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Louise Dando – In Due Horse

French police horse riders
Written by Andrea Parker

Louise Dando is an English equestrian blogger, currently living in France. Her beautiful blog In Due Horse, is a equestrian lifestyle blog which boasts a wide variety of content. From the personal, to product reviews, horsey destinations and interesting stories from the equestrian world.

I recently had the chance to get to know Louise better. I started with a question that always interests me about other riders. 

When and how did you find your way into the saddle?

I come from a non horsey family. I started riding when I was 5 years old and I was immediately hooked! From the very beginning horses were my passion.  It was fair to say I was horse mad!  I rode every week at a local riding school until I was 12 when I bought my first pony named Cassie. After I outgrew Cassie I owned a thoroughbred named Stanley. Since then I have prefered to be sharer & have shared a few horses with their owners & currently share Mya with her owner Katie.

What discipline/s do you prefer?

I love to jump. When I owned my own horses during my teens I competed regularly at local showjumping competitions. I loved the nervous tension and thrill of jumping. I absolutely love cross country too, I am working on my dressage with Mya at the moment as I would like to improve my flat work and start eventing one day. 

Is there a horse who has had a big impact on you?

My horse Stanley. He was the horsey love of my life. He was the sweetest horse you could ever meet. He whinnied every time he saw me. He was an amazing jumper and just a lovely horse. He was absolutely gorgeous, people often stopped me in the street whilst I was hacking to say how handsome he was! He was a joy to own, despite losing his shoes all the time. Unfortunately he died suddenly of a brain aneurysm whilst he was grazing in his field one day in 2003. It broke my heart to lose him so suddenly.

What has been your experience of getting back into riding after a break?

It has been really positive. I don’t know why I left it so long to get back to riding. I realised it had been 7.5 years since I had my last horse on part loan. When I lived in the U.K. I had riding lessons semi regularly during that time but it’s not the same as having your own horse to ride. I think I had forgotten how much I love it. The only down side has been that I am not as confident riding as I was before my break. It’s surprised me actually, it took me a while to feel safe & confident on Mya. I am now which is great but it took a few months for us to get to know each other and trust each other. 
Since starting my blog, I have used that as an excuse to go to horsey events and do things I always wanted to do but hadn’t like go for a beach ride, so I could write about it. It has been fantastic! I don’t know why I needed the blog as a prompt to do this but I’m so glad it got me back out there. 

What inspired you to move to France?

My husband & I moved to France because of my husband’s  job. He works as a Supply Chain Manager  at Airbus. I was working as a Nurse in the U.K. and I was finding it very stressful. I worked very long hours and was tired and stressed all of the time. So I was delighted when the opportunity to move to France came up. Our quality of life has improved living here. I work part time teaching children English    which gives me more time for riding now and we both now speak French which I have really enjoyed learning. I also get the best of both worlds here as I live right in the centre of Toulouse but ride Mya in the countryside 2 or 3 times a week.

What is it like having horses in France compared to the UK?

There is a lot of space in the French countryside! It is so lovely as the yard where Mya is kept has the biggest arena I have ever seen! It’s a L shape & it’s huge! Mya has a very large paddock too which is also very nice. In general things are pretty similar to the U.K. really, perhaps things are a little more relaxed here. The weather is obviously a lot better as we are in the south of France so it gets very hot in the summer. That took a while to get used to as the heat is not something I ever had to worry about in the U.K. As in July & August it is around 35 degrees Celsius everyday, so if you haven’t ridden before 10am it really is uncomfortably hot and here it seems to get hotter & hotter during the day so the evenings are no cooler to ride in . The winter is pretty comparable to the U.K. but a lot drier so Mya is able live out all year.  There are mosquitoes here and a lot of other horrible big flies that Mya gets very agitated by in the summer, so we found despite the heat that she needs to wear a fly rug in July & August so she doesn’t get too upset by the flies. The grass also suffers in the summer as the heat kills it.  Something I have noticed is that in comparison to my last yard in the U.K. the French were far more friendlier & really welcomed me to the yard here. 

What would be your advice to people getting back into riding after a break?

I would say give yourself plenty of time to get your confidence back and for you and your horse to get to know each other. I would also say don’t be too hard on yourself, I often feel like a rubbish rider but then remind myself that I hadn’t had a riding lesson for a few years! Don’t compare yourself to anyone else as it is easy to be critical of yourself when you are comparing yourself to someone else. We are all different and have different strengths. Do what you enjoy, I used to love competing but at this point in time I am happy hacking and schooling Mya without the stress of competing at the moment. 

You can keep up to date with Louise through her social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/induehorse/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/induehorse/

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About the author


Andrea Parker

Andrea is an Adult Amateur dressage rider who competes at medium level on her 13-year-old mare Mon Ami. Andrea shares her journey through the equestrian world on her blog The Sand Arena Ballerina and is working on an equestrian podcast called Equestrian Pulse.