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Born into a dairy farm and horsey family I rode from before I could walk and could always be found with either a pony or a hobby horse on which I jumped broom handles for hours on end. The pony was often found tied to the fridge door in the kitchen if I was in need of the loo!
At the age of seven the dairy cows were taken out of our life and it was all horses.
At Balcormo since the age of ten I spent most of my time with ponies and some of my time at school! I started my dealing career at the age of ten - buying a pony at Aberdeen Market for 43 guineas The next buy was an orphan foal 2 days old - and he was £7 bought on the school bus. He went on to be a very good pony club pony when I sold him five years later!
I left school and applied to go to Edinburgh to study to be a Chartered Accountant. Being advised to take a year out as I was so young I followed the advice and am still on that year out.
I went to NZ to work when I was 19 and spent four winters there preparing tb yearlings for the sales and breaking in young tbs for the racing industry. During this time I quickly changed my wages to being allowed to buy a horse and when the yearling sales were over I went to the showjumping shows every weekend and then sold my horse before returning home. Two of these horses went on to represent NZ in three day eventing at several Olympic Games and World Games .
My claim to fame is that I had produced and supplied four horses who took part in the World Equestrian Games in Rome in 1998: Hopes Are High with Nick Skelton for Team GB Showjumping; Chief with Vicky Latta for NZ Eventing; Squirrel Hill with Sally Clarke also for NZ eventing; Go North who was Team GBs vaulting horse.
Since then I have been based at Balcormo Stud in Fife and have been involved with many aspects of the equestrian world. Our family ran the famous Balcormo 3 day shows where we did pretty well everything needed. No computers in those days
My favourite sport is showjumping, but I had a lot of success in working hunter classes and also did a few seasons eventing. Still enjoy breaking in - although I’m not the one that gets on first anymore! Never tried racing as I was always too big😝
I became involved in coaching when helping some young riders who made it to European Championship level. That was before the days of qualifications! Then I became a UKCC Level 3 coach and have a great bunch of regular trainees and also travel throughout to teach. I really enjoy seeing people improve and do well - especially when they are mounted on a Balcormo bred horse! Having come up through the ranks the way we did - having to make the best job with what you had - I find it easy to relate to and help people with the real life things that can be encountered whilst trying to achieve their goals
I take my inspiration from Albert Voorn - the straight talking no messing Dutch rider and coach. Having worked with him over the past 15 years he has given me a great structure for a simple system.
My late father instilled upon me to keep thinking outside of the box and my mothers dedication to horses and their well-being keeps me going everyday.
“Keep it simple “ and “it’s all about the horse “ would be my mottos!
I am the current Scottish Veterans Champion (2022) - and represented Team GB in the Veterans Europeans a few years ago! Planning on going again and winning a medal next time 🙏🏻