Laura Collett MBE
"I am 33 years of age and in my 17th year as a professional event rider. I am based at Penhill Farm, in Salperton where I have access to some fantastic facilities in which to produce and train event horses."
Before I began eventing, I successfully competed show ponies and working hunter ponies, in which the highlight was winning the Supreme Pony Championship at Horse of the Year Show in 2003.
My switch to eventing started with Noble Springbok a 14.2hh pony, and we were selected in 2005 for the Pony European Championships in Pratoni Del Vivaro, Italy where the GB team won a gold medal and I won an individual bronze medal.
Through my trainer, Miranda Lucey, I acquired the ride on Walnut and in 2004 we won individually and as a member of the Central Team at the JRN Championships at Weston Park. I also won individually and as a member of the Heythrop Team at the Pony Club Eventing Championships at Sansaw Park.
In 2005 Walnut and I won them both again!
At the beginning of 2005 I was selected for the World Class Development (Podium Potential) Programme, which is Lottery funded via UK Sport and seeks to identify and develop riders who have shown the potential to reach the world stage. The Programme underpins World Class Performance and, together with the Equine Pathway, they comprise the Equestrian World Class Programme. It incorporates the three Olympic sports of Dressage, Eventing, Show Jumping and the Paralympic sport of Para-Equestrian Dressage.
The World Class Programme is divided into Podium Potential and Podium within each sport and then within the UK Lottery funding it’s divided further into gold, silver and bronze funding levels. All riders on the scheme will have access to the same World Class benefits including, equine and human health, fitness and nutritional support plus training and regular squad sessions. Riders are required to plan competitions, training, management and personal development with the assistance of the World Class personnel.
The programme allowed me to receive training, support and expert advice from Yogi Breisner, the Performance Manager for the British Eventing Team.
My last year riding ponies was in 2005, due to the age limit being 16. I had already started competing horses, and at Weston Park I also won the CCI* Three Day Event with Fernhill Sox.
In 2006 I won the CCI** at Tweseldown riding Fernhill Sox and in doing so became the youngest rider ever to win an International Two-Star Three-Day Event, and I also became Junior European Champion again on Fernhill Sox.
In 2007 I won my first Advanced at Belton Park on Fernhil Sox. I also successfully defended my Junior European Title in Switzerland and won Gold on Rayef and led the GB team to win Gold as well and I became the first British rider to win consecutive Junior European Titles.
2008 was a mixed year of fortunes, as Fernhill Sox lay 2nd after dressage at Blenheim CCI*** but the dreadful weather brought an abrupt end to our campaign. A quick re-route to Deauville for the World Cup Final where Fernhill Sox jumped the only clear inside the time showjumping to finish a very creditable 13th. The year ended on a high as I won the U21 Championship at Weston Park on Fernhill Sox.
2010 was a year of mixed emotions, a few nasty falls and Rayef having an injury were all major blows but there were plenty of highs too! Fernhill Cristal won Team Gold at the Young Rider Europeans and then went on to jump double clear in his first CIC*** at Blenheim. Ginger May Killinghurst gave me the best 21st birthday present when she jumped clear round my first CCI**** at Burghley! Noble Bestman finished the season off with a win in the Under 21 CCI** Championships.
2011 was something of a ‘dream’ year.. Rayef headed to his first CCI**** at Badminton, finishing 8th proved dreams can come true… top 10 at my first Badminton was more than a dream come true! After his performance at Badminton the aim of Senior selection became slightly more realistic. Barbury CIC*** was vital if selection was to become reality, Rayef put up a stunning perfomance to finish 3rd behind two of the sports greatest riders, Pippa Funnell and Piggy French. The following day I recieved the phone call I’d been dreaming about, “You have been selected to represent GB as an individual at the Senior European Championships with Rayef.” Unfortunately it wasn’t a dream debut at senior level as Rayef had a blood disorder which affected his performance. Outward Bound was the rising star of the year when he won Hartpury CCI* at just 6 years of age.
2012. Well the theme of the year was rain. Badminton was cancelled and the rest of the spring season was a nightmare for everyone. I finished the year in 21st place in the BE ranking list but sadly did not get a run at the Olympics.
2013 was a year to forget, I had a very bad fall in July which left me in a coma for week, I fractured my shoulder, punctured a lung, lascerated my liver, broke 2 ribs and lost the sight in an eye…. I was however very very lucky. I owe an awful lot to the World Class programme who allowed me to go to Oaksey House for my rehab and the amazing team at Oaksey house who helped me get back to full fitness in a very quick time! I was told I was suspended for 6 weeks so I entered my first event for 7 weeks after my fall and was lucky enough to be passed by the doctor. I had a fairy tale first run back when Noble Bestman won the Open Intermediate! The season finished off well with Allora being part of the winning Nations Cup team at Waregem and then going on to be part of the team in Boekelo who helped Team GB win the Nations Cup series!
2014 showed me how exciting my young horses are with Pamero winning a Bronze medal at 7yo World Championships!
2015 was a mixed year of emotions for me, the horses had all been brilliant, the babies had come on in leaps and bounds over the season, however halfway through the year we had the tragic loss of the legend Kauto Star which devasted the yard. It was an absolute privilege for myself and my team to be part of his retirement and he will be missed beyond belief. The season continued and we had some amazing results with a 3rd for Pamero 4 “Pee” – CIC*** Haras Du Pin, then Grand Manoeuvre “Milo” achieved 13th Place at the FEI Europeans Championships, Controe our eventer turned show jumper was 5th at HOYS “Horse of the Year Show” in the Silver League Championship & I couldn’t have asked to end the season any better than Mr Bass becoming the 7yo WORLD CHAMPION ? What a superstar ?
