Alex Baker, Ireland's team rookie at the 2022 World Championships in Herning, has been on the move in pursuit of knowledge and experience. The Irish born 27-year old began her professional career as a rider in the U.K. and is currently based in Denmark to fine-tune her skills.
From Ireland to the U.K.
The 1996 born Baker has been riding from an early age and knew that a career in horses was her path in life. As soon as she finished her A-levels, she closed the books of academia and begin working for Fiona Price-Jones at Sport Lusitano at Altogether Equestrian in Somerset, U.K. until April 2015.
She then switched to Elite Dressage to work under Grand Prix Anna Ross and made leaps and bounds.
Aboard the British bred AES mare Nibeley UK Lady Lara (by Nibeley Union Jack x Nibeley Goldspirit) she made her international show debut as a young rider in May 2016 at the CDI Segovia in Spain. Starts in Compiegne and Roosendaal followed and her efforts culminated in representing Ireland at the 2016 European Young Riders Championships in Oliva Nova, where she finished 42nd with 65.421% in the individual test.
The pair continued at YR level through 2017 and returned to the European Championships in Roosendaal, where they landed 47th place with 65.711%. Shortly afterwards, Lady Lara sold to the U.S.A. as an FEI schoolmaster.
In August 2016, the Baker family bought the Dutch warmblood gelding Dutchman (by Jazz x Fantast), bred by J. Muilwijk.
In the spring of 2017, Alex premiered him in Compiegne at Young Riders' level and jumped straight into the senior Grand Prix division three years later at the CDI Le Mans in February 2020. They gained mileage at CDI's in Keysoe and in 2021 even felt some Olympic fever after scoring 67% marks at CDI's Wellington Heckfield and Hartpury. Ireland decided not to send a team and instead she was nominated for the 2021 European Championships in Hagen, but was forced to withdraw just days before the show because of fitness issues.
There was a silver lining to 2021 as Alex piloted Newton Tiger (by Blue Hors First Choice x Sandro Hit) to a 4th place in the 5-year old consolation finals at the World Young Horse Championships in Verden after winning bronze at the 2020 British Young Horse Championships.
Baker's time finally came in 2022. After solid starts in Keysoe, Wellington, and Hartpury they were nominated on the team and travelled to Herning (DEN) for the 2022 World Championships, where they posted 67.531% to place 68th in the Grand Prix.
Move to Denmark
In December 2022 Baker sold Dutchman as a Grand Prix schoolmaster to German Emma Lienert and she herself decided to begin a new chapter in Denmark.
"At Elite Dressage, I have had amazing opportunities to ride really quality and talented young horses," said Baker. "From backing to taking them to their first competitions. It was a big decision to leave Elite Dressage but it was time for a new chapter and I’m so grateful for everything Anna and the whole team taught me and the fun times we had. "I’ve been here a few months now and I’m loving it."
Baker has moved to sales stable Helgstrand Dressage in Vodskov, where she begins from scratch as she does not have any horse of her own.
Baker told Eurodressage, "After I sold Dutchman I thought it was a good time to try something new and work abroad. Anna Ross and Lorna Wilson were really supportive and helped me find where to go. I don’t have my own horse at the moment but I am looking for something so no competition plans yet but hopefully soon! I’m using this as a great learning opportunity to expand my riding experience and I’m really enjoying it."
Photos © Astrid Appels
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