Becci Harrold an inspiring young amateur event rider shares her amazing story with Horse Answers Today - Inspiring others to give eventing a go

becci on_donkeysFROM DONKEYS TO EVENTING - Over the coming months Becci Harrold an inspiring young amateur event rider shares her amazing story with Horse Answers Today.
Becci is only 21 years and a great advocate for eventing - her story will inspire you to give it ago. An amateur eventer from Derbyshire she has competed up to CCI* level and although Becci doesn't  have a horsy back ground, she feels very lucky and privileged to have been involved and reach the level she now rides at.
becci now_in_jods_with_lady
Becci works full time as a locksmith which provides the much needed funds for her living and riding expenses. Her desire and hard work to compete in the eventing world at a more professional level soon gained the attention and support of sponsors. This now allows her to continue the hard work and focus required to continue with her career in the eventing world. 
From a very young age Becci had a love for being around donkeys on the beach and yet she only started to ride at the age of nine and immediately became hooked. It wasn't long before she was begging her parents for her first pony, but first she had to prove that this wasn't just a passing phase and would be something she would stick at.

Becci's early years…
very very_young_girl_with_1st_horse
At thirteen I was introduced to competing on a wonderful 14.2hh Irish Sport Horse mare called Kiera which my parents had bought me a few years earlier. She was such a star, I took her to Pony Club activities and to the local riding club competitions which were always exciting, but best of all I got to take her to British Eventing affiliated competitions. Although we were not placed in our three events the thrill and excitement was enough for me to realise that this was what I wanted to do and so the search began for my first proper event horse.
becci siitting_on_first_horse
Finding my first event horse….
Night after night I started scouring the internet and finally late one night came across a website that had been temporarily down due to an upgrade, I narrowed my search down to meet my requirements and was faced with twenty pages of horses for sale, not to beaten I was left with just one page, tied and a little frustrated something told me not to close down and I clicked, immediately Puzzle's advertisement popped up.
She sounded perfect and was just what I was looking for. I immediately thought she must be sold - why else would she be on the very last page.
young girl_with_grey_head_and_shoulders
I rang to find out more and had my first encounter with Holly Elliot who runs Fox Covert Horses with Graham Smith. To my delight Puzzle was still for sale, and only that night had they re-loaded the site so that all the older adverts were moved to the front and the new horses for sale had been loaded to the back - It was fate.
I booked an appointment for the following morning and as soon as she was brought out - I knew she was the one for me. Pokes Puzzle a 15.3hh coloured mare who was one of Holly's first project horses and had already proven to be very brave at cross country - She was mine WOW!
Throughout the 2009 season we worked hard together and in 2010
I decided it was time for us to take a step up to Novice level. I ambitiously entered in the Chatsworth Horse Trials, my local big event. This decision turned out to be great for us, not only because we came ninth out of forty five - an unbelievable result that also got us featured in a press article which made me aware for the first time that people were actually watching us and genuinely interested in our progress.
Getting noticed and buying a second horse or two!
Towards the end of a successful 2010, I decided to investigate getting a second horse to compete; again Holly (who was now a really good friend) helped and suggested that I take a look at Puzzles brother, however I noticed a mare in the stable next to him called Candy and immediately fell in love with her, she was very quiet and nervous but I instantly bonded with her and as soon as I got in the saddle - I knew she was the one for me.
I decided to buy both Candy and Puzzles brother with some of the money I had held in child bonds which my mother had been investing and saving in since I was a tiny child.
becci in_gear_with_grey
My plan was to bring them both on and sell one mid season to fund my eventing and the other two horses' I already had at home. 
We now had four at home and only two stables, but luckily it was summer and two could live out. My sisters horse Dee was one of the four, she was lovely and I often rode her when my sister decided she no longer wanted to ride herself. I evented her to BE90 before it was time to sell her. She quickly sold to a lovely girl wanting to pony club and event. Boy was also sold shortly after as I couldn't afford to take him British Eventing - I was now left with the two mares Candy and Puzzle.

