If Professional riders are the backbone of the sports horse industry then Talented Amateur Riders are the muscle.
In every sector of the British Equine Industry there are talented amateur riders producing and competing against the professional riders who make their living in their industry. Horse and Hound have recently featured an array of well known and very talented amateur riders who hold down a job and still find time to work their horses. You have to admire this army of dedicated riders. Early morning and late nights (not that professional trainers don’t of course) Weekends are dedicated to lessons or competing and evenings reserved for clinics and schooling sessions, and midnight is that special hour for cleaning tack!…possibly after an evening out with friends, who knows.
Some Amateurs concentrate on producing talented horses for the professional market, like Becky Marsden who trained OBOS Columbus “Obie” who she sold as an eight year old to Mark Tod who is delighted with him. Becky says, of her choice in horses to buy to bring on that “They have to be sensible in their heads” because she will often be riding alone. Caroline Brdge also produces horses for the profesional market like Don George, but also sells to other amateurs who want to compete seriously and don’t necessarily have time to bring a horse up to the level at which they want to be competing.
Vicky Brake, who produced horses such as mary Kings horse Imperial cavalier says “I’ve learned over the years that’s cautious everytime it moves up a level is likely to be found out, so you shouldn’t waste time trying to make it into something it isn’t”
For Darren mattia who produces dressage horses; Dimaggio and Woodland Wesuvio were started by him, hacking is key to starting his youngsters off. He says that being out on the lanes and tracks keeps their minds occupied and so he is able to take advantage of their energy to “ride them forward”
For the grassroots rider looking for Horses for Sale; David Brooms tips on buying a horse really stand out for me. Reading Forums where the topics are being discussed by the grassroots community in any riding discipline the one thing that comes up again and again is temperament. When looing for a horse which is going to meet your needs as an amateur rider then aside from the obvious good leg at each corner, soundness, and ability come temperament.
Make those few precious hours you have with your horse the best they can be and buy a horse with the nicest temperament.
For me temperament and talent over looks any day.
Most well made horses with the right temperament and training will, given time reach to say, medium advanced in Dressage, Novice or even intermediate in Eventing, 110/120m in showjumping. Other disciplines like showing or endurance will need the confirmation of an angel to compete successfully, but for other disciplines the adage handsome is as handsome does is just so true.
If you are thinking of buying a horse which has been produced by an amateur look at its competition record, this will give an indication of breaks in its training (and you can ask why) and how consistent it has been in its placings and progress through the levels.
Horse Scout has some lovely horses for sale which have been produced by both professionals and some very talented amateur riders. Horse Scout has made it easy to see, at a glance, the horses competition level, and if applicable, how many points it has accrued. Five star listings will have information and photos and videos too. You can also check out the producers profile page. In fact Horse Scout offers a really good overview helping you make an informed choice before even picking up the telephone. Good Luck in you search.