“No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.”
I come from a long line of horsey family members, with Granddad Douglas Marks a successful racehorse trainer, Dad Martin O’Halloran an accomplished National Hunt jockey and Aunt Kelly Marks founder of Intelligent Horsemanship. Despite this ancestral equine history, I only started riding at the age of twelve – mother tried her best with cooking lessons, singing lessons, piano lessons, harp lessons…. Six months later, I qualified for the Search for a Star final at the Horse of the Year show.
Since then, I have qualified a further ten times for HOYS, six times for RIHS, won multiple times at Royal Windsor, Kent County, Cheshire County, represented England in WHP and am the only person to win rider of the year twice at the BSPS championships. (And the mother has never missed a show so I think I convinced her it was a good idea in the end!)
All of my horses have been tricky, some of them have been mediocre. I met the famous American Pie when he was a scared unrideable coloured pony just off the boat from Ireland. Together we went on to win every major county show including the prestigious Desert Orchid Working Hunter of the Year. I believes that every horse has potential, if their owner knows how to find it. I don’t use a stick and don’t use violence to achieve success. I consider myself privileged to have trained under Marjorie and Richard Ramsay, Monty Roberts, Louise Bell, Pat Burgess, Chris Bartle, Betty Skelton….and continue to love to learn at every opportunity
I am now an affiliated ride judge and also enjoy teaching, writing and continuing to work with my own horses.
My relationship with Pie continues into his dotage; fifteen years in and he still makes me smile!