Getting amazing results and wanting to inspire others!
At the beginning of 2011 and after further press coverage I thought it was time to further promote myself and my achievements. A dear friend helped me with a promotional plan and together we set up a website supported by twitter and face book pages. I felt I needed to share my riding experiences and love of eventing and try to inspire other like minded riders, slowly my blog gathered momentum and I was amazed at the response and interaction. Chatting on line brought many regular riders who genuinely wanted updates, I am privileged to have made some really good friends and even more importantly I received my first sponsor which was just amazing.
With both Candy and Puzzle to train, keep fit and compete, 2011 was a very busy year, things just kept improving. I even entered my first CCI* on  Pokes Puzzle at Osberton Horse Trials. This was my first 3 day event and although I felt a little out of my depth amongst the very big horse boxes and all the professional riders, I went with the mindset that all I could do was my very best and enjoy the whole experience.
I couldn't believe it - We achieved a score of 58 for our dressage test, 4 faults in the show-jumping round and clear cross-country within the allotted time. I was thrilled to finish 35th out of 110 finishers and I loved and enjoyed every moment. 
Having to sell my best friend and finding Lady, a very special horse.

becci now_with_lady
2012 began with a call from Holly saying she had my next horse (I didn't realise I needed another!!!) but she was right. Puzzle was amazing and she had taken me so far, but, to go further I was either going to have to spend serious money on a made horse or, as Holly suggested buy a very talented youngster, she had one in mind called Lady a very well bred horse by Temple Clover and Harlequin Du Carel.
I was at a cross roads, I only have two stables and juggling my work commitments, life and the horses was limiting the amount of time to ride. I had no choice but to sell Puzzle which is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. 
Thankfully the sale happened quite quickly, so I didn't have to much time to dwell on the situation of selling my best friend. Again Puzzle went to the first person who came to try her. I was overwhelmed with how many phone calls I received but she couldn't have gone to a better home. She is now called Princess Pokey and lives in a beautiful castle with a lady who is now one of the many friends I  through the buying and selling of horses'. 
I love working with younger horses and Lady proved to be a very willing and quick learner. In April 2012 we entered our first affiliated show jumping BSJA competition at Weston Lawns, Lady was fizzed up in the warm up, which was to be expected for a young horses' first outing, however as soon as we were in the ring, she focused on the jumping and we went clear, this was followed by her a third place in her first event at Eland Lodge a BE90. I realized very quickly that I had a very special young horse. We soon went onto BE where she jumped clear rounds every time at cross country and was second or third in all events placing us in the top six.
I couldn't believe how brave she was for her tender young 4 years.  We had a great bond from the start and when I said jump she just said how high. 
2012 delivers amazing results...  
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2012 was a very important year for several reasons.
 I gained some amazing sponsors - Blue Chip Horse feed, Caviera Bedding, Little Chalk Horse equestrian clothing, Super X Country XC clothing, Hedcamz, Emvelo and Horseshows online all of whom have been a great help and very supportive. 
I also delivered some major events in my career; I was selected as one of the youth ambassadors for the British Equestrian Federation (read all about it on my website and blog )
I also won, along with 5 other riders, the Sheerwater Insurance sponsored Event Horse Owners training bursary. This included two days at Crown farm, Oxfordshire, training with eventer J P Sheffield and Team GB Chef d'Equip Yogi Bresiner. The two days training were incredible, and we received a private dressage lessons with Yogi, a group Show jumping lesson with Yogi and JP Sheffield and gallop training to ensure we were aware of the speed we needed at 1 star and 2 star level.
I learned so much working with these professionals and I can't wait to put it all in to practice for the start of the 2013 season.

Aims and goals for 2013….
Going into 2013 I have my 5year old big girl Lady now standing at 16.3hh, and Candy who will be 7 this year.
With Candy I am hoping to step up to CCI/CIC* level with a hopeful finish at intermediate level. I aim to get her to as many big international events as I can this year, fund permitting! My aims are Barbury, Gatcombe, Chatsworth and Osberton. 
As for Lady she will do the BE 5yo age classes and BE90/100 level aiming for the Osberton young horse finals and Badminton grassroots. 
Next time Becci shares some of her challenges and training