Surrey Life readers and their horses - Katie Ball from Camberley
PUBLISHED: 15:20 05 December 2014 | UPDATED: 15:57 05 December 2014
In the first of a new series, in which we'll be hearing direct from readers with their own horsey stories, we meet Katie Ball, 15, from Camberley...
My name is Katie; I am 15 years old, have lived in Surrey from the age of one and I simply love to spend time with my pony.
I started riding about six years ago as I wanted to do something exciting and interesting after school and at the weekend. My pony is called Alfie, which friends and family get confused with, as my family’s chocolate Labrador is also called Alfie, so we now call the dog Ralfie to avoid confusion!
Alfie is a nine-year-old Connemara and I have owned him for the last three years. I ride mainly over the weekends with my friends and sometimes my younger sister Anna who has her own pony called Tilly.
The bond between myself and Alfie is incredibly strong. Riding and looking after him is fun, challenging and also really hard work. I think many people don’t understand how much time and commitment a horse can take, and sometimes, on days when I am soaked through from rain and filthy from mucking out his stable, I think about why I am doing this. But as soon as I mount up and start riding, all the hard work is forgotten and I just have so much fun.
Riding also helps me to build up my core muscles and stay fit, and the social aspect of competing and general life at the stables has helped with my confidence and taught me how to communicate with many different types of people.
I do many competitions in Surrey and in a couple of other counties. I recently did a one-day event at Bisley, which I really enjoyed and just missed out on a placing.
One of my favourite places to ride is a place called Barossa in Camberley, which is mainly open heathland but also woody in some places. It’s a great place for a hack and always lovely and quiet. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys riding.
I also love to ride at my stables just on the Surrey/Hampshire border. I still have weekly lessons as I am always keen to improve my technique. I’d love to see some more fun, organised rides taking place around Surrey as they can be really enjoyable. Can any of you readers suggest any for me?
If you haven’t ridden before, you simply must try it; don’t be scared. There are some great stables in Surrey, all of which would be happy to offer beginner lessons. It doesn’t take long and, before you know it, you will have caught the riding bug!
• If you’d like to share your own equestrian experiences with other readers, please send an e-mail to the editor, with the subject heading ‘Me and My Horse’, to: email@example.com