Gaining an interest in horses after rescuing a Thoroughbred from the remote WA coastal town of Esperance, Ellie first started riding at age seven. Her first pony was a typical little Shetland named Pebbles – and from there she progressed to larger ponies and eventually horses.
“I began my competition career as a show jumper, however, after having my first eventing start in 2020 I was hooked,” says Ellie of how she became involved in the sport. “I officially turned to the dark side. I love the challenge of having three very different phases, especially when it all finally comes together. And of course, I love the adrenaline you get when you’re out on cross country, galloping on a horse you’re trusting with your life while facing obstacles that have been purposely designed test your skill; it really is a feeling like no other.”
Since her riding took a serious turn, Ellie has been fortunate to train with some of WA’s leading coaches. In the early days when she first began jumping, she trained with Nellandra Henry, and now as an eventer she’s coached by Phillipa Collier for cross country, Sue Morgan for dressage and Dave Dobson for jumping. As part of WA’s high-performance squad, she has also had lessons from Grant Wilson, Andrew Barnett and others, which have proved very helpful.
Warmblood cross Don J’Amee – aka Jimmy – joined Ellie’s team in 2020, when she was still predominantly show jumping. “After changing disciplines, Jimmy showed me the ropes of eventing and as we went up the levels, we really became a team. When we stepped up to two-star at the beginning of 2022, I had low expectations due to my lack of experience at that height, however, we improved every event, winning a total of five two-star events.” Last year, the pair also topped WA’s FEI Two-Star Leaderboard and Master Series Two-Star Leaderboard, as well as picking up the WA Leading Junior Eventing Rider title.
“The 2023 season then rolled around and we were keen to have our first three-star start at Capel CCN in March, where we had a great event and I finished second as the youngest rider. Recently, we had our first FEI three-star start at WAYER (International Horse Trials at Brigadoon) where we finished on our dressage score and won the class.”
Looking to the rest of the year, Ellie is planning on continuing her three-star season with Jimmy and ticking off goals with her two young horses.