At the age of three, after my complete lack of talent at ballet became unignorably apparent to both my Mum and Teacher, due to my inability to avoid slaying my fellow taffita toting tots with my far from graceful but enthusiastic whirling, I was stripped of my tutu, hammered into a riding hard hat the size of a nut and driven to the local stables, where I was to spend every Saturday morning from then on. This is where my love affair with horses began...
I've been competing since 1976 and have been lucky enough to travel the world with my sport, but there's always a real buzz around the World Cup Finals. It really is the best of the best with riders from all over the world flying in to go head to head in front of a passionate crowd. There are 40 riders from 20 countries taking part so it's tough.
The Grand National is - by design, no less - an accident waiting to happen. Forty horses compete for space on the 4.5mile course fraught with obstacles, jumps and dangerous terrain. Last year, only 17 horses - fewer than half - managed to reach the finishing post. And while the race organisers were quick to highlight an unusual absence of fatalities, they failed to mention that two horses were killed in the run-up to the event earlier that week. More than three dozen horses who might otherwise have been grazing and running in the fields have been killed at Aintree in the last 50 years.
When I have finished a painting, I find it hard to summon up the confidence to start on another, I can fall into a bit of a pit, so if there are already roughed in works, it's like I'm not really stopping. I'll probably do a different kind of work soon, I'll probably be in a different place. Though these works, feel like my main work, I keep coming back to them.