Downgate Farm Livery Team

All of us at Downgate Farm have been exceptionally lucky to work with such a great team consisting of experienced individuals and professionals.  Below you can find out a little more about the Downgate Farm Livery Team and the important role they each play.

Natasha Bird

Natasha is our Head Girl.  I am delighted that Natasha joined us in October 2017 and since then has developed in her confidence and knowledge to run the Yard at Downgate efficiently and calmly.  It is always a friendly and fun place to be, both for the horses and for the humans! 


As my God Daughter, Tash has helped us here at Downgate often over the years, when she was much younger.  

Now Tash is 21 and used to event Alicia Earee’s event horse Twister, but now has a lovely young horse, Kenny to bring on for Eventing.  Tash has always been such a lovely rider and it is wonderful to have her here as an integral part of our Team.  Her dad Martin, my cousin, is our wonderful maintenance Man Fridays who helps us mend and sort everything out for us once a week. 

Sophie Hollands
Sophie On Her Pony Rosie

Sophie Hollands

Cindy and the Downgate team are delighted that Sophie Hollands joined our Team at Downgate Farm in September training and doing her Apprenticeship with KEITS.
Currently Sophie is working towards her Stage 11 and is enjoying learning so much from all of us here at Downgate Farm. Sophie has her own pony, who she is producing herself.
‘I’m 17 years old and have a pony called Rosie who I love hacking and doing a bit of everything with. I’ve always loved horses ever since I was very small, so I’m loving being able to work with such lovely horses every day and as a career. It has also been great to be able to watch and learn from the other girls at Downgate Farm and being part of the team’. 

Former Downgate Farm Head Girls

Our former Head Girls at Downgate farm have been amazing and we've been incredibly lucky to have them over the years. They have all groomed for our daughter Emily at Badminton and Burghley and when she has been on British Teams.

Carolyn Wooden

Carolyn started working for us way back in 2007 and was our head Girl. Durng this time groomed for Emily at 3 Young Rider European Championships, Burghley and 4 Badminton Horse Trials. The presentation from Carolyn of the horses from plaiting and attention to detail was and is amazing. 

When she can fit it in around her children and family, we are extremely lucky and privileged to still have Carolyn working with us one day a week.

Downgate Farm Heathfield
Carolyn grooming at her first 3 day Event for Emily in 2007!

Natalie Wright

Nat started working for us in 2010 and later on, became Head Girl. She also groomed for Emily at Badminton twice, Burghley twice, Luhumuhlen 5*, and the London Olympics where Emily and ‘P’ were guinea pigs for the Dressage test.

One of the horses than Nat looked after so well, while she was working with us was Major Buck who Emily rode at Blenheim 4* where he came 9th and then on the British Nations cup team Team at Fontainbleau. When Buck retired from International competitions, Nat was given him to compete by his very kind owners, Monica and Peter Durrant, to have as her own horse, and she has had great fun with him Eventing him at BE 90 and 100’s.

Downgate Farm feel so lucky to have Nat here as an integral part of our Team albeit part time. I would absolutely trust Nat and all the Girls to jump on any problem that came up, and to sort it out.

Alicia Earee

Alicia moved to our Yard at Downgate Farm in the summer of 2012 for training, then became head girl in the November and was based with us for 3 years. Whilst based and training with Cindy, Alicia rode her horse ‘Twister’ at intermediate / 3* and in the young rider classes and horse trials.

Since then Alicia has set up her own freelance business, mainly riding/ competing in the south east.

It has been wonderful for us that Alicia has started part time yard/ riding work on the yard again.
Now Alicia events her own 8yo at intermediate who she has produced from a 3 year old.
Fortunately we are able to call upon Alicia for part time help, clipping, schooling horses and she is a very valued member of our Team at Downgate. 
Alicia Eventing Her Horse Hickory

More Of The Downgate Farm Livery Team

Downgate Farm Heathfield

Katya Grimmer

Katya joined us on work experience from Hadlow college in 2017 and although studying at Hadlow, she has never left completely! Kat always puts a smile on our faces and her confidence and degree of knowledge has made her a very important member of the Downgate Team.

At the moment Kat is studying a BSc in Equine Training and Management and is now going into her 3rd year. Clever Kat is predicted to come out with Bachelor of Science Degree (Hons). Wishing her the best of luck with that and thoroughly enjoy seeing Kat when she has time to help out.

Berry Robertson

In 2018 Berry came to Downgate Farm and started helping, she is a very valued part of the Downgate Team when she can fit visits in around her school work. Berry is always lovely around the horses as is everyone.
How lucky are we here at Downgate!

Ed Lyall

Ed Lyall (B Vet Med, Cert EM (Stud Med), MRCVS) from the Sussex Equine Hospital is one of the most experienced equine vets in the country.   


Our vet Ed does a brilliant job keeping all of the horses healthy and happy here and is definitely and integral part of the team. Emily Erde also comes and helps from Sussex Equine Vets as well now.

Downgate welcome other Vets to the Yard.

Downgate Farm Heathfield

Jim Hayter

Being one of the best farriers in the country Jim has been in charge of shoeing the Llewellyn horses at Downgate Farm, Heathfield since Cindy’s daughters were riding ponies.  


This incredibly talented man and his team now shoe Pardon Me II and most of the horses based at Downgate farm and was awarded ‘Best Shod Horse’ at the prestigious Badminton Horse Trials two years running with both Society Spice and Pardon Me II when Emily was competing there. 

Jim and his fantastic Team keep up to date as they compete at many big Farriery competitions.  Now we are thrilled to welcome Jim’s son, George as third generation of Master Farrier’s. The attention to detail produced by Jim is second to none.  We feel incredibly fortunate that Jim looks after all the horses here.