Introducing Katie Lawrence

Hi! I’m Katie and am super excited that my horse River and I have been chosen to be Amateur Rider ambassadors for Balanced Horse Feeds.

Riding has been a long time passion of mine, my mum plonked me on a pony before I could walk and the rest, as they say, is history!

I got my first horse Oskar when I was 13, he was a just backed, very scrawny 4 year old whom I had intended on competing in riding horse classes with. It was one lesson with a dressage judge that had me hooked and from then on my focus turned as I loved the feeling of learning something new every time I rode.

I produced Oskar up to Advanced level, he was my best friend throughout school, university and into my first job. Sadly he sustained a major injury in 2013 which was a turning point for me. I had gained my dream job working in motorsport and loved engineering the cars trackside, but the role had me travelling a lot and left me with very little time to ride. I realised that I had spent too much time trying to afford having my horse but hadn’t left the time to enjoy him!

With a slight change in direction with my career, I looked to find my new dancing partner. In the most unconventional manner, I purchased River, over the phone, from a video, on my credit card, whoops! I still vow to this day, if I had seen her in the flesh, I don’t think I would have said yes – when she arrived she looked like two different horses put together. However, I could not have found a more perfect friend.

This was almost 3 years ago, she was a just backed 4 year old and I have really enjoyed producing her under the watchful eye of my trainer.  We are qualified for the elementary regionals this year, hoping to qualify for medium and we might dabble with and Advanced Medium  area festival classes too.

Alongside this, I recently relocated to Northampton to start a new job as a Programme Manger on Project One, Mercedes’ Hyper Car which will be the first ever road car to run a Formula 1 power unit. It’s pretty manic, I am in for a 0730 meeting every day and don’t leave before 6pm.  River has got quite used to being ridden at all sorts of times, I am lucky she is so chilled out!

I am really looking forward to working with Balanced this year, River absolutely loves their feed and thrives on it. It will make such a difference to our journey together, which is logged on our page Deciphering Dressage, where I will be keeping a diary of our progress and how Balanced is helping us.

Thank you for your support,

Katie & River x




Balanced Horse Feeds are pleased to announce they are the official feed supplier for the 2019 Horse of the Year Show, making it the fifth consecutive year of this prestigious sponsorship.

Having been providing efficient nutrition to horses and ponies in the UK for almost 35 years, Balanced Horse Feeds are well placed to supply all those exhibitors and owners attending ‘The Ultimate Celebration of the Horse’ from both the UK and abroad.

Owner of Balanced Horse Feeds Ian Adams-Lane said “We are thrilled to be continuing as part of the HOYS team for 2019. It is always an honour to supply the top Equestrians from around the world and to meet our customers from all over the UK.”

Emma Williams, Event Director of Horse of the Year Show, commented: “It is a great privilege to be partnering with Balanced Horse Feeds for the fifth consecutive year as our Official Feed Supplier for Horse of the Year Show. The event is highly-regarded in the equestrian industry as hosting horse and ponies who are at the top of their game, so it is only right that we have a suitable feed supplier who is up to the job of providing efficient nutrition to fuel the competition. Their extensive range of products match the wide variety of horses and ponies who we welcome to the show throughout the week, and Balanced Horse Feeds recognises that different categories of horses require different approaches to their feeding regimes, meaning that there is something suitable for all.”

Each year we see Team Balanced fed horses performing and looking their best at this prestigious show with Sam Roberts, Chloe Chubb and Samantha Fowler in the native pony classes, Team Smeeth and others across the horse classes, Tracy Preist & Claudia Moore Showjumping and Charlotte Adams-Lane driving.

For over 30 years the Balanced Horse Feeds concept has remained the same, use quality ingredients with no extra additives and no compromise with the composition. Stocking a range of feeds for all types of horses, Balanced Horse Feeds is the home of the original Show Mix, a fibre based conditioning feed designed to aid weight gain, promote extra condition and provide that show ring shine, without the Fizz!

To feed efficiently, feed the Balanced way.


