The Your Riding Success Podcast Channel

Podcast Episode 81: Pia Fortmuller | Dancing Feet Dressage

In this podcast, Kylee speaks with Pia Fortmuller about competitive trail riding, 4-H, jumping and eventing... but this Grand Prix dressage rider from Canada also has a passion for dressage - this is the sport that captivated her and she shares with us why!

Pia and her boyfriend are now back in Canada and together they run a training business called Dancing Feet Dressage.

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Join my free Riding Superstars community here for riders wanting to make progress.

Keep up with Your Riding Success on Instagram here.

Podcast Episode 80: Kylee Heitman | Stablehand

Have you ever wondered about what's involved in becoming a stablehand? Kylee Heitman is a stablehand and became a working student after a gap year between studies.

Enjoy this conversation as we chat about Kylee's story, her experiences as a working student, and key learnings after working in the industry.

Follow Your Riding Success on Instagram here

Podcast Episode 79: Amelia White | The Extra Mile

In this podcast, we speak with Amelia White.  Amelia White is an Australian Dressage rider based in Germany. Amelia competed in the sport of eventing for many years, before a car accident in 2010 left her with permanent injuries to her legs, upper body and spine. Amelia currently trains with Helen Langehanenberg has given up so much in the pursuits of achieving many more accolades, including representing Australia at Tokyo Paralympics 2021. Amelia has already achieved so much in her riding and professional career and is truly an inspirational person.

In this conversation, we ⁠chat about so much Her journey into horses, the accident that changed her life, future riding goals, professional career, and much more!

Follow Your Riding Success on Instagram here.

Follow Amelia on Instagram here 

Podcast Episode 78: Anne Millman | Chatting Business & The Horse Report System

In this podcast, we speak with Anne Millman. If you’re interested in business, this is the podcast episode for you. Anne is the founder of The Horse Report, a company with the goal to provide equestrians of every discipline with the most convenient and user-friendly way to provide optimal care for their horses and easy communication with their team.

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Join my free Riding Superstars community here for riders wanting to make progress. If you are struggling with fear or lack of confidence, join my new free FearLESS group here.

Keep up with Your Riding Success on Instagram here

Podcast Episode 77: Rebecca Cowden | All Things Horses​

In this podcast, we speak with Rebecca Cowden. Rebecca's passion for dressage started when she was a working student for Johann Hinneman in Germany. Rebecca offers a wealth of first-hand experience in developing horses from youngsters to Grand Prix. Her focus is on slow, correct training and communication and each horse is treated as an individual progressing at it’s own pace.

In this conversation, we ⁠chat about her journey, talking business, the experience of a working student, balancing students, and much more!

Follow Your Riding Success on Instagram here

Podcast Episode 76: Guest Interview with DMA Superstar Saunders Johansen

In this podcast, YRS Success Coach Kylee interviews one of our Dressage Mastery Members, Saunders Johansen. Saunders is an American rider who competes in dressage and jumping. In this conversation, we chat about her journey, the journey with her horse Jack, and how she is succeeding in her riding now!

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Join my Free Dressage Community here for riders wanting to make progress. If you are struggling with fear or lack of confidence, join my  FearLESS Riders Group here.

Follow Your Riding Success on Instagram here

Podcast Episode 75: Lucy Courchaine | In's And Out's Of An Equestrian Working Student

In this podcast, we speak with Lucy Courchaine. Lucy is a Grand Prix rider and owner of boutique business, Sapphire Sporthorses.

In this conversation, we ⁠chat about business, studying, becoming a working student, the equestrian industry and more!

Follow Your Riding Success on Instagram here.

Follow Lucy on Instagram here 

Podcast Episode 74: Eiren Crawford | Learning From Olympians

In this podcast, we speak with Eiren Crawford. Eiren Crawford is a Canadian dressage rider, trainer, and owner of All Points Dressage INC.  Eiren provides top-quality horses and training for the serious and ambitious dressage rider in North America. With sixteen years of training and competing experience in Europe and America, and working alongside the likes of Ingrid Klimke, Lars Peterson, and Morten Thomsen, she now dedicates her time travelling around Canada for clinics and passing on her knowledge.

In this conversation, we ⁠chat about her journey into horses, becoming a stable hand for some of the world's top Olympians, biggest leanings from these athletes, and more. 

Follow Your Riding Success on Instagram here.

Follow Eiren on Instagram here 

Podcast Episode 73: Guest Interview with DMA Superstar Heidi Lane

In this podcast, YRS Success Coach, Kylee Tonita interviews one of our Dressage Mastery Members, Heidi Lane.

From struggling to comprehend the basic concepts to competing across three disciplines and loads of first place's, Heidi has made huge progress upon starting Dressage Mastery Academy! In this conversation, we chat about her journey, talking about reading test scores, how she and Dressage Mastery members are setting goals, and so much more!

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Join my free Riding Superstars community here for all riders. If you are struggling with fear or lack of confidence, join my new free FearLESS group here. Wanting a free group to help in your dressage? Join my Dressage Riders Unite group here.

Follow Your Riding Success on Instagram here

Podcast Episode 72: Lucy Courchaine | Sapphire Sporthorses

In this podcast, we speak with Lucy Courchaine. Lucy is a Grand Prix rider and owner of boutique business, Sapphire Sporthorses. A serious, committed professional dedicated to her dream business and devoted to her horses and clients. Lucy brings "Dressage For Every Athlete" to life through a variety of services including dressage training, rehabilitation, lessons and sales.

In this conversation, we ⁠chat about starting her business, the difference between teaching amateurs vs professionals, finding balance in life, and much more!

Follow Your Riding Success on Instagram here.

Follow Lucy on Instagram here 

Podcast Episode 71: Guest Interview with Dressage Mastery Member

In this podcast, Kylee interviews one of our Dressage Mastery Members, Aine Dowling. Aine is a Scottish rider and has only been a part of the program for 6 months and has made leaps and bounds in her riding progresses. In this conversation, we chat about her journey, the reservations before starting the program, and how she is succeeding in her riding now!

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Join my free Riding Superstars community here for riders wanting to make progress. If you are struggling with fear or lack of confidence, join my new free FearLESS group here.

Follow Your Riding Success on Instagram here

Podcast Episode 70: Welcome to Season 2

In this episode, we welcome you to Season 2! We also introduce our Member Manager, Kylee who will be assisting with guest interviews. Kylee is a supportive individual, and after this episode you will see why Dressage Mastery members are making huge progress in their riding.

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Join my free Riding Superstars community here for riders wanting to make progress. If you are struggling with fear or lack of confidence, join my new free FearLESS group here.

Podcast Episode 69 - How To Regain Horse Riding Motivation

In this episode, I explain the deeper reason why you may be experiencing a lack of motivation in your riding and how to get out of this rut. Motivation is one of my favourite topics so I hope you enjoy this week's episode!

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out for free videos, web classes, our online programs and more.

Podcast Episode 68: Natasha Baker | Breaking Boundaries

In this podcast, we speak with Natasha Baker. Having contracted a virus, Transverse Myelitis at just 14 months old, Natasha was left with permanent nerve damage, loss of balance and sensation and severe weakness in her legs. Watching the Sydney 2000 Paralympics, she set herself the goal of one day becoming a gold medalist. Many years later, Natasha has won 11 Gold Medals and 5 Silver between the Olympics, World Equestrian Games and the European Championships. The Rio 2016 Games saw Natasha cement her place as one of Britain's finest ever Paralympics when she and Cabral retained their London golds and added an unprecedented third in the Team Competition. Natasha works tirelessly to change the perception of disability, to inspire the next generation of Paralympic athletes and to show the world that despite any challenges, incredible things can be achieved!

Follow Your Riding Success on Instagram here.

Follow Natasha on Instagram here 

Podcast Episode 67: Dressage Secrets | Seat Like A Grand Prix Dressage Rider

In this episode, I share my biggest tips to improve your seat - what are the mistakes you are making and what things you need to have in order to get a seat like a Grand Prix Dressage rider. I can't wait to share with you this whole conversation, because it is a topic that comes up again and again with my members of Dressage Mastery and in the riding community as a whole.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out for free videos, web classes, our online programs and more!

Podcast Episode 66: Valentina Pistner | Young Rider Series

In this podcast, we speak with Valentina Pistner. Valentina Pistner is a German young dressage rider. Valentina made her mark by claiming the Kur gold medal at the 2020 European Junior Rider Championships with her horse Flamboyant who was previously owned by Isabel Werth. Having already competed in three European Championships and claiming nine medals at the age of 17, Valentina is one rider to watch in the future. In this conversation we chat about her journey to a competitive young rider, juggling commitments, talking European Championships, and words of wisdom for other riders.

Follow Your Riding Success on Instagram here.

Follow Valentina on Instagram here.

Podcast Episode 65: Emma Blundell | Mount St John Equestrian

In this podcast, we speak with Emma Blundell. After 15 years of experience showing horses with wins and top placings at the National finals, attention to detail is well engrained.  She has a passion for breeding dressage and sport horses, is the founder of Mount St. John, and is extremely knowledgeable on all the current thinking on equine reproduction in particular Embryo Transfer.  She oversees all aspects of the stud and competition management including the careful selection of top-class stallions to complement the genetic makeup of her embryo mares. In this conversation, we chat about breeding and training of elite dressage horses, traveling the world, what to look for when buying horses, Charlotte Dujardin and 'Mount St John Freestyle', and much more!

Follow Your Riding Success on Instagram here.

Follow Emma on Instagram here.

