“Horses bring me great energy. In fact, I moved house to ensure I could spend time with them every day. Nothing melts my heart more than when they trot up to the fence to say hello or whicker at you across the yard,” says Vicki, who describes herself as a “part-time, competitive amateur rider”.
Vicki’s riding career started at eight, after successfully nagging her parents for a pony – for years. Her first experience hacking the much-wanted Little Sir Echo ended when she asked the cheeky 13.2hh New Forest for trot and found herself galloping away at high speed. The pony was found, minus his young jockey, three miles away; thankfully both were unscathed. “It didn’t put me off and I have nothing but positive memories of Echo. We kept him until he died, well into his forties. In fact, I think he whetted my appetite for horses that are quirky and a bit of a challenge,” she insists.
Over the years Vicki has had a number of equine partners, including Celti a pure Clevelend Bay, who she bred herself (in an attempt to try to add stock to our only British warmblood breed which is now endangered). “For much of my time in the Army, she followed me around the country. Wherever I was posted, I would find stabling for her nearby.” When Vicki’s career brought her out of the Army and into London, keeping a horse proved impossible but she kept them in her life by going on riding holidays and religiously attending Badminton and other events. “And now I’ve qualified for Badminton Grassroots twice on my current competition horse: a Belgian warmblood called Dilano Z – or Dabz. Grassroots was a dream come true.”
According to Vicki, Dabz is super-talented but is even scared of his own shadow. “Because he’s so sharp, I have to use all my concentration when riding. This means there isn’t room for anything else in my head, which is a good thing with the demands of my job.” Vicki joined Agria as Managing Director in 2021 having worked extensively in the financial services industry. Understandably, the addition of equine insurance to the company’s animal family in 2022 felt very natural to Vicki.
“The trust horses show humans goes beyond that of any other domesticated animal, especially if you consider they are a prey species with a finely tuned flight instinct,” believes Vicki. “The whole concept of Agria’s lifetime equine insurance changes the lives of horses exponentially for the better. It will also bring huge peace of mind to our customers.”