Could you be our next Team Balanced member?

Here at Balanced Horse Feeds we are looking for a new rider to join our Team in 2019. Could it be you?

At Balanced we have been providing efficient nutrition to horses and ponies in the UK for over 30 years, supporting a variety of riders from grassroots up to Olympic level.

We are a small team who think big and we are looking for a rider who feels the same. We are passionate about equine nutrition combining traditional expertise with scientific and technological advances.

For the season ahead we are looking for a keen amateur in any discipline to join us, as an Ambassador for Balanced Horse Feeds. We are looking for someone who shares our passion, is dedicated and ambitious, as well as being a team player and keen to learn about our company.

To enter, all you need to do is head to our Facebook page and comment on the post about why you would make the perfect ambassador for us.

Full details on the prize, which includes feed for your horse for a season, plus clothing and coaching can be found below alongside the T&C’s


  • Entrants must be 16 years and over
  • Competition is only available to UK residents
  • Competition closes midnight 1st March 2019
  • Five semi-finalists will be selected and announced by 8th March 2019
  • The final winner being announced by 20th March 2019
  • The five semi-finalists will need to be available to take part in phone interviews and potentially a selection day at a mutually agreed venue and date
  • No employees of Balanced Horse Feeds or Byhurst Farm can enter the competition
  • Applicants can’t be supported by another feed brand
  • Balanced Horse Feeds are not responsible for lost, late, or misdirected entries, for technical, hardware or software failures of any kind, for lost or unavailable network connections, or for failed, incomplete, garbled or delayed computer transmissions or any human error which may occur in the receipt or processing of the entries
  • No purchase is necessary to take part in this Competition
  • Entrants may enter the Competition by:

(i) writing in the comment section of the competition post on the Facebook page within the competition entry dates.

(ii) sending an email to within the competition entry dates

The Competition winner will receive the prize outlined below for 2019. Prizes are subject to availability. Balanced Horse Feeds reserve the right to change the winners prize to an alternative product/service of similar value. No alternative cash prize is available.

  • A session with our nutritionist
  • A personalised diet plan for one horse – including a monthly feed allowance for 1 horse
  • Balanced Horse Feeds branded rug, saddle cloth, cap and gilet.
  • Lesson from a Balanced Horse Feeds professional rider – date/time to be mutually agreed

The winner will agree as an Ambassador to Balanced Horse Feeds…

  • Supply the company with a monthly blog outlining their activities
  • Regular updates, competition results, images and video content
  • Tagging and inclusion on social media
  • Occasional sharing of Balanced Horse Feeds social posts
  • Agreement to be involved if required in advertising campaigns as well as supplying testimonials for the company
  • The winner will be given a contract to sign outlining all of the details for the sponsorship
  • Balanced Horse Feeds reserve the right to remove the sponsorship if any parts of the contract are breached

Balanced Horse Feeds decision concerning the determination of the Competition Winner(s) and all matters relating to the competition are final and binding.


What are your 2019 aims?

With the new year starting we caught up with our Team Balanced riders to find out their ambitions for the season ahead and to see if they were making any New Year’s resolutions. We will check back with them later in the year to see how they are getting on. Have a read below to see if their aims give you any inspiration!

Katie Preston – My main aim for 2019 is to get to my first Badminton with TJ. Other than that just to make sure I enjoy my horses and the journey we are on  – to have targets for them but not get too caught up in aims and to remain flexible so we can all have fun!

Sharyl Horley – To put 2018 firmly behind me and not dwell on what was a rotten year. With Dark Solitaire having come so very close to qualifying him for Olympia two years running in the SSADL Veteran Classes, at the grand age of 30, I hope this year will be third time lucky! Horsmans Outlaw is fully recovered from his operation last year which wiped him out for the whole season. We will be aiming him at getting higher placings in RIHS/Olympia/HOYS qualifiers and finally Summer Magic will be be competing in the Veteran Horse Society classes and hopefully qualify for the Championships!

