Bunwell riding star quits the road for dream job
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013
When childhood horse riding star Hannah Vincent took on a job as a long-distance lorry driver, she knew something did not feel quite right.
And it was not because she was a young woman in a heavily male-dominated industry.
Instead it was because Miss Vincent – who made headlines around the globe after the Mercury spotted her getting in the saddle aged just 22 months – could not bear to spend long hours away from the animals which have been her life's passion.
So Miss Vincent, who is now 20, took the brave decision to quit the road and set up her own riding school at her home at Gowers Farm Barns in Low Road, Bunwell, so she could encourage other youngsters to share in her love of horses.
'My mum used to own a riding school,' she explained.
As a result she wanted to prove - even at a very young age - that she was capable of riding.
And Miss Vincent proved to be a natural after being tutored by her mother, Sue Vincent, at the Willow End Equestrian Centre in Pulham St Mary.
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She went on to win a South Norfolk Council sports achiever award in 2010 and 2011.
Horses, she said, have been her life – so when she took on a job as the only female long-distance lorry driver at Bartrums haulage firm in Eye, it was difficult to fit in riding after 12-hour days.
'I was really saddened that I would speak to people thinking they could ride when they hadn't been taught properly,' explained Miss Vincent, who is originally from Pulham Market.
'There isn't really anywhere locally around here now where people can learn to ride, so I thought I could actually teach children.'
As a result she has set up the Hot to Trot School of Equitation Pony Fun Club, which is fully licensed and insured, and already has about 35 children on the books.
Her focus is on teaching small groups of young people after school, because she finds it helps them to develop their confidence.
She is even teaching some disabled people how to ride, which she says shows how riding can be a massive boost to a youngster's self-esteem.
Parents dropping off children at classes have also become interested, so she is running classes for adults too.
'The emphasis at the centre is to have fun whilst safety is very much at the forefront of every lesson,' she said.
Miss Vincent, who is a British Horse Society member, is also planning to run own-a-pony days during October half-term for those who do not own a horse full-time.
Those interested should contact Miss Vincent on 07738 615775 or email 01379 677679.
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