Emma Brooks, from Hampshire, is one of the only people in the UK to compete Lusitanos successfully in higher level dressage. Her Grand Prix horse, Zimbral, is a 14 year old stallion who Emma has owned and produced from a 4 year old.
In 2014 Zimbral was selected for the Team GB World Class Equine Pathway Programme, to be considered for the future to represent Team GB at dressage. He is the first Lusitano ever to achieve this, and one of only a handful of horses currently on the programme. Zimbral is also a highly graded Lusitano breeding stallion in the UK, and his first foals are already winning classes!
Emma has a talent for working with the most stunning Iberian breeds and also has an 8 year old Lusitano stallion, Gavião Dos Olhos, who she is currently training in preparation for his dressage competition debut later this year.
We had the pleasure of spending some time with new sponsored rider Emma Brooks and found out more about her...
Tell us about the horses that got you where you are today…
Without a doubt there’s only one horse I need to talk about in answer to this & it’s Zimbral. Before him I had a show pony & a thoroughbred mare & I had never even ridden a half pass.
I went to Portugal 10 years ago & found a small dun stallion who was the colour of an exmoor & moved like Merrylegs & he just absolutely exceeded all my expectations.
He has taken me to Regionals, Nationals, Premier Leagues & became the first Lusitano on the World Class Equine Pathway. I got to experience having my first graded stallion & seeing his beautiful offspring (the grand ponies), it has honestly been a dream come true. I’ve seen no less than three Olympic riders ride him & had offers for him that could have bought me my own stables. So for me it’s all about Zimbral, he owes me nothing & I owe him everything.
What do you do to keep fit?
Does poo picking count?!
How do you relax at the end of the day?
If I’m not still with the horses on an evening then my ideal relaxing end to the day is either a good pub meal with friends & my dog in tow or a Blanton’s & a new episode of Top Gear!
What’s your biggest luxury in life?
My biggest luxury in life is definitely having three beautiful horses. And a lovely new lorry to chauffeur them around in.
When the going gets tough, what keeps you motivated?
My motivation is definitely remembering 10 years ago I was dreaming of what I have now. Just remembering how lucky I am to be at a lovely stables with lovely horses & having support of family & friends.
What do you think is the biggest challenge you face as a professional rider?
The biggest challenge for me is trying to not worry about what other people think or say about me or my horses...you remember one negative comment over the ten positive ones. None of us our perfect but there is a minority of dressage riders who would rather tear people down than build people up & a bit more camaraderie in our sport would go a long way.