Writer Pippa Ireland is a published poet and short story writer. Her prize-winning story published in Bonmarché magazine in 2005 was later re-issued in the Sack of Shorts anthology.
There isn’t much time for dedicated writing in Pippa’s life as she has a yard full of competition horses to look after, but in the days when she competed herself she used her skill with a pen to further her career in the saddle. One of her poems significantly contributed to her success as a rider. She entered it into a competition and won lessons from Olympic eventer,Chris Bartle.
Pippa is an active contributor to equine blogs, regularly writes verse on equine social media, and has a novel close to completion.
Back in 2010, as a student studying equine management, Pippa was charged with finding a creative written assignment with an equine theme. While most of her fellow students opted for essay-style ventures, Pippa decided on an ambitious project to set up a creative writing competition with an equine theme. Covering admin and advertising costs with a modest entry fee, she attracted a large entry by soliciting a wide range of prizes from sponsors including cash prizes for the winners, and equine-related prizes for dozens of runners-up. Prizes included tickets to prestigious equestrian events and the prize pot reached close to £1000. Entries came in from across the globe.
Pippa persuaded two Hornsea Writer colleagues to provide sponsorship too. Linda Acaster offered advice and professional critiques; Penny Grubb offered three of the winning entrants the opportunity to name ponies in her forthcoming novel.
The project won Pippa an award from Bishop Burton College and was such a success that she decided to run it again the following year. The 2011 competition featured more prizes, a larger total prize pot and attracted an even bigger entry.
Pressure of other work prevented Pippa from making the competition an annual undertaking, but she continued to write, contributing regularly to a horsey blog published by British Horse Feeds and written from the point of view of the successful Ireland-trained horse, Billy Bank.
However, just as Billy Bank was being prepared for a busy 2020 season, events conspired to bring Pippa back into the limelight as a creative writing competition organiser. The busy equestrian competition calendar was brought to a halt by the global pandemic. Many schoolchildren, looking forward to a summer of shows and events were stuck at home without outlets for their creative energy.
As an active Pony Club member and trainer, Pippa too found her outdoor activities curtailed.
She pitched the idea of a creative writing competition to the Pony Club. Initially sceptical that there would be much interest, they agreed to let her run with it.
It became the most successful competition she had run, with record entry, sponsorship and prizes. The winning entries were published in Equestrian Life magazine and several hundred more young writers were launched on the world thanks to Pippa’s efforts.
Throughout, Pippa has been writing her own novel based in the world of international eventing. The book was finished over a decade ago and had encouraging feedback from a literary agent, who said it just needed a final polish. Pippa says she hopes to find the time to do that before another decade passes.