Podcast Episode 64: What is reality?​

Love this episode? Make sure you leave us a review! In this week's podcast episode, I wanted to delve into what I have been exploring over the last 10 weeks. What exactly is reality, what does that mean, and how does it apply to your riding?

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview, or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at

You can follow us on Instagram here.

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Sign up to receive free resources here

Podcast Episode 63: Emile Faurie | Wisdom and Resilience

Love this episode? Make sure you leave us a review! In this podcast, we speak with Emile Faurie. Emile Faurie is one of Great Britain’s top international dressage riders and trainers and has represented Great Britain at World, European and Olympic level. Emile and his team run Heath Farm, a centre of classical dressage teaching and training excellence, whose first priority is to create a balanced, professional and friendly environment where horse and rider will flourish together. In this conversation we chat about his journey into horses, training, achievements, advice and much more!

Follow Your Riding Success on Instagram here.

Follow Emile on Instagram here and on Facebook here.

Podcast Episode 62: Dressage Secrets | Balance​

In this week's podcast episode, we wanted to talk about balance. What is balance and how do you achieve it in your riding?

Check out my free online class here

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview, or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at

Podcast Episode 61: Alicia Lee | Young Rider Series

Love this episode? Make sure you leave us a review! In this podcast, we speak with Alicia Lee.  Alicia is a 21-year-old International Grand Prix Rider competing for Great Britain. We talk about her journey into horses, social media negativity, highs and lows, and future goals.

Follow Your Riding Success on Instagram here.

Follow Alicia on Instagram here.

Podcast Episode 60: Silvia Rizzo | Hof Marabunta

Love this episode? Make sure you leave us a review! In this podcast, we speak with Silvia Rizzo. Italian Grand Prix rider Silvia Rizzo developed a passion for horses and dressage in her teen years and has now grown into an ambitious dressage rider. Silvia has won many prestigious awards both for riding and for fashion. Her company Hof Marabunta offers all-round information about her, her horses, lifestyle and you can even follow the latest trends of equestrian fashion! In this conversation we chat about her journey into dressage, fashion, training horses, Hof Marabunta and so much more!

Follow Your Riding Success on Instagram here.

Follow Silvia on Instagram here and on Facebook here.

Podcast Episode 59: Competition Review with Tash

This week, I do a review from my first competition in 2021.⁠ Phil and I discuss key learning's from the event. ⁠

If you'd like to watch the Dressage Tests mentioned in this week's podcast, fill in your details below:

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at

Podcast Episode 58: Angelika Trabert | Ability Not Disability​

Love this episode? Make sure you leave us a review! In this podcast, we speak with Angelika Trabert. Angelika is a German doctor, para-equestrian rider and mother.  We talk about her journey into horses, career, her charity, and much more.

This episode is bought to you by Riding Superstars. Join one of the biggest free equestrian online communities. Click here link to join.

Follow Your Riding Success on Instagram here.

Follow Angelika on Instagram here and Facebook here. Check out Angelika's charity 'Sundjata here.

Podcast Episode 57: Warwick Schiller | Performance Horsemanship

Love this episode? Make sure you leave us a review! In this podcast, we speak with Warwick Schiller.

Warwick Schiller is a world-renowned horseman, clinician, and author who helps people create deep and authentic relationships with their horses through online training videos, in-person clinics, podcasts, and more. A lifelong equestrian of varying disciplines, Warwick Schiller moved from his home country of Australia in his 20s to the United States in order to pursue his dream of training horses.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview, or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at

You can follow us on Instagram here.

Follow Warwick on Instagram here

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Sign up to receive free resources here.

Trial the Equestrian Netflix for just $1 USD. Click here

Podcast Episode 56: Life Update | NEW HORSE, OTTB's And More!

Love this episode? Make sure you leave us a review! This week, I talk about a life update, including a new horse, off the track thoroughbred progress, competitions and more!




You can follow us on Instagram here.

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Sign up to receive free resources here.

Podcast Episode 55: Dressage Secrets | Overcoming Competition Nerves

Love this episode? Make sure you leave us a review! In this week's podcast episode, we wanted to talk about competition nerves. ⁠More importantly, how to prevent competition nerves and anxiety from getting the better of you.⁠

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview, or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at

You can follow us on Instagram here.

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Sign up to receive free resources here.

Podcast Episode 54: Emily Bradshaw | Young Rider Series

Love this episode? Make sure you leave us a review! In this podcast, we speak with Emily Bradshaw.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview, or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at

You can follow us on Instagram here.

Follow Emily on Instagram here

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Sign up to receive free resources here.

Podcast Episode 53: Melissa Galloway | Making Her Mark

Love this episode? Make sure you leave us a review! In this podcast, we speak with Melissa Galloway. Melissa is one of New Zealand's best upcoming riders and currently holds a FEI World Ranking of 114th. She only rode her first Grand Prix in 2019 and is one rider to look out for in the coming years with her big goals.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview, or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at

You can follow us on Instagram here.

Follow Melissa on Instagram here

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Sign up to receive free resources here.

Trial the Equestrian Netflix for just $1 USD. Click here

Podcast Episode 52: Effective Goal Setting To Live Your Best Life

Today Natasha shares with you one of her favourite topics - goal setting! Even in 2020, when all of our goals from the start of the year don't look like they will happen, it's still important to keep moving forwards, set those goals and taking action!

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview, or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at

You can follow us on Instagram here.

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Sign up to receive free resources here.

Podcast Episode 51: Sally and Elloise Devlin | The Mother and Daughter Series

Love this episode? Make sure you leave us a review! In this podcast, we speak with mother and daughter combination, Sally & Elloise Devlin. We chat about how they manage their daily routine breeding and training horses, what it's like working closely as mother and daughter, and much more.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview, or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at support@yourridingsuccess.comYou can follow us on Instagram here.

Follow The Devlin's on Instagram here

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Sign up to receive free resources here.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

1:16 - Dynamic of the mother and daughter working relationship

  • 3:30 - Sharing horses with each other to ride and compete
  • 5:05 - Coaching together and training
  • 7:17 - Talking Brimstone Park and business
  • 9:22 - Goal Setting and Competition
  • 11:41 - Breeding and Training
  • 13:25 - Sporting Hall of Fame High-Performance Sport Scholarship
  • 19:00 - Talking proud achievements and accolades
  • 22:35 - Sharing lows and disappointments with horses
  • 33:13: Future goals and plans
  • 36:29 - Sponsors
  • 38:36 - Closing advice to other riders
  • 42:46 - Following Brimstone and Elloise on social media

Podcast Episode 50: Dressage Secrets | Improving Test Scores

Love this episode? Make sure you leave us a review! This week, I chat about improving your dressage test scores. ⁠What do you need to know in order to move through the levels?

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview, or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at

You can follow us on Instagram here.

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Sign up to receive free resources here.

Podcast Episode 49: Jenny Gehrke | What You Don't Know Yet

Love this episode? Make sure you leave us a review! In this podcast, we speak with Jenny Gehrke. Jenny is an Australian FEI Rider, Coach and Trainer at Riverside Equestrian Centre. She has been a specialist in the industry for over 25 years and has previously held her spot on the Australian National Dressage Squad.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview, or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at support@yourridingsuccess.comYou can follow us on Instagram here.

Follow Jenny on Instagram here.

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Sign up to receive free resources here.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

1:10 - Getting started in horses

  • 2:55 - Getting into Dressage
  • 6:15 - Day in the life of Jenny
  • 7:32 - Training with different horses
  • 8:36 - Setting goals with Senator Nymphenburg
  • 12:35 - Training with her coach
  • 14:05 - How to train and coach your own way
  • 29:20 - Takeaways with a Dorothee Schneider Masterclass
  • 37:29 -Training philosophies
  • 41:32 - Career Highlights
  • 43:17 - Advice for riders getting started in their riding journey
  • 45:42 - Sponsors
  • 47:40 - Where to find Jenny for coaching

Podcast Episode 48: Dressage Secrets | Getting Started In Dressage

Love this episode? Make sure you leave us a review! This week, I talk about my top tips for getting started in dressage. What does it involve and what are your goals?

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview, or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at

You can follow us on Instagram here.

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Sign up to receive free resources here.

Podcast Episode 47: Talking Success | Are You Living Your Best Life?

Love this episode? Make sure you leave us a review! This week, I talk all about success. Why don't people want it? Or more accurately said - why aren't you working on it?. 

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Sign up to receive free resources here.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

0:37 - Talking success and why do I like to talk about it?
3:17 - When people talk about wanting success
10:00 - Are you living the life you want to live?

Podcast Episode 46: Judy Reynolds - Ireland's Success Story

Love this episode? Make sure you leave us a review! In this podcast, we speak with Judy Reynolds. Judy is Irelands most successful dressage rider and holds the Irish international records for Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special, and the Freestyle to music. Judy has represented Ireland at multiple major championships including 2 FEI World Cup Finals and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio where Judy became the first Irish rider to qualify for the final. Judy is based in Germany, where she has trained for many years and has some big goals for the future.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

1:03 - Journey into horses
3:50 - Shifting to dressage
5:50 - Future career plans
7:30 - Overseas training
9:10 - Comfort zones
12:01 - Next level training in Germany
16:04 - Goal Setting
22:00 - Back to dressage
31:37 - Balancing normal life and horses
33:54 - Olympics and Major Championships
45:33 - Eyes forward to Tokyo Olympics
53:08 - Management of JB
55:50 - Day in the life of Judy
58:38 - Training Methods
1:00:59 - Dreaming and Forward Planning
1:04:14 - Secrets to Success
1:04:35 - Sponsors
1:10:00 - Follow Judy on Social Media

Podcast Episode 45: Dressage Secrets | How To Move Up The Levels

Love this episode? Make sure you leave us a review! This week, I talk all about where riders commonly make mistakes in their dressage journey and what you need to know in order to successfully move up the levels. 

