ON THE MOVE >>
If you have ever fancied riding in Chile, USA, New Zealand or Portugal, it’s easy to combine a sunshine holiday with some top-level dressage, eventing or show jumping tuition, and even get some competition practice in at the same time.
Closer to home, March and April is when venues start to open for the 2020 season and despite the ever-increasing costs of staging even grassroots equestrian events, we still have an enviable programme here in the UK.
Lots to go for – and I can’t wait. For elite riders, the Tokyo summer Olympics and Paralympics are in sight. In the last Tokyo Olympics in 1964, Great Britain picked up a single bronze medal in the show jumping with the late Peter Robeson and Firecrest.
This time, expectations are already high for a much greater medal haul, and with some hugely talented combinations in the squads, competition for both team and individual places will undoubtedly be fierce.
With the support of a committed and loyal group of owners, our top riders have been able to buy and bring on some outstanding horses. Thanks to the work of the British Grooms Association – and greater media coverage – there is also rising awareness of the important role grooms play in rider and horse success; and none more so than the grooms who support the Team GBR riders.
So, along with vets, physios, farriers and nutritionists, we have a world-leading support team. Good luck Equestrian Team GBR #TwoHearts!
The #TwoHearts campaign has been capturing hearts around the world since the 2016 Olympic Games.
It spreads the spirit of a sport that has been at the core of the Olympic Movement for over a century.
My own mini team of ‘two hearts’ (and eight hooves), Oli and Strider, also have a pretty impressive support team.
Although our ambitions are a bit more modest than Tokyo 2020, I still have some first-class help to keep the boys fit and healthy, with plenty of high-quality coaching along the way. In my next column I’ll introduce you to some of my own ‘support team’ and how we work with the boys.
If you can’t wait for Tokyo, don’t forget, for your diary…
Dressage Winter Championships 2020 Hartpury University & Hartpury College
8-12 April 2020
Badminton Horse Trials
6-10 May 2020
21-26 July 2020