We are delighted to introduce you to our new Chief Operating Officer (COO) Marianne Fletcher. Marianne holds a wealth of experience not only in training provision, but also as a British Dressage competitor and experienced yard owner.
We spoke with Marianne to find out more about her passion for work-based training and the equine industry.
“Understanding the industries that we work with so closely is crucial to Haddon Training. As Chief Operating Officer not only am I truly passionate about learning and the development of people, but I am also obsessively passionate about horses, and indeed all animals, so to be able to live and breathe this in my daily work is perfect. I am looking forward to working with our employers and affiliated partners to create some very exciting and unique pathways for our learners in the future, as well as developing a learning culture for the equine industry which is market leading.”
How did you begin in work-based training?
“I started as a Training Consultant in 2002, delivering across hospitality and management settings. Over the years I have worked for just two other Training Providers and worked my way through various positions including Quality – Operations – Sales and eventually into Senior Management in 2009.”
Can you tell us how your love for horses began?
“I was born in Cheshunt Hertfordshire, and I am number six of a family of seven children! I was about nine years old, and my family moved from the suburbs in Cheshunt to a small village called Hertford Heath. There were two horses at the end of our garden, and I became completely smitten!
Plum was a twenty-year-old grey Welsh and Lady was a ten-year-old thoroughbred. I had no idea about horses, but I got books… a lot of books…and I taught myself. I was lucky enough to be allowed to sit on Plum and that is where my obsession began. Being one of seven children, having my own pony was not an option so I had to wait until I was in my mid-twenties to realise my dream and have my own. The fact that I opted for an ex-race horse as my first horse is another story that taught me a huge amount!”
Why do you enjoy competing in British Dressage?
“I used to think flatwork was boring! If I wasn’t jumping a fence, it wasn’t worth doing. But then I was introduced to a horse called Red. He was a 17.3hh Hanoverian who had “issues” and his owner needed someone confident to get on him. I had confidence but no idea about dressage! He was just beautiful, and he floated – a feeling I had never had from my own show jumping warmblood and I got the bug! A year later I bought Maisie, my own 17.3hh Chestnut bombshell and have never looked back!”
What are your biggest competition achievements to date?
“Maisie and I won the British Riding Club Dressage to music national championships in November 2020 and more recently we won the Regional British Dressage Freestyle Championships at Elementary and got our golden ticket to the Nationals at Hartpury in April – eight years in the making!
Maisie will be competing at Medium – Advanced Medium this year (if I can get her out of counter canter and doing changes!) – the goal is to get her to PSG and then review whether she can be rewarded with being a mum! She has amazing breeding, has very high premiums at futurity and is an Elite Mare so I would like her to have the chance if we can.
My rescue pony Pumpkin has also had success showing, scooping 1st places and championships at Equifest and Royal Norfolk Show.
I have recently bought a KWPN 9yo Gelding as well, who has all the talent to take me as far as we can get, if I can settle his brain! He will compete at Medium this year and see if we can improve on the 8’s and 2’s we got in our last outing in February!
Outside of horses I have been very lucky to have a successful career in the world of further education and raise a handsome young man, Samuel, now 15 years old.”
Why do you champion apprenticeships?
Apprenticeships are the way forward for any career choice. The new equine apprenticeship standards give you the breadth of knowledge and insight to be able to support your future career as they not only tackle the practical element of horsemanship but also the underlying governance and people skills you need. The opportunity to be able to broaden your own skills and knowledge whilst continuing to work in an industry you are so passionate about is invaluable.