In this new series, we spend a few minutes ‘In The Barn’ chatting with different people from Ryders Farm and around the equine industry. Learn more about the horses in their life, their career journey and some interesting facts you might not have known before!
Our next guest is Jasmine Hilton, a coach and also a livery owner at Ryders Farm Equestrian Centre. Jasmine is currently studying a Masters Degree in Equine Science at Myerscough College and has her own Milo, who she regularly competes in Show Jumping. Find out more about Jasmine and how horses have shaped her life in our interview:
Firstly, what is your role at Ryders?
Im an instructor and yard assistant at Ryders Farm Equestrian Centre. Depending on the day, my job on the yard varies from looking after the livery yard on to managing the office reception and working on the riding school yard. Then I teach private lessons on Saturday mornings!
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
My days on the yard start by feeding all the horses but of course saying Good Morning to them all! Then we start mucking out, making sure all the horses have a nice clean bed for the day and make sure the yard is tidy before we start any lessons – you will all know how much we like a tidy yard, so it’s essential we get this done first thing.
On Saturdays I then go onto the outdoor arena to teach my morning of private lessons. I will go around to the outdoor a little earlier to set up my exercises before my first client. Once my lessons have finished, I tidy up my arena ready for the next instructor to swap with me. On Friday nights my routine is slightly different as I get to spend more time with the ponies; grooming and tacking them up for their lessons and then putting them to bed for the night making sure they have their tea and a nice clean bed.
How did you start your journey at Ryders?
I started coming to Ryders when I was 8 years old – 15 years ago now, wow! I don’t know why I wanted to start riding as I was terrified of animals and my Mum and Dad didn’t think I would stick to riding. But now here we are, I just fell in love with horses and riding.
Ryders is a massive and important part of my life, we are all one big family and all support each other; I wouldn’t be doing what I am now if it wasn’t for the people at Ryders. I have been lucky enough to experience many different types of horses which has helped me in my career by being able to practically apply the theory I have learnt from my studies, but also helped me carry on progressing in my riding. The horses become part of your life, you love every single one of them like they are your own. However, I do have my favourites; Jill will always have a special place in my heart I just love her character and personality and I absolutely adore Boris, I find him so fun to ride and he’s super cute.
On a day off, where will we find you?
On my day off you will find me at University, if I really have to be there! Or more than likely you would find me at the place I would rather be – Ryders. I never leave, I like to spend my days off with my own horse Milo and take him to competitions, fun days out to Somerford or on long hacks with Abbey and her horse, Ed.
When did you know you wanted to work with horses? What advice could you give to someone wanting to start their horsey career?
I never thought I wanted to make horses my career as I was always set on keeping it as my hobby. However, when I left school I went and did A-levels and found it really wasn’t what I enjoyed, so I swapped to the Equine Studies course at Eccles Sixth Form Centre. From there I realised the amount of opportunities that I didn’t know existed within the equine industry. Whilst I was in college I started working at Ryders, began taking my BHS exams and did a qualification in transporting horses which allowed me to start driving for a transport company. This is when I realised I wanted to have a horsey career!
I always found at school if I said I wanted to go and study horses teachers would tell I should do A-levels because ‘you can’t make a career out of horses’. So if there is anyone out there thinking they may want to work with horses, my advice is; go for it – you don’t realise the opportunities out there until you start looking.
You currently study Msc Equine science, tell us a bit more about your degree? How has it shaped your career path in the equine industry?
I’m currently doing my Masters Degree in Equine Science at Myerscough College as part of the University of Central Lancashire. This is also where is studied my BSc (Hons) in Equine Science. When finishing my BSc I felt like I had gained much better well rounded knowledge of the industry and had taken interest in specific part such as nutrition however, I felt like I still lacked certain qualities that could allow me to further my career. This is when I decided to do my Masters. My degree allows me to combine biological and sociological aspects of the equine industry as well as developing my knowledge of current issues and emerging technologies.
Who have been the special horses in your life?
A very special horse to me is my first horse Harley. I think your first horse will always be special as I feel these are the horses that teach you the responsibility and respect you need but also Harley showed me how happy a horse can make you. I gained so much experience throughout our time together and I did my first shows on her and found my love for competing.
You have your own horse Milo, tell us abit more about him? What is like owning your own horse?
Milo is a 16hh, 15-year-old warmblood, I’ve owned Milo for 2 years this August. Me and Milo got off to a rocky start as he got injured just a few weeks after I bought him meaning he had to have 6 months off and then I struggled with my confidence when bringing him back into work. After months of working hard to build our relationship together we now enjoy Show Jumping and recently tried some working hunter classes. This summer we will hopefully be going to shows, the beach and giving some more cross country a go; this isn’t Milos favourite, he’s not very brave but we just try to have fun. I couldn’t imagine not having my own horse however it does take up a lot of time and I am very lucky that Connor also helps me look after Milo when I am at university as he’s very needy and loves human attention. I spend pretty much all my free time at the yard looking after Milo and riding as he loves doing work.
What have been some of your most memorable moments at Ryders Farm?
The most memorable thing for me is meeting my very best friends at Ryders. I wouldn’t be where I am now without them. I am now lucky enough to work alongside two of my best friends and a brilliant team, as much as I love my job anyway working with them allows us to create great ideas and enthusiasm around the yard.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
For me it isn’t necessarily a piece of advice but it’s to always remember to stay in the present moment and stop asking yourself ‘what if’ questions. I saw a quote in the book ‘Perfect Mind: Perfect Ride’ by Inga Wolframm and after reading the book this quote has stayed with me, not just for riding but in daily life.
What are your goals for the next five years?
I have a few goals shorter term; I want to finish my Masters and complete my research into coaching, and I would like to affiliate Milo to British Show Jumping.
In five years time I would like to have my own business, either in horse transport, as I loved working in this part of the industry, or working in nutrition, my interest of nutrition came from my BSc degree studies and ever since I have been interested in the research and developments in feeding.