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

0:42 - Talking the levels
1:45 - How to move up a level
4:12 - Where people get stuck
6.09 - What you need to be successful

Podcast Episode 44: Megan Lane - Obsession To Learn

Love this episode? Make sure you leave us a review! In this podcast, we speak with Megan Lane. Megan is a Canadian Olympic dressage rider and discovered dressage at the age of eight and never looked back. Megan has participated at two World Equestrian Games in 2014 and 2018 and is also a Pan Am Medalist, trainer and clinician. Megan has had strong ambitions and an obsession for learning at a young age. She has taken all opportunities to learn and it has paid off big in her career so far.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Podcast Episode 43: Planning Your Ride For Success

Love this episode? Make sure you leave us a review! This week, I talk all about planning your horse ride for success. More importantly, understanding the how, what and when of planning.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

0.35 - Failure to plan
1.30 - Planning a training session for success
5:20 - Talking what, when, how

Podcast Episode 42: Sarah Lockman | Hard Work Leads To Success

In this podcast, we speak with Sarah Lockman. Sarah is the definition of hard work and passion for horses. Sarah specializes in developing top quality horses from 3 years old to the FEI levels while pursuing her dream of representing the United States in international competition. Sarah shares more into the early journey in dressage, how she's got the where she is today and future ambitions.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00:00):
Welcome to this Your Riding Success episode with the gorgeous Sarah Lockman. Sarah Lockman has been riding horses since before she could walk on her own two feet. Sarah Lockman dressage operates out of the beautiful summit farm in California. Sarah specializes in developing top quality horses from three years old to the FEI levels, while at the same time, pursuing her dream of representing the United States in international competition. Sarah continues to travel regularly to Europe to find and showcase talented horses available for sale. She also holds the United States dressage Federation Dressage bronze, silver, and gold medals. I had an amazing conversation getting to know Sarah and I hope and trust you enjoy this conversation as much as I did having it. Here's Sarah.

Natasha (00:00:39):
Welcome to the, Your Riding Success podcast. My name is Natasha Althoff and I'm a grand Prix dressage rider from Australia, author of three books and a leading online trainer of riders all around the world, wanting to take their riding to the next level. I'm also a shopaholic mother of two amazing children and obsessed with helping riders to be all they can be. Each week I'm going to be bringing you stories of inspiration, ideas, and strategies of how to make real progress in your riding and give you actionable advice on overcoming riding fear and anxiety so you can take your riding to the next level and be the rider you dream to be. So let's get into today's episode.

Natasha (00:01:16):
So excited to chat today, Sarah. Really, um, I think so many people are going to love to hear your story.

Sarah (00:01:22):
Thank you. I'm excited. It is an interesting and fun story to tell. So I'm happy to share.

Natasha (00:01:28):
I can't wait. I can't wait. So, um, where would you like to start? How did, how did horses begin for you? Um, what was your early years with horses?

Sarah (00:01:39):
Well, I have been riding since basically before I could walk my mum and her whole side of the family are from South Africa. And so she grew up on a really big farm. My grandfather trained race horses as well as well as had, um, you know, a cattle ranch. So they were also working horses there as well. But in South Africa, especially at that time, there really wasn't much Western riding or were really technically what the US people know as Western saddle.

Sarah (00:02:09):
So all the horses went in English where they look like Australian saddles, like working saddles. Um, so, um, have this dream and she said, I'm gonna have a daughter and name her Sarah and she's going to ride. So my mother was on a very, uh, clear path. She moved to the US um, and got married. And my dad, um, comes from Wisconsin, but never even had a dog. So not exactly the animal person. And he of course married my mother, who is like the animal horse lover, and to have more animals if possible all the time. Um, so when I was not even three years old yet, uh, we went on a trip, just my mom and I have visit our family in South Africa. And when we got back, my dad had searched through it's basically now what Craigslist is, but at the time it was called the penny saver and it a little newspaper that people would just sell random stuff on there.
Speaker 2 (00:03:02):
And he found a 32 year old pony for 500 bucks and he thought that this was going to be the best. Yeah. Oh, this is going to be great. They're going to be so happy. So we built a little barn on our property while we were gone. And here's this poor pony that technically, I think had one foot in the grave. I'm surprised that, you know, the guy didn't pay him for my dad's take. It said it would be the opposite. Um, but that was my first horse. And, you know, the first pictures are pretty cute because that's why I said about the Western tack is in South Africa. You know, at that time, my mom had no knowledge of anything, any putting on any Western tack. And obviously I grew up in Northern Nevada in a really small town called Gardnerville. And so that's predominantly even to this time, uh, Western.

Sarah (00:03:54):
So, so the pictures early on pictures are pretty hysterical because the saddle pads on like upside down and basically over the horses groove hanging off one ear and everything. But so that was my first horse and that's kind of what started at all. Um, and from that point on, I mean, anytime I could sneak out of the house one time, I think the horse was laying down and I had that crawled up on her back when she was laying down and they couldn't find me now, I was at the stables. So I kind of, from that point on was just horse crazy. So that's how it all started. And I, you know, rode a lot of Western and did a trail in Western pleasure. And I knew one of the trail courses. They had a bunch of, uh, little poles out in my horse half and kind of Hawk over a pole.

Sarah (00:04:43):
And so at that point I told my trainer, I want to jump. So then like, exactly, I want to jump. So I definitely, and, uh, and did the a hundred jumpers and that led me into pony club. So I, um, got extremely involved in pony clubs and, uh, worked my way up through the ratings. Um, I finished as a B, but was studying and getting ready for my A. But at the time, um, I had gotten a good job offer down here. So I couldn't finish that, but my parents were the DC's of pony club and had a huge influence in my time. So, so yeah, from then on, it was, it was all business. I think, uh, another story I like to tell too is I was 10 years old and I told my trainer, she was my first trainer still at the time. And I said, I'm going to be a horse trainer and I'm going to go to the Olympics and she looks at, you should just go to school. And now I kind of, yeah. Cause I think I would tell other little girls the same things. It's quite a hard career path, but I would never change it for the world. So I still send her updates all the time. You know, that I'm still making my way. Uh,

Natasha (00:05:59):
Yeah, getting there.

Sarah (00:05:59):

Natasha (00:06:01):
Extraordinary. I love it. I love, um, that you knew from such a young age that this is where you were going to go, and this is what you're going to do now, when you were 10 and you said, I'm going to go to the Olympics. Did you have in your head, did you even know what it was like, was it a eventing? Was it dressage or was it like, I don't even really know what the Olympics are, but that's what I'm doing.

Sarah (00:06:21):
So, so at the time I had started, when I was 10, I had started eventing cause that was at the time were with pony club. And back in those days, you know, pony club was only three-day eventing. Um, so I was eventing and I, you know, my sisters and I, we, my whole entire family rode horses. Um, and so we would put in like the VHS tapes of the Olympics and watch them in slow-mo and then rewind and slow-mo the whole thing. So I actually, from that time I picked a year, I'm not going to say that out loud because we're going to leave that to be, but I picked a year.

Natasha (00:06:54):
[inaudible]. I said, yeah, I was 16. I just started like early dressage. I said, Oh, surely in six months, I'll be ready for the Sydney 2000 Olympics. That was my plan.

Sarah (00:07:07):
Complete year planned out like, okay, I should be, I should be old enough, then I can go to the Olympics here. And so it was kind of funny.

Natasha (00:07:14):
What was your year? You have to share, it's only maybe.

Sarah (00:07:19):
2012, so

Natasha (00:07:25):
I love it. Timeframe wrong. That's the only thing we got wrong about the whole thing.

Sarah (00:07:29):
Yeah, definitely. Now, knowing more now you realize why you can't exactly just say this year, you know, and it takes, uh, but you know, just the passion that I had and I just everybody's asked me, you know, if you could do anything else, what was you? And I don't even know. I've just never even thought of anything different. Um, and I just made sure to tell my trainers early on, they would always laugh. Um, but I said, you know, if you ever look at me and say, God, Sarah should take up sewing or, you know, something else, I said tell me and then I'll go back to school. But, you know, my trainers were all very encouraging. They saw, I think, talent at a young age and, and honestly I just worked so hard and had so much determination. I think nobody was gonna really tell me I couldn't.

Natasha (00:08:16):
I love it. Okay. So we're in two thousand. What were you in 2010 when you said 2012 Olympics, what year?

Sarah (00:08:25):
Ten years old. So god. How old was 11? It would have been like 1998, 1999.

Natasha (00:08:34):
Yeah.And the plan was for eventing. So when did that shift and change? What, what happened unfolded?

Sarah (00:08:41):
Right. So always through my eventing career, I had super eventing coaches. I had evented through advanced. I was, you know, I did a couple two stars and was very successful. I was like top 12 young rider in the country. Um, and I always knew that it was really important to focus on the dressage phase. So I had great eventing coaches, but I always worked specifically with the dressage coach, which was not always done back then. Um, and I had a great lady in our town, um, Shelly Edwards, who was very classically trained really about biomechanics, about teaching the horse, how to use themselves. And when you, I mean, I had, we had no money growing up. So the horses that I thought, I mean, they were off the track thoroughbreds. So she taught us how to make these off the track thoroughbreds, you know, move to the best of their ability. And, you know, I remember spending lessons and lessons on a 20 meter circle going, God, why can't I get this? Right. You know? So it was, so I had a passion for dressage early on cause it was something you could almost never, you could almost never get it. Right.

