Nell Singer's equestrian journey began with a heartfelt Christmas gift from their mother - a Learn to Ride course that ignited their love for horses over 11 years ago. Horses had always held a special place in Nell's heart, and the riding lessons at Lee Valley Riding Centre soon became a defining part of their life.
However, Nell's equestrian path faced an initial obstacle when a wrist injury, unrelated to riding, forced her to take a break.
“I always loved animals as a child but horses were my favourite, the riding lessons were a gift from my mum for Christmas and once I started I never wanted to stop really.
“Unfortunately I broke my wrist not too long after starting (at school, not from riding!) and took a break to heal, but when I went back I had some pain issues which made me stop.”
In September 2013, Nell embarked on a nine year adventure as a competitive gymnast, temporarily setting aside her love for horse riding. Gymnastics became a huge part of Nell’s life.
At the start of the year, Nell rediscovered horse riding by returning to Lee Valley Riding Centre with a Have a Go lesson, before gradually progressing to Novice level while mastering the walk, trot, and canter.
“My mum introduced me to the riding centre really, we live not too far away so it’s close and convenient, but also a really good facility especially in London.
“After coming frequently for Have a Go’s earlier in the year, I noticed that it seemed like a nice place to work being surrounded by the horses all day, aside from the receptionist job being extremely busy at times! I was also searching for a job at the time as my old job could no longer provide me the hours due to a flood in the building.”
Nell started off volunteering on the yard before landing a job as a receptionist at Lee Valley Riding Centre.
“I thoroughly enjoyed volunteering, being on the yard and getting a hands on experience with the animals was something I loved as it kept me busy even though it being a tough job, it was something I enjoyed and it also helped me with lessons too as I learned more about tacking up and untacking the horses.
“The in house training was no problem at all and really beneficial, I did two weeks of shadow shifts before doing a shift alone, so I could build my confidence up as I had never worked a Front of house job before and was quite nervous. I managed to pick up the basics quite quickly, but even now I am still learning something new every shift.”
Nell is loving working and riding at Lee Valley Riding Centre and is encouraging others to try out the activities at the venue.
“I find that I’ve always been an active person, I like being on my feet and doing things to keep me busy so I’ve always wanted to be involved in a sport of some sort, gymnastics didn’t work out for me due to it being a bit harsh on my body and I find horse riding though it still requires a lot of fitness, no other sport really feels like it which is why I like it so much.
“The venue has horses to cater for all riding abilities which means that anyone interested can enquire about how to start riding here.”
Are you inspired by Nell's journey? You could try out horse riding at Lee Valley Riding Centre with Have a Go lessons or work with the horse.