Work Life Balance Finance – Horses Are Good for the Soul
Sophie Colloby believes that riding through the Yorkshire moors is a better way to solve work problems than sitting in front of a computer. She currently owns four horses, one of which is a rare breed Dales pony.
What is your favourite thing about horses?
Horses are good for the soul; riding and being around them are excellent ways to unwind. I walk out the back door at the end of the day, saddle up, and ride straight onto the moors. We live on a smallholding with views of the Aire Valley and Ilkley Moor, one of Yorkshire’s most beautiful areas.
Your mind may be racing from the events of the day, but the horses can tell if you’re not paying attention, so you must clear your mind. If I’m working on a complex or difficult deal, I find that getting out in the fresh air is more effective than sitting at a computer for hours. I’ve done some of my most creative thinking while riding a horse.
When did you first begin riding?
When I was 14, I got my first pony and worked on a stud farm on weekends to help pay for its upkeep. My parents thought it was a phase because we weren’t a ‘horsey’ family. Apart from three years at university, I’ve always had horses – sometimes six at a time, though some of them were old or injured horses I was caring for on behalf of friends or fostering for a charity.
Tell us about the horses you currently own.
I now have four. Billy is out of the game due to a long-term injury. Ted is the horse I am currently riding; he is only six years old and will be competing for the first time this year. Ingwe is four years old and will begin riding lessons this year.
However, I’m looking forward to riding Leo, a pure-bred Dales pony. He’s only two, and because Dales mature slowly, it’ll be another three years before I can ride him. Dales ponies are intelligent and friendly but also a threatened species. I’d like to begin competing with Leo because if others see what they’re capable of, more people will consider purchasing them, potentially securing their future.
How do you fit them into your work schedule?
I spent nearly 20 years working long hours in large accounting firms. One of the most difficult periods was following our move to Yorkshire in 2014. My children were very young, and I had to leave them at home with my husband because I had to work away for two or three weeks every month. They enjoy having both of us around now that they are older.
Fortunately, Dow Schofield Watts, which I joined in 2017, has a different business model: I am a co-owner of my portion of the company, so I am my own boss. I still work hard and handle a lot of high-profile deals, but it gives me more balance and allows me to spend more time with my family and horses.
What did you take away from the experience?
You must be patient when working with horses. They are your team, but you cannot rush or force them to do anything; it is all about negotiation – just like at work! Riding is a beautiful way to see the world. I’ve ridden in Australia and the United States and worked on horseback safaris in South Africa! One of the best aspects is that, unlike in some sports, age is not a barrier to ability. I hope to compete for many years to come.
Thank you, Sophie, for giving us an inside look at what it’s like to work with DSW.
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