What led you to your current role?
I saw an advert in Horse and Hound almost 14 years ago. I have always worked with horses in some way, either as a coach or freelance journalist, and working for SPILLERS seemed a ‘proper’ job where I could still have a horse connection.
Are you horsey? If yes, how did you get into horses?
Yes I am! When I was 6 years old we went on holiday to Spain and there was a riding school close to the hotel and I quite fancied having a go! My parents bank account was never the same again! I have represented Scotland on young rider and senior dressage teams and was a member of the Scottish WHP team for years. My passion is eventing and I have evented to Intermediate and old 1* level. I was very fortunate to have a horse called Morning Sky who evented whilst also being a top class intermediate WHP. He was champion WHP at the BSPS Summer Championships and also at the Royal Highland Show. He was a legend!
Do you have a favourite horse, past or present?
There are plenty horses I have admired across all the disciplines. I think the horse I would have loved to meet would have been Eric Lamaze’s amazing show jumper Hickstead. He was outstanding. As far as current horses go, I think Allstar B is awesome. He just looks like a dude!
Which is the best part of your job and why?
I love seeing horses I have helped go on and achieve things. Whether it’s competing at RC or winning gold at the London Olympics, knowing I have helped that horse on its journey gives me great satisfaction.
Has your job ever led you to meet someone famous?
I have met a lot of famous horses and riders with this job. However in a previous coaching job I taught Ewan McGregor and also John Travolta’s kids! Both John and his wife were there and it was incredibly nerve wracking! I’m not into football, but I taught some famous footballer that all the football fans were very excited about, but he clearly didn’t leave an impression on me as I can’t remember who he was!
What is your least favourite part of your job?
Being away from home. It’s a logistical nightmare staying away between kids, husband, dogs and horses!
The last time somebody did something to surprise you?
My husband is not horsey, I would say he tolerates them! I was really tired and he managed to turn both my boys out in the morning so I could have a long lie in. He even managed to put them in the right fields!
What is the strangest/funniest thing that has happened to you during your career?
There have been so many! Some not for public viewing! I have lots of funny memories but one that stands out involves the weigh bridge. One of my supported riders had a show jumper who was terrified of the weigh bridge. It took ages to get him on it the first time. Eventually after a lot of convincing and Meadow Herb treats, he went on and we couldn’t get him off again! Every time I went to that yard, when he saw me he whinnied as ‘the treat lady’ was there! He loved going on the weigh bridge from then on as he associated it with treats!
What advice would you give someone wanting to get started in your career?
Make sure you have a good equestrian background. I have a Business and Marketing degree but also have my BHSII so that gave me a good knowledge base for retail and end users. It’s not a glamorous job and there are a lot of nights away and travel, but the highs far out weigh the lows.
How have you seen the industry change over the years that you’ve been involved?
There are a lot more feeds available now. You can get a feed for every horse. Retailers have had to diversify in order to survive. On the whole the different feed company reps get on really well in my area which is great.
What ambitions do you still want to achieve in your career?
Geography hinders me as the office is over 500 miles away! I would love to do a brand manager role where I could build on my degree and the experience I have gained over the years.