Natasha Williams is taking her first steps towards a spectacular equine career. In September 2019, she graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Equine Performance and Business Management, from Writtle University College. Natasha plans to use the skills she developed to set up her own riding school and livery business. She aims to begin to instruct and train horses and riders of any ability.
Natasha didn't grow up in a horse-owning family. She was introduced to the equine sector at the age of 12 by Ebony Horse Club, in Brixton. Natasha explained: "Ebony was just around the corner from my gran's house and we used to walk her dogs there. When it was being built we could see the riding lessons. One of the instructors - who's now a really good friend - said 'come in, come in'. I signed up for an induction and had my first riding lesson on a horse called Blue Boy, who I was told could be really cheeky!"
Ebony Horse Club believes riding and horse care can have a transformative effect on young people growing up in South London. It teaches life skills, builds confidence and provides opportunities.
During her time at Ebony, Natasha showed a talent for riding and was quickly placed into an advanced group. She began to compete, taking part in Dressage at Hickstead, and enjoyed residential trips including trekking in the Welsh Hills and riding at Stowell Park, the Gloucestershire home of Lord and Lady Vestey. She also guided HRH Duchess of Cornwall around Ebony's facilities during a Royal visit.
When Natasha decided to study at Writtle University College, the team at Ebony offered her encouragement and support. She said: "Ebony helped me with my application and referred me onto the Worshipful Company of Saddlers and The Horlock Educational Trust who gave me grants for my years of studying at university. I was so happy to have Ebony and representatives from The Worshipful Company of Saddlers and The Horlock Educational Trust attend my graduation ceremony in September to see everything I'd achieved. I don't know how I'd have survived university without their help and the support of my amazing lecturers at Writtle".
Natasha now plans to freelance for a few different yards (some of which are competitive) and work towards her British Horse Society stage exams to become a qualified riding instructor. After a two-year study gap she plans to go back to work towards a Masters in Equine Performance.