Ben Leahy

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Horses were never a part of my life growing up in the suburbs of Sydney, with my focus and talent being completely in the sport of soccer and being on many development squads as a junior. It wasn’t until my ever supportive family moved to Perth, that my passion of horses started. On my 15th Birthday when I begged and pleaded with my parents for a motorbike, my mother decided against it and thought a horse would be a much ‘safer’ option and that this would just be another teenage ‘phase’ that would pass by. I think it’s safe to say she was wrong!

I spent two years trying to get around Intro 1, which I only succeeded about four times in that period. But in that time the ‘Eventing Bug’ we all know, had well and truly bitten in! I was hooked with the challenge of this sport but also the wonderful people within it and as a male teenager I could not go past the fact that the odds were clearly in my favour with the females.

In 2011, when school finished, I took the opportunity to be a working pupil for Sonja Johnson down at her picturesque farm, Parkiarrup. I learnt not only about horses but also more about sheep and wool than I ever knew existed. Sonja and her family took me under their wing and taught the ins and outs of eventing and gave me some truly great opportunities. Within seven months, Sonja took me from just kicking around one star to winning my first three star.

In 2012 I had my first glimpse of true international competition, representing Australia in the ‘Young Rider Trans-Tasman Teams Competition’ in Christchurch, New Zealand.
At the start of 2013, my good friend Aude Reubrecht (who many on the eventing circuit would know and love) put me in touch with Harry Meade, son of the legendary Richard Meade (three times Olympic Gold Medallist). I went to the UK with the intention of understanding why many Australian based riders were making the jump to the motherland. Harry kindly talked some of his owners into letting me compete their horses. This gave the opportunity to get out and amongst the British eventing scene, experience the bigger events and to see if it would be worth making the move to really take this sport seriously and to fulfil my goals.

Undoubtedly 2014 is set to be a big year, with moving to the UK mid-January and braving the English winter with my horse, Le Directeur. No doubt a year that will be filled with hard work and dedication as always but also being in the eventing sport I have no there will be some time for fun.