Natasha (00:09:48):
No still can't.

Sarah (00:09:48):
Right. So another side note is I've actually always been homeschooled. So my mom, when I was, you know, wanted to do it so badly and financially we could not maintain that. So I really had to work off my lessons and training. So one way to do that was field to do my schoolwork whenever, and then go work for your trainers. I wanted, um, to have lessons from. So when I was 15, I moved from Northern Nevada to Northern California and I worked for B and Derek DiGrazia and Derek at the time was the young rider coach for eventing and his wife B is a dressage trainer. And she was very involved in social. I figured, okay, I could get the best of both worlds, you know, work my butt off, rode around town in a moped cause I couldn't drive, you know? Uh, and, uh, then shortly after that I got a job offer for a very big training barn and sales barn in Southern California and I up and I told that trainer, I said, I'm going to sell my soul to you.

Sarah (00:10:53):
I'll do whatever you want. I'll clean your car. I'll mop the floors and myself anything. And I did end up doing anything and everything and to Southern California when I was 16 and that was for a dressage barn. So I brought my eventing horses with me and I figured that I would keep jumping on the side and focus on dressage. Uh, but one thing led to another and I ended up really finding, you know, so much joy and so much fun riding these incredibly talented, you know, imported, dressage horses. I, you know, I'd never had had a cheap ride, such people

Natasha (00:11:28):
Like a ferrari.

Sarah (00:11:29):
How was the end? Forget the Hummer. So, uh, after working there, that's kind of what switched. So I, you know, ended up selling the eventing horses and focusing on dressage from that point on.

Natasha (00:11:48):
I love it. Okay. So then I think what would inevitably come up is your off the track thoroughbred might not get you. So if that's where the shift happened, do you remember a specific shift going, but the Olympics is still a thing. So now if dressage is the thing now, but dressage Olympics are a thing and off the track, thoroughbreds, aren't going to be the vehicle for that. Was there a defining moment?

Sarah (00:12:14):
Yeah. Well, and I think also being to be completely honest, dropped into the real world, of course, you know, outside of my little cow town in Nevada, um, not only do you see the quality of horses, but also to be honest, the price tags on everything. And I didn't really think, you know, and obviously I was young and a teenager, but I didn't understand, you know, what it would take. So when I got into a high-end barn like that, I went, okay, well, you know, I didn't come from money and I haven't married money. So, uh, you know, how am I going to make this work? And so one of the things to be honest in the beginning about dressage was, you know, I can make a really good living doing this because in eventing at the time, you know, the top horses, they didn't sell for that much money. Most people did, you know, off the track thoroughbreds or, you know, inexpensive horses and make them theirselves. And there's also a different dynamic from eventing to dressage, you know, in dressage, everybody has their horse in full training. That's just what is done and eventing I mean, my horses were never in training. You know, my, my friends were never in training. We just paid for, you know, less once or twice a week. So when I really started to kind of lay things out and go, okay, if I really want to be a successful trainer and, you know, compete internationally at the top of the sport, you know, I'm going to have to make a good living.

Sarah (00:13:36):
And so it into, you know, I need to make a decision career-wise and, and be able to support myself. And I also was able to see during the time at this facility, at this barn, you know, sales and how successful buying horses was. So that really is actually one of my other passions that's let me, you know, be very successful in my career. So in 2012, I started my own business and I told myself, I was like, you know what, even if I have to work at McDonald's on the side, I'm going to go off on my own and I'm going to start. And I'm, you know, I'm going to start moving forward and really invest in my own riding and training. Um, you know, instead of.

Natasha (00:14:18):
What age were you at that time?

Sarah (00:14:20):
Was in 2012. Oh man. Oh man. I'm really bad at math. I'm 32 now. So that's what, what, right now it's 2020. So I think that was, that was eight years ago. I would have been 23 or 24. Oh my God. It's so bad.

Natasha (00:14:50):
Start your own business. Like just got to spell. It was like to Start your own business. And as you said back yourself, even if I don't have any clients, even if no one calls my phone, I'll go to McDonald's. I am, I am starting my business. So good on you at 24. That's huge.

Sarah (00:15:02):
Yes. Yeah. So I was, I kind of, you know, made the jump and, um, the other thing I had kind of realized by this point is it's not good enough to just get it done. You know, I was known as the girl, you want a horse jumped to give it to Sarah, tell her how high, you know, and I would ride anything. I would fix anything I rode a lot of problem horses. A lot of young horses, you know, put changes on horses that no one else can. And I'm so thankful for that time because it's really turned me into the person I am now. But again, my goal was not just to be, you know, a good rider it's to be national rider and competitor yet I'm starting my own business also allowed me to focus more on my riding and my skillset and, um, you know, what I wanted to be known for.

Sarah (00:15:52):
Um, so I was really lucky to start my business off with, um, you know, I had a couple people that had known me for so long, you know, just being into the industry that followed me and gave me a chance, um, early on with clients that gave me some nice young horses that, you know, they could have sent it to someone that had a much more substantial record. Uh, but I had quite a few people really believe in me. Um, and that was really cool to see. Yeah. And you know, one of those was early on was Debbie McDonald. Who's now coach and also one of my coaches and she saw me quite early on and she followed me back to the barn at one horse show and looked at all my clients and said, you better be used to her being gone because this girl's going places. So it was really, it was,

Natasha (00:16:36):
I would have retired then, like done.

Sarah (00:16:41):
Oh, I know. I was like, okay, okay, now it's getting serious. Um, so I love it. A lot of things early on that happened. Um, but I, I grew my business and over the course of a handful of years, I ended up having the largest business on the West coast, largest dressage business on the West coast. I consistently had over 50 horses in training with, uh, multiple grooms and riders. I had a very large sales program, you know, between 15 and 20 horses for sale at any given time. Um, and so I, you know, took that those years when I started my business to build big and I enjoyed it. It was like a game for me. It was fun for me to see, you know, how big I could be and how successful all my clients and riders and everything to be. Um, I bet there were, those were definitely, you know, definitely some long, hard days. Uh, but it, that was one thing I definitely was known for early on is I think I was the busiest trainer in California, for sure.

Natasha (00:17:42):
So let's just unpack that. That's huge. So how old were you when you, when you, had that 50, that the size of the 50 horses.

Sarah (00:17:49):
I really think it was like two or three years in. So I must've been 27, you know, 27, 28. I had those, those many horses. So

Natasha (00:17:58):
Congrata frickin lations.Like that is just huge. I know how hard business is. Um, I know how hard, you know, all of that is, and you just, I I'd love that. You're um, you're, you're, you've just got this inside you like why not? Why not? And let's just give it a go and let's just see where we can take this and you dream big and you think big and you get rewarded. So huge congrats for that. I think that's huge. Okay. So was, did you have business goals and like dressage like the Olympic still? Or was it like, it's all a means to an end? We're just doing this to get the Olympics, but just doing this together.

Sarah (00:18:36):
As sad as it is. Yes. So my, my kind of thought process during this time was, you know, one of the ways to make, uh, one of the ways you can make the most consistent money is obviously clients. So clients are great. I mean, I enjoy clients. I love teaching. I love coaching. That's totally a passion of mine. Um, and you know, I always had the idea of, you know, you never know who you're going to meet, and you're never going to know, you know, what first shows up in your barn that ends up.

Natasha (00:19:07):
You've got 50 horses so you got a better chance of finding your {inaudible}. Yeah.

Sarah (00:19:11):
Oh, we had the clients around me were so supportive of me. You know, I had really ambitious amateurs that all rode and competed all the way through Grand Prix. You know, they won many, many titles themselves, but they would always have maybe a young horse or let me show their horse for awhile. So, you know, I think it's really important when you're looking at, um, career wise. I was always in the ring. So, so name wise, it really grew my name. I mean, if you said Sarah Lockman, anyone on the West coast would know while she's either at this show or her clients here or her thing is here, you know, so a little bit name recognition that definitely built that for me. Um, and again, the scales and everything was a means keep putting money away. Um, you know, I, I had always hoped that a sponsor or somebody would come along and be like, you know, here you go, let's go find you a horse, but I know that it's rare.

Sarah (00:20:03):
So my plan was, I'm going to keep saving money, making money, saving money, making horses, selling horses, and I'm, I have to be able to buy these horses for myself. Um, and that was kind of my, uh, what started from a young age. It started, but why I was really interested in the young horses cause bonding And for us, it was definitely more affordable. You can find that diamond in the rough and then you have a chance of making it and it could be the next big thing. So, you know, everything was geared towards that. And I think if you asked any of my old clients, they all knew, you know, even though it's the daily grind and I was trying to make every horse and rider meet their goals, I still had this goal of my own, you know, not on the back burner, but it was in the back of my mind working towards that. So that's kind of where the next part of my story that gets a little bit fairy tale like starts.

Natasha (00:20:58):
Hang on, hang on, hang on. I just need you to unpack it just a bit more. So firstly, I can hear goals, goals, goals, and that, that goal, you said you kept putting money away. Did you have a figure in mind? You don't have to share if you don't want to. I think everyone's like, what is the figure? Cause again, from like, if I remember when I was, um, was dotted off in horses and I remember opening the paper at the time that was selling horses and I went, Oh my God, mom, there's a horse for $3,000. We were paying, you know, the 500, seven 50 and I couldn't conceive $3,000. And now the more you get into horses, the more you dream, if anything, exactly. Well, I do have a range. Like, did you pull like a million dollar figure in your head or were you thinking half a million? Were you thinking

Sarah (00:21:48):
Well, no. Right. I definitely, I mean, at this point I am savvy to what it takes and I'm savvy to what horses costs. I do a lot of buying and selling horses. I, you know, in that time still, also was going over to Europe quite often and, and buying an investment horse and selling them. So I, I definitely know what a good horse costs and a good horse is not cheap. So my, my goal had just been to do, you know, find a really nice young horse. So actually one, I got a good opportunity, right when I started my business when I was 24. So in 2012 and uh, local breeding farm had gone into bankruptcy and they were selling all of their young stock. Couldn't, you know, the bank was selling it. So it was only, you know, make it happen fast. And I bought a lovely yearling for $2,500.

