Hello! I am so excited to be a sponsored rider for Alice and Country and can’t wait to share the rest of the season’s antics with you all!
Firstly however, I better introduce myself. I’m Lauren Allin, a 24 year old amateur event and side saddle rider from Nottinghamshire. Currently I live in Leicester whilst attempting to get a degree in Footwear Design at De Montfort University. I’m so lucky to live in a part of the world that combines both my passions, fashion and horses. I live right in the city centre which I love, inspiration for my designs and research for trends is right on my doorstep, but take a short drive out of the city and you’re in prime hunting country! My amazing Mother is the only reason I can still continue to compete and do uni, she owns a livery yard in Nottingham and keeps the boys going for me when I can’t get down. It wouldn’t be possible without her help.
I am lucky enough to have two incredible horses who are making this year very exciting indeed!!
Ashton Flight (Finbarr) is a handsome 14.3hh, piebald, Irish Sports Pony gelding, who this year is 17 years young (try telling him that!). He and I have been a partnership for over 10 years; it was Fin that got me into eventing when I was 15. He is by the prolific Connemara stallion Ashfield Festy, and we have always kept an eye out for any relatives as he is so phenomenal! We spent many years doing BE Novice together (always the smallest in the warm up!) and he was just a machine. Fin now no longer events at a high level as he is too special to potentially break, Mum uses him to teach on as well as me riding him, he has paid his own livery bills all his life! As well as the eventing, Fin and me have been a side saddle partnership since I was doing juniors at 14/15; we have had so many amazing opportunities over the years through side saddle. We are part of the ‘A Bit On The Side’ side saddle display team who display at Blenheim Palace Horse Trials every year, this is the teams 10th year! With that in 2015 we were asked to travel to Aachen, in Germany, to be part of the opening ceremony of the European Championships, which was such an amazing experience!
Every year the Side Saddle Association holds a National Show at Addington Manor, we have been competing there since I was a junior. The class that everyone wants to do well in is the equitation, you have to qualify to enter by gaining points throughout the season. At the Nationals in my level you have to complete a Elementary/Medium difficulty dressage test, which is judged on your position and effectiveness as a rider as well as how well the test is performed. You then have your turnout judged, you must be immaculate and all tack and clothing correct. Finally you take on a showjumping course, this again is judged on your riding and how smooth and polished your round is. Fin and me compete in the top level of this, the adult open section, we have been lucky enough to be in the top 4 every year since starting that level (this will be my 6th year), and in fact last year we were runner up which makes us 2nd in the country! The Nationals are the first weekend in August, fingers crossed we have as much success this year.
As well as Fin I have had the pleasure to event my Mothers lovely 9 year old, 15.1hh, bay tobino, Sports Pony gelding The Aviator (Pogo). We bought Pogo as a 4 rising 5 year old from the lady who bred him, who we know through side saddle. Mum and me have been bringing him on to event and he is now in his 4th season and ready to move up a level. We have had a fantastic year so far; we came 19th out of 96 starters at the Mitsubishi Motors cup BE100 Championships held at Badminton Horse Trials earlier in May, which was an amazing experience! And since then we have gained our first BE win together at BE100 level at Shelford Manor. He is so ready to move up to Novice, he won an unaffiliated Novice at Eland Lodge a few weeks ago to prove it, but we are holding out to potentially qualify for the MMC again next year, we will see!
Alongside all the eventing I do with Pogs Mum has produced him as a coloured show horse, they qualified for Horse Of The Year Show last year and he is always commented on for how stunning he is! He is also a successful side saddle horse who, with Mum, is part of our display teams at both Blenheim and Aachen, as well as bringing home many trophies at the National Show.
The rest of this year proves to be very exciting, I can’t wait to see what Pogo will do the rest of the season, and Finbarr is feeling fantastic in training and has been champion at every side saddle show we have done so far!! Watch this space! I’m honoured to have the support from such a lovely brand and can’t wait to promote their stunning products. The whole ethos of A and C is what I try to achieve in my personal style, and also my designing (collaboration maybe?!), I love country style and living, but I also love my fashion, so a brand that brings these together can’t go far wrong in my eyes! This is why I’m so excited to be a part of Alice and Country, so here’s to the future!!