Welcome to Rebecca Howard Equestrian

Rebecca Howard
International Event Rider
Canadian High Performance Athlete

Based near Devizes in Wiltshire, Rebecca is an Olympic event rider and member of Equestrian Canada’s Eventing Elite Squad.  Her individual 10th place at the Rio Olympics in 2016, combined with outstanding performances at Championship and 5* level, are testament to her ability to train and produce horses up through the levels of eventing.

About

 

Rebecca has been an integral part of the Canadian High Performance Eventing Program for well over a decade. In spring 2012 she made the move from the USA to the UK, basing herself with Tim and Jonelle Price at Mere Farm in Wiltshire. The 2016 Olympics and a growing business led her to a move, joining forces with fellow Canadian, Kelly McCarthy-Maine. Together, Rebecca and Kelly operate as Canadian Colours Equestrian.

Raised in Salmon Arm, British Columbia, Canada, Rebecca grew up during a booming era for BC eventing. Some of the country’s best coaches, riders and course designers were based within a stone’s throw of her home. Along with a very active local Pony Club, she found herself surrounded by knowledgeable, experienced and hardworking former national team riders, who laid down her foundation and passion for excellence. Nick Holmes-Smith, Joni Lynn Peters and Robin Hahn all were key players in her early development as a rider.

In 2001, Rebecca moved from BC to the eastern United States looking to further her career as a rider, with David and Karen O’Connor becoming her primary trainers and mentors.

From 2007-2012 she was Equestrian Director/Rider at The Fork Stables in North Carolina. At the time home to one of the country’s key 3*, The Fork provided a world-class facility in which to train and learn – both as a rider and as a business administrator. Rebecca built up a cadre of loyal, accomplished students, including a five-year stint coaching British Columbia’s Young Rider squad at the North American Young Rider Championships.

During this chapter, Rebecca was also one of the Canadian Elite Riders Association’s rider representatives and a Rider Advisory Board member for the Professional Riders Organization.

Team Canada
Rebecca has been representing Canada in international competition since 2005 and in team competition since 2010. Highlights include:

2016 Rio Olympics – 10th individually. Highest-placed female rider

2013 Canada’s Equestrian of the Year

2013 Burghley CCI5*-L (12th)

2013 Badminton CCI5*-L (12th)

2012 Blenheim CCI4*-L (11th)

2012 London Olympic Games

2011 Pan American Games (Team Silver, 6th individually)

2011 Rolex CCI5*-L (10th)

2010 World Equestrian Games (23rd individually)

Canadian Colours
Well-established in equestrian life in the United Kingdom, Rebecca has paired up with fellow Canadian, rider/owner Kelly McCarthy-Maine, working in partnership as Canadian Colours. Like-minded in their vegetarianism, penchant for farm shops and coffee, they run a busy competition yard while sourcing, training and selling quality horses.

Rebecca Howard: In brief
Eldest of three children – two awesome sisters, Sarah and Megan, thanks to parents Bob and Mary. Now aunty to Jade, Abigail and Grayson.

Small-town girl with a rural childhood spent traipsing in British Columbia’s mountains and pristine lake country in the snow or in the sun – otherwise could be found in the gym with a basketball.

Pictures exist of a teenage Rebecca with a half-shaved head and mismatched earrings… clear evidence of her ‘thrift-shop chic’ leanings.

Known to collect rocks, a few of the prize lightweight ones have been retained, adorning shelves in Wiltshire (sorry, Air Canada). The larger boulders have been in safe keeping with the parents since 2001.

Rarely the loudest in the room, Rebecca is more of an observer, worker bee, and quietly fierce competitor (you can check with the sisters on that one).

Large birds = creepy. Unless you are an owl, then very cool.

Not the biggest reader, maybe someday, but does love a good map.

No to meat, but yes to salmon.

Coffee lover… well, addict, really.

Enjoys fitness, pushing herself and feeling like an athlete. Has taken a shine to CrossFit and now working on adding ‘double-unders’ and ‘handstand punch-ups’ to her repertoire.

Not her proudest moments, but has indulged in the odd ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ marathon.

Surrounding herself with quality people has always been her modus operandi and guided decision-making and paths chosen.

Team

 

Kelsey Biggs
Head girl


Nelson, New Zealand native Kelsey has been very helpful in explaining Kiwi slang. For example, Kels cleared up the fact that ‘the wop-wops’ was not an actual province of New Zealand, but what her countrymen call ‘the boonies’.