Sarah (00:22:40):
So I, I just took them to Chicago as a, he was number four in the developing horse, uh, in the country. Um, but I got them for $2,500 and three years later, I had an offer for 200,000 for him that I turned down because at that time I really thought that this was the best horse I could get my hands on. Um, so I, I knew what horse is cost and I knew it was going to take a while of developing good horses, you know, and selling them and, and, you know, either taking it most likely I was going to take a chance on a young horse. And if it wasn't the one, you know, I know from being exactly, cause you know, good training is worth most of it. Um, so that was kind of thing. So I didn't have a number. I just knew, you know, I needed to be ready because to be honest, especially now it does not matter how big your budget is finding a good horse is not easy. So a good horse is hard to find. It doesn't matter if you go out there into the universe with an unlimited budget, it's hard to find them. So I just wanted to be ready to be able to make the move if an opportunity.

Natasha (00:23:56):
And there are so many goals. Are you, do you write them down? Are they plastered over your bedroom wall or were they just internal? How do you do your goal setting process?

Sarah (00:24:05):
Um, you know, I, uh, it's a little bit internal. It's probably, it's a little passive as well. You know, I, a weird thing I've always done is whenever I, I like antique shopping and going into those little like Chomsky stores and everything. So anytime I see anything to do with the Olympics, like I have all these little pins from like, I think I have one from like 1984. I have like one from 1950 something. Yeah. So I have all these like little Olympic things that I have, I have saved. And then, you know, I'm pretty sure anyone could break into any phone or computer or anything by just guess some Olympics name and number. Always been my little like code so then that way I, you know, I think of it every time I type in my year, you know, so, so as my year for riding in the Olympics or, you know, representing the U S as that, uh, changes. So does mine

Speaker 3 (00:25:03):
Passwords. I love it.

Natasha (00:25:07):
You are so going to get there, it is guaranteed. Just listening to how you're orchestrating it. It's definitely. Wow. Okay. So I think I've unpacked that, tell me what the next fairy tale journey looks like.

Sarah (00:25:22):
So, uh, during this time of having all of these horses and training, I get a really random phone call from, um, my barn owner. Uh, and that said, I got a random phone call from this gentleman that says he has a Friesian, but he wants to put in training. I know you're really full. Like he didn't sound to know, like you knew anything. He said he just needed a stall, but she goes, as I asked him questions, it's it didn't seem to know anything about horses in general. Do you want, do you want me to give you his number or do you want me to give his number of, you know, one of the other ladies at the barn? And I said, Oh no, I'll I'll if you ask asked, you know, I'll, I'll call him. So I called this gentleman up and, um, you know, he started telling me that he had bought this, you know, he wanted to, he's ridden cutting horses, you know, 20 years ago.

Sarah (00:26:06):
And he's dragged about dressage and owning a Friesian. And so he's, he's bought this Friesian online, or he's looking to find this Friesian off the internet. And you know, it was like all of us horse people like red flag, red flag. I love Friesians for many reasons, but they're not always the best first horses. They're very bouncy and can be very strong. So I was terrified, you know? Cause he didn't sound like he knew how a lot of horse experience. So I said, you know, wait, wait, wait, no one. She sent me the video and if you want to come into my program, I'll go look at the horse for you. Cause you hadn't even gotten to see the horse it's if you don't have yet looked at x-rays you have no clue what x-rays?

Natasha (00:26:46):
Why would we do that?

Sarah (00:26:48):
I'll send you all information. I'll call you tomorrow. So he sends me everything on the horse looks nice, but you know, it's uh, it's a Friesian video so it's him the horse galloping through the field hair flowing.

Sarah (00:27:02):
So he calls me that day and before I could get the word out that I have a confession and I go, Oh man, he goes, I, I do. I bought it.

Sarah (00:27:13):
Okay. I said, okay, that's fine. I said, that's fine. We can, I can help you. And he goes, well, the lady is trying to sell me a saddle. I'm hold on. No, no, no, let me, let me help you now. So, so after that point, that's Jerry Ibanez who I'm talking about who's was my late sponsor. And uh, he, uh, he said, okay, I'm sending the horse to you and the horse horse actually ends up being one of the best Friesians I've ever seen. And I, two years ago showed the horse. I won with like a 73%, I mean, phenomenal horse. And so that's, but he wasn't, Jerry came into my barn. He said, I want you to teach me everything. Like I know nothing. And you know what I'm saying to myself? Well, you don't know anything, but it's okay. Okay. We will start from the beginning.

Sarah (00:27:55):
So he would come and look like a totally normal guy, to be honest, old t-shirt jeans, you know, drove a Jeep, no big deal. He'd go and spend hours with this horse. And with my grooms, teach me how to pick the feet, teach me how to brush the horse, wanted to clean the stalls. He came on Sunday to hand walk the horse. You know, he didn't really want a ride. He said, you know, I want to ride but I want you to get the horse to a spot where you think it should be. Now. Meanwhile it just to give you an insight of how amazing this man was, you know, my, my job, my days were very packed. You know, I have that many horse trainings. Every horse had a 40 minute slot and it was brought to the ring. I would get on it, get off at the 40 minute, handed off to a groom or an exercise rider to cool it off.

Sarah (00:28:43):
I mean, it's very regiment to get all of that done. So I mean, this man would be patient. He'd be at the end of the day, no rush. I mean just such a nice kind person. So one day it was like in late afternoon and he's in the cross ties, grooming this Friesian and I'm finishing up and, and he just casually asked me, so, you know, what, what are your goals? Like, what are you doing here basically? So I had told him, I said, you know, I'm, I'm doing all of this because you know, I want to go to the Olympics. I want to be one of the top riders in the US and I want to be an international, you know, top rider. Um, and he said, wow, it's amazing that I have to tell you, like, I have built an own, quite a lot of large businesses. And he goes, I have never, in my life, I've seen someone work as hard as you do. I said, Oh my God, you know, Oh, thank you. You're so sweet. So it's kind of long story short. I had been going over to Europe, quite often looking for investment horses and working with a partner. And I rode this fabulous, Grand Prix horse. And I, you know, I went and I called my mom and I was like, I have to have this horse. I have, this is my chance. I have to find a way to make this work. So I sat down and I thought, I'm going to call every single client of mine. And I'm going to put together a syndicate because if everybody gives two benefiting only give $500, like you have something maybe I can make this happen. Yeah. So I said, forget it. You know, I'm gonna call Jerry.

Sarah (00:30:10):
Uh, cause again, on that first conversation, one of the things he had said after I told them everything I wanted, he said, well, if you ever need help, let me know. Well then a lot of clients say that, you know, they're very supportive. They said, Oh, thank you so much. So who was my first phone call? I went, got all my courage up and said, I'm calling, gonna call Jerry. So I called Jerry and you know, I'm super nervous and I'm telling him, and it's a very, very expensive horse. So I'm telling him, I said, you know, Grand Prix horses are hard to find and blah, blah, blah. And it's, it's going to cost this much, but I'm looking at doing a syndicate. It can be tax deductible, the whole nine yards. And he said, okay, that's all he says.

Sarah (00:30:49):
I was like, okay. And he said, yeah, okay, let's do it. And I don't need anyone else's help. I don't mean the phone almost like dropped out of my hand. You know, I just mouth it up and pick up my job. Okay. Okay. Pull it together. And I was like, Oh, you sure? What are you? I think he goes, no, I really want to talk to you more in detail about this. Let's set up a meeting. And that was the beginning of my amazing life I have now. So Jerry ended up being my sole sponsor and him and I sat down with my coach at the time, Scott Hassler and talked about everything that it would take to, um, you know, really make a mark internationally. And you know, it's not just about buying the horse. That's really the least amount of it. You know, then it was, you know, Jerry's thought was, well, how do we take care of this horse to the best?

Sarah (00:31:40):
You know, this is an investment. And you know, one thing led to the next, then Jerry and I searched for a horse facility so we could take care of the horses the best way possible. So we now he bought a 22 acre farm in Marietta, California. That is incredible with super footing, huge grass, turnouts, you know, a horse heaven basically. And that horse that I called him about actually never ended up working out hilarious. Yeah. But that started the conversation. And, and from that point, you know, we set it up where, um, you know, we found a handful of horses actually. So now I'm very fortunate to have a pipeline of top horses, you know, from four year olds all the way to Grand Prix horses, uh, because the goal was, is, was, and is to, you know, be one of the US top riders for years to come.

Natasha (00:32:38):
And what year was that?

Sarah (00:32:39):
So that was, so this has been a little, almost three years now. It'll be three years in April. So that would have been in 2019, 19, 20, 21, 22, no, 2018, 2019.

Natasha (00:32:57):
So were you planning for 2020, or were you planning 2024?

Sarah (00:33:00):
So we had, I had right away, I had gone and started looking for Grand Prix horses and I made three trips over to Europe. Um, looking for a horse for if possible for 2020. That was really the hope. Um, but it is, again, this is where I go back to saying it's very hard to find a good horse, so it doesn't matter how bad you want it, how open your budget is finding a good horse and the right, or is it's a match for you. It's very difficult. So after three trips of trying, I mean, probably over a hundred amazing grand Prix versus none of them were my horse.

