Horse riding has been a lifelong love for Annalie Ellis, our New Business Co-ordinator, and it now spans generations. Here she talks about how she got into it and how her passion for hoses has developed through her life.
I cannot remember a life without horses in it. From a very early age, and following on from my Mum’s footsteps who was a riding instructor, I have ridden horses. We lived on a smallholding, so horses were literally on hand and I spent hours upon hours at the stables. My Mum would even pick me up from school sometimes with my pony at the time, called Ben. The other kids often used to look at us like we were crazy!
I took horse riding lessons as a child and quickly became hooked. I helped out at a local riding stable during the school holidays. Doing everything from mucking out, bringing the horses in and out and feeding them. This taught me from an early age that the horses were dependent on me and no matter how I felt on that day, I had to sort them. It is not a hobby you just choose to do on an odd day.
As I got older, my passion only grew stronger and in my mid-teens, I bought an ex-racehorse called Nipper Smith. Racehorses are quite different from other horses, as they are bred and reared to run straight. They often are hard to train as they are not always used to traffic and are also quite sensitive. One thing I learned quickly was that riding a racehorse when you are in a bad mood doesn’t mix. He was the most amazing horse and I loved him so dearly. Sadly, he was not very well, and I had to put him to sleep whilst I was pregnant.
I spent a few years without owning a horse and then six weeks after I gave birth to my second child, I bought another horse called Jay and rode as and when I could. Fitting riding in around having a family was tricky, but I made time for it and was so glad I did as it gave me some of my own time away from work and family commitments.
I ended up moving Jay to a stable much closer to home so I could fit more riding in. This is when I stepped things up a notch and competed in novice jumping, a little cross country and I started dressage at a local level. The dedication needed to train in this was hard, but I thoroughly enjoyed all the time I spent training both myself and Jay to this level in order to compete. I loved getting dressed up in the show jacket and making sure my horse was pristine. I also wanted to win and to receive feedback on how well I had done, or what we needed to work on for the next time. My daughters took up riding at weekends which helped me as It was just another excuse for me to be at the stables. It was very hard fitting it in whilst working but getting up early in the morning and sharing with my friend who had a horse meant I could compete at weekends so I wasn’t out of the house as much.
As I got more competitive, I decided I needed a horse that was more competent. So, I loaned a Dutch warmblood for a while and went on to take dressage up seriously and competed at a novice level. My lovely Jay was loaned to my friend so he could still get ridden and enjoy life at a slower pace.
I have not owned my own horse for about ten years now, but I ride my friends’ horse, Kizzy, when I can, to keep the hobby alive. My passion will always be part of my life, but I much prefer to ride as and when I choose. I’ve replaced my horse for 2 dogs who I take walking and do my best to incorporate horses within my life when I can.
You can connect with Annalie on LinkedIn here.