and we are currently working on sitting. I can ride and jump her just the same as when I have tack, it’s a great feeling. It all took a lot of patience and dedication but was worth the time and effort.
Q8: For anyone wanting to start an equestrian YouTube or Instagram, what are your top 3 tips?
- Keep your videos short and sweet, you want your audience to be engaged! Try to avoid very long clips or clips in which the horse and rider look very far away.
- If you have a lot of photos to post on Instagram, for example, instead of posting 5 or 10 days over one or two days, try to spread out and limit your posts. I prefer to only post once or twice a day maximum! This increases the chances of more of my audience seeing my posts.
- Try and find a friend or relative who is decent with a camera, the quality of your videos or photos is really quite important... No one likes blurry photos or shaky videos!
Q9: Having such a large following you must have some critics? What is the funniest piece of advice you have given you?A: Funniest piece of advice was probably someone telling me it was cruel to ride my horses in tack cos it hurts them! Obviously, tack, when used correctly, is neither cruel nor painful for the horse.
Q10: Now, what is the best piece of advice you can give your followers about life in the equestrian Instagram world?
A: Everyone has an opinion and different ways of doing the same things. Be your own person and make informed decisions. Just because someone says, for example, this type of noseband is the best, well think why they might say that, do some research and apply it with the knowledge to your own horse or equestrian experiences.
And some extra questions for you all...
Q: With style, are you a brown tack or black tack person?
Q: What is the most embarrassing thing to have ever happened to you while riding?
A: The first time I ever tried to canter Boo without tack, I didn't have a proper neck ring, I was only holding the ends of a lead rope. I dropped the lead rope and Boo was galloping around for about 5 or 6 minutes (doesn't sound long.. But trust me it was a lifetime) and even did a flying change across the school and continued the other direction haha. I even considered bailing off, luckily she eventually stopped and my legs were like jelly haha.
Q: What are your top three goals for the new year? Any new and upcoming plans you’d like to share?
- Get River out competing properly now she is finally almost mature. She is ready to start jumping bigger.
- I am aiming to compete VIP at 1.20/1.25m level. He is a new ride for me so I am still getting to know him, he is a pretty sharp and complicated horse to ride.
- I would love to gallop Boo tackless on the race track as well this year! I loved when I galloped her tackless on the beach back in Ireland a few years back.
Q: What’s something you miss the most from home?
A: The eventing and cross country courses. We have 2 courses here in Dubai but they are nothing like home!
Q: We must admit, your trick riding skills are on point! What made you start Trick Riding in the first place?
A: I always wanted to trick ride since I saw the devil's horsemen perform in Dublin horse show. I met my trainer by chance, we both happened to be riding without tack and sparked up a conversation. I don't know anyone else apart from him in Dubai who can ride their horse without tack! I started trick riding just over a year ago and I really love it, its something I luckily seem to have a natural ability for.