The Riding Holiday Show on 12 December 2015 is all about “Meeting the Guides” – in fact that’s what we called the event when we first ran it in 2007. It’s a chance to learn all about wonderful riding holidays all over the world, directly from the people who will be guiding you day by day. As well as an opportunity to renew friendships and chat about past experiences.
We thought it would be interesting to run a series of profiles of some of the people who will be at the Riding Holiday Show and here is another experienced guide – Jenny Richardson from Castle Leslie on the Emerald Isle.
1. How long have you been guiding at Castle Leslie?
I have been the Equestrian Business Manager at Castle Leslie Estate for 4 years.
2. Where did you guide before this?
Before this I was the manager of the Burn Equestrian Centre in Belfast and then before that I was head instructor at Jebel Ali Equestrian Club in Dubai.
3. How did you get into guiding? Was there someone who inspired you?
I had a keen interest in horses all my life. I started riding at an early age of 3. My parents were into horses but against me going into horses for a career, as it involves such long hours and hard work!! At the age of 16 I went to Enniskillen College and studied a National Diploma in Business and Finance with equine options. I got good grades and then progressed onto the Higher National Diploma and then finally a Bachelor of Science degree in Equine Science along with my BHSAI. When I graduated I was keen to work with horses and got my first job in Dublin running a small riding school and teaching; at this point I knew it was for me!
4. If you hadn’t become a riding guide, what was your Plan B?
I guess I always knew it was going to be something with horses at an early age and never give any thought on anything else!
5. People coming on a riding holiday often think you have the ideal job – what do you love about it? And what are the downsides?
I adore meeting different types of people from all over the world and the stories they have to tell. Every morning when I look at the lake at Castle Leslie Estate I think I’m an extremely lucky girl to have this on my doorstep. I have a great job you never get sick of the fantastic grounds at Castle Leslie and the spectacular wildlife.
6. If your favourite horse was a human, who would he/she be and why?
Apart from my own horse, my favorite horse is Percy. Percy is on loan to Castle Leslie Estate, from Lady Caledon. He is a 15.2hh striking looking cob who has a fabulous personality. He walks as if he is Brad Pitt and takes a lot of guests by surprise as they often think he is a plod but actually he is a pocket rocket!!
7. What can you not live without (when guiding or just generally)?
I guess my horse Daisy. She is fab out on hacks and is a pure lady when it comes to getting on and off and giving people leads. She is very trusting even when deer jump out last minute.
8. What has been your most memorable riding holiday week?
Every ride at Castle Leslie is memorable. The estate is 100 acres so you never actually get bored!! From marriage proposals, seeing unique wildlife, to falling into the lake and taking out famous stars it’s actually hard to pick!!!
9. How do you relax after a day in the saddle?
I love spending time with my horse Daisy and I also own a short hair miniature sausage dog Dylan so I enjoy walking him. I also enjoy a nice glass of wine!
10. What advice would you give a 21-year-old who wants to train for your job?
It’s a tough game!! Rain, hail, snow and shine you’re outside. You will meet all sorts of guests. Occasionally there are some people who may not be as experienced as they think and it’s your job to look after them and keep them safe whilst still making sure they enjoy their stay. You also need to have all your teaching certificates and know a lot about the country and other countries so you can keep the conversation entertaining. If you can speak other languages then this is an added bonus!!
11. Where do you go on holiday?
I tend to stay away from horses on holiday as I would feel it’s like a busman’s holiday!! I like to go and visit friends in Dubai or enjoy spending time in Ireland.
Thank you Jenny for sending some of your photos and for your help in producing another great article.
You can meet Jenny from Castle Leslie at the Riding Holiday Show in London on 12 December 2015. Space at the venue is limited so you must obtain a ticket in advance. The event takes place at the Royal Overseas League in SW1 just off Piccadilly from 10 am to 6 pm.
38 different riding destinations will be represented at the Riding Holiday Show. All part of the In The Saddle portfolio of worldwide riding holidays.