Horses became a significant part of family life when Nicola started competing at the age of seven years. Before this, horses were a hobby. Nicola was a member of the Old Berks pony club and competed for their teams in show jumping, eventing and dressage, however it soon became clear that her passion was for show jumping and this is where she excelled.
Nicola never had ready-made ponies and this is how she learned to ride a variety of different young, inexperienced and tricky types. Unfortunately, it soon became apparent that to progress through the sport we needed better horses but finding them proved to be a serious challenge. She had reached the stage where the horses she needed were costing a great deal of money but in most cases, the horses we bought had one serious problem or another.
Nicola was lucky enough to gain the ride on three lovely mares and during this time she competed at all the big county shows and qualified for several finals including The Blue Chip Championships, Scope and Horse of the Year Show. One of these mares was sold at the peak of her career and the other two became valuable broodmares once they had retired from competition. Sadly, with nothing coming through to replace them, we were back to square one. Too slowly and after a great deal of time and money we realised that finding anything at a sensible price and as described was unlikely, if not near impossible.
We decided to breed our own and this is how we ended up in Staffordshire. We searched the country for a suitable site to set up our operations and eventually found Longfields farm: 70 acres of beautiful countryside with free draining soil and very importantly, not crossed by any public rights of way. It was ideal for developing our yard.
Since moving to Longfields in 2012 we have installed many miles of 5 foot high post and rail fencing, an indoor stable block and indoor and outdoor arenas, both with excellent quality waxed surfaces. We have bred a number foals focusing on quality not quantity and we now have young stock starting their training each year. They look promising and we are beginning to feel confident with the approach we are taking.
By using top quality mares and stallions, we aim to breed and produce horses that can have long, successful careers and offer them for sale feeling confident that they have had the very best start in life.
Create the best that you can afford; don't cut corners because quality always counts.
Don't breed for the sake of numbers.
Produce youngsters carefully and correctly.
Matching horse and rider is a big responsibility, so be honest.