With a farrier dad and a jockey mum, horses are in Kelsey’s blood. As a kid, Kelsey enjoyed eventing, dressage and show jumping before gravitating to dressage and showing. Kelsey is patiently waiting for her young New Zealand-bred dressage horse, Neville, to stop growing. So is her mum, who is hacking him back in Nelson. (Neville is currently 17hh. Stay tuned!)

A qualified vet nurse, Kelsey brings attention to detail and compassion to her role as head girl, all the while managing to find time for gardening, cooking, cross-stitch, crafting, hair care and driving around Wales.

Danielle Searson
Senior Competition Groom

Hailing from Baltimore in Maryland, USA, dual-UK/US citizen Danielle took the reins as Senior Competition Groom in October 2017.

Danielle is a graduate of the University of Maryland, where she gained a BSc in Biology. She took the plunge and moved to the UK to pursue a career working within the upper levels of the sport.

Phoebe Edmonds
Apprentice


After nailing her GCSEs, Phoebs decided it was time to get serious about her career with horses and began her Equine Care and Management apprenticeship through Haddon Training. Phoebe comes from a strong equestrian family and has ridden since she was six years old.

Phoebe regularly clocks 9-15 miles a day on her step counter, much of which is spent running alongside the horses trying to escape the neighbour’s Muscovy duck, Eugene, who helpfully flies overhead when she brings horses in from the fields.

Phoebe is not a vegetarian and does not like vegetables, but she is still an important member of the team.

Ready


Ready is eternally youthful. Holding steady at 10 years old for at least the last five years, ‘Reads’ made the voyage to the UK with Rebecca in 2012. Loyal and more clever then the humans she manages, Ready maintains a watchful eye on Rebecca, the lorry, her horses’ stable block and the goings-on in the arena, ensuring safety and standards are maintained at all times, all the while curled up on something soft. She doesn’t need a lead and, if they seem to be required, Reads happily drags it behind her before heading to the secretary’s tent to ask if anyone has seen Rebecca.

At home, she lets the team know when she and Rebecca have arrived for the day’s work by galloping down the yard and personally greeting each person with her helicopter tail. Not only is she the hardest-working member of the team, she’s also everybody’s favourite and has an international fan club. If you see her out and about feel free to offer up a steak or some bacon – she does live with a vegetarian

 

Horses

Riddle Master

Stable name: Rupert
Owner/breeder: Caroline and Jean Watson of Blithe Hill Farm & Rebecca
Canadian Sport Horse
Sire: Rodero
Dam: Legacy 3rd
DOB: 2001

Rupert is the horse who led Rebecca around the globe. Throughout their 11-year partnership, despite his antics and peculiarities, Rupert made Rebecca, his owners and Canada proud on many world stages. Rupert showed Rebecca what a top athlete in eventing truly is and is adored and admired for his character, toughness and many achievements. This beautiful, talented boy is now enjoying retired life.

Rupert found his way into Rebecca’s programme at The Fork Stables in 2007 – thanks to his owner/breeders, Caroline Bazley and Jean Watson of Blithe Hill Farm’s determination to breed a Canadian Sport Horse for a Canadian team rider. Despite the 3,000 miles between British Columbia and Ontario, Rebecca and Caroline became acquainted with each other’s aspirations back in 1996.

Rupert’s career developed slowly, with much negotiation required over the role of dressage in his life. Always a superb jumper, Rupert moved up to advanced level in 2009, delivering a 9th place/top Canadian finish at the Fairhill CCI4*-L with his first CCI5*-L being the World Equestrian Games in 2010 as a nine-year-old.

Over his career, Rupert produced good results in every 5-star event in the world (except Adelaide). At the end of 2013, Riddle Master was named Canadian Bred Horse of the Year – and Rebecca received Canada’s ‘Equestrian of the Year’ title. In 2016, Rebecca and Rupert were partners at the Rio Olympics, finishing 10th individually and securing Rebecca position of top female rider in eventing at the Olympics.

Rupert could quite capably tack himself up, clean his own stable and fill his hay net, if he wanted to. But he believes that legends shouldn’t have to clean up after themselves and he can’t buy mints, so he may as well put up with a groom. It’s not uncommon to see Rupert roaming loose around the yard and the lorry – he is very experienced at free ranging.

Cooley Convinced

Stable name: Dora
Owner: Kelly McCarthy-Maine
Irish Sport Horse
Sire: Diarado
Dam: BLM Clover Diamond
DOB: 2012

Dora is a lovely young horse who joined the team towards the end of 2017. She had a busy and educational 2018 as a 6-year-old, completing the FEI World Breeding Federation Eventing Championships for Young Horses at Le Lion. Beautiful but practical, Dora is a woman who knows what she wants!

