With daughter Harriet Rose arriving nearly two years ago life has certainly changed for Equerry Horse Feeds ambassador, Bonnie Fishburn. Here we catch up with her to find out how she combines motherhood with riding and producing the horses on her Cheshire yard.
Like so many pony mad girls, Bonnie competed at local shows on friend’s ponies, picking up handfuls of rosettes as she went along, before aged 17 she started to work firstly with show jumpers and then event horses.
Moving to Surrey, Bonnie was fortunate to train with well known event and show rider Georgia Bale, who competed at Badminton and Burghley with the handsome grey gelding, Man in the Moon.
Says Bonnie: “The two years with Georgia were very beneficial for me as I got to learn about how the professionals run their yards and prepare their horses for competition.
“From there I moved to Warwickshire, at the age of 21, to ride horses for Jocelyn Riley at Equestrian Direct Surfaces.
“As well as running the arena business, Jocelyn also buys in young horses, mainly from Ireland to bring on to compete from a young age and sell on when they have been produced.
“This must have been my biggest learning curve, as I had a huge responsibility to run a yard of up to 12 horses at a time. This included the daily organisation of the yard, producing the horses to compete, as well as planning where the horse would compete next and getting them ready for the big day.
Bonnie’s next move to Shropshire saw little opportunity to compete horses for other people, so she decided to buy a horse to bring on for herself and to fund her eventing she started working with racehorses, including working for Henry Daly (National Hunt Trainer) for three-and-a-half years.
A move to Cheshire saw Bonnie have a new yard with stabling for eight built for her and with the 2019 season underway everything looks rosy for this talented, hardworking rider.
1 Tell us about your horses for the 2019 season
My main three horses for 2019 are Cupids Arrow, It’s About Time and Direct Flo.
Cupid’s Arrow is now five-years-old and was sixth at Kelsall Hill which was fantastic out of a class of 43. I bought her as a yearling and she just gets better and better. She will soon be ready to move up to BE90 and is very easy to feed and always looks well so has Equerry High Fibre Cubes as her main ration.
It’s About Time is now seven and has taken a while to mature as he just seemed to keep growing. He is competing at BE100 and now looks fantastic thanks to Equerry Conditioning Mash. In fact he looks so well he will now be fed Equerry Cool Mash as he doesn’t need so many calories.
My lovely chestnut mare, Direct Flo is now 13-years-old and my plan is to focus on show jumping with her. She is also a good-doer so thrives on Equerry High Fibre Cubes.
Flo’s daughter Nancy is turning into a fantastic two-year-old and looks amazing. She is by the stallion, Amiro Z so her official name is Flomiro Zed which is quite fun and a combination of her mum and dad’s names. She has really matured on Equerry Stud and Youngstock Cubes and I couldn’t be more pleased with her progress.
2 Where do you get your energy and passion from?
My energy comes from the masses of probably quite unhealthy food I eat and my competitive nature, which drives me to work hard. It has been a massive uphill struggle to get to where I am. I’ve always had to work extra hard to keep my horses as I’ve had very little help as I’m from a non-horsey background so haven’t had anyone to share my interests with. My mum has always supported me with my decisions and if I’ve been unsure what to do with regards to buying something etc she always directs me and provides advice
3 How do you like to enjoy any spare time?
Gosh spare time….what’s that! Now there is Harriet Rose to look after time is even more precious than it used to be. If I get an odd day I do enjoy shopping in the lovely city of Chester but I’m always glad to get down to the horses when I get home. I do enjoy going out for nice meals or a good ball for a dance. I love having a daughter but it definitely changes your life and thankfully she is very chilled and fits in with whatever I am doing!
4 What is your favourite event?
I have lots of events which I love. Of my local events Llanymynech and Stafford are two I love attending as they have fantastic teams that run them. And then of the bigger events, Gatcombe, Houghton and Glanusk have very special memories for me.
5 Competition you would most like to win?
A win is fantastic anywhere but to win at any International would be amazing. I would have said Badminton years ago but then I got realistic! It takes an amazing horse to go to Badminton and a lot of support… but I can dream.