BETA Trade Membership logo

Name: Georgina Hunt

 

Location: Surrey

 

Occupation: Full-time mum to Sophie, Pharmacist and Top Carriage Driver (Three Time European Champion)

Georgina is supported in her efforts by Abbey England who provide Pro-Equine boots for the horses and Abbey Bits.

Georgina started carriage driving at a young age when the family ponies were outgrown and then put to good use by her father who had a keen interest in driving. Starting out as her Dad’s back stepper and groom, Georgina then began competing herself in the school holidays and has never looked back.

During the competition season there is usually something specific Georgina will want to work on after each outing with the team. Each horse has a different character and way of reacting to things, so individual work with each of them is important. The horses live out during summer so they have the best diet and plenty of time to relax.

Explains Georgina: “There is always something to work on and we are constantly trying to replace the weakest link to improve the performance of the whole team.”

Groom Matthew, who has been with Georgina for seven years, knows the horses inside out and spent time competing whilst Georgina was pregnant with daughter Sophie. “It takes around six to eight weeks to break a horse to the carriage and then a lot of their learning will be done at competitions as the atmosphere and adrenalin is so different compared to training at home. The horses are very fit as the marathon phase is demanding and their routine is varied to keep them enthusiastic,” said Matthew.

Part of this varied routine is taking the horses out on hacks with the carriage in the surrounding countryside.

Q&A with Georgina

Q. Is it a full time job or hobby?

A. It started off as a hobby, but when I moved up to horses I took a sabbatical from my career as a pharmacist and worked with the horses full time, and as an instructor and trainer.

Q. How did you learn, who trains you?

A. I was largely self taught and inspired by Karen Bassett who helped us put our first team together in the early 80s. I use Boyd Exell for competition readiness.

Q. What made you decide on Boyd, other than his obvious winning form? 

A. Boyd and I have a longstanding friendship from when he first moved to England and worked for Alwyn Holder just down the road from me. We have worked together on numerous projects from breaking and training, to displays and championship preparation and execution. Importantly I trust him to look after my horses and have great faith in his insight into each of their characters which ensures that they are treated fairly and encouraged to give their best performance. We have similar amounts of competitive spirit which makes the whole thing a lot of fun!

Q. What advice would you give if readers want to take up the sport on a professional level?

A. Get good advice and find a trainer you click with.  Start with safe and sensible horses and as you improve be prepared to upgrade the horses as necessary.

Q. What else do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

A. There’s not a lot of it but I do enjoy nice restaurants!  I also like to swim, dance and ski whenever there is the opportunity.

Q. Does you generally prefer mares or geldings or do you mix the team? 

A. I used to mix the genders without hesitation when I drove ponies, but with the horses I have a strict no mare policy and the yard is much more peaceful as a result. I like my horses to be horses as much as possible and herd them together for as much relaxed turn out as possible. They are now too valuable to risk them fighting in the playground over who’s kissing whom behind the bike sheds!

Contact: E-mail: Sales@ridingbitz.co.uk