Annie Maunder: eventing competitor, trainer

Published 12:48 pm Tuesday, May 5, 2009

&dquo;My first cross country course and riding was a disaster,&uot; Maunder said. &uot;My pony Louise had to be chased over the first fence with a broom and then she drank her way through the water jump! The jump judges all went to lunch as it took so long to get her going again!

&uot;Even only competing half of the course I accumulated two hundred and something faults,&uot; Maunder continued. &uot;I was not discouraged!&dquo;

After a brief acting and dancing career, Maunder spent some years with Elaine Straker in Yorkshire, England. Mrs. Straker is the mother of the Olympic rider Karen Dixon. Maunder taught Dixon when she was a young girl on her pony Toby. Maunder received her teaching, riding and stable management qualifications during those years with Straker.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

&dquo;Elaine Straker was a tough and brilliant teacher and I really do not think I have learned a lot from anyone new since her! I try and learn from watching the best people in the sport and have been privileged to work and ride with some of the best,&dquo; said Maunder.

Maunder has a variety of horses in training at the present time, ranging from Peruvian Pasos to warmbloods. She has several young horses to bring on, which she said is very challenging but rewarding.

Maunder said she likes a horse with 7/8 thoroughbred for eventing. The English and Irish thoroughbred and the American thoroughbred with a smidgen of draught (to keep all four feet on the ground) are her favorite breeds for the sport of eventing.

The biggest mistake she has ever made with horses is to lose her temper with a horse, Maunder said.

&dquo;And then it never works again,&dquo; she said.

Maunder said she loves reading but can only find time when on a plane traveling the skies ‐ she loves flying and adores all travel.

&dquo;I am still a great fan of the theater in all its forms, as it was and still is my true and original passion,&dquo; said Maunder. &dquo;I traveled a lot when I was younger and had fewer responsibilities. I was reminded of my youth and single working days last fall when I spent a weekend in Paris. I revisited a place called Place de la Madeleine near where I lived in my twenties. I was very poor then and would walk past the small bakery and smell the heavenly fresh baking bread each morning. I could not afford the &39;day old&39; bread then.

&uot;This time I went to the same bakery, now named Fauchon, and bought a fresh chicken and tomato sandwich ($20 ‐ the only thing I could afford), and felt I had really made it in life!&dquo; Maunder said.

&dquo;As for the sport of eventing and its future, I have seen it change beyond recognition. Unless it is possible to rewind the clock and put the horseman back into the sport and address the safety issues facing eventing today, eventing problems cannot be resolved easily,&dquo; said Maunder.

&dquo;The more the responsibility is taken away from the partnership of the horse and rider, the more unsafe the sport becomes. It is sad to me as partnership with the horse is the whole reason for me to be part of eventing,&dquo; said Maunder.

Maunder said she loves and values family and friends in life, and loves all her horses and riding students.