Horse sense - the success story of a glamorous Southport rider
PUBLISHED: 22:55 11 July 2013 | UPDATED: 19:35 18 April 2016
Seventeen years ago Southport’s Lisa Marriott told Lancashire Life about her ambition to become a top horsewoman. Gill Fell found out if she got her wish.
When a young girl dreams of being an accomplished international horse rider, complete with her own stables, we usually give an encouraging smile but secretly doubt her wish will ever come true.
Seventeen years ago, Southport’s Lisa Marriott did just that when, after some early success in the saddle, she was featured in the October 1996 issue of Lancashire Life talking about her hopes for the future.
So we went back to find out what had happened to this ambitious youngster. If there had been any doubters out there, they have been proved wrong – big style.
Lisa has not only achieved international recognition in the sport of dressage, riding and training with some of the world’s most accomplished equestrians, but she also has her own riding academy at Aughton.
Since featuring in Lancashire’s favourite magazine Lisa has barely spent a day without working among horses, putting in long shifts that start at the crack of dawn.
‘It was hilarious looking back at the Lancashire Life feature from all those years ago,’ she says. ‘I really can’t believe that I’ve managed to do all those things.
‘One thing is for sure - I’ve loved every minute and cannot state enough how grateful I am to all those family, friends and supportive people who have basically put up with me over the years.’
Top of the list are parents, Lesley and Tony Marriott, who owns the Headlines hair salons across the Southport area.
Lisa started riding when she was four and since the age of 16 she has competed every year at the National Dressage Championships and numerous International competitions, training her own and other clients’ horses to a winning level.
‘I am so fortunate to have had these opportunities to learn and compete and now I am looking forward to more competitions and training great riders to win at international level,’ she says.
Lisa is modest about her achievements, but hard work has been at the core of everything she has done. ‘I’ve been spending the winters in Holland with the Bartels family, who between them have competed six times in the Olympics. It has really helped me develop my skills.
‘It was such a brilliant opportunity to learning the necessary expertise to train not only horses, but also riders competing at the top level.’
She made a lasting impression. Imke Schellekens Bartels, a member of the Dutch dressage team and one of the best riders in the world, says: ‘Lisa is one of the most determined riders I have ever worked with, she has proven herself to have the technical riding skills to educate her horses up to the highest level.’
Lisa is so proud of her horses and excitedly explains about Paris, her own eight- year-old rescue mare. She was in a terrible condition when Lisa stepped in but now, five years later, she’s a healthy happy horse and will compete in Prix St George this year, then continue training towards Grand Prix. She is showing that she has what it takes to be a winner and her success in the arena is already proving her to be a very special horse.
She has also been training Dali, a five-year-old gelding, one of the most talented young horses Lisa has ever ridden. Another, Woodcroft Dancing Queen, nicknamed ‘the ginger witch’ won The British Supreme Hannavarian Championships and also received the “Elite Mare” candidate status.
Her own mare, Saphira, bought when she was three years old has been trained from scratch, and Lisa is so proud to have won the Grand Prix with her.
She is also a trusted buyer of horses for clients all over the world, not only sourcing them but also matching horses to owners.
Among the triumphs there have been terrible times too. Not so long ago, her best friend Danielle Koenders was killed in a riding accident.
But Lisa remains a woman on a mission and she still has much to achieve – as well as Mr Right to find. Her trainer, four times Olympian, Richard Davison who competed for Team GB in the 2012 Olympics, says: ‘There is no-one more committed than Lisa, she never stops working and caring for her horses. I think that’s why the horses go so well for her. She is undoubtedly one of our future medallists.’
Lisa says: ‘I can’t wait to see what happens over the next 17 years – will you come and see me again in 2030?’
Dressage is sometimes referred to as ‘horse ballet.’ It is a competitive equestrian sport defined as the highest expression of horse training, where horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predetermined movements.If you want to find our more about Lisa and the sport of dressage, go to www.lisamarrott.co.uk or call 07770 660875