We caught up with Trendy ambassador (she's been with us from day one) Melissa Dawes to talk all things horsey, and what it's like to live on a big yard. Enjoy x
How long have you been riding for and when did you discover you wanted to work with horses as a career?
I’ve been riding longer than I’ve been walking! My Mother is very horsey, so she wanted to make sure at least one of her kids shared her love. It was always my plan to go into working with horses one I finished university, I can never really picture myself working in an office job staring at a computer all day. I cant say a specific time that I decided I wanted to work with horses as it always just seemed like the natural path my life was meant to take.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Typical day for me is structured around a routing. I work 8-5 on the yard – ranging from mucking out/turn out to riding/teaching. I ride around 1-4 horses a day depending on what the horse’s schedules look like and working around when owners want me to ride.
Tell me about the horses you are riding/ owning at the moment?
Ahhh how many horses do we own… if my dad is asking then the answer is 2! But in reality, is 6 and a half. I could talk for hours about my gorgeous horses but instead ill just give a brief introduction. Stabled at the moment we have:
Fairoak Daydream ‘Jessie’ (Diaggio) 4-year-old working Novice/elementary level
Keystone Damon ‘Mattie’ (DiMaggio) 5-year-old working Novice
Bluewood Tamsin is my mother horse working PSG/Inter 1.
Then we have the field horses:
Silk, who is 23 years old. My mother’s ex Grand Prix mare and who I did my first ever mediums on.
She is also Jessie and Buzz’s mum and is enjoying her retirement in our fields.
Roxy, who is 12-year-old and pregnant with her first foal to Kasierdom TSF. Roxy is a special mare to
us and was placed top 10 in the Medium and Elementary summer nationals 2019. Due to lockdown
we wanted less horses in work, so she was chosen to have a baby (plus, mother and I go baby fever and decided we wanted a foal)!
Finally, we have my main man Buzz. My 3-year-old For Romance baby. He is gorgeous and I already adore, super excited for him to come into work at the start of next year.
In terms of horses I’m riding I have several that I ride for different owners, mostly just for training purposes. I’m lucky to be able to compete and train Jo Green’s 5-year-old ex racer James who’s just started at novice level with 69% on his first try!
What’s your biggest achievement to date?
My biggest achievement was training my own horse to PSG level by the time I was 20.
Do you prefer training or competing?
If u asked me this a year ago I would have said competing as it was my favourite thing to do on Chrystal as she loved it so much. Now, I would have to say training.
What goals have you got for the future in terms of your riding achievements?
To keep training horses young horses up though the levels and making sure the horse is enjoying it.
How do you structure your schooling sessions?
10 minutes walking – 10 minutes stretch in trot and canter with transitions – 15 minutes work with plenty of walk breaks – 10 minutes cool down stretch and long walk off around the woods. The horse being elastic and supple is the main priority for me when training, so I spend a lot of time every day to make sure they are warmed up correctly and are loose enough. I never drill horses on higher level work and collection, only in short bursts whilst they grow in strength.
What are your favourite yard hacks to help you survive yard life in winter?
Wearing tracksuit trousers over the top of jodhpurs!! My thighs always get frozen in winter and this honestly saves me so much pain! looks very strange but so warm!
Do you have any favourite products or tips for getting your horses look fabulous for a show?
Mane and tail spray over the horse’s full body, minus the saddle area, then wait for a few seconds them buff in with a normal brush – they will be gleaming!! The Naf black hoof paint is also a super smart detail. And of course the PS of Sweden white saddle cloth from Trendy Equine is the perfect finishing touch to a super smart horse.
What is your advice to anyone thinking about a career with horses?
Be prepared to work hard and try not to focus on what others are doing. Set yourself goals for what you want to achieve and don’t compare your success or failures to anyone else.
Thank you very much ! xx