Inspiring Business by Sharing Success

What a corker! Rescued pony helps lifelong rider fulfil dream of competing in top show

A legal eagle is hoping to impress the judges when she swaps her office chair for the saddle and competes in the world's most famous horse show next month.


Photo credit : Tigertotz Photography, Long Eaton


Emma Mrvik, who is head of residential conveyancing at the Beeston office of legal firm Ellis-Fermor & Negus, will leave paperwork behind to fulfil her dream of taking part in the Horse of the Year Show.

Her story is more remarkable considering that the pony she will perform on was rescued by the RSPCA.

Thirty-one-year-old Emma, who lives in Shardlow, Derbyshire, with partner Howard, was originally from Breaston and went to Ockbrook School. After leaving there she joined Ellis-Fermor & Negus at its Long Eaton office and studied part-time for a law degree at Nottingham University, which she gained in 2009.

But she has been involved with horses since a toddler. “My mum and aunt both rode horses and having first had a rocking horse my parents bought me a Shetland pony for my second birthday, and I have been riding ever since,” she said.

Emma won her first trophy at the age of three and has continued successfully ever since, winning more than 80 trophies. She had one horse, Shamrock, for 19 years, until it died last year.

She qualified for the Horse of the Year Show after beating 20 other riders, some of them professional, to win a class at the National Pony Society Championships in Malvern recently.

As with that show she will again be riding a 10-year-old black Dartmoor pony called Pumphill Brandon or Corkers to his friends. Together they will perform a set of unrehearsed movements decided by the judges on the day to show the versatility of the breed.

It's a team effort. Corkers is owned by best friend Nina Browning, who lives on a houseboat at Sawley Marina. She has two other horses which like Corkers are kept on land at Shardlow.

Although a success story now, life was not always an easy ride for Corkers, who was bought from the RSPCA five years ago.

“He was seized with 31 other ponies by the RSPCA in 2010 from Yorkshire because they had been neglected by their owner,” said Emma. “He was covered in sores and his feet were in poor condition.”

“He had never had a saddle on him until I rode him and he's still nervous of strangers because of his past experience.

“Being in Horse of the Year Show is unbelievable. Nina and I are very excited and we are proud of the progress that Corkers has made.”

The Show, which takes place at the NEC Arena, Birmingham, from October 4-8, is now in its 69th year. It will play host to 1,600 horses and ponies, 1,500 competitors, and be watched live by 65,000 spectators.

The big moment for Emma, Nina and Corkers will take place on Thursday October 5. “Ellis-Fermor & Negus have kindly allowed me to take the day off, “ said Emma.

Director Simon Hale said: “We wish Emma all the best and, like Corkers, will probably end up 'a little hoarse' from cheering them on.”

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