The Magazine Meet The Team

Whether you're a beginner, a returner, an established rider seeking new skills or an experienced competitor, there's someone at Horse&Rider who's rooting for you.

Rebecca Philpot Editor

Joined Horse & Rider in 2018 Started riding age 8

Not born into the horsiest family, Rebecca didn’t start riding until she was eight years old. Keen to make up for lack of time, she spent all of her spare time at the local riding school until, five years later, she was bought her first horse, Mason. The perfect all-rounder, together they competed in a little bit of everything! Fast-forward to now, Rebecca joined Horse&Rider following a few years working on other horsey publications. She owns Tango, a 15.2hh ex-polo pony who was bought to event – however Tango had other ideas and is now enjoying a more relaxed pace of life.

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Louise Kittle Content Editor

Joined Horse & Rider in 2014 Started riding age 7

After just 18 months as editor of Horse&Rider, Louise was awarded the title of ‘Editor of the Year’ in 2015. With many years of horsey experience and lots of horsey qualifications (Louise is a qualified BHS IntSM), she’s perfectly positioned to steer Horse&Rider content. Louise is always first to get involved in any horsey office discussions and debates (and as you can imagine with so many horsey staff there are a lot!) and she’s often found on the phone to celebrity riders planning exciting features and photoshoots.

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Franchesca Slack Production Editor

Joined Horse & Rider in 2016 Started riding age 1

Fran’s been riding all her life and was lucky enough to grow up on her mum’s livery yard, which meant she could go out and see her pony in her pyjamas! She was a member of Pony Club and, after leaving school, went on to study at Sparsholt College, where she completed a national diploma in equine management and BSc (Hons) degree in Equine Studies. While there she also competed on the inter-college riding team. Fran worked as a groom, and in retail and equestrian wholesale before getting the job as a Sales Executive at Horse&Rider. She owns Sekonda, a 17hh Irish Draught, who she enjoys dressage with. They’re also thinking about having a go at showing, if Fran can keep Sekonda clean for long enough – he is grey after all! She also shares two Shires, Sammy and Roxy, with her partner and uses them for draught work, riding and driving.

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Bethany Searby Staff Writer

Joined Horse & Rider in 2017 Started riding age 4

All it took was one sit on a pony while on holiday to give Bethany the riding bug. Fast-forward five years and a pony was bought, which catapulted her non-horsey parents into the world of horse ownership. It didn’t take long to get them on board, literally, as now they’re both keen riders. Bethany spent her time at university juggling English studies with schooling various project horses, which prepared her well for a job that has her writing one minute and co-ordinating product tests the next. After spending a year freelancing for local newspapers, Bethany moved from Lincolnshire to Surrey to pursue her dream career at Horse&Rider. Her five-year-old homebred gelding, Phillip, recently made to the move, too.

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Megan Hurley Editorial Assistant

Joined Horse & Rider in 2019 Started riding age 10

Megan was first bitten by the riding bug at 10 years old, and her love for riding has only grown from there. During college she and her horse Cruise competed for their local Pony Club in eventing and dressage. She gained her B test shortly before moving away to work for a 4* event rider, then riding for dealers. After a short interlude away from horses where she worked for the NHS, Megan landed the role of editorial assistant at Horse&Rider. This year she begun training for her Pony Club AH test and hopes to continue her eventing career where she left off with her ex-racehorse, Nobby.

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Sarah Garland Art Editor

Joined Horse & Rider in 2014

Sarah is the lead mare when it comes to anything art-and-designy at Horse&Rider. In addition to creating interesting designs for all the pages and tweaking them to perfection, Sarah puts together all the beautiful H&R covers giving us so many to choose from for each issue. In the summer, Sarah is always the first to volunteer to go on a photoshoot, especially when we go in search of stunning new cover shots (whether it’s because she likes spending the day with all the lovely horses or because she just worships the sun, we couldn’t say). She also has a hard time keeping on top of the pesky editorial team, who occasionally like to think they can extend their skills to design, but often end up being more hindrance than help!

Adam Witt Senior Designer

Joined Horse & Rider in 2013

Before starting at Horse&Rider, Adam didn’t know all that much about horses, but that’s changed since he joined the team of extreme equine enthusiasts. The turning point was probably when he had to reproduce hundreds of complicated equine anatomy drawings for all the veterinary features. Want to know the internal structure of a hoof? Adam’s your guy, and he can even tell you about laminitis! Listening to how much everyone in the office spends on their horses, Adam spends his spare time praying that his daughter doesn’t get hooked on ponies, not just yet anyway!

Jake Booth Designer

Joined Horse & Rider in 2017

Jake joined the design team thinking he’d just be making the magazine pages look good, but little did he know that making him horsey would become the editorial team’s new favourite hobby! Although he was last seen revising for his Pony Club E test (with the PONY mag team as his unofficial assessors), Jake spends the rest of his time at work making all the magazine features look fresh and easy to read, and photographing horses "doing all sorts of weird things”.

Lizzi Porter Designer

Joined Horse & Rider in 2018 Started riding age 11

After enjoying pony rides when she was little, Lizzi kept asking her parents for riding lessons. They finally gave in when she was 11 years old and she hasn’t looked back since, even while she was travelling. In 2018, she finally fulfilled her own competitive ambitions thanks to the support of her share horse Jet's owners, plucking up the courage to compete in a local dressage show. Lizzi discovered her love for graphic design while pursuing A-Levels in photography and ceramics. She then went on study graphic design in sunny Swansea, where she managed to bring her love for all things equine into her studies wherever possible. Joining the design team for Horse&Rider and PONY has allowed her to bring her two passions together in one job.

