Horses have always been a major part of Nikki's life, and they always will be. As a child she competed across all disciplines – showing, showjumping, dressage and eventing, the focus only fixing on dressage when her parents bought a very special pony that excelled in the dressage arena. He was a 13.2hh with show pony breeding yet he looked like a mini warmblood. With him she won everything she entered, competed in the talent spotting finals, took him to the BYRDS winter training weekends and six months later was a member of the British Team at the European U21’s Championships, our team placing fourth. 'He was such a brilliant pony….if only he could have grown' Nikki said! He is now happily retired at home with her parents.
The following year she rode a new pony at the European Championships gaining a team bronze medal. It was such a fantastic achievement as both ponies were home produced and had been brought on from scratch. Well and truly hooked on dressage, she loaned a horse for Junior Teams and went on to compete at the Europeans in Denmark. He was not your typical dressage horse – a wonderful Irish Draught cross thoroughbred, who always gave 110%. Sadly they parted with him as he didn’t have the ability to progress to the higher levels and Nikki then went to Germany to train with Christilot Boylen and Udo Lange. She learnt an amazing amount there, a new way of riding and training and gained an incredible amount of experience working young and advanced horses.
Nikki returned home and went to University to study photography and unable to afford a top class horse to compete on, began teaching and competing for clients. Freelance photography seemed to be the flexible career I needed to
allow teaching, riding and ‘work’ to be combined.
It was when teaching a client that she came across Pasoa. She was a really difficult young horse, blessed with an abundance of raw talent that felt unlike anything Nikki had ever sat on. She had such power and scope of movement. ''I definitely wanted to buy her but unfortunately couldn’t afford her''. However, she was destined to be Nikki's!! A year later she was in Holland trying to find a horse to buy for herself and had just found a lovely mare when Pasoa’s owner rang and offered her for £2500. Initially she was an exceptionally difficult ride that spent all of her time on two legs – but they have an incredible relationship that has transformed her from a difficult and argumentative 5yr old to an international star that turns heads wherever she goes.
Nikki has owned her since 2002 and have trained and produced her herself. In 2012 she competed for GB on two Nations Cup teams in Rotterdam and Aachen, was shortlisted for the Olympic Games and ended up performing as the test rider at the London 2012 Olympics. In 2013 she was aimed at the GB team for the European Championships in Herning, Denmark in August. Needless to say........I am now competing and producing horses full time - with a 20 box yard near Newmarket housing future international stars, some for sale and some I'm lucky enough to train and compete and a busy teaching diary.
Lara was riding before she could walk! Fast forward a few years of all Pony Club activities and in 1997 and 1998, competing in FEI pony trials, she was long listed for the GB Eventing team on Black Velvet, a pony she started herself. She then competed at Young Rider/Advanced level on her grey gelding Ermin Street winning the CCIJ at Aldon in 2001. Lara achieved her lifelong ambition to gain her GB flag in dressage on her stallion, Cyden Bodyguard Moorland in 2016 and now competes on the International circuit.
The dressage bug took hold aged 24 and Lara became involved with The British Young Dressage Rider Scheme (BYRDS). She was selected to represent the Northern Region in Necarne, Ireland in 2008, winning Reserve Novice Champion with Cyden Perplex (Plex) a horse she imported from Germany as a “naughty” 6 year old!
Lara has been a member of The BD Northern Home International team every year since. With four different horses she was Reserve Champion in 2009 at Medium level and in 2014 and 2015 at Advanced Medium level. She has won 12 BD regional titles and in 2011 she secured her first BD National title at Medium level, returning in 2012 to win her second and the Advanced Medium Pet Plan championship in 2013. In 2015 Lara gained her Great Britain badge and space on the team in Le Mans, France on Cyden Bodyguard Moorland, achieving another of her dreams as an international dressage rider and producer.
2016 was another successful year for Lara and the Milners’ Jazzed Up (Felix) homebred by Tracey and Laura Milner at South Grange Stud, winning four more regional titles for Lara and four top ten placings at the Nationals in April and Sept. Lara competed at the Summer Regionals in July and qualified for the Nationals where she gained another score over 70% at the Summer Nationals.
Already in 2017 Lara has yet again represented GB at Keysoe CDI, gained four more regional titles and four top four placings (two 2nds, a 3rd and a 4th) at the winter Championships in April. Lara is now concentrating on bringing Felix out at small tour level later this year and her youngsters for the young horse classes.
Lara actually works full time as Quality Manager for new homes company Cyden Homes, she runs a family yard and team of staff, Cyden Dressage and now competes her own Stallions as well as organising their breeding schedules.
Cyden Stallions now stand yearly at Stud at Stallion AI services with fresh and chilled semen available for a limited time, however frozen semen is available all year round.
Cyden Dressage started their breeding programme in 2013 with their own Stallions (Cadans M, Bodyguard and Amigo) and broodmares so their offspring will be available to watch in the young horse classes this year.
Lara is very lucky to be supported by Feather Dressage and as you can imagine for Lara 5am starts and 10pm finishes are a normal way of life!
Ellie is an 18 year old young rider from Yorkshire and currently doing a Level 3 Apprenticeship, through Stubbings Court, at Sykehouse Arena, where she is lucky enough to live.
“I started competing on horses when I was twelve with my horse of a lifetime Daisy, and have been producing show jumpers up to international 1.30m's since, and thoroughly enjoy it. We have 15 horses at home ranging from youngsters to veterans and everything in between! I was lucky enough last year to compete and groom on the Sunshine Tour in Spain with Joe Whitaker, gaining invaluable experience.
My aims for 2017 are to complete my level one course building and to start the process of becoming a UKCC coach. I would love for my horses Nora, Fly and Dexter- jumping Foxhunters and qualify for Nationals in British Novice and Discovery, Bella and Lucie jumping Newcomers and have their clears for 2018 in Novice and Discovery
Daisy I want her to be enjoying her old age and playing around 1.10m's, Fred to be back competing and enjoying himself. I would love Archie and Val to be ridden away and jumping British Novice but as long as they are all fit, happy and healthy, then I am happy!"