On paper Lizzie and Freddie Green should be the next power couple of eventing but life sometimes has a different plan. Lizzie (nee Brown) has been working her way up the ranks of eventing and was for a period based in the UK. Freddie is the son of two Olympians but prefers to march to a different beat…
That said, this is most certainly an equestrian power couple paving their own way in the world.
Both of them have spent their lives around horses – Lizzie while growing up in Cambridge, gaining a degree and then focusing all her attention on producing eventing horses while also competing on both sides of the Tasman and in Europe.
Freddie is the son of Lucinda and David Green and grew up in the UK. Unsurprisingly, he is a naturally talented rider but his passion lies in music. He studied at Guildford Music College before going on to be in several bands and knocking out quite the career doing the European festival season and other gigs. He has also, more latterly, been tour managing.
But the path to true love is never easy, as Lizzie and Freddie can attest to. The couple was happily settled in the UK when Lizzie had to return to New Zealand to renew her visa. The process drew out longer and longer and she found herself establishing life once again Down Under. Now the couple live within a stone’s throw of Lizzie’s parents in Te Kowhai and Freddie has adjusted to his world of music in a different hemisphere. With a studio set up at their home in New Zealand he is able to do music production for clients all over the world and has even been producing some for dressage.
“It was our joint decision to move to New Zealand in 2018 and purchase a property of our own, and we have relished that challenge,” says Lizzie. “Now we are focusing on our careers and building them here.”
Lizzie and Freddie bounce off each other easily. When asked how each describes the other they both share the tag hard-working, with Lizzie – according to Freddie – also super focused and goal-driven. Lizzie reckons her main (two-legged) man is laid-back, very easy going.
In the UK, their weekends generally meant heading in different directions so each would make a real effort to take a day off together during the week. “Sometimes that was quite hard as horses are such a fulltime commitment and you have to take the opportunities and work when they present themselves,” says Lizzie. “Thankfully we both understand and would try and get to each other’s event when we could.”
Both say the best thing a busy couple can do is schedule time out together and stick to the plan. And as glamorous as being a professional eventer and musician sounds, both are quick to say they definitely were not! “Freddie has spent countless nights sleeping in vans as they drive between venues on tour, sometimes travelling with up to 10 people for three or four weeks on the trot.”
And it’s not so different with horses. “They can be a real hard slog,” says Lizzie, “but we both love it, so it’s not really a sacrifice. Both of us have been to some amazing places thanks to our careers, met some incredible people and experienced amazing things, so we are very lucky.”
Lizzie credits the Equestrian Sports New Zealand High Performance Programme and coaches with much of her success. “I had Erik Duvander as a coach since I was on ponies, through until I left the UK and he has definitely been instrumental in my journey and success,” says Lizzie. “Without making it super easy, my parents have always backed me and supported my crazy ideas 100% and that has made me become a better business person in the end. My husband is now my biggest supporter who pushes me to keep going now we are back in New Zealand.”
Freddie’s world has been formed through music and some great mates who he says have helped him grow into the musician he is today. “My parents, whilst probably never wanting their son to join the music scene, both understood and appreciated what a career following your passion is all about,” he says. “Liz continues to push me to become better and follow my dreams.”
Those dreams include to continue to develop their property. “We need to continue building our careers now we are based in New Zealand too,” says Lizzie, who is also the new ESNZ talent development liaison, connecting the Eventing Talent Development Squad riders with HPSNZ High Performance Athlete Development Programme. “Relocating to New Zealand is a bit like starting over again but it is also super exciting to reshape ourselves. My new role offers a lot of career development in coaching and leadership and I also have a very exciting young string of horses and supportive owners.”
Freddie too is finding his feet in Aotearoa. “With the studio finished at home there will hopefully be a lot more music production being done along with opportunities to drum for other bands in the future,” he says.
But one of their biggest goals in life continues to spend more time together at Raglan Beach.