Despite not coming from a horsey family, Ava loved ponies as a child and begged for riding lessons. She started riding at the age of 10 and soon had her own pony in the form of Ralph, a very naughty little Fell who didn’t much like jumping but taught her a lot about falling off. Unlike Ralph, Ava always liked jumping – initially, it was something fun to do with her friends, but she started to compete at unaffiliated shows and gain experience.
She started competing seriously on 13.2hh ponies, and it was during this time that she started training with international showjumper Holly Smith. She then progressed onto 14.2hh ponies, gaining knowledge and connections as she progressed through the sport.
Ava made her championship debut last year, when she took individual gold and team bronze at the Junior Jumping European Championship in Vilamoura. This came with her top horse, Jolie Fleur van de Noordheuvel, known as Cookie – Ava initially didn’t expect Cookie to be as good as she has turned out to be, but the pair just clicked. She also has several young up-and-coming horses, including Billy Sarafina, who’s been competed by Holly since October 2020 but has recently returned to Ava's yard.
Ava hopes that Sarafina will be her Young Rider horse and take her onto more teams in the next couple of years. She’d also like to ride on some three-star Nations Cup teams and continue to produce her young horses. Her ultimate aim is to reach the top of the sport and have a successful career there.
Away from the yard, Ava enjoys running and going to gym. Not only this does this help her fitness in the saddle, but it also gives her time to focus on herself. Running a yard of horses doesn’t leave a lot of time for much else but, when she has the chance, Ava also likes to spend time with her friends.
|2021||Junior Jumping European Championship||Jolie Fleur van de Noordheuvel||Individual gold and team bronze|