Camilla James – My New Years resolution is to train hard and get back to a level competing in my tail coat. Prix St George is just around the corner.

Matt Hicks – This year I am keen to compete Sheepcote Walnut and Excalibur at international level Grand Prix and I am also very excited about the younger horses coming out this year.

Sam Roberts – My New Years Aim is to work hard and enjoy my ponies.

Kate Hewson – My main ambitions for the year are to qualify both ponies for the RIHS and Flute for Hoys in either the Junior or open M&M’s. I would also like to get selected for the BD Youth Home Internationals and try to repeat my success in the Black Country Saddles Young Rider of the Year finals.

Claudia Moore – My aim is to be selected for the Pony European Championship Team & to win all the big championships at POYS, RIHS, HOYS, Olympia & Liverpool. Resolution wise I am trying to eat healthier at the shows. Less chips and chocolate!

Amy Stovold – So my new year aim is to get out competing seriously again…. after having the baby it has been tough trying to juggle everything.

Lara Berrie – In 2019 our aim is to listen, watch and improve. As no matter how much we all like to think we know, there is always room for improvement on a daily basis. This year, my aim for Sid and I is to get at least 1 Royal International ticket and of course that golden ticket for HOYS; which would be a dream come true!

Sam Penn – I have to confess to deliberately not making any New Years resolutions as I’m terrible at keeping them but I have a few very nice horses for next season so my plan is just to do the very best that we can (and perhaps eat a little bit less chocolate……)

Tomas Hanlon – Percy who is on recovery from a field injury I am aiming to compete at CCI2L and 3*S.  Rafiki will hopefully compete at CCI2*L and Cooga will hopefully compete at CCI2*L at the end of the season, but is yet to compete BE.

One week to go!

The boys have all had a great week, we got together with their riders to have a little practise. We took two of them to a show on Saturday where it certainly reminded us that we were in the middle of December. It was absolutely freezing!

Newoak Furious and I won our class and Thistledown San Siro and Charlotte, his jockey for Olympia, were 2nd in their class. Furious was also Reserve Champion.

We were really pleased with them and although we need to tweek a few things before the big day I was pleased with them both. Ashley Rancher has got together with his rider and that went well too, she has already ridden him at a show before so hopefully they will go well together again on the day.

It has been a case of checking all the little details, farrier, physio, trimming them up and washing bandages, boots, numnahs and taking my jacket to the dry cleaners. I really hope I remember to pick it up this week!

We also had a check of all the equipment we need as it will have to be packed into a tack trunk and we really don’t want to be forgetting things.

We leave to go to Olympia on Sunday morning as its not too far to go, so the ponies will be turned out as normal on Saturday before having a wash and being got ready.

Olympia is a magical show to compete at and we are so excited to be competing. Fingers crossed!

Just Two Weeks To Go

Two weeks to go!

Oh gosh that has come around quickly! It is really real now, so we are on to the final practises, preparation and getting everything into place.

All 3 boys have been out to an indoor school, just to make sure they remember what they are doing and have a relaxing time indoors before the big day. Their fitness is going well and the mild weather has really helped us as we have been able to canter in the fields and they have had lots of variety in their work with lots of hacking and jumping to keep them fresh and fit.

The weather is a daily obsession in my conversations as one of them we haven’t clipped, so the warm climate has helped but with all the rain we’ve had it still has been a case of rugs on… rugs off … as its not comfortable for them to be too hot.

They all go out daily as I feel that it is vital for them to be out, with their heads down eating some green grass. This does mean lots of wet rugs and muddy ponies to deal with!

Ashley Rancher has been out competing at Affiliated Dressage and gained his highest score of 69% in a novice test so that was really encouraging for him.

The farrier and physio are all booked to give them their final once over and a few other preparations are planned. I think its the calm before the storm.

We have started to get numnah’s, girths, rugs etc ready as they will all need to be loaded into a trunk/tack locker as the lorries are not parked near the stables at Olympia. Everything has to be transported off your lorry and placed outside your stable, so its a case of taking as little as you can but not forgetting what you need…. more lists needed I think!

