Two Cheshire businesswomen with a taste for speed gained an insight into each other’s lives when they swapped their regular transport for a day.
International showjumper Eve Staveley traded her Irish sports horse for a new Golf GTi as she compared horsepower with fleet director Andrea Hodgson from Warrington Volkswagen, part of the CJ Automotive Group.
Andrea said: “Our company has a long association with Eve, and we supply her with a Volkswagen Polo for getting around as she runs her business, training and selling young horses, alongside her busy schedule of competitions.
“So when she offered me the chance to sample her daily routine, exercising one of her amazing horses, I quite literally jumped at the opportunity!”
While Andrea settled into the saddle of 17hh Gloria, Eve got behind the wheel of the Golf GTi and took it for a spin around her stables at Whitley.
Eve said: “Driving the GTi was like riding a well-schooled horse – it was powerful, responsive and lots of fun. I really like the look of the car too, sporty and sleek, and the quality and spec of the interior was fabulous.
“When I ride one of my best quality horses, I only need to hold the reins with my fingertips. The GTi was the same – the steering was light and it handled beautifully.
“I only drove on normal roads, so that limited how fast I could go of course, but I would love the chance to take the car around a race track, to really test its performance.”
Andrea had similar praise for Gloria, saying: “This was by far the biggest horse I’ve ever ridden and, once I got the hang of the size and length of her stride, she was so easy to ride. Eve gave me some tips on technique and within 10 minutes I was ready to hop over some small jumps.
“It was exhilarating and felt so amazing. I could tell the difference between a normal horse and Eve’s – Gloria was so responsive and easy to ride. It was such an exciting day.”
Eve, 32, only had her first riding lesson aged 16, but intensive training saw her quickly progress to professional standard.
As the BSJA’s youngest accredited coach, she now runs her own yard at Whitley, sourcing and training young horses, and training people on their own horses, as well as travelling the globe for international competitions.
“The biggest achievement, or proudest moment, of my show jumping career was when I won the 1m40 in Valencia a few months ago on my chestnut Upicor,” she said.
Thirty-six year old Andrea is the youngest director in the CJ Automotive Group, and the only female. Having worked for Volkswagen since 2000, Andrea is now responsible for the company’s fleet business and motability.