Starting out: Lauren Cox
Lauren, who recently joined British Dressage, tell us all about her first show and advice to those wanting to give it a go.
Lauren decided to join British Dressage a few weeks ago to give herself a challenge, after competing unaffiliated successfully she wanted to push herself and her pony Pandora and step up a level. Talking to us about her trusty mare, "I have ridden Pandora for nearly 6 years now. I started off loaning her and then three years ago we brought her. Pandora was only five when I first started riding her and she was very much a blank canvas as she hadn’t done much. I was a novice rider fresh out of a riding school when I met Pandora and at first I felt rather nervous as she was a lot bigger than what I was used to!"
The pair learnt the ropes together with the help of her trainer at the time, Christy Kemp, Lauren says, "over time, our partnership grew and we started to compete. We started at local level at our local show Springwood Riding Club, mainly show jumping. Over the past years, we have competed in show jumping, working hunter and hunter trials too as our confidence has grown! It’s taken a shed load of hard work, but we have worked so hard and learnt together and that’s what makes all of our achievements so rewarding."
After signing up to British Dressage on a trial membership they didn't wait long until they were at their first show, "It was at Hargate Equestrian Centre, I was incredibly nervous, as I have always been more into show jumping so this was a whole different ball game for me! The venue was so welcoming and everyone really supported each other. After we completed our test, I felt such a feeling of pride. I knew that regardless of our scores, even getting to compete at BD was a huge achievement. Much to my amazement, we actually went on to win the class! I could not believe it. This was such a shock and I felt beyond proud of myself and Pandora."
Lauren thanks her trainers for their support on their progress, "I train with several instructors including Craig Dillon, Lauren Morley and Ezra Jeremiah. Each of these instructors have really helped me and Pandora progress in different ways and I am very lucky to have such wonderful instructors that support us both."
Talking about Pandora, Lauren speaks with such pride, "outside of the dressage ring, Pandora is loved by everyone. She is the most fantastic all rounder and really has taught me everything I know. She has taking me through the levels, from being scared to jump, to jumping our first British Showjumping round and now to having a go at British Dressage. She is kind and gentle enough to take care of my mum when she rides her, however she definitely has the power to step it up when needed. She is worth her weight in gold and definitely has her home for life with us."
Lauren offers to anyone wanting to give it a go, "believe you can and you’re half way there. I would be the last person to say I would be competing at British Dressage a few years ago. Everyone is so welcoming and friendly. I really believe the stereotype around dressage is progressively being broken down - it really is for everyone! I am not a fancy dressage rider, I don’t own a fancy dressage horse. Pandora is a cob type and I am a very average rider, but with the guidance from our instructors and a lot of hard work we did it. I now have the absolute bug and have booked in for my next BD next weekend!"
The pair don't plan on stopping anytime soon, "our aims for the year are to definitely continue with British Dressage. I will certainly be upgrading our membership after my trail runs out! I think it’s great that you have the opportunity to purchase a three month trial as it really gives you a taste for British Dressage without the full commitment. I would love to be able to qualify for some of the championships further down the line, but for now I am just loving learning about BD and being part of the supportive community!"
Whether aiming for your first show, or your debut at the Championship with British Dressage, we love to hear your stories! Get in touch via social media for your chance to feature in our BD at Home news.