Outside interest: horse riding

Written by: Jez Abbott
Published on: 15 Jun 2016

Peta DonkinWhen she's not a planner in the Cirencester office of multidisciplinary practice Pegasus Group, Peta Donkin is saddling up to ride her horse, called Red.

How did you get into horse riding?

I've been riding since I was 18 months old. I started having lessons when I was five and did the traditional pony club thing before getting my first horse when I was 13. I have been in love with horses all my life.

What does it involve?

I don't get out as often as I'd like because of all the evening meetings and consultations that go with the day job, but I try and ride three times a week; on a weekday it may be a trot around the village for an hour, but at weekends I'll try and stretch this to two or three hours in the saddle. Occasionally we do a sponsored fun rides of up to 20 miles.

Why do you do it?

I love hacking out and enjoying the countryside; it's a great way of getting out of the office. I also enjoy competing in dressage and am looking forward to when Red starts jumping next year. 

What’s the toughest thing about it?

It's hard to pluck up the courage to get back on a horse once you've taken a tumble, but you have to do it. It's also not much fun when it's dark, the weather is -5 degrees and it's hailing and all you want to be is at home with a glass of wine, but you have to feed the horse and make sure he's happy.

What’s the most rewarding thing about it?

Red is six years old and still learning, so when he picks up a move I've taught him, it's such a good feeling knowing he's responded to my teaching. I took him on his first dressage competition in April and he came fourth, which was also rewarding.

Are there any similarities between your day job and horse riding?

The main similarity is a determination to succeed and do well. If I do something wrong, my horse suffers. Like a client, it's my job to make him happy.

Do you have any unusual interests or hobbies that you would like to tell us about? If so, please email planning@haymarket.com