2016 was a good year with both GRAND MANOEUVRE & PAMERO as nominated entries for Rio Olympics 2016. Mr Bass was 5th at Boekelo CCI*** & finished on his dressage score in all 5 of his 3* events in 2016. PAMERO was 5th Millstreet CIC*** & 8th Blenheim 8/9yo CIC***, COOLEY AGAIN had a great year 9th CCI** Tattersalls, Team 1st and 13th individually at Strzegom CIC*** FEI Team GB Nations Cup & Team 2nd and 12th individually at Waregem CIC*** FEI Team GB Nations Cup. It’s also exciting for the second year running to be 14th in BE Rider Rankings and to have Mr Bass 55th in the top 100 Horses. Zanie was a nominee in the Horse & Hound Groom of the Year award which made me very proud that it’s not just me who thinks she’s amazing!
2017 was almost a MR BASS year he’d been a superstar this season, not only did he give me my first 3* WIN at Ballindenisk CIC***, he then followed with another 3* WIN at Burgham CIC***. He ended the year with a 2nd at Blenheim CCI***. He also finishes the year as No.1 on the Holsteiner event horse studbook rankings. COOLEY AGAIN was 3rd at Millstreet CIC**, 4th at Burgham CIC**, 8th at Ballendenisk CIC*** and 10th at Tattersalls CCI***. DACAPO, had a brilliant first season at 2* level finishing 2nd at Houghton CCI** and 7th at Ballindenisk CCI**. He finished in the top 6 in 5 Intermediate runs – Mr Consistent!! SIR PAPILLON, exceeded all my expectations by finishing 4th at Le Lion 7yo World Championships. GRAND MANOEUVRE, had a nightmare at Badminton but we had a very enjoyable rest of the season finishing 8th at Bramham CIC***, 9th at Barbury ERM CIC*** and 7th at Blenheim ERM CIC***. It’s also exciting for the third year running to be 10th in BE Rider Rankings and to have Mr Bass 22nd in the top 100 Horses.
2018 has been a pretty epic year on the whole ... yes there have been some heart-breaking moments but all in all I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy some very memorable moments. There are too many people to mention but I’d like to say a huge Thankyou to everyone who has helped make this season the best yet. The highlight for me was Mr Bass stepping up to 4* like a total pro ... it’s beyond special to have produced him from a 4yo to be the only horse to finish on their dressage score at Luhmuhlen CCI**** for 2nd place. It’s also exciting for the fourth year running to be in the Top 10 BE Rider Rankings and to have Mr Bass 15th in the top 100 Horses.
2019 has been one hell of a rollercoaster ... To go from total heart broken with Mr Bass being injured at Badminton to WINNING my first ERM the following week with London 52 was the start of the rollercoaster to follow ... I’ve had some seriously trying times but feel I have managed to take positives from every negative situation! I’m forever grateful to all the people who have stood by me through all the tough times because without their support I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the good times. 13th in the BE Rider Rankings and to have LONDON 52 19th in the top 100 Horses.
I know most people will be glad to see the back of 2020 due to COVID but it’s been the most EPIC year for me and one that I will never forget. How am I ever going to top a year when MR BASS made his comeback and LONDON 52 made all my dreams come true by winning his first 5* at Pau. Cheltenham Festival was a week to remember ... schooling SIMPLY THE BETTS and SAINT CALVADOS the morning they went on to run unbelievable races was seriously special Cheers 2020.
The BEST YEAR of MY LIFE ~ I simply have no words for 2021 … I didn’t just get to go to an Olympic Games - I got to come away with an Olympic GOLD on the lowest team score in Olympic history & top 10 finish individually.
OUTBACK II went to the 7yo World Championship in Le Lion & came 2nd (Chuck won this back in 2015 so lets hope Ozzy has been taking notes!)
DACAPO & MR BASS headed to Aachen for the Nations Cup to finish 2nd & 4th in 4*S TEAM GBR also took the top spot in the Nations Cup. Very sadly though it was to be Mr BASS's final event as he aggravated an old injury and we made the difficult decision to retire him from Eventing. He owes me absolutely nothing, he failed the vet as a 5 year old but went on to give me my first 4* WIN, finish 2nd on his 5* debut & pick up countless international wins and give me for fun than I could ever wish for.
The National season finished with the young horses stepping up a level, which they all did very confidently which is exciting for 2022 and Lucy Jackson very kindly deputised for me on some horses whilst I was in Tokyo and did a fantastic job.
Tilly Hughes WON the Horse & Hound Groom of the Year award which made me very proud that it’s not just me who thinks she’s amazing!
What an incredible year it's been... THANK YOU... to my owners for trusting me with your incredibly special horses. To my girls for keeping both me & the horses on the road (&sane!) in such a pressurised year. It takes an army to keep the horses in tip top condition ~ my vet, farrier, physios all play a crucial role. My Sponsors, many of whom have supported me for a number of years..
A million THANKYOU’s to everyone who made it possible and for all the unwavering support along the way my family & friends who have stuck with me through thick & think your support means so much … what a journey
I received an MBE in the New Years Honours List for services to Equestrianism.
"I understand the level of commitment and hard work that is required to ride and win at the highest level, and I believe I have the talent and drive to succeed."
Click on the video to learn more about Laura in Riders Reveal…