A bit about Liv
Hello everyone and welcome to my first Equine themed blog. A lot of you might be new here, so welcome! If you haven’t done so already, please sign up to my newsletter that will be released quarterly throughout the year. At the moment it may seem heavily human Sports Therapy dominate but rest assured, when the world allows, there will be equal amounts of horsey & human content- I promise!
So, I thought I’d start my first Equine blog with something super relaxed and low key. It’ll be like we’re having a chat as such, (I’m very fortunate to work with people every day, but I know for many, you are missing that human interaction, so grab a cuppa and come and chat with me!)
I’m hoping many of you will be familiar with my website and maybe have had a read through some of the information about me. However, within this blog we’re going to travel a little bit further down memory lane and really talk about my horsey life thus far.
Sit tight for the throwback…
Okay so we’re starting way back in 2001. I was 5 years old and terrified of horses. My Auntie had owned horses for a very long time, and I wouldn’t go anywhere near them, I was petrified. I turned 6 on the 3rd February 2002 (make a note of a certain someone’s birthday here!) and asked my parents if I could start horse riding lessons. They were reluctant at first given the rollercoaster of emotions they’d had to carry me through leading up to this point, but they buckled, and I began at my local riding school.
I rode there, weekly for 4 years learning a variety of things, from the fundamentals all the way to jumping and everything in between. My instructor pulled my parents to one side and said, ‘I’ve taught Liv all I can, if she’s serious about this and wants to do more and get better she needs her own horse.’ Well, you can imagine what my Dad’s reaction was… ‘and how much is this going to cost me?...’
I started with having two ponies on loan initially, just in case the diva in me got turned off by the far less glamorous side of owning a horse. But it didn’t, I LOVED IT. In December 2007 I used some inheritance money to buy my first pony; my beautiful baby Bella (check out my instagram @injuryrecoverycentreequine as she’s a key feature even to this day!)
I’d be lying if I said the standard cliché jargon of… ‘When I sat on Bella, I knew she was the one, we clicked instantly.’ HELL NO! When I first sat on Bella the feeling of fear came over me, much like what I had felt back in 2001. She was so very advance, there was so much horse underneath me. I really did question if she was the right horse. But her ground manners and affection won me over and I knew I wanted to really give it my all, and really take this hobby of mine to the next level. And to do so, I needed Bella.
I spent a lot of time working hard with Bella. At this point here she was way above me in experience, strength and sassiness (I know what you’re thinking… hard to believe right!) If she didn’t want to do something or work correctly, she point blank didn’t do it. She’d throw me off and run back to the stables without battering an eyelid. I thought I knew everything about riding when I left my riding school, even my instructor thought she had taught me everything. But she and I couldn’t have been more wrong. Nothing can teach or prepare you for owning your own horse.
Riding that one horse multiple times a week. Learning their quirks, their fears, their mannerisms both off and on the ground is a lot to take in when you're a child. Despite a rocky start, some tears, some injuries and definitely contemplating if I’d made the right decision, things started to fall into place. The relationship Bella and I formed was incredible, we were so close, and we took everything in our stride (pardon the pun; I just had to!)
Pony Club opportunities
What I didn’t know was, owning your own horse meant you could also join amazing teams like The Pony Club. I’m still, to this day, so incredibly thankful for my Pony Club; Ivel Valley. I had opportunities there that kids dreamed of.
I made friends. I attended training camps and riding development scholarships. I competed in Area Dressage, Show Jumping and Cross-Country. I represented them at Burghley Show Jumping, BSJA and BE events. I went onto complete the 2-day Eventing Nationals.
But above all else, I learnt values of leadership, communication, empathy, relatability, accountability and kindness.
As time went on, I got older (annoying isn’t it, that little thing we call 'ageing'). I got bigger and my little 14.3hh Thoroughbred X Arab aged ever so gracefully. I went onto loaning 2 more horses and both Deni & Bonnie were such epic ladies.
It was a privilege to have been given these horses by their owners with full trust and knowledge that we would love them as much as we love Bella. And we did, they both had such an incredible life and Bella really did love the company. For a fair few years, we’d take them to events, entered into different classes and make a real day of it (I however, do not miss learning multiple different dressage tests- who can relate here!)
Horses have undoubtedly been a theme throughout my life since 2002. Goodness me, I chose my University based on Coventry having a riding team (if that’s not prioritising, I don’t know what is!). Whilst I attained my degrees Bella went on loan to family friends, who’s 4 daughter all rode. Bella was able to give their girls all the confidence, knowledge and love she had given me. And better still, when I came home, I was able to still ride, and we would all hack out together.
Since qualifying in 2017 I have taken Bella back full time. She is my responsibility, my partner in crime and my shoulder to cry on. When I relocated for work, so did she. And although my mum, dad and brother (he’ll say he doesn’t, but he definitely dose) really miss her she is so very happy here in Saffron Walden. She has great companions and such a wonderful little home.
Better still, she’s now 31 years of age and you wouldn’t even know. This pony is still as cheeky, as sassy and as speedy as ever. We ride 5x a week varying from schooling to hacking with the odd bit of Show Jumping in between. Towards the end of 2020 she even went Cross-Country schooling and had the time of her life!
I never go forgetting how incredibly lucky I was to have the most fantastic childhood. No seriously, my parents were selfless, loving and supportive throughout my horsey life, both competitively and for fun, that I honestly wouldn’t have wanted my life to pan out any other way.
I love that I still have a horse, and really don’t see my life without these wonderful 4-legged animals and that is why I knew when I qualified as a human Sports Therapist I 100% wanted to train as an Equine Sports & Rehabilitation Therapist.
WOW, that blog ended up being longer than I had planned (if you’re reading this- very well done to you, it’s over, congratulations!)
Thank you for taking the time to get to know me a little bit more. There was nothing educational in this blog, I just wanted to keep the first one super chill and provide a great foundation for subsequent blogs to come.
If you haven’t already, please head over to my website and Instagram for all the latest posts and information coming your way. Fingers crossed the pandemic will allow me to finish the final module of my qualification and we can start helping our beloved horses.
Full Time Horsey Lover
BSc Hons Sports Therapy MSST
MSc Strength and Conditioning
In loving memory of Deni & Bonnie.