Speaker 2 (00:33:40):
So I came back to Jerry and said, you know what? Instead of just buying something to buy something, let's find some really nice young horses and let's just make them so bought a couple young horses, super six year old are super four year old. Um, and you know, started the path with them. And on a, in 2018, the fall of 2018, I was on a buying trip. Cause the other thing we did is sales. Um, just looking for investment horses for sale and I always would throw out there, or if you have something special, always look at something special. And that's when, um, we met First Apple. So, um, right. And that was just by chance. I, um, we had asked again, a lady that had shown us a normal, but a very cute five-year-old. And she said, actually, I do have something special. I can't tell you the horse's name.

Sarah (00:34:33):
Can't tell you where it is. I can't show you a video. It's not for sale. It's not supposed to be for sale, but she had fallen on some hard times family-wise and she said it could possibly be for sale. So we dragged to this unknown barn. Don't know what we're looking at, never seen a video and it was Apple and watch, you know, Patrick Vandemeer was the rider, who's an Olympic Dutch rider. Um, and I know he was probably as surprised as we are on, you know, it's unfortunate for him, but I think he was happy in the end of it because it was such a good match. Um, but he did such a lovely job with that horse that I just got on it. And it was two laps around the ring and I had tears coming down from my eyes and I looked over and the owner's shaking his head and the rider shaking their head because they knew it. Okay, well that's it. Yeah. I was lucky then we, we really wanted to lay things out. The correct way was such a special horse. So I spent a month in Holland and, um, Patrick and Apple learned, got him ready, groomed him, learned everything I could about him. Um, and then, and then brought them over to the States.

Natasha (00:35:51):
Wow. I've just got goosebumps. Cause I love that story of, you know, that it was a lap. It's not like you did the grand Prix. It's not like you did the tempi's or the piaffe or something. You just it's that feeling when you get into the saddle and you just go, I, it's home.

Speaker 2 (00:36:05):
Yeah, exactly. No, it's not that I have ridden, like I said, we'd been looking for horses, so I'd ridden plenty of talented horses. So it's not just that, but it was just the right match. And I think, you know, the rest is history and it proves itself because I think just six months later, eight months later we had a gold medal at the Pan-Am's with that horse, so, you know, it just, just matched him and I are just a great team. So it's such a fun thing to experience.

Natasha (00:36:36):
So obviously you I'm so pumped for 2020, you're like, woo, you've got you're coming off your gold medal at the pan AM's and you're like, this is, this is, this is so exotic. How did you, how did you cope with, yeah. It's not happening this year?

Sarah (00:36:52):
Well, you know, I have to say it was quite a push for Apple and I to come off a small tour and be in the rig and ring in the big tour in six months.

Natasha (00:37:03):
Sorry. I thought that was the grand Prix. Okay. That is a big push. You are pumped then that it's a year later we are happy days.

Sarah (00:37:13):
Exactly. Cause it was, it was definitely a push. I mean the horse is incredibly talented. I mean, I think I can say is definitely one of the best horses in the country. And many, many people have said world world-class horse, but things take time, you know, and, and he'd only ever been all to or so Patrick had only ever done the St. George I with him. We only focused on that leading up to the Pan Am's. So it was a very short six, eight months to try to get him in the ring. You know, I think in December I took him to I two or when of your grand Prix. So I mean, he really didn't have time in the ring and uh, and he didn't really want me, we won a grand Prix in the special, you know, 71%. Um, and he did a great job, but it was still, he was very green last year.

Sarah (00:37:58):
So it was a push, it was a push. Um, and I think more time the summer has been great. I've been able to focus on, you know, the quality and the, um, relaxation, all of the basics of the work as the horse was the job. Now, you know, the six months was really tough to teach them all of the new stuff. Um, something so simple, like, you know, she was such a super small tour horse who knew X was halt, you know, every time at halt so all of a sudden it's no X we've got to keep doing something. So it's the little things like that. Just typical green mistakes. Uh, uh, so I am very excited to have another year. Um, I've been able to do a lot of homework over the summer and I think, um, the horse and I are only better for it with some more time. So I, you know, I know a lot of people and I, a lot of my good friends and colleagues, you know, some horses aged out, you know, obviously keeping horses down healthy and going for another year. Sometimes it's quite a tricky thing. Um, so I feel for all those people, but I'm not going to lie inside. I was secret cheer for the worldwide pandemic.

Natasha (00:39:08):
Yeah. I completely understand. Yeah, absolutely. All right. So, um, you've achieved so much in your career. Do you have a favorite accomplishment? Like, was it last Oh, 2019 with that gold? Or was there something else like what's your most favorite?

Sarah (00:39:28):
I mean, I think the two things that always stand out is, you know, starting my own business, like design alone now and doing all of that and really making something that really felt like my own. Um, because as much as I'm a rider and competitor, I'm almost, I'm also a business woman, so that's definitely a huge accomplishment and also being so successful in the business was definitely the accomplishment for me. And then, yeah, I mean, I don't think I can say anything else besides winning the goal at pan AMS and just standing up there on that podium, you know, like every little girl dreams with the American flag going up and I was, Oh my God, I'm gonna cry.

Natasha (00:40:11):
Yeah, yeah,

Sarah (00:40:13):
Yeah. I think mine was crying. Everybody was crying. My mom was able to be there. Um, full family were there, so it was so sweet. I was definitely a very memorable moment and you know, it's very addicting. So I want to recreate that feeling as many times again, as I possibly can.

Sarah (00:40:34):
Good on you. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So what about, what's a low that you've had like a horse got sick oranges or you just had a horrible test. You got eliminated, you came dead last. It was just a bad, bad, bad day in the office.

Sarah (00:40:51):
You know, I think, um, this was a very big turning point in me as a person. Oh, she wouldn't cry just thinking about it. Um, so, um, last year in November of 2019, Jerry passed away, um,

Natasha (00:41:12):
Oh no.

Sarah (00:41:14):
Yeah, it was a really surprise. He was a very healthy young guy, only 67. Um, and obviously, you know, yeah. He, you know, believed in me so much and, um, yeah, and a mentor and a father figure and a business mentor, just such a smart human being that loved the horses. Um, yeah, we had lots of big goals. Um, so that was hard. He died about, uh, just a very sudden heart attack that nobody knew about. So, um, you know, it made me kind of, it makes everybody when you lose somebody close and unfortunately not, unfortunately I really haven't lost too many people that are very close to me. So that was a good wake up call, you know, to what's important. And I have to say that since then, you know, I have all these goals and I'm very goal oriented, business oriented, the super competitive probably to a fault. Um, and when something like that happens and you see not just how it affects me, I mean, I'm super selfish to be so upset about it. Cause this whole family, you know, dealing with so much other stuff,

Natasha (00:42:28):

Natasha (00:42:31):
No that was not the ending of that story, I thought he's going to be there in 21 and we're having a big,

Sarah (00:42:36):
I know it was, it was great that he could be there for the Pan Am's. Um, and it was so special because at his funeral, you know, this man, he created such huge business. I mean he had thousands of employees and giant businesses that I can't even begin to explain comprehend. And his favorite thing, everybody talked about where the horses, his at his funeral was him and the USCF jacket with the medal, the gold medal around his neck. So.

Natasha (00:43:06):
Aw bless.

Sarah (00:43:07):
I know, I know. So it was really cute that, um, through all of his accomplishments and all of his big houses and fancy cars, right.

Natasha (00:43:18):
He was a great guy.

Sarah (00:43:18):
Yeah. So that really woke me up and uh, you know, I will always ride for Jerry and his family amazing and super supportive. And you know, we're doing this for him, we're gonna continue this for him. Um, but yeah, it makes you wake up and go, you know, family has a very important, there are things outside of the horses as much as that's very hard to say because I probably should, you know, practice what I preach a little bit more. But it definitely, since that has happened, I've learned, you know, that I need to do things in moderation and take time for myself and my family and my friends and boyfriend and dogs and all of that. And just make sure that, you know, you enjoy every moment because you don't know.

Sarah (00:44:04):
I mean, that man was so it's such a same, such a loss to the horse community who was really involved in, um, starting to start programs to help the youth in dressage. You know, we really was, uh, always talking about how can we give back, how can we help a sport? Um, so you know, such a, such a loss for so many reasons. Um, but yeah, that would probably be one of the lowest low, you know, right. When I'm you leaving for Florida to go in and train to do it without him was really past.

Natasha (00:44:36):
Oh, absolutely. Oh yeah. Thank you so much for sharing and yes. Thank you so much for sharing a little bit more about what a great, amazing superstar he was.

Sarah (00:44:45):
Yeah, yeah. So, so we will continue to do it for him. And he's left behind a great wife and family and grandson and his whole extended family. I mean, they all have kept this ranch going and, um, they've, you know, expressed how behind me they are and they're super excited and very proud of the horses that we have and the goals we still have to accomplish. So I feel very fortunate that they, uh, that they knew how much it meant to him. So that's why if you guys ever see on my social media, it's always hashtag ride for Jerry.

Natasha (00:45:20):
Oh, brilliant. That is super, super, super. Yeah. Very, very cool. Okay. So, um, where to from here, I guess, what is it about dressage that you love? Why, why you mentioned, you know, that, that whole kind of what you, you should think about moderation and think about other things in life and that there is other things besides riding horses. So, um, you clearly don't ride dressage just for the Olympic's. Like ther's I think you kind of go up to six months. Um, so what is, what is that for you?

