Meet the Team
Here at the King's Schools Equestrian Centre, we are lucky enough to have an experienced team of staff, under the leadership of Head of Equestrian, Emma Edwards.
We thought you might like to meet the team, both human and equine!
Mildred is our newest resident and is owned by Fourth Form pupil Isabel. Millie is forward-going and enjoys many disciplines, equally good on the flat and over fences.. She is very sweet and is an absolute delight to handle.
Olly is a real favourite with staff and pupils, in and out of the stable. He is worth his weight in gold, gently taking care of beginners and novice riders, but equally happy to pick up the reins, and the speed, with a more capable rider. He works well in an outline – in the right hands – and is happy to jump a variety of showjumping and cross-country fences.
Toby has joined us as a livery, being a new pony for pupil Erin. Toby has done a bit of everything and will no doubt fit right in with the rest of the team.
Owned by Emma, our Head of Equestrian, Alfie is used for our more experienced and capable riders. He has competed in WH and show hunter classes and loves jumping. He also loves cuddles and is probably the most affectionate in the team!
Rosie is a King's pony who is one of our original team. She can teach beginners to ride, but she also loves to jump in the right hands.
Zorro is the perfect lead rein/first ridden pony. He is well bred and has successfully competed in these younger age range showing classes. Loved by staff and pupils, especially those from our Prep school, Zorro is ideal for those with little legs to learn to ride!
Star really lives up to her name. She is a regular with our Prep riders, as well as those more capable of taking her out hacking and jumping. Her powerful walk gives those on the ground leading her a full workout without even getting in the saddle! Gentle in the stable, she is a real asst to the team.
Robin is a real superstar. Even at the ripe old age of 19, he continues to enjoy whizzing round the show jumping circuit with owner Dandi. Robin is petite and gentle and an extremely successful competition pony. He and Dandi have qualified for a number of championship classes in show jumping and Eventer's Challenge over the last couple of years.
Hattie is another great addition to the team. She can turn her hand to most things and loves cross-country, but hates cyclists!
Delilah is owned by Jaime, one of our livery owners. Jaime competes as an individual rider as well as part of the King's Schools Equestrian Team. The pair enjoy much success in show jumping and Eventer's Challenge competitions, having qualified for championship events over the last few years.
Sam is owned by one of our full livery riders, Millie. Although Sam is blind in one eye, he gets on with life, and enjoys hacking out, as well as jumping both show jumping courses and cross-country. He is a real sweetheart in the stable and a well-loved resident. Millie is looking forward to competing with Sam this year.
Emma Edwards, BHS Stage 2, Stage 2 Teach, Riding & Road Safety
Emma is our Head of Equestrian. Brought up on a farm in South Wales, Emma began her riding career at a young age, competing in different disciplines as a member of Llangeinor Pony Club. Competing locally and then on the county circuit, Emma started to ride for other people, producing some fantastic wins, eventually becoming the British Champion in the Winter BSPS (British Show Pony Society) Show in the Ridden Mountain and Moorland class. She also rode successfully at the RIHS (Royal International Horse Show). As an adult, Emma competes in a number of events with her young horse Alfie – showing, WH, eventing, show jumping and carriage driving. Emma is also the co-owner of a successful carriage business, competing in events, and taking part in parades that have seen her at The Royal Windsor Horse Show and Royal Ascot. As well as being one of our Houseparents, Emma teaches music, sings at various events, and is a BHS qualified riding instructor.
Laura Bennett, BHS Stage 3
Laura started riding as a child at Stowe Ridings in Buckinghamshire. She competed in many different disciplines as part of the Grafton Pony Club, but her love at this age was show jumping. She went on to have holiday jobs at show jumping yards and attended national competitions including Hickstead. Laura then worked at a riding school in Oxfordshire where she was able to teach and continue to compete her own horses in cross-country, dressage and show jumping. Whilst there she completed her NVQ Level 2 in Horse Care and Management as well as her BHS Stage 3 in Stable Management and Riding. Laura has worked at various yards including point-to-point and eventing, and one year spent the summer as Head Girl at an eventing yard, travelling around the country to prestigious events. Over the past ten years Laura has branched out into other sports and disciplines. She has completed a BSC (Hons) degree and is a Level 3 Hockey Coach. She assists Emma with lesson instruction during the week.
Claire attended the British Racing School aged 16, where she learned the essential skills of working in the racing industry. Having worked for David Elsworth for a couple of years, Claire then went to college and studied a national diploma in thoroughbred horses. Claire was able to combine her acquisition of practical skills with the theoretical understanding and principles of working with these specialist animals. Landing a job at Paul Nichols’ yard, she spent the next seven years working as a groom, looking after and riding Grand National winner Silver Birch, as well as high performer Royal Auclair. Claire now assists Emma at the equestrian centre, transporting children, overseeing informal riding sessions, instructing pupils in and out of the saddle, hacking out and caring for our horses and ponies.
Vicki Crandley, Stage 1, Riding & Road Safety
Vicki started riding as a child in South Yorkshire and soon became hooked. Her first pony helped her gain confidence and she competed in various disciplines with the local pony club. As her confidence grew, so did her legs (!) and she was soon on the lookout for pony number two. A feisty chestnut mare was found, and although the pairing got off to a rocky start, under the guidance of her late instructor and former HOYS judge, the duo soon found their way onto the local showing circuit, with regular wins and placings, cementing the show ring as a firm favourite. Vicki continued riding in her teenage years, competing her friend’s show pony, and worked as a groom at a number of different yards, taking her BHS Stage 1, and Road Safety qualifications. After a few years working and then trotting off to university, the calling found her again and she resumed riding on a regular basis at a local riding school. Over the years Vicki has worked on both her flatwork and jumping, the latter being something she admits to ‘feeling the fear’ about, the older she gets! Vicki helps Emma with administration and takes pupils out hacking when time allows.
Laura has a solid background in riding and caring for horses. Growing up with her family's horses in Southern Spain, there was nothing more she enjoyed than heading out into hills, getting lost on her lovely mare! Since joining King's, Laura has regularly supported Emma at the equestrian centre, reigniting her love of horses. She will be taking her BHS Stage 1 exam in October.
Sarah has ridden from a young, spending some of her youth at Taunton Vale Polo Club. Time out to have a family, and then the inevitable career building (in medical pathology) took Sarah away from riding until a few years ago. Having recently joined King’s College as a science technician, Sarah has been helping at the equestrian centre and likes to ride out when time allows. She feels it is a privilege to be involved and enjoys encouraging pupils to follow their passion for riding.
Naomi is on hand to support the running of the centre. She has a wealth of experience gained across polo and other equestrian disciplines.
Nigel Payne, BHS Stage 2, Stage 2 Teach, Riding & Road Safety
Nigel is an experienced horseman, having started his career running a popular riding school and livery yard. Still involved in equestrianism, he works on the showing circuit in the summer and helps us with all manner of equestrian services, from advice and coaching to horse transportation and support at local competitions.
Tonia Ainsworth, BHS Stage 4 Senior Coach in Complete Horsemanship, UKCC Level 3 Generic
Tonia teaches our pupils as part of our equestrian timetable, helping many prepare for competitions. With over 20 years experience of teaching both adults and children, she has an approachable and sympathetic manner and will always give an honest opinion. As well as teaching, Tonia competes in the three main disciplines of dressage, cross-country and show jumping.