The Countdown To Olympia

Hi, My name is Sam Roberts and over the next 4 weeks I will be giving you an insight into how we prepare our ponies for The London International Horse Show at Olympia in December.

I am so lucky to have qualified 3 ponies for Olympia this year. We qualified our ponies for the LeMieux BSPS Ridden Mountain and Moorland Final at the BSPS Heritage Championship show in October, so we’ve had a bit of time to relax before we start to get ready for the big day on the 23rd of December! Olympia is a very special show, it is right in the centre of London and being so unbelievably close to Christmas it has a fantastic atmosphere. Our class is on Sunday with the prelim judging in the morning session and the presentation of awards in the afternoon. So let me tell you a little bit about my boys.

Newoak Furious is a Black Dartmoor gelding. He is owned by his breeders Mrs J & Miss J Newbery from the Newoak Stud in Devon. He has had a successful ridden career with highlights that include 1st at HOYS 2017, 2nd at HOYS 2018 & Best of Breed at Olympia in 2016 as well as being placed at Olympia before. This will be his third time at Olympia and I am really looking forward to riding him. Since qualifying for Olympia he has been at home having a little holiday but he is now clipped out and back here in work getting ready.

Thistledown San Siro is a Welsh Section A Gelding. He is owned by Mrs S Wilson. This has been his first full season under saddle and we have been delighted with him this year. He has continued to improve and he was 4th at HOYS and highest placed Welsh A when he qualified for Olympia. He has been home for a little holiday and also for his owner Hannah to get to know him and they have since been 1st & champion when they took him to NPS Area 29 whilst he has also had an outing with me finishing ridden Champion at SEWPCA. He likes lots of variety in his work and loves to hack out. He has now been clipped out so he doesn’t get too hot when we work him.

Ashley Rancher is a Chestnut New Forest gelding owned by his breeder Mr & Mrs Dibdin. I have had him since February this year so its been about getting to know him but his season has been brilliant being placed Supreme Ridden pony at the New Forest Enthusiasts Show & Reserve Supreme of show, Reserve Ridden Champion at the New Forest Breed Show and recently at British Dressage. He has stayed in work and will have his holiday after Olympia.

So the entries for the show have all been submitted and now we have to plan a schedule for them each over the next three weeks to help them perform and hopefully peak on the 23rd! We have received a lovely rug from the sponsors Lemieux so that is a really lovely gift from them and then most people take their rug and wear it at Olympia which is fun. The paperwork from Olympia has arrived so it really feels real now.

The countdown is on!

HOYS – What a show


Well what a show! Thanks to my endless lists I had remembered to pack everything and I had timetables to run by, which I find makes my life a lot easier.

Wednesday went really well Knavesah Knight, was a superstar and I was delighted with his performance, he gained highest ride mark of the class and came a wonderful 2nd. I was so happy, what a clever boy!

At lunchtime I went to the live zone to chat about showing native ponies, which I hope went well and I was very relieved not forget or mess up my words!

Rivervalley Teardrop was competing in the afternoon and her show was unbelievably amazing, she was so chilled out and performed exactly as I could have dreamt her to have done, it was thrilling when she was called forward into 7th place and top mare.

A quick turnaround and we got ready for the evening exercise with the four boys who were competing on the Thursday.

Colby Silver Sprite kicked off our day and as it was his first time at HOYS, I was hoping he would give a good account of himself and he was tremendous, he sparkled around the ring and was placed an outstanding 2nd! Words can’t describe how excited we were and what an achievement this was. Now we had two into the championship in the evening.

Thistledown San Siro is the baby of our team and this was also his first time at HOYS and he was a true little star; he executed the set show with great maturity and was placed an excellent 4th place, we were all so elated with him and the result was the icing on the cake.

The two dartmoors Newoak Springsteen and Furious were on last. Springteen went so well for his young jockey and they looked a picture together, sadly there was a mix up with the marks and although they awarded a placed rosette in the ring, they actually should have been placed just outside the top 10. We were thrilled with their performance regardless of the placings. Furious, is a showman and he was brilliant; his consistency over the years is outstanding and it was a huge thrill when he was called into 2nd place!

