Taking the reins

Roisin talks about the joy of horses

IT was a no brainer for Rosin Donnelly. As soon as the powers-that-be at the Ecclesville Centre asked her to reopen the riding school, the 21-year-old jumped at the chance, broke into a canter and has been galloping ever since.

Horses have been Rosin’s entire life and if anything, this would be an opportunity to live the dream, a dream to work with horses day in day out and what is more, encourage others to take their own little part of that dream. In short, it was a no brainer.

“I have been riding since I was four,” Rosin begins. “And there has always been a riding school at Ecclesville, since it opened anyway and I have always worked at the schools, doing whatever needed doing; I was a helper, really. When I was asked to reopen the school, I just went for it.

“I had been going to college at the time and was planning on doing nursing but nothing seemed to be going
right for me. My application for Queen’s had somehow gotten lost and when I got my insurance to teach –
which is really hard to get – that was the decision made for me.

“I’ve been up and running now since May 9 and all of the business is word of mouth at the moment. I’ve set
up a facebook page to let people know I was opening but things have been going well so far.”

RD Equestrian is as fledgeling a business as it is possible to be and despite having a good grounding in
horses, Rosin admits as a business woman, she was hardly going to win the next series of The Apprentice. However, the ‘Go For It’ programme in Omagh Enterprise Company came to the rescue and after filling in a lot of the business blanks, Rosin was soon perfectly balanced in the saddle – so to speak.

“I went through a six week programme with Go For It and it really helped me out,” she continued. “I can do all the practical things with horses but it was the business end that I wasn’t so sure about. I’m glad I done it now, because they were telling me things about business, I hadn’t even known existed.

“I’m not sure why previous riding schools stopping working at the centre but maybe I’ve got a lucky one and
maybe this extra bit of business will help me.”

Rosin and RD Equestrian have just finished an Extended Schools programme with St John’s College, Dromore,
an hour a week scheme which the new entrepreneur helped set up with the school teaching young adults
how to care for horses.

As well as that, ‘Take the Reins’, an equine facilitated learning group for kids with special needs was due to start this week – so it’s certainly been a case of hitting the paddock running.

“Yeah, I’ve a fair bit going on at the moment and I have all my own clients as well, so it’s busy,” Rosin continued. “There are 16 horses too so looking after them has been… intense.

“I don’t have any workers as such so I’ve been relying on my family quite a lot and they’ve been helping
me out big time.

“A lot of people say to me, good luck with your new business, but for me, it isn’t even like a job. I’m here 12 hours a day and in that way, it feels like more than a job – I love it.

“We cater for everyone really, whatever experience you have because with riding you never stop learning – even me, and I’ve been riding my whole life, I’m learning all the time.

“Everybody that comes wants to learn how to ride a horse and they want to do it the right way – and that’s
why they come to me.

“To go from complete novice to competent rider, it’s hard to say how long this would take because everyone
is different. It depends on how much confidence you have and how well you take to it but people have fun
in the process and that’s what it’s all about.”

Source: Ulster Herald on 2nd June 2011.