28, January, 2019

I grew up on a dairy farm in the Waikato region of New Zealand. It was an amazing childhood with a proper rural upbringing. My primary school had 52 pupils from the surrounding districts and we spent our evenings and weekends riding around the neighbourhood, climbing trees and fishing for eels in the streams. The name of the farm my parents owned was Fenland Farms. My father was quite the innovator in the industry and he named that farm because when they bought it, it was a Manuka (native tea tree) swamp - or fen. He drained that swamp and pulled the Manuka stumps and was left with a very fertile peat farm. 

I took on the business name when I started my first sport horse training enterprise, mainly dealing with ex racehorses and other young discards - reschooling them and selling them on to sport horse lives. When I moved to the U.K. I changed the logo to feature the NZ of my homeland. The logo below features the black, white and silver colours of NZ, the silver fern emblem of New Zealand and the outline of my first Grand Prix horse, Gosh. To me it symbolises all the components of my life that are so important to me - my heritage, my family, my horses and ‘stepping out’ into the unknown.

The title of this blog is also from my father. As I said he was a recognised leader in the farming industry and as such he was asked to pen a regular column in the leading industry magazine 'The Dairy Exporter'. I was flipping through these columns last night and I saw this lead on his very first one: 'Perhaps I shouldn't deal with such a controversial topic... in an initial article...' It seems I've inherited more than looks from him! While my blog posts will not always be contentious, I'm not afraid of addressing some of the more delicate issues facing equestrian sport.

I am known most recently as an upper level dressage rider, having ridden for New Zealand at Olympic selection trials and in a number of other CDI3* and CDI-W events, my first passion is eventing and as a child I dreamed of riding at Badminton. I've also worked with the thoroughbred breeding and racing industry, spent a couple of years in a showjumping barn in the states, have won the Supreme Show Horse title at the Royal Show and have even had a play on a champion reining horse. I'm passionate about equestrian sport & welfare and have spent a great deal of time studying with the best of trainers and proponents of Equitation Science. I love horses of all disciplines and levels and am keen to support everyone in their own equestrian journey. 

I hope you'll enjoy reading my insights, my tips for management & training and yes, my opinions on all facets of the horsey world. Please feel free to feedback or ask questions in the comments below and if you have anything you'd like me to cover in a future blog please email me at blog@fenlandz.co.uk. 

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