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Leonie Smith

Leonie Smith
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At 2 years old Leonie had her first Shetland pony called Little B, who was well named as he spent most of the time trying to remove her from the saddle.  Not wanting to be defeated Leonie went on to have many lessons at a riding school run by her next door neighbour, a wonderful very old fashioned lady who spent many hours terrifying her small charges into the correct position!  As she progressed through pony club with her numerous naughty, nappy ponies, a talent for dressage started to emerge. After trying to force her first very unenthusiastic horse round a cross country course and having a bad fall it was decided by everyone involved that maybe dressage was the way forward.  As luck would have it the horse concerned, Finnagans Rainbow was quite talented and with Leonie became reserve national champions at the PC championships in 1993.  Encourage by this success Leonie started affiliated competitions at the age of 16, qualifying for her first regional and was also a finalist in the BYRDS talent spotting in 1994.

At this time Leonie was training with International rider and list 1 judge Lindsay Jenkins who offered her the chance of a lifetime to compete on a grand prix schoolmaster and to travel all across Europe as a competition groom.   As a member of BYRDS Leonie trained with many top riders including Dane Rawlins, David Trot, Jenny Loristion Clarke & Ian Woodhead and competed at PSG by the age of 18. This sealed her fate as the taste of international competition has been with her ever since.  Although she tried to get rid of it and went to Bristol University to gain a 2.1 in Biochemistry and get a proper job, the need to be with horses full time was too strong, much to her parent's distress!!!

Leonie than went to work for Lynn Crowden at the Woodlander stud as a rider and to produce young horses for the Equilibra sales. Pictured here Leonie was handler of Woodlander Savanah, mother of Woodlander Rockstar winning the BD Breeding championships. This brought in valuable insight in to the business of selling horses and she met many excellent contacts and friends and gained valuable experience from German trainer Michael Beining.  This classical training has given her the expertise to ride and train with empathy and with knowledge of the German scales of training. After many hours sat in front of the TV watching videos of amazing riders and hundreds of hours on the lunge it all started coming together and her competition career started with Daneswood Blind Faith a mare by Fulton bought for £1.50 as she failed the vet due to a cataract in one eye!

 t this time Leonie's parents moved up to Worcestershire and bought Daneswood which was originally a National hunt yard. After much needed repairs and the addition of a 25m by 60m school Daneswood dressage was born in 2004.  The yard became increasingly popular and started to accumulate better and better quality horses which was reflected in the results Leonie started to achieve.  Many of her horses have been naughty, quirky or had weaknesses but Leonie has managed to squeeze every last ounce of talent out of them and has been to the BD nationals several times and qualified for every regional up to advanced Medium and gained points at Inter I on Daneswood Caitano a horse bred by Michael and trained solely by Leonie from 4 years old.  After 5 years with Michael Beining strict German ways a new trainer was needed and Leonie worked for a short time with Ferdi Eilberg, Lucy Farrer and then settled with Gareth Hughes who as well as being an incredible rider is a fantastic trainer.

Now her success has continued into her training and her clients are now also winning in the ring and have qualified for the BD nationals.





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