Welcome to our feature, 10 minutes in the tackroom. This is a regular feature where we ask riders, businesses and charities 12 questions and they have a maximum of 10 minutes to answer them.
This week in the saddle we have Captain Emily Cooper. Captain Cooper is the Team Manager for the United Kingdom Armed Forces Equestrian Team (UKAFET). The UKAFET is made up from members from all our Armed Forces who carefully balance the challenge of serving the United Kingdom with pursuing their equestrian ambitions.
Tell us about your horse
“Real Touch” stable name Windfall is a new ride for me owned by Marie and Alex Von Sponeck. He is an Irish Sport Horse who has jumped up to 1m20 but has been a family horse for the last 4 years so we are just building him back up at the moment and hope to Qualify for Olympia later this year.
Tell us a horse joke
What do racehorses eat? Fast Food
What do you do when you aren't with your horse?
I live and work in London so I travel between the Cotswolds and London a lot. I am also in the Army Reserves so any weekends I am not riding I am doing that.
What do you love about the horsey community?
I love the sense of community, We were at Keysoe at the start of June with the team and people we had never met came up and said hello and we met a lovely lady called Jill who was running the pocket and by the end of the first day it felt like she was part of our team and its people like that, that make this sport amazing.
What do you dislike about the horsey community?
I think sadly with this age of Social media that we have a lot of side line commentators who say things without knowing the facts. Its something I talk about with the team because they have the added thing of riding in Uniform and to an extend it leaves them exposed. Often you see a photo caught in a moment on line and the back lash is awful, that photo does not tell the whole story. I think if people can’t say anything nice they shouldn’t say anything at all. If something needs investigating its for the governing bodies with their “experts” to look at not the public.
Do your family share your passion for horses?
Yes very much so. My Mum used to work for Raymond Brooks Ward running Olympia and Horse of the year Show, she also showjumped, evented, team chased, hunted and showed a lot. My father loved his hunting and is retired from riding now, he even did a few Point to points. My grand parents are also very involved still well into their 90’s . They also hold a record at the Royal Welsh for coming 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th in the same Section D class and have had both the supreme champion and reserve at the show. My Grandfather is the most amazing horseman and I learnt so much from him and my Mum. My Grandparents also still have National Hunt horses in training and still occasionally sneak off and buy more horses!
Tell us your funniest horse related story?
I had a few naughty ponies in my time, they are a lot smarter than horses. We had a pony called “Boozy” that my brother rode who could open Coca Cola bottles and drink the contents, I also had a pony called “Sprat” that was very good at swiping me off under low lying branches. He did earn the nickname “Sprat the Pratt”.
Who is your favourite famous horse rider?
That’s so hard I grew up in Ireland in a golden age of Irish show jumping so the likes of Eddie Macken, Paul Darragh, Jessica Kurten were idols. I think today we have so much talent out there with the likes of Bertram Allen, Michael Duffy, Cain O'Conor, the Breen brothers, we are in another Golden age. I also admire people like Edwina Alexander Topps and young up and coming Anna Kellnerova.
Who is your favourite famous horse?
Again that’s hard but if it’s a current horse I would love to have a ride on Inca Boy ridden by Edwina Alexander Topps that horse is just amazing to watch. Past horses it would have to some of the Irish greats like Cruising or Boomerang.
How many times have you fallen off?
I lost count years ago, I don’t think I could count the amount of times if I tried.
What horsey product can't you live without?
A good pair of riding gloves.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself
This is hard I don’t think I am that interesting………. I am also a ski instructor….
Well done Captain Cooper you have completed the #10minutesinthetackroom challenge. If you would like to take part in the challenge please email firstname.lastname@example.org