Speaker 2 (00:45:58):
You know, so growing up, I think I, I just loved the animals, you know, so at the end of the day, if I couldn't ride, I would still want to do something with the animals. Like I love the horses and the beings there are, they are, you know, and I think we all can relate to the fact that, you know, the horses are so judgment. They don't judge us. Right. They're judgment free. Um, they always start every day, most like most of the time, maybe a mare here and there, but mostly with the clean slate, you know, and I, I really truly believe that the horses are always trying to be good. I really don't believe there's a bad horse out there. And so just at the end of the day, if you take away the sport and the competitiveness and my personal human goals, I just love riding.

Sarah (00:46:43):
You know? So whatever sport that meant, it's just such an amazing feeling to have a communication, like some kind of, it's like almost like the sixth sense with a horse and be able to communicate with this animal that doesn't speak your language. You know, you only have very minimal body language, you know, feel things back on them and you can teach them to do all these crazy things that are very hard for them. And then the horse, somehow, for some reason, likes to do that for you. So I think just at the end of the day, just, I love being a horseman and I love taking any horse, you know, back when I had all those horses and training, and I was known for taking any shape, size breed, you know, problem. And we would take it and we work with it. So it was so fun for me to see a horse progress.

Sarah (00:47:33):
And it didn't matter, you know, whether it's dressage or it was jumping, what forever, whatever reason, so fun to see a horse get it. Um, and so I, I love it just for the horses themselves are amazing animals. Um, you know, I just love spending time with them. And I think riding them is such a privilege. Um, and then, you know, if you go back in the day, I, of course, was an adrenaline junkie, you know, with the eventing, I love to go fast and I loved to jump high. Um, and, but then I think as I got older and my field got more refined, I got a different adrenaline rush or a high, when my horse gives me an amazing extended trot or I get those flying changes or my young horse canters straight down the long side. So I think that's the thing.

Sarah (00:48:20):
One of the things, you know, I think most of us who ride dressage are that a triple plus personality, you know, everything must be perfect. We must get everything done. Um, and I think that's what turns us all onto this is nobody's gotten a hundred percent, nobody ever. So it's one of those sports where you can keep trying and you can keep getting better and you never are good at it. So you can be the best and you still haven't, you're still not in a hundred percent the best of the mind. So I mean, what a cool sport to keep, you can always be better. Um, and so I think between that to feed my competitive, you know, a plus personality along with the fact that I just love animals and love the horses themselves. I mean, I think I'm the luckiest person on earth to call this my job. I mean, this is my job. I'm crazy as that.

Natasha (00:49:11):
I love it. You mentioned the sound, uh, Taipei kind of personality. Are you a perfectionist and are you like OCD in all areas of your life or just in the riding?

Speaker 2 (00:49:23):
No confessions. Um, so when it comes to the barn and my horses, totally, I am, I am weirdly particular about where things are put in the tack room, how things get put away, you know, the order things get done with the horses, the order I ride them with, you know, when I'm riding, I have to keep remembering, reminding myself that I'm on an animal and they might not be feeling great that day because I do want it to be perfect. Um, and, and with certain tasks, I completely am super type a, but I'm also the person that has a pile of clean laundry and a pile of dirty laundry. I'm also the person that sometimes the closet looks like a tornado hit it. So I think I have this like funky balance of, you know, yes I am, but I'm also kind of a laid back person. So, um, so I have both sides of me for sure.

Natasha (00:50:21):
I love it. What does a typical day look like?

Sarah (00:50:25):
So I generally, um, every day with Apple, so I only live about a mile away from the farm. So, um, and I have, we have four dogs, so all the dogs come every day to the barn. Um, and I start every day with my number one. So Apple's the first horse every day. Um, and then I, I generally ride five to seven, eight horses, uh, total a day. I always have a couple really nice sales horses. And I have my younger horses that I'm bringing along that I ride as well. And, and currently I only have one client who I don't even know if I could call her a client, but she has a client and, and a partner and a dear friend who's been with me. She was a client when I had all my crazy amount of horses and she is one that, um, I wanted to stay with the whole time.

Sarah (00:51:14):
She was a very good friend as well, super amateur rider. Really shouldn't be an amateur. She's very good at rides as well as most professionals. So I teach her every day. So that, that feeds my teaching passion. Um, and I generally spend from, you know, 7:00 AM until probably three to 4:00 PM at the farm, you know, riding Apple gets out twice a day. Um, so I ride them in the morning and then he goes for a hack again in the afternoon. Most of my horses are on that program. Um, and then all of my horses spend as many hours as they feel like, uh, a lot of them like stay all day. Other horses have time limits, but they all go out in a very big grass field. So I coming from my eventing days, I'm a big believer in turnout. I'm a big believer in cross training.

Sarah (00:52:03):
So all my horses go on the trail. And when I say the trail, not just like tack ones around me arena, they go up and down the mountains through our water, through the creeks and streams. Um, and they love it. And I think it's such a good thing for them. Um, so we, we make sure that they also live a good horse life. Um, so most of my day spent there and then I, I also then either work out, um, you know, now with COVID things have changed a little bit. I used to have, uh, a great, uh, personal trainer that specializes just in equestrian that would come to my farm. Um, now everything's done over an app. Um, so I either do some something physical, you know, at home or at the farm, uh, outside of the horses. Um, and then, uh, I dunno, binge-watched 90 day fiance, you know, I'm kind of a normal person in the evenings

Natasha (00:52:54):
We don't have 90 day fiance. That sounds like a really good show.

Sarah (00:52:59):
You have, so you have amazing. Yes, you are. It's the, I, I, one of the things that I need as a human cause I, my brain is always going, I'm always thinking I need brainless TV. So 90 days is what I would call brainless TV.

Natasha (00:53:20):
I absolutely love it. That's awesome. Um, let me just speak about, I loved how you said the dressage horses go hacking and it's hacking it's through the water and it's up and down. And you said Apple gets ridden in the morning and hacking the afternoon. Does every horse get ridden twice a day, six days a week? Like, can you speak a little bit more about

Sarah (00:53:39):
It just, it just depends on the time of year, the show schedule, their work schedule. You know, I have always believed like motion is lotion. So horses in the wild walk, constantly miles and miles and miles. So all of my physios and my vets, and I think my vet sometimes cringes when he hears what I'm doing, but he can't complain. Cause see, my horses are all very happy and sound. Um, but I believe the more movement the better. So, um, it's definitely the second rides are not hard rides. You know, the younger horses, that's a little hard on the mind wise, so they sometimes will just spend more time out in the field instead. Um, but you know, with Apple, it's an, it was a lot of the other competition horses. It's a sneaky way. It's two up there conditioning again, back from my eventing days.

Sarah (00:54:29):
I, all my horses would get schooled in the morning and then we would do gallop and trots sets in the afternoon. So it, it's not hard on their legs, but it's a cardio conditioning. So in my mind, you know, going on a four 30, 45 minute walk on a loose rein, you know, that's normally not mentally hard on a horse, they actually ended up really enjoying it. Um, so it just kind of, again, depends on time of year and conditioning schedule. Um, sometimes I'll let the horses down and then they only go out once a day and they mostly are out on the turnout. Um, but during the high competition twice a day, it's, it's great. Cause I find them, the horses are never tight and stiff the next day. And they really mentally are happy. I mean, I don't know many horses that want to be in their box.

Natasha (00:55:15):
Absolutely. And do you have a walker as well or is it like, do you ever have a goal that comes from Europe that can't go outside? It just runs every time.

Sarah (00:55:24):
Um, you know, only a few times have I had that. It's amazing. Most of my horses end up and I think because they can go out and they're next to each other. Um, and I think they, they end up really liking it out there. Um, I do have my own personal horses, random and you know, some days he'll start screaming after 30 minutes and he wants to be brought in and other days he wants to stay out and you can't let me catch him to bring him in. So like a personal thing with the horses, but I find most of them, if they're in a regular program, I don't really see any of them running around wildly out there. They're just kind of happy to hang out cause it's part of their routine. So we have different ways of introducing them to the turnout, you know, smaller ones first. And we put them without with the Friesian is our token version is Tommy influenced for most of those horses and then they end up liking it. Yes.

Natasha (00:56:19):
Yep. That's awesome. Brilliant. Okay. Do you have any sponsors you'd like to mention?

Sarah (00:56:25):
I have a lot of sponsors that have been with me for a long time. Um, I have N 2 Saddlery who was probably, I think one of my first ever sponsors period, man just started their company and, um, they are super saddle company, all my horses go in them. So that's N 2 Saddlery. Um, I also work closely with a company called Halter Ego, who all my horses go in their bridles and I am always dressed in their super cute outfits from head to toe. Um, I have a super boot sponsor, um, with really comfortable, super stylish. I know if anybody follows me on social media, I'm definitely a fashion-y stuff. So I, I love the matching matchy bling. All my kids have their own brida saddles. And then I have matching boots to go with that horse. So Kingsley is my boot sponsor that makes all my fun and sometimes crazy riding boots that I have. Um, and then my, you know,

Natasha (00:57:25):
Sorry, stop before you go, you change your boots, every horse. So not at home because that would be a little excessive, so not at home. Um, but definitely at shows I have outfits and boots that match each and every horse. So I have, um, my young horse goes and burgundies, so the saddle is burgundy and my boots are burgundy. Um, you know, Apple is of course red, white, and blue. And then I have a mirror that goes in, uh, and like pearls. So all of that is kind of Pearl matching. So I'm definitely a fashionista when it comes to

Natasha (00:58:05):
I have huge matchy envy right now. That is amazing.

