Brand Ambassador - Fish Clarke
Fish Clarke is an Event Rider and all round equestrian enthusiast who uses Bed-Down bedding products for her horse and best friend Percy.
What do you like to be called? What is your nickname?!
What got you in to riding?
I have three older sisters, all who rode from a very early age. My mum was a keen eventer and competed up to intermediate and so we always had many ponies and horses on the yard for us to ride. I remember my mum saying, "we used to put you on my horse at an event instead of pushing a pram around". My earliest memories are of riding and getting the horses ready for shows each week.
Do you remember the first event you entered? What / where was it?
I can't remember the first ever one I did as I competed in lead rein classes from as early as 3 years old but I remember competing in my first ever first ridden on my birthday and my pony was so naughty and we came bottom of the class but I never stopped grinning and announced proudly to the judge when presented with my 6th place rosette, "this is my first ever first ridden and it's my birthday" and so I was given a slice of cake after I left the ring.
Can you tell us a funny story from when you’ve been competing?
I haven't got one from competing but I remember a couple of years ago I was at a pony club rally and we were doing a line of 6 bounces and my mare stopped at the 4th one and I toppled over her head, I then climbed back on and came round again and the exact same thing happened. This was in front of the whole pony club and tells team selectors so not my finest moment but I was able to laugh it off and eventually got down the whole line.
Why have you chosen your particular discipline?
love eventing so much; it combines all the different aspects of horse riding and means that hopefully I don't have a weak discipline. The dressage means my jumping is continually improving and the crowds country is by far the most exhilarating stage and nothing beats the thrill of entering the start box during the countdown. If I completed in pure dressage or show jumping etc. I feel like I'd then get too completive and I would lose some of the enjoyment.
Who is your favourite horse and why does he/she stand out to you?
Spring splash she was a 13.2 piebald that was an accidental birth when a stallion hopped into the wrong field. She was quite common looking but had the most amazing attitude to work and could jump 1.20m with her eyes shut. I remember my mum would leave when my sister and I were jumping as she found it too scary to watch as we put the fences up and up and up.
What’s your most memorable win (with that horse)?
We won an RI workers qualifier; it was a huge class and a really difficult track with loads of really smart ponies competing. However they couldn't handle the tough track and we were one of the only clears and so won the class that was filled with really smart ponies and then there was my little common, hogged mare who jumped her heart out and did better than all of them.
What goes through your mind before, during - and after - a competition?
Before I am relatively relaxed I just focus on making sure Percy is fit enough and we have practiced the movements in the test. Usually I will jump him a couple of days before, which is always fun and fills me with confidence, I never have the mindset of "I'm going to win" but I always think it'll go well and that we will both try our hardest which is all I can ask for and if it comes all together on the day - lucky us. The night before an event I'm usually a bit excited and so can't sleep and never struggle to get up no matter how early the alarm goes off. I probably get most nervous before dressage purely as it is the discipline I find the hardest but once I've finished that I focus on the jumping and how I'll ride each fence which helps keep me calm as I know I'm prepared. After an event, I'm usually pretty happy as at least one of the disciplines has usually gone well (most often the jumping) and Percy normally tried his hardest to please so even if we don't get the results we want I'm never upset as I know we did the best we could and there will always be another chance. I love reading my dressage test as it gives me lots of things to work on before my next event too.
What’s the best advice you have been given to help you prepare before an event?
Debbie Edmundson: "Just enjoy it”.
What daily routine do you follow to ensure your horse is in always on top form?
They are always fed and turned out at the same time, then when I get back from school I bring him in, brush him then either school, jump or hack, usually I hack a few times a week, school twice and jump once. I try to have a lesson every other week so that we keep improving. I believe routine is very important for horses - particularly Percy as he is easily unsettled so we try to keep things the same.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to compete in your discipline?
Go and groom for an eventer for as long as you can so you learn the dos and the don'ts. Always work the course with someone who knows you and your horse so that their advice is relevant to you. Watch as many professionals as you can to learn how they ride the difficult combinations as it's not always as obvious as you'd think.
Why did you choose to be a Bed-Down brand ambassador?
I have worked in a saddlery that sell their products for 5 years and genuinely believed they were the best bedding for a horse. I loved how they were all dust extracted and smelt so fresh - even in the morning, and I know I'd be happy to lie on a fluffy bed down bed so I'm more than happy for Percy to. We'd had a lot of issues finding a good bedding that didn't get too wet but Bed-Down Rapasorb soaks up all the wee without the whole bed being soaked.
What positive changes have you noticed in your horse since you started using Bed-Down products?
Percy never used to lie down at night but since we swapped to Bed-Down Rapasorb I find him splayed out by 9 most evenings. He also would get a snotty nose quite often and sometimes a cough but he hasn't since we swapped and have taken him off his respiratory supplement.
Do you use handy bales, classic bales or both and why?!
BOTH! We use the handy bales at events mostly or when the bed just needs a top up but when we are redoing his bed we will use the classic bales as they are larger. The handy bales are perfect for events as they don't take up much room in the lorry and aren't too heavy to carry to the stables which are usually very far from the lorry.
Meet the Bed-Down Horse Bedding Range
A range of equine bedding products crafted using the very finest ingredients for you and your horse.
Bed-Down Excel bedding is a soft blend of chopped golden Norfolk wheat straw and softwood shavings that guarantees an absorbent, comfortable and durable horses bed.
Excel plus is specifically for performance horses or those that suffer from respiratory conditions - Microcote™ helps reduce airborne dust particles in the stable.
Bed-Down Rapasorb is the most absorbent bedding in our range. Rapasorb is made from quality rape straw is perfect for wet-stables and horses which are on a restricted diet.
Bed-Down Lavender Shavings is the original lavender scented equine bedding loved by horses and their owners alike. Lavender Shavings is made from top quality softwood shavings.
Pure Shavings offers a highly absorbent dust free cushioning base crafted from timber into the finest quality softwood flakes to create a supportive bed for joint and hoof health.
Want to know more about Bed-Down?
Contact us today for an informal chat about your bedding requirements today!