Brook Corey head shoulders website

Brook Howells

Hi, I’m Brook Howells, an amateur eventer from the North West. I'm employed by the NHS, helping clinical teams to improve the way they involve patients in their healthcare, but eventing is my real passion. I first joined the Dengie stable after I qualified for the Grassroots Championships at Badminton and am very lucky to be supported by such a fab team. Having just turned 30 I'm also turning a corner in my eventing career as 2015 session the birth of my first child. I'm really excited to see what the future brings with all these new adventures!

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I’ve ridden for most of my life – somehow learning rising trot before my first lesson at 7 years old – and despite trying quite a few different hobbies, I’ve never stuck at anything else. I remember hearing about eventing when I was about 14 and deciding that it was worth trying to get through 6 minutes of dressage test just to be able to show jump and go cross country on the same day.

My first horse wasn’t particularly good at any of it but really taught me how it’s the taking part that counts and my second horse, Danny really cemented my love for the sport. He was the opposite of a speed machine and quite unorthodox in his jumping technique but he exceeded all our expectations and took me from Pony Club all the way to team success at the Riding Club National Championships in 2007 and we even completed Weston Park CCI* together. We’ll not mention the score we finished with, the important thing is we finished!

University and a bad fall when I was 19 both tried to get in the way of riding but the eventing bug stayed with me. I was, and remain, determined to keep eventing as successfully as I can, despite working full time, living nearly an hour away from the stables (which are at my parents’ house) and having only a field to train on. I always had my suspicions that eventers were a little bit mad, now I’m living proof of it, even if I am replacing full time work with full time motherhood.

My current horse is Corey, who is by the Connemara stallion Templebready Fear Bui out of a Kiltealy Spring TB mare. When I was looking for a new horse, all I knew was I wanted a young Irish gelding, but when I saw an advert with “Templebrook Boy” across the top, I felt fate was sending me a sign. We wondered how long it would take before the bubble burst and we’d realise he wasn’t quite as good as we thought, but he just keeps impressing us. Buying a 4 year old sport horse could easily have been hard work for my air jacket, but actually he has been very easy to do from the start. I can’t get to ride him every day and yet he is beautifully laid back, easy for my not-yet-elderly-but-certainly-not-spring-chickens parents (sorry Mum and Dad) to look after and still able to turn on the ‘buzz’ for cross country or have presence in the dressage arena. Our ultimate aim with Corey is to go CCI* and in a professional’s hands he may well have achieved that by now, but with a part time amateur jockey like myself we are taking his career very steadily and enjoying working our way up the ladder slowly.

I am sure that eventing and motherhood will be a tough combination to get right, but with the support of a fantastic family, husband and the Dengie team, I'm also sure we can make it work. You can follow my blogs here, and my twitter too (@EventerBrook).

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  • FebruaryRidingClubDressage17

    Picking up the reins for 2017

    How is it already February?! I still have seven thank you letters to write, yet I’m looking at what events are open for entries. It's time to start preparing for the 2017 season!

  • SJ BoldHeath

    Make Your Dreams Bigger Than Your Fears

    It has been so long since I wrote a blog (apologies - baby+work+training = not much free time!) that I’m going to have to cram a lot into this one - my eventing season has now come to a close and there is a lot to reflect on.

  • 2016 06 04 153230 Brand Hall Novice

    Slow Progress is Still Progress

    I thought we'd had a quieter time than usual with Corey over the last few weeks, but looking at the competitions we've done it's not been that quiet! After Llanymynech we set off to Brand Hall, feeling fired up and ready to attack the course with grit!

  • 2016 05 06 144831 Richmond Novice 3

    Finding My Grit

    Corey and I have been continuing to have fun at novices in the last few weeks. Our scores don’t look great, but I feel like we are progressing with every run. It’s not necessarily about getting a rosette every time out but feeling like you’re still moving in the right direction towards your goals!

  • 2016 03 20 151013 Stafford BE 100plus 2 2

    Ready To Rock

    My last blog was all about making the decision to withdraw from Lincoln and focus on a confidence giving run at Stafford instead, and that decision was rewarded with a great day’s eventing. The ground for the dressage was not ideal but I managed to get Corey going nicely in the warm up.

  • 2015 11 22 124551 ECCTG SJ at SPF 3

    Sensible Knickers or Big Brave Pants?

    The title of this blog comes from a tweet I wrote last week, after my first event - Askham Bryan - got cancelled and I was left with a bit of a dilemma on my hands. The start of 2016 had been going fairly well to plan until the news that we couldn’t compete at Askham and I’m gutted for all concerned. 

  • 2015 12 30 124244 Kellsall Arena XC 3

    Pop Goes the Weasel!

    We have been well occupied the last few weeks doing hacking. Hacking, hacking and more hacking. Corey is therefore getting a fantastic boost to his fitness and I am trying my hardest to be positive, as I am not what you would call a happy hacker!

  • 2015 05 24 153349 Crossmere Farm RC SJ 3

    Winter Training and Growing Confidence

    I've been doing some different training now the winter is here, to take advantage of having some time before eventing starts again to play around. I got lots of ideas from Your Horse Live - a really inspiring set of demonstrations and a nice opportunity to catch up with the Dengie team in person

  • Brook November2015

    The 2016 Season Starts Here!

    Well, there it is, the end of my 2015 season. We’ve proven that eventing with a baby is just about possible and definitely still something we want to do, just about got ourselves back up to novice level, figured out the show jumping, and completed our first medium dressage test

  • 2015 08 22 125905 Somerford BE100 Open 4

    Where has the time gone?

    Last week I was schooling in the field and started to feel a bit frustrated with how this year was panning out. Back in February/March I had visions of spending the summer really focused on my eventing, however I was trotting round feeling like I'd somehow let the opportunity pass me by.

  • 2015 08 08 123914 BRC National Horse Trials Championships

    Minor Setbacks

    The last few weeks have been quite frustrating as we’ve had a few minor setbacks that have meant our fitness and training work have gone quite off plan, but hopefully we’re back on track now.

  • 2015 07 19 140139 Stafford BE100 plus 3

    Back to Eventing At Last!

    There is something to be said for starting the eventing season in mid July - the weather is (mostly) glorious and Corey is looking fabulous, if a little bit too 'well'. I've managed to work off some of his spring fullness, thanks to upping the fitness regime and restricting the grass, and after nearly 11 months away from eventing I was seriously chomping at the bit.

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