All the ponies were fantastic and I couldn’t have been prouder of them, they performed and smiled throughout. My team, as always, were wonderful to help me achieve such awesome results. When we came out the ring we had no time to rest, we had to get three ready for the championship and find some extra riders! I am very lucky to have friends who helped me out & all three ponies went so well in the main arena. It was a very proud moment to see them all and know that from my small team of six, half of them were in the championship with the top ponies in the country.

We ended off the season at the BSPS Heritage Champs, it’s always quite sad to know that this is the last big show of the year, some friends you won’t see until April next year and that the summer is officially over. We took four boys up there to see if we could qualify for the London International Horse show at Olympia in December. We have has some very near misses this year with three reserve champions.

Newoak Furious was first to try; he’s had three sections wins this year and narrowly missed out at Hickstead Derby Meeting, so it was very fitting and overwhelming when they called him forward and said that he had qualified for Olympia. This will be his third time competing at Olympia. I will ride him at Olympia for one last time as this will be my last ride on him, I was pretty emotional.

We had a group chat and decided to let Thistledown San Siro take his chance in his qualifier, he duly took note of his stable mate and also qualified for Olympia, he was the highest placed for his breed and it’s very exciting to have him competing there too, especially as he went so well at HOYS.

Ashley Rancher, had his New Forest Breed class the next day and despite the torrential rain, performed really well and won his qualifier for Olympia! It is thrilling as his owners bred him and this will be his first time at Olympia, he has had a great season and this will be the icing on the cake.

My own pony Colby Silver Sprite didn’t contest any Olympia qualifiers up at the show due to client’s ponies, so he took part in the RIHS 2019 qualifier instead. He was obviously happy to be out and performed beautifully went and won his class, before standing champion too. It was amazing to have had such a fantastic show and the ponies performed so well.

The end of the show was looming and many of us despite being cold, tired and wet just lingered on, not wanting to return as the realisation of the end of the season was creeping in, a bit like how you feel at the end of the school holidays. I managed to qualify for the overall supreme so I thought if I took part in that then it would delay the end for a bit longer. Colby Silver Sprite still fresh and sparkly danced his way around the ring and it was such a delight when he was called forward as Supreme of Show! It was an incredible way for us to end what has been a phenomenal show and season for us. I was speechless!

We are so lucky to have had a wonderful year, qualifying 11 for RIHS, 9 for HOYS & 3 for Olympia, as well as winning at RIHS, Royal Windsor, Bath & West, Pembroke, Lincolnshire, New Forest, Devon, Derbyshire & Staffordshire Festival, NPS, BSPS and lots of area shows. Bringing young ponies out and starting their careers, teaching young jockeys & seeing them progress and having fun. This year will be remembered for the above but also for the triple of trebles we’ve had!

3 winners at Hickstead Derby

3 2nds at HOYS ; with 3 in the championship

3 Qualified for Olympia

No time to rest now though, off to get some of the breakers ready for the 2019 season and start obsessing about coats, work lists and Olympia!

The Final Countdown

One week to go. The final countdown is here!

The ponies have been working well and we are happy with their progress. Final decisions have been made and we have clipped one of the boys going but all the others are staying as they are, which is what I personally prefer for native ponies. Final preparations are well under way and the farrier and physio have been to ensure they are in as good as shape as possible. Some of them have been to a show or HOYS Practise which went well. So fingers crossed we have prepared them as best as possible.

I have been lucky to receive some deliveries for the show – a great supply direct from Balanced Horse Feeds means I am well stocked up with Show Mix for the week ahead, as well as a good supply of chocolate bars by the box load for me!

I competed at the British Dressage Nationals last Friday which was great fun, its such a wonderful opportunity to ride alongside professional dressage riders on their top horses. Very inspirational! Quite a contrast from them on their very big powerful horses doing piaffe to me on my little Welsh Section B, but we held our own and came away with a very credible 8th place.

