My name is Laura. I’m an undergraduate student at the University of Cape Town, majoring in English and Psychology. I’ve been absolutely horse mad ever since I went for my first pony ride on a cute grey pony named Casper. Now, being horse mad has caused great issues in deciding what I want to do with myself once my university career comes to an end. Becoming an Olympic rider is a rather expensive dream, although it would be pretty fantastic, and so I have been forced into looking at other options to delve into once I graduate. Due to my passion for equines and the whole industry around them it is difficult to see myself doing anything that doesn’t involve horses. I love English, Design and media and so I have realised my dream to become involved in equine journalism or publishing.
As a kid a grew up reading PONY magazine (from the UK) and later grew into reading “Horse & Rider” and “Your Horse” when available here in South Africa, and our local magazine HQ. These magazines have taught me so much and the dream is to work for publications such as these. This blog is the beginning of exploring a future career combining the things I love to do: write and ride.
My riding career
I started riding at the age of 6 at a local riding school, learning all the basics and working through a lot of confidence issues. Write from the beginning, though, I had a passion for jumping which has only grown over the years. When I was 14 my parents allowed me to lease one of the ponies from the riding school, Tom Sawyer, an ex-eventing pony who had had a nasty accident, loads of time off and was now coming back into work. He was very nervous about jumping and in the three years we were together I fell over 27 times and we never jumped much bigger than 80cm. He taught me to be calm when your horse is frightened or stressed, as well as extreme patients.
Once I got too big for him I began looking for a horse to lease. A new horse arrived at a nearby yard. Underweight and unfit. His name was Armada, a tall 17hh, 12 year old thoroughbred. Never had I sat on such a wonderful, willing animal in my life. I fell in love instantly. After a year of leasing him my parents gave me the option to start looking for my own horse. I tried many crazy ex-racers but I just couldn’t think about riding any horse other than Armada. And so, with great negotiation, for my 17th birthday my parents bought him for me and it’s honestly the best thing that has ever happened to me.
Armada and I have grown together in leaps and bounds. We are now competing at a 1m level and jump up to 1.20m at home. He doesn’t have great legs or a great back, stunning movement or a good jump, but he’s so eager to please and he’ll help out in any situation. We often place at shows, sometimes even when we try do something new like dressage or showing. It’s his personality, though, that makes him a one in a million horse.
Recently I have been given the opportunity to ride a horse belonging to a girl who has moved overseas. His name is Al Hussaini (Zaini) and is quite the nut. He has a fantastic jump provided you can handle the craziness in between. He has taught me so much in the 2 months we’ve been together. Although he is for sale I am eager to bring him on and unlock his potential as he’s been flying over 1.20m jumps as if it’s not even an effort.
I still have a lot to learn but so far I have been taught by some of the best horsemen and women available to me about all aspects of horses. I’ve gained a lot of knowledge and enjoy the behind the scenes aspect as well riding and competing. This blog is an opportunity for me to share everything I know, answer any questions, review products and give advice on various different equestrian things. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions feel free to contact me.