New Supported Rider .......Tori Brown.....

Hi everyone ! WOW,well this is a first for me-I've never written a blog before.Thank you to Galloping Geldings and Sharon for giving me this opportunity to do so and Thank you to them for believing in me and supporting me as a rider.

I guess I'd better introduce myself and my horses to you and let you know what I'm all about.I am Tori Brown , now an event rider and riding instructor with my own yard based in Chorley ,Lancashire.My career with horses only started four years ago and so I have done a number of other things before I found myself here.I have a Sports Science and Physical Education Degree,I have managed pubs and reastaurants and was also a police officer.Lots of exciting times and I have lots of stories to tell,but none of those jobs were right for me.I always wanted something else.It was whilst I was in the police force,that the 'something else itch @really became apparent .I tried many things -going back to sports I used to do when I was younger like swimming and hockey,I even tried singing lessons!. It was only when I tried having riding lessons that i found something that I didn't get bored of.I had ridden as an 11 year old ,but only on my friends pony a few times.My lessons progressed from weekly group lessons to bi weekly private lessons(I was 24 at this point) and before I had been riding 12 months I took the plunge and part loaned my first horse,Monty.He was and still is such a sweetguy and he patiently taught me soo much.From here I realised I had found something that connected with me.It bacame my all consuming obsession and was spending all my money and all my time on horses.

I carried on learning to ride and then competing around my shifts as a police officer until it all got too much .Horses were my life and there was no room left in it for the police.I had to scratch that  'something else itch'. So I made one of the biggest decisions I've ever made in my life and chose to quit my job.I left a safe ,secure ,well paid job with a great pension ,to be a riding teacher and an equestrian .I must have been mad lol!. However ,I have never been as happy (or as broke !) as I am now and I never regret that decision.

Since leaving the police,there have been ups and downs, as there always are.I managed a riding school and took and passed all my BHS exams to qualify myself as a teacher.I worked as a freelance riding teacher ,working long ,late hours for not much money.But I was doing what I love.I really enjoy teaching total beginners how to ride and seeing their feelings of achievement when they figure things out for themselves.I equally love helping private and competition riders set and achieve goals.Nervous riders are a bit of a speciality of mine and I take great pleasure in helping people who have a genuine fear and turning it around into joy and a sense of achievement.

More recently I have built m own business at my little riding school with six ponies.This business is doing well and I am developing a great reputation locally,as much of my business comes via word of mouth.I have recently opened a livery yard and I also have two competition horses which I train and I also teach freelance locally.I like to keep busy.

So ,as I learned to ride much later than most, my equestrian career is much more abbreviated and I still feel like I am playing catch up to other riders.This is good in a way ,as it continually drives me to be the best I can be and keeps me reaching for the top.

Last season things were going brilliantly with both of my horses,both being placed in the top 5 in virtually every outing ,in classses of at least 35.Then I broke my arm in an accident in the field.This cut  last season short,but I am now fully prepared for this season,which despite all the cancellations due to the terrible weather ,now seems to be getting under way.My horses are feeling good and performing well and I am excited to see what the season brings.

My older horse, Tip who is 11 competes successfully at BE100 and we completed a Novice run last year, just before my accident.  I am aiming to compete at an International 1* event at Landrover Gatcombe International Horse Trials later this season with him, after hopefully having secured qualification runs earlier in the season. This horse also has numerous Badminton Grassroots qualifications secured, meaning that there is a good chance that we could ride at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton International Horse Trials next year. Tip is a dressage ace, although when I first got him he was dreadful on the flat and so I worked and worked and worked at his flatwork until he got where he is now. He could now quite easily be a pure dressage horse. I stopped going to unaffiliated dressage competitions with him, as he won every time out. Winning isn’t everything for me, its about continually improving, so I did a bit of affiliated dressage with him to up our game. He didn’t win every time, but he has a few BD points and he has successfully competed up to Medium, which I am more than happy with.  Over winter we cut competitions back, in order to train more at home, however he has competed at Church Farm a few times and has always done well.  He is a real sweet character and always tries his best for me.

My other horse is a 5 year old mare called Patsy and while I have high hopes for her, (she is by the Whittakers’  Vitaal G stallion) as she is young she is still developing and I am still getting to know her. Last season, after a shaky start, she proved to be excellent at what she does, being placed at every BE90 she competed in. I hope for her to do at least BE100s this year, with the possibility of her doing a Novice before the season ends. She is incredibly scopey in her jumping, but still a little mareish at times and we are working hard together to try to figure out how to overcome this. Patsy is not a mare who will be told what to do! She, similar to Tip is also very good on the flat and never lets me down in that phase. She is  a sweet horse who tries her best – when she feels like it! So far this season she has been very testing by point blank refusing to jump out at competitions, but after a long hard slog with much hard work and tears from me, we completed our first event this season with a double clear! let's hope this continues!

So that's me and mine in a slightly long winded nut shell. Horses are my everything and I adore passing my passion on to others.

Tori x