The Full Story
Where it all began
BvB grew up in rural Oxfordshire and was always obsessed with horses.
Inspired by the likes of Lars Sederholm training riders at Waterstock Training Centre she aspired to ride like them.
She funded her first pony on loan with a paper round aged 13, a grey 12.2hh Welsh Section A called Shrimpy who was a Pony Club veteran. A second loan pony followed, a 13.3hh dun Connemara- Tizzy who had very few brakes and then Luke. Fresh off the track Luke was a 4yr old flat racer who taught her that not all horses are straightforward!
Unfortunately A Levels took over, then art college, then a university degree in Fashion Design and Marketing.
Realising a dream
Following graduation BvB worked in fashion PR for a couple of years before returning to horses and gaining her BHSAI qualification, working at various yards and with a variety of horses with the goal of having her own yard.
A chance arose to rent a yard in Epsom, Surrey. The fences around the unkempt and limited fields were rotten or missing, the roof on the stables leaked dramatically, the electrics were scary and the outdoor manège a patch of stones and weeds.
Undeterred BvB opened Priam Lodge in September 2010 with a tidied up version of what had been taken on in the July and was full within weeks. Providing full and part livery services it was a yard of support and community and it was working. Clients were inspired to do more and more with their horses, confidence, skills and friendships grew as the yard did.
Then the dream was shattered....the owner of the premises gave one months notice to vacate.
Sadly the stables are now the site of yet more luxury houses but the friendships and client base that began at the yard are still strong.
Again at a turning point and with the threat of bankruptcy BvB took a job as a labourer with a construction firm and three years later was a site manager. Despite managing to keep her own horse following the closure of Priam Lodge (the youngster, Merlin) finding the time to ride, train or teach was becoming increasingly difficult.
She was struggling, mentally not coping and shortly before Christmas 2016 was encouraged to see a doctor, Christmas came and went and so did more weight.
In early 2017 a rather fresh Merlin caused BvB to be taken to hospital with a suspected broken pelvis and femur the paramedic asked if there were any underlying health issues.
“ I cried, I told myself it was because of the pain. I was not strong enough to ride, my bones not strong enough to withstand a fall and my organs already under too much pressure. I had been lucky to get away with it this far. I had kept it a secret for nearly 3 years, my eating disorder was my way of coping”
BvB believes that her experience of having an eating disorder and subsequent struggle to recover has added value to her coaching.
She feels that it has taught her the importance of listening and delving deeper to uncover issues holding the development of the horse or rider back.
She is also an avid campaigner for eating disorder awareness and has held numerous lectures on the subject and raises money for Beat through her charity work.
“The mind is an incredibly powerful thing and can work both with you or against you- your choice”
Taking back the reins and tough choices
BvB never went back to work in construction but instead focused on building her coaching client base both in Surrey and West Sussex. Holding regular pole work clinics and building a reputation and name in a new area. Business was booming until the Covid pandemic happened, the equine industry was hit hard and all training and competition came to a halt but the economic ramifications went on much longer than the pandemic itself.
Clients sold horses due to redundancy, jobs changed, horses were moved to yards with less facilities to save money, the cost of diesel meant fewer shows. Everyone was cutting back and making tough calls.
BvB had to make the heartbreaking decision to sell Merlin, it just wasn’t viable to keep him and compete the way that she wanted to.
In September 2021 BvB was presented with the opportunity to follow her partner back to his native Western Australia and following a few visits when the borders opened post Covid researching the dressage competition scene and coaching opportunities she made the leap.
BvB is now based in Warnbro just an hour south of Perth and hopes that the relocation will offer more opportunities to further her own riding and to be able to do more of what she loves- coaching!
BvB still intends to visit the UK twice yearly and will be coaching when she is in the country so check out the services and events pages for more information.
Don’t waste time wishing for things you haven’t got or wishing that situations were different....
Accept, Aspire, Achieve