Hi my name is Amber O'Neill and I am 19 years old. I have been carriage driving since I was 8 and started competing in British Carriagedriving at 14. I am a member of the British Driving Society (BDS), British Carriagedriving (BC) Indoor Horse Driving Trials and British Young Drivers (BYD). Horses have always been my passion and I started riding before I could walk.
My parents bought me my first pony Snowflake when I was 6 years old, but he was a very difficult pony to ride so my mum and I decided to break him to drive. Snowflake turned out to be a wonderful driving pony and in his later years has settled down in his ridden work too. We still have him and my sister Kiera is the only person small enough to still ride him! Snowflake was my starting point in the world of carriage driving and we quickly discovered the sport of Horse Driving Trials and were hooked! Through the BHDTA we came across the British Young Drivers and have been involved with them ever since.
After Snowflake I had a few ponies on loan who taught me loads before I felt I was ready to get my own driving pony when I was 14. I went to view Fortune Teller (Sarah) and just knew she was the pony for me as she made me feel so confident and was exactly what I was looking for.
Fortune Teller has now been sold to a promising Para driver which leaves me time to concentrate on Blue Chip Jasper; the pony I am currently bringing on. 2011 was Jasper's first season and he qualified from Windsor Park Regional for the BHDTA National Carriage Driving Championships on his first attempt, where he came 7th. Jasper also went to the Junior National Championships and came 5th.
During 2012 Jasper and I were selected to travel to Austria for the first ever FEI Junior European Championships where we came 14th. We were Reserve Junior National Champions and part of the winning England Team at the Junior National Championships. We also qualified for the National British Carriagedriving Championships where we came 4th and were 2nd in the Novice Pony Points League, winning the Reserve Novice Pony Driver of the Year Award.
Next year I hope to continue to combine competing and University. I hope to qualify for the IHDT National Championships, as it will be my first year out of Junior Classes and to have a successful Outdoor Season as Jasper and I will be moving up a class to compete at National Intermediate Level.
British Carriagedriving takes up quite a large proportion of my time, but this is balanced with studying and spending time with my friends. I am still in full time education, and currently studying for a Geology degree at the University of Southampton. I am really lucky to be supported by my wonderful family, friends and generous sponsors:
Blue Chip Horse Feeds, Secondhand Tack Online , Horse Quencher and John and Jackie Young(Horsehage).
Without their help, I would not be where I am now.
Mr & Mrs J Young
Barley Croft Farm