Eventer Tanya dreams of representing Great Britain
Teesdale residents who follow equestrian three-day eventing cannot fail to recognise the name of Tanya Buckingham-Lloyd, who is one of the sport's local rising stars. Wendy Short went to meet her at her rented yard near Barningham.
AS a junior event rider, Tanya Buckingham-Lloyd represented Great Britain in 2004 and 2006, while as an adult competitor her most significant achievement to date is winning the international section at the British Eventing Great Witchingham International fixture in 2018.
Eventing is her first love, but she also competes in showjumping and pure dressage competitions and has recently qualified to take part in the medium and advanced medium regional dressage championships, in February, with her top horse, Obos Impressive, whose stable name is Candy.
By Obos Quality, the ten-year-old, 16.0hh bay mare was purchased in 2016 and was formerly the mount of fellow eventer Jonelle Price.
“Candy is probably the best horse I have ever owned and we competed in our first four-star event last season,” says Mrs Buckingham-Lloyd.
“We were not placed, but we did get a double-clear and I was thrilled; we will be aiming for Bramham and Blenheim next year.
“The mare has enormous potential but like many horses which fall into that category she can be tricky to manage; she is feisty and self-opinionated.
“For example, in the eight and nine-year-old championships at Blenheim, she made some dressage moves that were certainly not part of the test. But we have made a lot of progress and I am very excited about our future together.
“I have no preference for mares or geldings and I have both on my yard, although I find that in general mares tend to be the more intelligent.”
Her coach is Chris Bartle and she has regular lessons at the trainer’s base at the Yorkshire Riding Centre, near Ripon.
“Chris Bartle is an outstanding coach,” she says.
“He focuses on the rider more than the horse. He is a very selfless person who will offer his help to anyone.
“His advice when walking a course has been invaluable for pointing out the lines and the fastest routes.
“One tip he has given me for Candy is to split the dressage warm-up into two or three short sessions, spread over a couple of hours. It has been useful for keeping her calm.”
Mrs Buckingham-Lloyd also has five youngsters which range from newly-broken up to novice level.
Burlea Mainsail is one of her most promising and he came from young horse producer and former jockey, Eamonn Mcintyre, who buys and breaks mainly Irish-bred sport types in Butterknowle.
The Barningham yard which has been her base for the past 18 months offers superb facilities including a horse walker, heated wash block and a solarium.
It is fairly close to her home in Hartforth, which she shares with her veterinarian husband Huw Lloyd, a cattle genetics specialist.
However, eventing and competition training forms only part of Mrs Buckingham Lloyd’s work schedule.
Qualified to British Horse
Society stage four senior coach level (formerly known as Intermediate Instructor), she offers tuition to riders at a range of levels, although the majority of her clients are competitors.
She also has a British Equestrian Federation level three coaching certificate.
Brought up in Ravensworth, and later Scargill, and a former pupil of Barnard Castle School, Mrs Buckingham-Lloyd “fell in love” with horse riding when she first sat on a pony at the age of three.
She is from a “non-horsey” background and was taught to ride by Carol Thompson, of Brookleigh Riding Centre, in Eppleby, progressing to becoming a member of the Zetland branch of the Pony Club, where she gained her A test certificate of horsemanship.
“I acquired my first pony when I was nine years old,” she explains.
“My first proper horse was Scally, which was bought as a four-year-old. We made a good team and went on from Pony Club to represent Great Britain in the Junior European Championships and compete at advanced level. At the time, my trainer was Jane Graham, who lives at Manfield, near Darlington.
“Later I was based with Irish Olympic event rider Mark Kyle at his yard in Leicester.
“While I was there I competed on my horse, What’s Happening Now and we represented Great Britain at the Young Rider Europeans and reached four-star level. I still own him; he is now 24 years old but continues to hack out in his loan home.”
Mrs Buckingham-Lloyd studied international business and equine management at the Royal Agricultural College, in Cirencester, and during this period her horses were kept at Captain Mark Phillips’ yard nearby.
She returned to Teesdale in 2008 and has been eventing ever since.
“Eventing is a huge challenge which requires total commitment,” she comments. No two weeks are the same; I can be on a high one weekend and down on the floor the next.
“Combining cross-country, show jumping and dressage means there is never an opportunity to become bored and every horse has a weakness in at least one area which has to be worked on.
“My horses are first and foremost my pets and their welfare will always come first.
“The cross country is my preferred discipline and I also enjoy mixing with the eventing community; people are friendly and supportive of each other.
“I can struggle with speed because I am a bit of a control freak, so I need to learn to push on and keep up the pace cross-country.
“My ambition is simply to be the best I can be. I would like to compete at Badminton and to represent Great Britain again one day. But the competition is very fierce and only four places are available on the national team each year.”
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