Sonny Hillier is still a few years away from hitting 30, but has
already run he own equestrian services business focused around carriage
driving for the past seven years. At Sonny
Hillier Equestrian Services, not only does he break horses for this
purpose, he trains those who want to become drivers, and is himself a freelance
commercial carriage driver.
This means driving other people’s horses for weddings,
funerals and corporate work, and also involves moments in the wider public eye.
“I have twice driven a horse-drawn hearse for the BBC soap opera EastEnders and have also participated in
the Lord Mayor’s parade in London by my carriage driving” he says. Sonny’s
corporate clients have included the world-famous Harrods department store
alongside leading funeral director firms in the capital.
Sonny competes regularly in the horse driving trials
– the three-day eventing equivalent for carriage drivers. For the last six
years he has competed at national level, working her way up through the
classes until he now competes in the advanced single horse class, which is at
the pinnacle of the sport.
Currently riding and competing a horse called Ranno -a 16hh gelderlander owned by Mrs
Sarah Garnett – she aims to compete at the World Championships for single
horses in Germany at Luhmühlen in September 2013. Together they have already
won one of the selection events for the GB team, and now face a further three selection
events next season which will decide the team for these championships.
Sonny’s aim in the longer term is to compete with a
team of four horses. he has three-year old horses of her own in training which
se hopes to start competing as a pair in the next few years. To date he has
many achievements in the novice single horse class in 2009 and again in 2012 in
the open single horse class.
Finally, Sonny finds time to compete on the indoor
circuit in the winter with a single pony owned by Miss Sarah Wilkins. “We were
unbeaten in the south-east area last season and finished 4th in the National Championships.
We hope to try again this winter season and always aim to do a little better –
this time in the Nationals” he says.