Meet our #TeamGP Riders: Zoya Patel

At Gooromon Park, our Riders become part of the #TeamGP family.  All our Riders are on a different equestrian journey, but they all have one thing in common they’re passionate about horses, and we absolutely love supporting their riding journey.

We are excited to be introducing you to some of our #TeamGP riders through our blog – today, meet Adult Rider, Writer and cat lover Zoya Patel!

1. Tell us a bit about yourself – how would you describe yourself to someone you have just met?

Zoya and Penny.

I am a writer and communications professional, and I’ve grown up in Canberra. My debut book was released this month,and it’s called No Country Woman. It’s all about growing up as a migrant in Australia.

2. When did you start horse riding, and what made you want to give it a try?

I first started riding when I was 10, and like a lot of people my age, it was because of the Saddle Club! But once I started, I was totally obsessed, and couldn’t stop. There’s something really freeing about being on a horse, and I think the relationship we can have with a horse is unlike any other. I love it!

3. What has been a highlight of learning to ride with the instructors at Gooromon Park?

I have learnt so much at Gooromon. My confidence has definitely grown in the four years I’ve been riding there, and I’ve learnt a lot about correct position and use of aides. But the thing I like most is definitely the community of riders – I love knowing that there’s always a friendly face at the barn when I drive out for my lessons!

4. You recently bought your first horse – what was that like?

Yes! I bought the lovely Cloverlea Penny Lane, an 8-year-old Clydesdale cross mare this April, with the help of Danielle and Amanda at Gooromon. It was pretty exciting going out to meet Penny for the first time, and now I can’t imagine life without her. Having your own horse is definitely challenging though – there’s lots of peaks and troughs as you start to work each other out, and every day is a journey. But overall, I love it!

5. What are your riding goals for the year, or something new you’d love to learn?

Zoya’s book – ‘No country woman – a memoir of not belonging’

There are lots of technical goals for Penny and I in our journey together (like more consistent contact, better transitions, etc etc), but one goal I have is to do a prelim test at the Gooromon Christmas comp. I’d be happy with just being able to complete all the movements.

6. What’s something you particularly love about your horse?

I love how she plays hard to get! Penny pretty much always has her ears back, but I’ve noticed recently that she actually takes a lot of comfort from pats and ‘good girl’s when we’re riding. After a ride, she’s always so happy to have a head rub and a cuddle, so I think she likes me more than she likes to let on!

7. What would you say to someone thinking of trying equestrian for the first time?

Do it! It’s actually really interesting coming back to riding as an adult. It’s a lot more nerve wracking than it used to be, but the benefits are also much higher. I feel a sense of relaxation and happiness when I’m out riding that I don’t get anywhere else in life. It’s worth it – make your ten-year-old self really happy and get on a horse!