Glaze & Gordon is delighted to introduce our Countryside Conversations series, in which our guest editor, record-breaking jockey, Lizzie Kelly, speaks to countryside adventurers we have met over the years.
Following on from Lizzie's interview with fishing aficionado, Tiggy Pettifer, we are delighted to profile another seriously sporty lady, Callie Coles.
From being a hunting devotee since childhood to turning her hand to horse racing as she trains to ride at Goodward in July, Callie is passionate about the countryside and ensuring our special traditions are passed on through future generations. Callie is also a big supporter of small countryside businesses like Glaze & Gordon and we have been delighted to share our new product discoveries with her over the last few years.
Over to Lizzie and Callie...
If Instagram is a cross-section of a life well lived, the most wholesome version of a life celebrating countryside living and the joys of all that it brings, has got to be the Instagram page of the gorgeous Callie Coles. A scroll through all those squares of her life tell the story of days hunting, vintage hunting styles, family picnics in the countryside and boutique brands.
Callie is participating in this years renewal of the Magnolia Cup. This is a renowned charity race held at Glorious Goodwood, championing the leading women of business, sport, fashion and media. All jockeys involved are female and amateurs and the key objective is to raise as much money as possible, this year for Smart Works, a charity which helps unemployed women find jobs. I caught up with Callie as she begins her journey...
(see link at the end of this article for Callie's Magnolia Cup Smart Works donation page)
You’ve been signed up to compete in the Magnolia Cup. Have you been involved in horseracing previously and what made you want to rid in the race?
"My family have always kept National Hunt (jump) racehorses but a generation or so back. My first ever ride was on my grandfather’s lovely chestnut racehorse Thornton. My husband, Toby, trained in Newmarket for 5 years and is still mad keen on racing. I love the charity Smart Works - it’s such a worthy cause, especially at the moment - getting unemployed women back into work and I wanted to support it. Also it was such an opportunity - I couldn’t have turned it down!"
Riding racehorses is a skilled discipline, what part of the training have you struggled with the most?
"The fitness. We have to pass a jockey level fitness test and it is HARD!"
Will you have an opportunity to ride the horse you’ll race on before the big day?
"Yes. I’m hoping I already have but it’s so hard for the trainer to know this far in advance which horse will be prepared for the day."
You champion the English country sports and horseracing has such a history, how do you feel about riding at Glorious Goodwood; such a prestigious event?
"Immensely humbled and excited."
Do you think you’ll continue riding out after you’ve ridden in the Magnolia Cup?
"Definitely - although it’s a bit of a trek from Devon to Newmarket!"
You are known for you love of hunting and very gutsy hedge hopping, when and how did your love of horses and hunting start?
"I couldn’t escape it as I have horses in my blood. The furore skipped a generation but it’s presence simmering gently and sometimes bursting into flames with my family from generation to generation."
Can you tell us about one of your most memorable days hunting? (Good or bad!)
"Having both of my children out on ponies ALL day for over 6 hours!! That was impressive. Merlin was only 3 at the time and Jesse was 9."
You are synonymous with the elegant and traditional style of hunting fashion, especially with riding side saddle, what is it about this that appeals to you?
"I just love the old ways, I try to maintain them as much as possible in every way. Hunting kit on and off the horse is mostly ancient but well loved and soft, supple, and more comfortable than anything new - like a second skin."
You have supported small equestrian and fashion businesses - how would you define your style off the hunting field?
"Simple. I like to buy well made, sustainable clothes that will last forever."
Your sons, Jesse and Merlin, look to be following in you and Toby’s hunting footsteps - what do you think benefits do you think hunting can bring to a young person’s upbringing? What advice would you give to anyone who wants to give hunting a go? "It teaches them to be brave, to love the countryside and her ways. To be polite to your elders and peers. To listen, to be quiet and to watch and learn. All invaluable life lessons I think. My advice is, just go for it! Don’t be afraid to ask questions (quietly) and to keep as low profile as possible - sporting and social!"
Finally, horses have played such an important role in your life, we would love to hear about your horse of a lifetime.
"My horse of a lifetime is my Warrior. Every time I sit on his back I am full of wonder and awe. He is the most talented, mischievous, loving horse I could have ever have dreamt up in my wildest daydreams. I am thankful for him every day. I dread the passing days, he is now 17, but I am so grateful for every moment we have had together. I love him and he loves me. We have found a partnership I thought only existed fairytales.
I am a very lucky woman riding my pony club girl’s ultimate dream - a hedge hopping, gate popping, total jumping machine who spends most of his time on two legs showing off and won’t let anyone else catch him in the field except me. Just perfect!"
Thank you very much Callie.
We are lucky to have people like Callie to show the world why the traditional countryside ways must be treasured and why we must cling onto them as hard as we can. Her scrapbook of memories on Instagram portray all that is wonderful but simple about countryside life; think Hygge but with less pine ones and more bowler hats!
We wish Callie all the best on her new challenge with the Magnolia Cup and we hope that you, dear reader, will be able to support her and donate using the link: https://smartworks.enthuse.com/pf/callie-coles-c9fe6
Follow Callie on Instagram for a peak inside her beautiful country life @calliecoles