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Zoe Cannon Publishing Director

Joined Horse & Rider in 2001 Started riding age 1

Zoe started riding early – plonked in a basket saddle at just 10 days old. She had a very horsey childhood and took part in all Pony Club activities, gaining her B test and competing in dressage, showjumping and eventing with her chestnut Arab mare (sounds like a tricky combination!), Monique. Now Zoe juggles life as a working mum with riding Valdes, a fantastic Spanish PRE that she shares. As Publisher of Horse&Rider, Zoe oversees the magazine and focuses on its distribution, making sure it gets from the office to you.

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Gemma O'Neil Marketing Manager

Joined Horse & Rider in 2014 Started riding age 9

Gemma fell in love with the world of horses aged nine and has been hooked ever since! She’s owned her traditional cob, Dollar, for eight years and he even attended her wedding in July 2014! Gemma also helps exercise a friend's horses and her regular mount is Snappy, a fantastic chestnut NF x TB mare, who she has great fun hacking, schooling and jumping at home. Gemma heads up the marketing department at Horse&Rider, working across many areas from subscriptions and advertising campaigns, through to social media and digital initiatives.

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Hollie Bladen Digital Marketing Manager

Joined Horse & Rider in 2016 Started riding age 1

Born and raised in the New Forest, Hollie was put on a pony before she could walk and it wasn’t long before her 14.2 New Forest pony, Solo joined the horse-loving family. She now owns Blue, a 16hh ISH who loves to gallop and jump. Hollie lived in Canada for two years and worked in radio broadcasting before landing her dream job as H&R's Digital Marketing Manager. This is one of the most sought-after jobs on the team – Hollie spends her days manning H&R’s social media channels, filming celeb riders on photoshoots in the sun, and making adverts for Horse & Country TV. She insists that it’s not all glamour, but we don’t believe her!

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Ali Hill Marketing Co-ordinator

Joined Horse & Rider in 1999 Started riding age 8

Ali's passion for horses started aged eight with a bareback lead ride on a retired horse called Rustler. After college, with her heart set on working with horses, Ali returned to the school where she originally learnt to ride and thoroughly indulged herself in the horsey life, before landing a job at Hermes managing events. During this time, Ali took a sabbatical to train for her BHS AI and eventually moved out of London and back to Surrey. She now co-ordinates the attendance of Horse&Rider at all of the major equestrian events and owns two dressage horses Walnut and Amos, as well as her retired horses Hudson and Teddy. If you see Horse&Rider at an event, go and say hi!

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Lianne Tadd Marketing Assistant

Joined Horse & Rider in 2018 Started riding age 7

Despite being born to non-horsey parents, Lianne caught the pony bug while visiting relatives. Her parents eventually gave into her incessant pleas for lessons and she soon became a firm fixture at her local riding school. Fast-forward a few years and she's managed to make her passion pay for itself thanks to a job in the marketing department at Horse&Rider mag. Her current horse is a lovely – albeit rather grumpy! – TB called Tommy, who she regularly takes to Riding Club clinics, and competes in dressage and showing classes.

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Abi Cannon Commercial Director

Joined Horse & Rider in 2019 Started riding age 1

Abi had her first pony ride when she was just two, and promptly threw a tantrum when it was time to get off – starting as she meant to go on! Not long after, Jason (a 10.2 Welsh x Shetland) arrived on Christmas morning. As the years passed, Abi continued riding and enjoyed passing on her ponies to her sister as she grew out of them (H&R’s Publishing Director, Zoe). After studying HND Business and Finance with Stud and Stable Management, Abi worked on tour with Monty Roberts and Kelly Marks – cool, huh?! In 1999, Abi joined Horse&Rider and apart from a two and a half year break has been here ever since. Now in her role of Commercial Director, leads the sales team and organises all of H&R’s celebrity rider demos. Outside of work, Abi supports her daughter, Jess, and gorgeous PRE Valdes who she shares with Aunt Zoe doing BD and BRC dressage.

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Samantha Backstrom Business Development Manager

Joined Horse & Rider in 2014 Started riding age 1

Sammy was bitten by the riding bug at a very young age, and soon had her sights firmly set on the British showjumping squads. In her time on ponies, Sammy won two team golds and an individual silver at the European Championships! She broke many pony records and became the youngest rider to jump a World Cup just after she turned 18. As Business Development Manager, Sammy heads up the advertising team, and advises her clients how they can best deliver their advertising to you.

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Evie Edgar Sales Executive

Joined Horse & Rider in 2018 Started riding age 1

Born with a horsey-mad mum, Evie has been thrown on (and off) young horses for as long as she can remember. With a passion for showjumping, she’s groomed for riders both nationally and internationally, riding and competing her own horses where time allowed. Lucky enough to live at home on a farm, she (and her still-horse-mad mum) have eight horses, with two more on the way in the spring. Since starting at H&R, Evie has had more time to focus on her current project – six-year-old Ronnie. As he’s only 148cm, she’s having to change direction to eventing this year, with the hopeful outcome of him being FEI potential – that is, once he's kicked his habit of throwing in 180 degree turns to spice up schooling sessions!

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Jemima Byford Junior Sales Executive

Joined Horse & Rider in 2019 Started riding age 6

Jemima didn’t have the easiest road to a horsey life – her father was an unwilling member of a very horsey family and vowed none of his children would ride. However, he must have been a soft touch, because after a couple of years of begging Jemima started having riding lessons aged six. By the time she was 11 years old, she’d grown out of her little loan pony, so and her parents bit the bullet and got Jemima her first horse, Annie. As a thoroughbred cross Arab, it’s possible Jemima was a little overhorsed, but he definitely taught her how to ride (and stay on.) Now with three horses to her name, Jemima’s dipped her toe in showjumping, dressage and eventing and she and her main horse, Wombat, have quite a competitive streak.

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