We recently caught up with one of our amazing customers, Kevin Stoddart. We asked him to tell us how his riding career started and how he handled a global pandemic.
“I first started learning to ride in February 2016, two of my daughters paid for some initial lessons, they had ponies and horses but until this point I was chief groom and lorry driver, cleaner etc! I soon realised lessons once a week were not enough for me and over a three-month period I was having three lessons per week, and by July/August 2016 venturing off the yard with trainers and enjoying rides on the beach, I had caught the riding bug!
Not long after, my eldest daughter, her trainer Penny Cruttwell and Emily Renouf asked me to ride a beautiful horse, Lisco, a Selle Francais, Dark Bay, 16.3hh ex jumping horse who belonged to Emily. I have had him since January 2017 and we have built up a brilliant bond, hacking over 2,500 miles together. Just over a year later we started to work in the school and focus on dressage.
In January 2018, I also started riding Ryker, an Irish Draught horse owned by a friend of my daughter’s. He was a naughty horse, but I persevered and increased my dressage scores by 10% over less than five months. Everything was going well until late June 2018 when he threw me off in the yard, something I still don’t remember to this day. It has subsequently been ascertained that I got caught in the stirrups on the way out, smashed my head on the hard standing several times, dragged 50 metres, left unconscious, found two hours later by the owner's father. It was all recorded on my phone tracker and monitor, my heartbeat and blood pressure marginally spiking when I became unconscious. My Gatehouse helmet, internal strength and fitness saved my life.
I was taken to hospital and remained there for 14 days in HDU. I couldn't see, speak or walk for most of this time. I sustained a brain injury in my cerebellum affecting vision and stability and had an extremely swollen right shoulder, arm and hand which I could not use. I have no recollection of the incident or being in hospital, a void of 3 weeks.
The result was very traumatic and my whole life changed. After leaving hospital with no pathway, when I started to come round and see again (mostly in quadruplicate vision and gross distortion) I made it my goal to get better and back to some normality. I missed my horse Lisco terribly, not able to see him my life felt on hold. After a further three weeks, I managed to get back to the yard to see Lisco and from that moment on I was very determined to get back on board.
I found the key was to remain totally positive. My specialist told me I was lucky to be alive, he helped me to recover, well ahead of schedule. I have had a wonderful group of people around me, supporting me and great people coaching me back in the saddle. I completed my first dressage test after the accident in April 2019, just 10 months after. Dressage has always appealed to me; it suits my brain with the dimensions and shapes!
In July 2019 after Lisco sustained a hoof injury I started hacking a horse called Billy (Unique), a 19 year-old Dutch Warmblood, Gelderlander, then in October that year we started flatwork together and have progressed immensely in dressage and even started doing some pole work including raised poles.
Although 2020 saw a global pandemic I have remained positive, I
love to ride, it is my passion and keeps me motivated, this did not stop me! Like
many people I made the most of lockdown by riding, hacking to the beach and
generally having fun with Billy. I missed my lessons greatly but started
dressage to music and in September with my team, we won the Dressage to music
championships, after only 3 months of training! I also won the Home Farm
Equestrian Club Hack Off Challenge, riding 275 miles between
June and October and in October we took the Jersey Dressage Novice Prelim Rider Champion title! It’s been quite a year!
I am now looking forward to continuing my dressage and pole work hoping to increase my skills further, and my scores by 3/5% and of course still enjoying my hacking.”
We asked Kevin when he first came across the Derriere Equestrian range. He responded “After my first year of riding, I started looking for padded pants and that’s when I found Derriere Equestrian. I purchased two pairs of padded pants and a riding skin and I loved them, that’s when my passion for them started and I haven’t looked back since, purchasing more quite regularly, now wearing the Cannes and Treviso breeches too.”
We wish Kevin all the best for the future with Billy and are looking forward to keeping up to date with his equestrian journey!
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