The Diary of a Cornish Eventer

We first met Emily when she arrived to take part in the training weekend with Piggy French. After a great two days of training with Piggy French, Emily has agreed to keep us updated with her progress and how she intends to put the training into practice…

Over to Emily…

“Let me introduce myself… My name is Emily Dunstan and I am 22 years old. I am an amateur eventer based in Truro, Cornwall; where at my parent’s small holding farm on the outskirts of the city centre I currently keep my two horses. I work as a Systems Development Officer for Cornwall Council and more recently have taken on a second job as a waitress to help fund my eventing dreams.

My Two Best Friends
Newbridge Lady, Sprite, is a 21 year old chestnut mare and is my horse of a lifetime! Sprite may only be little at 14.3HH but she has a HUGE heart and always wants to please. Sprite was my first horse and was brought just for a happy hacker but over the 11 years of owning her we have turned our hands and hooves to pretty much everything. We have learnt so much together and for that I will be forever in her debt. Over the years we have successfully competed up to unaffiliated eventing 1 metre, but with her age creeping up… (shhh don’t tell her) I have dropped her down to BE90 and have now affiliated to British Eventing.
My second horse is Call Me Divine, Lola is a 6 year old bay mare by Kings Composer. Lola is a little bigger than Sprite at 16.2HH (my little and large). I wanted to give Sprite a bit of an easier life so I thought why not buy an unbroken 3 year old… this has definitely been a massive challenge as Lola is quite ‘quirky’… let’s just say I can sit a pretty good buck and perseverance became my favourite word! However those days are very few and far between now and I am so proud of her – and me to be honest, as I have had to have some pretty big brave pants on at times! Lola oozes talent and I am very excited for her future.


My 2016 season overall has been brilliant despite a mishap at the beginning. Lola unfortunately got injured attempting (but failing miserably) to jump a five bar gate so Sprites quieter life wasn’t meant to be… although I don’t think she minded!

Our first event was Lahnydrock Horse Trials which is based in a beautiful setting on national trust land. Sprite won the class 13 points in front of 2nd. We then entered our first BE90 at Chepstow. Sprite again gave me a fantastic day finishing on her dressage score of 23! Another big highlight of 2016 was being in the winning team at the British Riding Club Area Qualifier, Sprite also won her class individually too! This meant we got to go the championships at Swalcliffe only a couple weeks later plus we would be doing roads and tracks for the first time ever. Unfortunately the champs didn’t go as well, Sprite loved the roads and tracks but the hard ground didn’t suit her one bit. Looking back I think the long drive in hot weather took a lot out of her as well and I will always bare that in mind for events in the future.


Once Lola recovered from her injury and I got her back up to fitness we entered our first BE80(T) at Bicton. I was so pleased with her storming around the long cross country and we ended up 5th. Lola then continued on to do Treborough Hill BE90 and Bricky BE90, no placings but was super thrilled with her cross county rounds. We also entered a local event Four Burrow Hunt Horse Trials, it is renowned in Cornwall for being a challenging course! Lola had won the 80cm class the year before. Our dressage was in typical Cornish weather in the pouring rain but she came out with a good test of 28 followed by a super double clear inside the time. This resulted in us coming home with the red frilly again. Photo of Lola jumping the Cornish wall credit to Rachael Bromage Photography.

Near the end of the season Sprite and I also had our regional final at Pontispool, I have literally never been so nervous!! We didn’t have the best dressage score I would have hoped but had a strong double clear inside the time. The placings were tight as you could imagine but my little super star did it! So we’re off to Badminton Grassroots 2017!! Sooo stupidly excited!!


In October we won a fantastic prize from Toggi and Champion, I won so many goodies and 2 days training with Piggy French!!! The training was epic, it was so educational and useful – will definitely use the things I learnt for Badminton Grassroots.

Sprite and I rode at Olympia last year in the British Riding Club SEIB Quadrille Final. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget, our theme was the Wizard of Oz and I was the one wearing the red shoes. The West Country Equine fair has asked us to do a demonstration this year and I can’t wait to get Toto back under my arm again! More recently Lola and I did the BRC dressage area qualifier, our team didn’t get place but it was only Lola’s second novice test and we had a great score of 70.71% to earn 4th place.

My other winter plans are to practise practice practise the dressage and show-jumping with Lola and continue to have fun with Sprite. We have Christmas team jumping coming up soon so I’m sure that will be a load of fun… did I mention its fancy dress!
Hope you all enjoyed my first blog and I’ll be sure to write again soon