1. How is 2019 treating your string thus far?
Companeiro has grown into a top horse this year. He has been 2nd in two big 140/45 Grand Prix and will be ready for 1.50m by the end of the year. He’ll then do World Cup next year. Coester only arrived in South Africa in December last year. He just finished 2nd in the 1.45m Blouberg Cup and I am hoping to do the SA Champs next month in Shongweni with him.
2. Do you have a particular favourite horse in your string & if so who & why?
Counter Attack always. I know him so well and when he is on form he gives me an absolutely amazing feeling!
3. How is 2019 treating you so far injury-wise?
So far this year I am injury free, and Counter Attack has also stayed injury free since his injury last year, so he is ready for the World Cup!
4. What would you like to improve on this year?
Training people everyday is nice financially but it doesn’t allow me enough riding / training time for myself and my horses. I wish there were two hours extra in every day. This is my major weakness and explains why I generally do better at the end of shows than at the beginning. The more I ride throughout the show, the better the end result tends to be, as I often start out rusty with a lack of actual match practice.
5. In what way do you reward your horse?
I generally am very gentle and soft with my horse in terms of their care and training and am always careful not to over jump them. I call that a treat, but I do have a massive carrot bill every week from a local farmer!!
6. Which goals of yours remain for 2019?
To try and win a World Cup!
7. Tell us about your Blouberg show: the good, the bad, the ugly.
It was a lovely show. I came second in the Blouberg Cup. I really enjoy the farm atmosphere without the big pressure of the World Cup shows. The prize money at Blouberg is also great. The only negative element is that when I’m there it’s difficult to communicate with and send videos to owners as you really are in the middle of nowhere!
8. What did you learn from Blouberg?
My new horse Coester just improved every day at Blouberg and that gave me the confidence to enter him in the SA Champs.
9. Which horse and rider combination did you enjoy watching the most at Blouberg and why?
I loved watching Callaho Sampras with Lorette. I just generally love watching top class horses.
10. What are your next/upcoming shows and what goals have you set for those shows (personally and horse-wise)?
Coester is hopefully jumping in the SA champs next month. If I get a prize in the champs I will be very happy. Revil World Cup is in early September and I’ll definitely be trying to win that with Counter Attack. He always jumps so well there and has previously won a World Cup there.
11. What advice do you have for those who may have recently had a bad show. For example, how do you advise they come back from that?
I’d advise that people go home and take a few days off to regroup. You won’t believe how the enthusiasm comes back with a few days off. With riding you must always try and put the past behind you and simply use the past to inform the best way forwards. The quicker you put bad rounds/shows behind you the quicker you go forwards.
12. How do you work on your fitness?
I think I am quite active in that I ride 3/4 horses every single day and teach twenty plus lessons. If I don’t do that I go to gym and walk, run and sprint on the treadmill. Riders generally ride in the warm-up with breaks so I jog for 10 min. Then I visualise going in the arena and sprint for 2min as if I am jumping my round to get my heart rate up. Then walk for 5 min. I’ll do this a couple of times per session.
13. Do you follow a strict diet or do you eat as you want? Which is your favourite food?
I generally eat well at home, with a basic diet given to me by a sports-orientated dietician. At shows I try and eat well but it can be difficult when away to keep to strict meal times, and find good wholesome food. I love any kind of chocolate – that is definitely my favourite food.
14. August is Womens’ month: tell us which female riders you admire the most?
Gonda Betrix, as she was a great rider and is now a great trainer. She is brilliant in planning out careers for horses and riders.
Laura Kraut (USA Olympic rider), as she is a brilliant horsewoman and can ride a variety of horses very well.
Lorette as she is a great rider and the most competitive person I know! If it means being in a class at 7:30 in the morning in the middle of winter she will be there – and win!
Michelle Fleming – Michelle came to me 15 years ago as an average 1.30m rider. The dedication and hard work she has demonstrated in getting to be a great 1.50m rider is extraordinary. Besides running her own company and looking after her two children, she is a fantastic rider. Her passion to learn all the aspects of the industry from horsemanship to riding is inspirational and her love for her horses is unbelievable