Trebor


Stable name: Minty
Owner: Kelly McCarthy-Maine
Sport Horse Great Britain
Sire: Mighty Magic
Dam: Trevilder
DOB: 2012

Though still young and gangly, Minty has the work ethic of a consummate professional, especially if he thinks his friends are watching. Winning the 4 year old Burghley Young Event Horse final , Minty went on to put in a very classy performance as a 6-year-old at the 2018 FEI World Breeding Federation Eventing Championships for Young Horses at Le Lion. With the ability and blood for the top of the sport and a brain that tries to do the right thing, Minty is an exciting prospect for the future.

In Disguise II
Stable name: Zac
Owner: Madison Penfound
New Zealand Sport horse
Sire: Eurosport Centavos
Dam: Flowgate
DOB: 2010

Zac is a new ride for Rebecca, joining the team in December 2018. Bred by Janene Maxwell, he started his career in New Zealand with Clarke Johnston. Having competed to CCI3*-S level in New Zealand, Rebecca and Zac will continue his career on English soil in 2019. A lovely character, Zac’s personal ambitions are generally focused around his next meal. If you see him out at an event, you’ll make a quick friend if you offer him a snack.

Greenlough Mag

Stable name: Maggie
Owner: Kelly McCarthy-Maine
Irish Sport Horse
Sire: Harlequin du Carel
Dam: Greenlough Lady
DOB: 2014

Maggie made her voyage to England in the summer of 2018, purchased in part for her close family relation to Greenlough Cross, a favourite and dear campaigner for Kelly. This little mare certainly has firm opinions on life. Luckily, she also possesses the sort of natural ability required for the sport.

Taco Cat
Stable name: Taco
Owner: Kelly McCarthy-Maine
Irish Sport Horse
Sire: Cruising Harry
Dam: Porland Diamond
DOB: 2014

Taco was broken in late in his four-year-old year and has just about all the gears in place to embark on his eventing career. Bright orange, Taco is beautiful stamp of an event horse with lovely, light movement and promising ability. According to Irish lore, Taco may or may not be a close relation of former Canadian team horse, Kilrodan Abbot. Taco just wants you to know that Taco Cat spelt backwards is… Taco Cat.

Orange Quad Bike
Stable name: Quaddy
Owner: Kelly McCarthy-Maine
Irish Sport Horse
Sire: Harlequin du Carel
Dam: Lulydora
DOB: 2015

One of Kelly’s naming bests, Quaddy is a beautiful shade of orange and came at a time when the team needed to raise funds for a quad bike. A fabulous brain for a young horse, with four-wheel drive and turbo-boost that goes great in the mud.

Little Look
Stable name: Parsnip
Owner: Kelly McCarthy-Maine
English Thoroughbred
Sire: Passing Glance
Dam: Flora’s Joy
DOB: 2015

Parsnip spent the first four years of her life at a Thoroughbred stud in Cornwall, enjoying all the perks of luxury racehorse life while managing to avoid the hassle of actually having to become a racehorse. Broken in 2019, Parsnip takes her working life very seriously. For a relatively tall rider, Rebecca has a worrying collection of ‘Very Small Mares’, of which Parsnip is President.

Teaching / Clinics

 

Rebecca has been developing coaching and clinician skills since her days in Pony Club (Level A graduate). She now draws on decades of experience and the influence of top professionals. Her 12-year affiliation with Team O’Connor established solid philosophies, standards of training and horsemanship that continue to develop as she competes in the international arena and draws upon her network of the world’s top riders and coaches.

During her time in America, Rebecca’s working student programme helped to launch the careers of many of Canada’s listed riders into upper level sport. Rebecca was a regular at the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships, first as a groom, then twice as a rider and, for five years, as coach to British Columbia’s Young Rider squad.

Rebecca is a thoughtful, creative coach whose priorities are for horses and riders to have a clear understanding of what’s being asked. She aims to help riders develop a system and philosophy, while developing exercises to build confident, happy partnerships.

Rebecca is there to support her students in competition and help produce the best, most consistent results possible. She works with those starting out in eventing up to Advanced level competitors.

Rebecca’s lessons and clinics operate out of her home facility, off-site at client yards, or at regional facilities for XC schooling and jump days.

For more information on lessons with Rebecca or to book a clinic click here.