Brand Ambassador Q&A – GEM Sports Horses & Equine Services

Welcome back to the Horse Search Brand Ambassador Q&A! This week it’s the turn of GEM Sports Horses & Equine Services. Over to Georgie!

Hi! I’ve never written a proper blog before so I’m just going to wing it and hope it goes well…! 

Sooo, I’m Georgie and I am the person behind GEM Sports Horses & Equine Services. I’m 20 years old which means I’m still trying to figure out how to adult properly but I’d like to think I’m doing ok. I currently have 2 Irish sport horses of my own at home with me in West Wales that I’m producing to show jump, alongside my mum’s pony, a young project and some retired golden oldies. 

Like many of us, my love for horses started years ago when I was just a tiny tot, something I think my parents now wish had never happened… but that’s what you get for sitting your 3 week old baby on the shetland. 

My mum was always into horses so I was fortunate enough to be around them all the time at home. I was able to have weekly lessons from the age of 4 and I always dreamed of having my own pony but to make that dream come true I had to prove to my parents I was going to look after it, which I did, and when I was 7 years old, Cookie came home! She ditched me at our first ever pony club rally where I broke my arm and had to have 2 operations – that escalated quickly I know!! Despite this, the love for horses never left. Ponies came and went, funnily enough cookie stayed and we still have her to this day – she’s ancient now. I never competed seriously on Cookie but attended the local and fun shows around us, never really travelling much more than half an hour up the road. 

I must have been about 14/15 before I decided I wanted to take my riding slightly more seriously. I had a beautiful little 14hh coloured cob who I did a bit of everything with, however he excelled in the show ring. He was a HOYS contender through and through but our journey was sadly cut short and we lost him just a couple of years ago, although we had many great successes in this short time.

I started my business around 3 years ago, when I decided that working with horses was what I wanted to do. It was something I’d always contemplated but never thought I would be able to earn a living from, so after finishing school I spent a year in college studying photography and media, I would leave the house at 6.45am and return home about 7pm so during the winter months the horses took a bit of a backseat, it was hard to find a good balance between keeping up with riding and the amount of college work. I had 3 horses in work at this point so as you can imagine it was difficult to keep them all going with such little time to ride and such little light. As it came to the end of the year it was obvious that the photography and media studies were not for me, and I don’t know why I didn’t realise sooner, I was always prioritising the horses, which meant I used to get in quite a bit of trouble with unfinished assignments and projects but yet I never learnt my lesson!

Up until this point I had never taken competing very seriously or decided what discipline I wanted to pursue. I was always out just having fun, meeting new people and making new friendships. 

I signed up to a new college the following “school year” where I would be able to sit my BHS exams as an apprentice, so, I became an apprentice on a self employed basis which meant I could work in more than one place on a schedule that suited me, and that’s where it began. I started off by riding for family friends and I soon got a few clients just through word of mouth so I ticked along for the summer taking what I could get whilst also working a second job at a hotel and attending the odd ODE with my horse at the time, Bam Bam. 

I started at my new college and knew I had made the right decision. Not long after, a sponsorship opportunity came up and I applied for it… little did I know I would actually get it!! So the biggest shoutout to Donna Rooney and the team at Shiral Equestrian Centre, to thank them for all the support they have given, and continue to give me. My business was still very new at this point and I was still very inexperienced on how to get it fully up and running, I still didn’t have a business name or logo and very little social media platforms. Thanks to Donna we got this sorted and she provided me with small goals to reach to build myself up, sort of like a step by step guide!

Shiral Equestrian Centre provide quality products of many different brands. They hold online auctions on their Facebook page every Thursday evening at 8pm where everyone can purchase quality items and bargain prices. They are a friendly team that inspire many people around the area as they compete in para dressage at a high level. They can provide coaching at your own home as well as being able to go to them, although, if you step inside the shop you won’t be coming out empty handed!

So my work varies from day to day, but a typical working day for me starts at 6.30am. I’ll go out to the yard, (usually in my pj’s but I think we can all agree that it’s pretty normal for us equestrians) and I’ll feed, hay, turn out, sometimes I’ll ride then do whatever else is needed before coming back in for breakfast and coffee, after that it depends what I’ve got booked in for the day. I’ll manage my horses and the yard at home around whatever’s booked in, but the day usually finishes around 7-7.30pm. Sometimes I’ll start earlier and finish later but it all depends what there is to do. 

Most of you will know that if you work with horses, or have horses, your entire life revolves around them, any other task is impossible. You can’t brush your hair without emptying a bale of hay onto the floor of your un-hoovered house which is un-hoovered because you are simply too busy playing with your pony.. (guilty) But when I’m away from the horses I like to go out with my friends, go out for food and just do “normal” day to day things that non horsey people do!

Since moving onto horses and deciding show jumping is the discipline I want to pursue, it’s been quite a rocky start. There have been so many hurdles to get over which have been achievements in themselves but I feel like now it’s all coming together, so my aim for the rest of the year is to do what I love, jump consistent double clears and just have a good time without putting too much pressure on myself and see where it takes us. When I take the pressure away it’s just like a breath of fresh air. 

I sometimes feel like I have to be further along in my career than what I am so I don’t let our sponsors and supporters down, but then I think to myself that that’s why they’re there, to support us along the journey and help us where they can and for that I am forever grateful. 

I came across Horse Search on my Instagram before the website had been launched, the name and logo caught my eye and I followed them to see what they were about. When they started releasing more information about what they could provide I saw this as a perfect opportunity to advertise my business. It’s something I believe is going to be a very useful and informative source to a lot of people. When I saw they were advertising for brand ambassadors I had to apply. I loved the whole idea of what Horse Search were offering and it is something I will use more and more as my business grows. I supported Horse Search from day one. I could see what it was going to be and really wanted it to take off and I feel very privileged to be a brand ambassador and have this opportunity.

I’ve learnt so much over the last couple of years and I can’t wait to see what the future holds!