Based at the All England Jumping Course, Hickstead, Breen Equestrian combine top-flight international show jumping with breeding, producing and selling quality horses. It takes a great team to keep an operation like theirs running smoothly and we’re going behind the scenes to meet some of the key players.
Ellen Peters is show groom to Shane Breen. That means everywhere his horses go, Ellen goes too. In fact, she oversees their management at every level. Whether the horses are driven or flown to shows around the world, Ellen will accompany them monitoring their feeding, condition and overall wellbeing.
Ellen says it’s tough to choose just one favourite among the yard of talented horses at Breen, but agrees that Z7 Ipswich is incredibly special. “He’s the most intelligent horse I have ever had the pleasure to work with and I actually enjoy that he isn’t straight forward. He’s challenging and I love that about him.”
At a show, Ellen’s routine starts with mucking out. The horses are also fed, given hay and watered early before they have a walk in hand and then make use of various magnetic boots and rugs. She’ll also get them looking good, taking care of their grooming, plaiting and overall turn out before they are ready to compete.
Often found competing herself, is Georgia Tame. Since joining Breen Equestrian 5 years ago, Georgia has risen through the ranks and now competes at 5* level. Her role now revolves around those big shows and the top level horses, but when she is at home base the year old will ride up to 9 horses a day. Her favourite among them “would have to be Cash Up, he’s a legend”, she says. “He’s taken me from 2* to 5* Grand Prix. He has the biggest heart and the most amazing character.”
Katie Speller is an integral part of the home team at Breen Equestrian. While she will often compete some of the older horses at national shows, she’s also responsible for riding up to 8 horses per day at home. He job is to keep them fit, focussed and prepared for their individual competition schedules. Her favourite being Z7 Dubai Castlefield, saying he’s “the nicest youngster I’ve ever sat on”.
Quick Fire Questions with the Breen Team
Your first riding memory:
Ellen: I had a loan pony, a 128cm called Silver. My dad let me go in a 3 acre feel after smacking Silver on the bum and I went galloping down the field and then had to gallop him back up. I screamed my head off the whole time!
Georgia: Sitting in front of mum in the saddle on her horse when I was around 4.
Katie: Going to the riding school and the girl leading me throwing the rope over the pony’s neck – I thought that was really cool for some reason!
Your favourite show memory:
Ellen: Ipswich winning the GP at Dublin Horse Show.
Georgia: Winning the U25 team competition and coming 2nd in the individual competition with Cash Up at Paris – Saut Hermes.
Katie: Coming 5th in the U25 GP at Windsor when I had to wear Shane Breen’s show jacket because mine was locked in the lorry.
Your favourite show to attend:
Katie: Sunshine Tour
Funniest team moment:
Ellen: The time Katie fell off a horse when he was standing still.
Georgia: When one of the grooms that used to work here got thrown in the pool for her birthday.
Katie: When we all took the horses XC Schooling and Shane Treanor got jumped off at the water complex and fell straight in!
If you weren’t showjumping then what sport would you pursue or job would you like to do:
Ellen: I’d be an equine vet.
Katie: Be a photographer.