Meet our first cover star - talented show rider Faye Heppelthwaite
We were thrilled when we found the beautiful image of Faye in a meadow with the pony Gigman Boy George. The photo is just perfect for the first Sweetbriars book: Leaving The City, and is often complimented on. Here we wanted to share more information about Faye, as she's an inspiration for all young riders with her focus and dedication to produce show ponies. Faye has just turned thirteen and has had numerous successes showing, including riding at the Horse of the Year Show and the Royal International Horse Show in England.
What is your dream horse like?
My dream horse would have to be a show pony. They have to be beautiful, elegant and well mannered. They are always so graceful.
What is your favourite horse memory?
My favourite memory has to be when I qualified for the first time for the Horse Of The Year Show. I was eight years old and I qualified on my pony Pine Well Miranda.
How often do you ride each week?
I ride every day at least one horse, usually two. I try to hack out a couple of times a week and I also sometimes lunge them.
How many lessons do you have each week and by whom?
My mum has always helped me school my horses as she rides as well. I also have lessons with a showing instructor called Lisa Street and just recently I am working with my mum's Dressage trainer Ann Nicell. I have one or maybe two lessons a week.
How do you juggle school, friends and being a competitive rider?
It’s difficult to be with my school friends because most of my weekends are spent at shows. However in the winter I get to see them more.
What motivates you to ride?
My motivation is to qualify for the Horse of the Year Show. Not many people can do this and so you have to train and practice all the time to be the best you can be.
What are you most proud of in regard to riding?
I'm proud of the success I've had at the Horse of the Year Show and the Royal International Horse Show.
What can’t you live without at a horse show?
I have a particular showing crop that I carry in the ring. I would hate it if I lost it.
What is the hardest thing you experienced in regard to riding / or horses?
Definitely the hardest part is growing out of the ponies and having to sell them. But we have always been fortunate in that nice people buy them. One of my best friends bought my first ridden pony Pine Well Miranda.
What might other young riders be surprised to learn about you?
Readers might be surprised to know that up until recently my hair was so long it grew past my knees. But I had it cut a few years ago so now it is only down to my bottom.
What is your favourite part of the new Sweetbriars book, Leaving The City?
I think that my favourite part of the book is the relationship that Cate has with Odette. It's really important to have trust in your pony and I think that Odette helped Cate when she was worried about things.
Who is your favourite character?
My favourite character is Cate.
What are your hopes and aspirations for the next 5 years in regard to riding?
I would definitely like to work with horses when I'm older. I have always wanted to produce show ponies. Over the next five years I want to be able to enjoy and be successful with my ponies. I am hoping to do more dressage as well as showing.
Thank you Faye, the Heppelthwaite family and Paul Ruffle, for a perfect image for the cover of the new book!
Also for an interesting interview showing what it takes to become an accomplished show rider.