At the moment my desk is filled with paperwork, lists and timetables. Any jobs that we can do we have but most have to be left to closer to the day such as trimming, washing, cleaning tack, packing the lorry. Its all very exciting.

For those going, a few little tips…

Wear comfortable footwear! There is a lot of walking and if you’ve not got comfortable footwear you maybe a bit foot sore in no time at all!

Pack warm clothes. It is cold at night sleeping in the lorry and the early morning are fresh.

Remember the wash bucket. Don’t forget to pack an extra bucket for all your washing stuff, you don’t want to be putting soapy water in a bucket and then be expecting your pony to drink from it.

Your pony/horse must wear their bridle numbers at all times when they are out of the stables. You wont be allowed into exercise arenas without them.
I’m really looking forward to the show, to think that this time next week I will be there with my ponies and ready to compete. For me, this is a really exciting time, a chance to go through into that ring, it gives me goosebumps with pride. Some of my ponies hadn’t even been to a show this time last year and for one of them they were only broken into ride over the winter! They’ve all improved and got better as the year has gone on; and progress is always so satisfying and pleasing to achieve.

For some their dreams will come true, but others will be left thinking what if or if only ….. just remember what your dream was on a cold, wet miserable rainy January day. If it was to qualify and compete at HOYS, make sure you reflect and realise how far you and your partnership have come. Your taking home the best pony/horse and he really doesn’t care if he is placed or not, he just wants a polo and to get muddy in the field again!

Don’t forget to come along to the live zone on Wednesday as it would be great to see some smiley faces in the audience.
I would just like to wish everyone competing the best best of luck, remember to enjoy your time at the show, its a fantastic achievement to have qualified. Smile and enjoy yourself.

Two weeks to go!

Two weeks to go!!

And the the countdown is on! The past week has flown by and we really are heading for HOYS soon. I think we would say this week has has been full of organisation.

Starting with lists! I actually love a list so I am very excited to start to write lists of everything. What I need to pack, what I need to pack in the lorry, list of jobs to do, timetables of work programs for the ponies.
Over the past week we’ve been busy washing. Endless amounts of washing! Although all the rugs and show gear gets washed after every show, at HOYS we need extra rugs, for if they sweat after evening exercise, extra bandages as white legs very easily become grubby, extra hoods, for in case they get damp in the rain, extra numnah’s as they will need clean ones for their class. The list goes on!

Dry cleaning for my Jackets as they’ve collected, polo, grass and general saliva throughout the year. They’re in need of a clean so they look respectable once again!

The lorry has had a spring clean – as I am sure you can imagine as the season has gone on we have collected endless amounts of ‘extra stuff’! This includes the likes of half a packet of baby wipes, empty chocolate wrappers, old back numbers, various qualification cards, old schedules, odd socks. You name it, my lorry probably has it. It is like a walking tack shop, DIY Store and charity shop of various clothing items!

I have also had to get all my tack organised – running repairs and alterations to my local saddler for adjustments and then we re-check all the tack fits, girths and everything else is ready, so that the tack can be cleaned next weekend ready for the big day.

Feed orders have been done so both equine and humans have supplies of their favourite feed and treats! Plenty of Balanced Horse Feeds will be delivered next week for the ponies, in time to be packed. As well as large amount of polo’s and chocolate for me!

The ponies have all worked well over the past weeks and have seen the physio to make sure they’re in peak condition. The coats are ok, just about holding for now, but its a yo yo situation of rugs on/rugs off. Some of them are off to a show on Saturday and others have an outing planned next week.

At HOYS on Wednesday I have been asked to talk at the ‘Live Zone’ HOYS are holding called ‘Lets talk showing’. This is a talk with professional show riders where we give a talk about showing ponies and tips with a Q & A session at the end. It is being held at the Live Zone in the shopping village at 1pm for 45 mins. I like to ride ponies more than talking into a microphone but I am sure it will be fun, but please come along I might need some support!