15 minutes with… Flora Harris

By Carole Mortimer on |

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Could winning the 2015 Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials be the start of bigger things for Wiltshire based

Flora Harris

? The win with Bayano marked a new milestone in in the career of the 27-year-old who has been mad on horses since she was five and is a self-confessed eventing geek.

Have you come back down to earth yet?

Yes just about – there hasn‘t been much time to celebrate and after a five-hour drive back from Bramham it was back to work the following day but that’s life with horses. I was absolutely, totally over the moon to win and, if anything, it has made me hungrier to get to the top and compete at the highest level.

How many horses do you have in your yard?

I have 10 horses and five of them are competing plus I do a bit of teaching and ride other people’s horses. I also have two girls that work for me. I would really like to expand and am hoping that my Bramham win will help put me on the radar a bit more and that I have proved myself, as I would really like to focus more on competing. I am super competitive and ambitious and want to win medals.

Where is your yard?

I am based outside Marlborough, in a beautiful yard that I rent near Aldbourne and share with my boyfriend Jeremy Scott, a showjumping trainer. I am really lucky, as it has all the facilities and we have really great hacking with lots of hills. It is also a real eventing area – Andrew Nicholson, Catherine Burrell, Jacky Green, Tim and Jonelle Price are all based nearby.

Who is Bayano?

Bayano was bought as a five-year-old from a dealer’s yard in Holland. He’d done a bit of showjumping. He’s always been a special horse – he has a lovely jump, is naturally careful and really good-looking. I wasn’t totally convinced he was going to be top material but I knew I would always be able to sell him if I had to.

What’s next for him?

I am rather hoping we might have caught the eyes of selectors for the European Championships (Blair Castle, September 10-13) but then Bayano is only nine and Bramham was his first big one, so I’ll wait and see. I will aim him at the eight/nine year-old CIC*** at Blenheim (September 17-20) and another three-day – maybe Boekelo. I’m not sure what he’ll do next year – I still think four-star is a big ask for a 10-year-old.

How is your top horse, Amazing?

She injured herself at Badminton and will have the rest of the season off and I hope to bring her back next spring. The really exciting thing about having a good mare is the possibility of breeding and, whatever happens, we are going to do embryo transfer next spring. Fortunately, Amazing’s owner, Sue Nicholls, is very excited at the prospect of breeding. Chilli Morning is a possible sire but, as she is a warmblood, we want a stallion with as much as blood as possible.

Which is your favourite event?

Barbury – I just love it. It is a really fun event, I love the jumping arenas as they are really challenging, I love the cross country courses and it is just down the road. In 2013, I won the CIC** there with Amazing.

What do you do on a day off?

I don’t ever really get one – other than competing, which is a treat and I absolutely love it. I do enjoy socialising with friends and my boyfriend although I am not a party-goer – it’s either the pub or a good film. I love a good Clint Eastwood – the last one I watched was American Sniper, which was directed by him. Otherwise, I am a self-confessed eventing geek – it’s my passion and a way of life and I can’t see myself doing anything else.

What would be your perfect day?

Winning at Bramham was my idea of a perfect day!

When did Flora Harris last wear a dress?

I did wear one for the trot-up at Bramham – and that’s about the only time I can think of.

Who does the cooking?

That would mostly be the pub – The Hare at Lambourn Woodlands. I am afraid we are both regulars there. Always a rare steak and salad for me.

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