A CONVERSATION WITH...LOUISE BELL
Louise Bell could have been an athlete or followed her father’s footsteps in the film industry. Instead she decided from an early age that horses would play a major role in her life.
Despite surviving a horrific road accident in 2002, breaking her leg in multiple places, Louise is one of the most successful lady riders to grace the world of working hunter competitions. She is married to former show jumper, Robert Bell, and the Warwickshire based partnership has gained an enviable reputation in producing top class working hunter and show hunter horses.
Louise recalls having her first pony at the age of seven. As she grew up, Louise was to be familiar face in all sorts of equestrian disciplines from gymkhana games to dressage, show jumping and eventing. At the age of 17, she worked for Daphne Wyatt and it was then that she experienced her first taste of working hunter competitions. The showing ‘bug’ well and truly set in. It was not long before Louise’s showing career really took off.
When Louise and Robert survived their horrific horse box crash in 2002, Louise was told by doctors that she may never ride again. Airlifted to hospital, Louise spent months with a metal case in her leg that went from thigh to ankle. Incredibly, that same year, she went on to qualify eight horses from her yard for Horse of the Year Show taking the Working Hunter Champion Horse of the Year title with Out of Sight, owned by Mrs Sarah Gallagher.
In 2005, Louise was thrilled to take Reserve Supreme Show Hunter Champion of the Year, riding her home bred 'Rock Star' at Horse of the Year Show and in 2008 she won the honours of the Supreme Working Hunter of the Year riding Out of Sight. Other titles include winning the Supreme Working Hunter Champion title at the Royal International Horse Show on no fewer than fifteen occasions on Into The Blue, W Get Smart, Out of Sight, Rock Star, Crest Cavalier, Cruise Control, Special Effect, and her beloved Rocky IV.
Throughout her career, Louise has also won the Supreme Working Hunter Champion title on twelve occasions at The Royal Windsor Horse Show on Out of Sight, Cruise Control, Man on Fire and Get Smart, Into the Blue and been National Working Hunter Supreme Champion 8 times.
Another “character-building time” has in the years past had been the terrible loss, in fairly quick succession, of her beloved Out of Sight, Man on Fire, Rockstar and Cruise Control. The heart ache of those few years was unbearable and gaining the strength to carry on and accept the losses was a life learning experience.
Thankfully a new chapter was about to come around in the form of a career change to the sport of Dressage. Happier times lay ahead and Louise’s top dressage horses today include W Get Smart, Into the Blue, and then home bred Skyfall (working hunter) all of whom are in tremendous form. With her international dressage career now firmly in place, Louise is very excited for the future. www.louisebell.co.uk