Franky Reid-Warrilow Interview

PUBLISHED: 17:49 08 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:12 20 February 2013

Franky Reid-Warrilow at the family home where she has set up an equine business and trains as an eventer

Franky Reid-Warrilow at the family home where she has set up an equine business and trains as an eventer

The Reid-Warrilow family's passion for horses has led to an equestrian business and an Olympic ambition. By Rachel Crow, Pictures by Tony Adams.

The Reid-Warrilow family's passion for horses has led to an equestrian business and an Olympic ambition. By Rachel Crow, Pictures by Tony Adams.

When her contemporaries started their university life, 19-year-old Franky Reid-Warrilow had no intention of leaving behind her beloved horses at her home near Presteigne. With her sights set on competing in Olympic equestrian events, the talented eventer is forging a career from her sport by starting her own equine business.

"My whole family is into horses so I've always ridden. It goes back to my mum and dad's parents who have always hunted and had horses and my grandmother who was a show jumper. From as far back as I can remember I've always been riding," she explains.

Ascending through the ranks of horseriding eventing teams, from ponies and juniors to young riders (under 21), Franky has been representing Great Britain since she was 14. Fresh from competing at Gatcombe International Horse Trials at the beginning of

August, the next big event on her horizon is the British under 21 Championship at

Weston Park in October. "I've been working towards that all year with two of my horses. My long term goal is to do Badminton in 2011 and then obviously my major ambition is to represent Great Britain at senior level in the Olympics. I think 2012 would be too soon, but maybe 2016 if they continue with equestrian events in the Olympics."

While Franky's main focus is on competing the rewards come in the form of results rather than revenue, so with the help of her family she has started an equestrian business from the stables and yard at her parents' farm at Dolley Green to help fund her passion. It's very much a family effort. Her mother, Claire, and older sister, Sophia, who is studying equine science at Cirencester Royal Agricultural College, help Franky to exercise the horses, while her father, Neil, a British Show Jumping course trainer, coaches her on her show jumping training.

"It's quite useful with dad knowing what he's on about and mum loves working with the young horses," adds Franky. "Mum and dad drive me to all of the competitions, while my grandparents like coming to watch me eventing and my uncle was also a former international event rider for France so I talk to him about things too. It's nice with everyone involved because it is a way of life and all-consuming really.

"It was never chosen that this was what I was going to do; it just fell into place and luckily the rest of the family ride as well. "Quite a few of my friends didn't do A levels and went straight into riding, whereas my dad, quite rightly, said you need to go and get yourself some qualifications and I was quite glad he did. I went to Cheltenham College and while I was there was coming home twice a week and every weekend to ride and it didn't even cross my mind to apply for university. Friends have been off on their gap years or to university and all are having a great time, but I'm having a great time too and doing something that I love."

As well as training and schooling her own four horses: Rodney, Rosslare, Little Wise-guy - "he's really naughty, he's my top horse" - and Womble, Franky raises income by offering a livery service, schooling, selling and breaking-in horses. "I also do a lot of teaching, which I really enjoy. "The more experience I get and the better the results at competition will hopefully mean more people will want to learn from that and will approach me to teach them." Especially if they are people who are really ambitious, it's nice to help them."

Relishing all three elements of competing, show jumping, dressage and cross country, Franky aspires to follow in the footsteps of some of her eventing sportswomen idols.

"I would love to be as successful as Pippa Funnell. She's the only person to win eventing's greatest prize, the Rolex Grand Slam, in one year winning Kentucky, Badminton and Burghley, the three most difficult events in the world. Some people look at this purely as a business and have loads of horses they churn through to make the money, whereas Pippa produces her own horses from foals so if she has a good horse she has done all the work and there is real credit in that. It shows huge talent and perseverance and determination. If I could be half as successful as her it would be fantastic.

"There's also Mary King who is in her 50s now and started at my age and is still going strong. So it is quite promising that I've got until then to get it right," Franky laughs. Bubbling over with such natural enthusiasm and passion for her sport and her horses, you can only hope that Franky is riding out on a r

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