When did you first start riding? I started having riding lessons at the age of 8 and have never been far away from horses since. I was 16 when I bought my first horse, Rupert, which was about 8 years ago.
What does having a horse mean to you? Horses are such a big part of my life I would be lost without them. I will always have horses because it’s relaxing at the same time as being motivating. You can spend hours brushing and caring for your horse, going on quiet hacks and enjoying life. On other days you can compete or school for competitions which is demanding and can be hard work but extremely rewarding when things go right!
What do you do with your horse(s)? Rupert and I participate in open local competitions including, show jumping, cross country and one day events. We both enjoy cross country the most, Rupert because he can run fast, and I because it’s exciting and I know he is enjoying himself. I also spend a lot of time schooling and practicing for the competitions we do. This includes lunging, ground work, ridden work in the arena, hacking, riding lessons and clinics arranged at other stables.
How many horses do you have/look after? I own one horse, Rupert, but often ride and look after friends’ horses.
How often do you see your horse(s)? I see Rupert twice a day, with the exception of holidays, when I have to arrange for a trusted friend or family member to look after him.
What time do you get to the yard? (Each day or whenever you go) On week days I will get to the yard at 7.00 am and again at 6.00pm. On the weekends I normally arrive around 7.30am (I feel too guilty making him wait for breakfast any longer).
What is the first thing you do for your horse(s)? (Each day or whenever you go) Call “hello” when I arrive and he whinnies! The first thing I do when I get up to him is check him over to make sure there are no cuts or bumps and that he isn’t too hot or cold.
Is there any particular need/habit/quirk that your horse(s) has? He is very affectionate to people he knows. He thinks people he doesn’t know are there to feed him.
What are the main advantages of how you look after your horse(s)? Over the years I have learnt how best to look after Rupert, keeping him as happy and healthy as possible. It’s about judging what works best for you and your horse. Stables are difficult places for any new owners as everyone will tell you their preferred method for maintaining a healthy horse.
What are your ambitions as a rider? Working full time and being a horse woman isn’t the easiest task but I am 100% dedicated to riding and need to fund my hobby. So, my ambitions are to enjoy the valuable time and be the best that I can be. I continuously set small challenges for myself and Rupert so there is always a target to achieve. Saying that, I am also mindful that there will be times when it feels like we have taken a step backwards. You just have to make sure there are more steps forwards overall!
NAME: Leanne Hope
JOB TITLE: Equine Claims Assessor
When did you first start riding? I have ridden from the age of 4 and had many horses on loan and competed for other people, however, I did not actually own my own horse until I bought Alanis as a 5-month-old filly in 2007.
What does having a horse mean to you? Horses are incredible animals. They are very intelligent and loyal creatures. I enjoy putting time and affection into producing younger horses and it is a fantastic feeling when your hard work pays off in the showing.
What do you do with your horses? I mainly enjoy showing. The horses I ride and own are Welsh section D’s or part-bred section D’s, so we go to breed shows and also compete locally in mountain and moorland classes and in working and ridden hunter classes. I enjoy other disciplines such as show jumping, dressage and cross country and hope to do some eventing with a youngster I have recently backed.
How many horses do you have/look after? I own a 15hh, bay, Welsh Section D filly called Penn Alanis who is 2 years old. I also ride and compete two horses for a close friend, Coryn Alexander. Her horse, Chocolate is a 15.1hh , bay Welsh Section D gelding who is rising 8 and Penstrumbly Mrs Doubtfire (Mia) 16hh, chestnut, Welsh Section D x Irish Sports horse who is rising 5 and was backed last October.
How often do you see your horse(s)? Every day, at least twice a day.
What time do you get to the yard? I get up at 5am and arrive at the yard for around 5.15am Monday to Friday in order to muck out and turn out Alanis as well as a few of the other liveries. After work I get back to the yard for around 4.45pm. Once Alanis is finished I go and ride Chocolate and Mia and come home at around 8 pm.
What is the first thing you do for your horse(s)? Feed her and all the others before they bang their doors down! I go on to muck out and turnout.
Is there any particular need/habit/quirk that your horse(s) has? Alanis loves her food and being the first one in from the field. Chocolate really enjoys his work and competing but you have to be a very quiet rider with him. Mia also loves her food and the bit of training she is starting to do, but as she is teething she chews EVERYTHING which drives us mad! Aside from this they are all affectionate and enjoy being groomed and fussed over.
What are the main advantages of how you look after your horse(s)? The main advantage about DIY livery is that you do everything yourself so you know what has been done and that it has been carried out to your standards. My horse is very healthy and well behaved so my hard work is really paying off.
What are your ambitions as a rider? I hope to do well in whatever discipline I compete in, however winning isn’t everything to me. As long as the horse is well behaved and does its job as I have asked, it is a winner in my eyes. There is always another competition!
Petplan Equine is a trading name of Pet Plan Limited (Registered in England No. 1282939) and Allianz Insurance plc (Registered in England No. 84638) both of which are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). Registered office: 57 Ladymead, Guildford, Surrey GU1 1DB.
Pet Plan Limited's FSA Register No. is 311969 and Allianz Insurance plc's FSA Register No. is 121849. These can be checked by visiting the FSA website at www.fsa.gov.uk
Petplan Equine's trading address is: Great West House (GW2), Great West Road, Brentford, Middlesex TW8 9DX.