Sarah (00:58:10):
It's fun. It's fun. I have to reel it in every once in a while. Cause my coaches are very traditional, so, so I can only be so much, but uh, it's all done very classy, but I do enjoy throwing a little bit,

Natasha (00:58:24):
No matter what you wear, it's all good, then I'll work on that. Awesome. So sorry. I had to just unpack that, but yeah.

Sarah (00:58:37):
Yeah. That's, that's great. So, and also to go along with my saddles, I have a great, um, stirrup that I use that helps with my knee and hip, especially when I was riding so many horses, MDC Stirrups. And then I think one of the most important things that I've learned, um, you know, about the horses is they are athletes too. So their nutrition is so important. Um, so I feed my horses triple crown grain and they all are on a platinum performance, which platinum performance creates a, a huge line of different supplements. So I can tailor it for each course and they're all veterinary approved. It's, it's quite an amazing product line for that. Um, and then I have again to go with my matching. My horses goes in a dressage sport boots. Um, and I underneath my really fancy riding boots I have my Foot Huggy Socks because again on the side when I'm not in riding clothes, I generally nobody would be able to guess I'm at the barn all day. I do love my designer clothes and I like my pedicures and manicures so these socks actually make your pedicures last longer in your boots is of course. So that's the foot huggy socks that Instagram. So my Instagram handle is at S L dressage and my Facebook is just my name, Sarah Lockman. And you can also find me. We have two websites, one that's for the farm, the beautiful farm. I've talked about that we're at here in Marietta, California, and that's and my own personal website where you can follow along with what I'm doing with each horse and look for the very interesting, cool sales horses that we bring in on a regular basis. It's S L

Natasha (01:00:31):
Thank you so much. We will have all of that in the show notes so people can get those links if I didn't get it just then, but that is amazing. Anything else you'd like to finish with?

Sarah (01:00:41):
No, you know, thank you so much for having me on the show and you know, if you or anyone else has any other questions in da, tell me and feel free to reach out and email to me. I love getting people's questions, whether it's training questions, I'm available for the virtual lessons now that everybody's doing. So I've been tied a lot of Pixeo and Pixium lessons. And, um, after 2021, I will be open for booking clinics as well. So, um, it's shows, I love to tell everybody a little bit more about me. I know everybody sees me out in the ring and on video, but uh, this way you can see a little bit more about the real Sarah.

Natasha (01:01:20):
Yeah, that's amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. I have no doubt. Um, people might look at you and if I didn't know your story go, everything worked out. Um, it's all, you know, isn't that so lucky for Sarah, everything goes well for Sarah, but Sarah I've never met someone I think that has worked so, so hard with such a clear vision and such a clear idea of, well, this it's not just, I want to get there. I want to get there. I want to get there. You kept doing the, and how am I going to get there? And you worked and worked and worked on, on plans and you backed yourself time and time and time after again. And, um, I'm a little bit of a believer in homeschooling. So I'm loving to hear that you are homeschooled because I see a lot of homeschoolers have that drive, have that tenacity, have that persistence, um, all those really great character traits that you know, to me, if you want a recipe for success, or you want a guarantee of success, it's those kinds of things. If you're persistent, committed, dedicated clear tt's guaranteed. Um, so I love your living, breathing example of that. And I just really want to honor you congratulate you congratulate everyone associated with you. And, um, I just think you're a complete rockstar. So thank you so much.

Sarah (01:02:32):
Oh, well thank you so much. I think the one thing, one of the things I pride myself on is, you know, no one will be able to outwork me. So I think that has helped me in my career and my childhood up until now. I think everybody would say Sarah is a hard worker. So, you know, for what I lack in some of the other areas, I will always make up for it by working really hard. And you know, one of the things, a little quote I like to live by as you know, you live the life you choose. So from the beginning, from when I was 10, I said, this is going to be my life.

Sarah (01:03:04):
I want this picture. So this little girl from a very less than family in the middle of nowhere in a cow town in Nevada, so I'm going to do it. So, um, I always say that to myself, you live the life you choose. So, so we are going to keep moving forward. I think there's exciting things to come. I so appreciate your kind words. And I will be over here working hard and trying to make it to the next goal.

Natasha (01:03:29):
Yeah. I cannot wait to give you a call and congratulate you and we'll have just, uh, just, uh, celebrate every drink too. Um, cause I know that's in your future. I'm a hundred percent guaranteed on that. So I'm so excited.

Sarah (01:03:42):
Thank you so much

Speaker 4 (01:03:44):
Everyone will have gotten so much out of that. So thank you so much.

Sarah (01:03:49):
Thank you so much for having me. It was great to having this chat.

Natasha (01:03:52):
Awesome. See you.

Natasha (01:03:54):
To stay up to date with the latest conent, don't forget to hit subscribe to this podcast. Go on, hit subscribe. I'd love. If you would love to leave us a review to help us how we could do better or make this even more amazing for you. And remember to follow us on Instagram at Your Riding Success and Natasha.Althoff.


Podcast Episode 41: Gary Lung | Passion for Coaching

In this podcast, we speak with Gary Lung. Gary is a successful Australian Grand Prix competitor, coach and trainer. Having trained with Steffen and Shannon Peters, Gary quickly developed his horsemanship skills and knowledge. With a positive attitude and no stranger to hard work, Gary is the founder of Windhill Dressage Stables and now dedicates his time to training, coaching, clinics.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00:00):
Welcome to this Your Riding Success episode with Gary Lang. Gary started riding at the age of nine years old in Papua New Guinea, before venturing to Australia many years later. Gary has competed across a range of disciplines in his lifetime, and this has helped shape Gary's horsemanship skills and knowledge. Gary had made it many Dressage squads in his journey with GB Winchester and has also trained with the Olympian Steffen Peters in the U S. Gary is the founder of Windhill dressage stables, and now dedicates his time to training, coaching, and clinics. Professional riders and trainers commend Gary's professionalism, knowledge and positive attitude. Here's Gary to share his story.

Natasha (00:00:36):
Welcome to the Your Riding Success podcast. My name is Natasha Althoff and I'm a Grand Prix dressage rider from Australia, author of three books, and a leading online trainer of riders wanting to take their riding to the next level. I'm also a shopaholic mother of two amazing children and obsesses with helping riders to be all they can be. Each week I'm going to bring in new stories of inspiration, ideas, and strategies of how to make real progress in your riding and give you actionable advice on overcoming riding fear and anxiety so you can take your riding to the next level and be the rider you dream to be. So let's get into today's episode. Thanks so much for joining me today, Gary, I'm super pumped to chat.

Gary (00:01:16):
Welcome. Nice to be here.

Natasha (00:01:19):
Awesome. All right, so I'd love to know how horses started for you. What, what got you into horses? Were you a horse, mad boy, you were just like horses, horses, horses, or how did it all start?

Gary (00:01:31):
It started. I grew up in Papua New Guinea, and I remember going to one of the local horse shows. It was actually the annual horse show the year. And I remember going there and seeing a bunch of kids riding and I thought to myself, well, that looks kind of fun. And I remember asking one of the kids, you know, how do you ride a horse? What do you do? How do you get into it? And I remember he said to me, horses are very expensive. And I think back then it was $150 to buy a horse. Well, I need to buy myself a horse. So I went home and counted all my money. Piggy bank, and I had 151 cent pieces. And I thought how I've got my, I went to my mom and said, mom, I have $150. Can I buy a pony? And she went, what do you mean?

Gary (00:02:29):
And I explained, and she said, how much was it? I said $150. And she said, no, you've only got 151 cent pieces. So yeah. And then from that, I, um, befriended people at school with horses because my family's not horsey I was the only black sheep in the family who actually decided to love animals and love horses and loved dogs. And, and they weren't going to help me. Mum, dad had nothing to do with horses. They didn't want to have anything to do with horses. So I befriended friends at school who had horses. I think a lot of us kind of can relate to a story like that and poor kids who thought I wanted to be their friend. Actually, I didn't want to be their friend. And I just wanted to be friends with their horses.

Natasha (00:03:20):
Secret's out now. Sorry about that.

Gary (00:03:29):
Um, from that I went to pony club, you know, the local pony club hung out with families, with kids, with horses. Did anything I can, if I could just pick up a brush, groom a horse, feed a horse, I didn't care. I just wanted to be around horses.

Natasha (00:03:47):
I love it. And did you have a dream when you said you first went to your first show, when you saw horses, were they jumping? Were they going around in circles, were they showing, did you have an idea of what you wanted to do?

Gary (00:03:59):
It was more the pony. It was more like novelties, bending races and barrel races. And I just thought this looks like fun. I just wanted to yeah hoon around on a pony and I just was fascinated that, that people could sit on a horse and ride a horse and interact with the horse.

Natasha (00:04:22):
Wow. Okay. So, um, you're doing Pony club, you're having fun. Um, are you also trying to figure out what you were going to be when you grew up, was school very important back? Like, were your parents encouraging you to finish school and do something with, with schooling or what was going on?

Gary (00:04:39):
Well, my parents originally, when you grow up in Papua New Guinea, the majority of people there send their children away to Australia to boarding school. And so you, you, you, you went to school in Port Moresby or Papua New Guinea up to, um, high school. And then from high school onwards, you went to boarding school. Well, I refused to go to boarding school because I couldn't take my horse. I said, yeah. I said to my best, I'll go, if you can take my thoughts. And of course, you know, you couldn't take your horse from Papua New Guinea to Australia. Didn't think that you could actually get a horse down here, but yeah, but, um, so I, I grew up, I sort of went to high school at Port Moresby, Port Moresby International High School had a great upbringing. I mean, growing up in Papua New Guinea back in the eighties were really like open.

Gary (00:05:35):
We didn't have a lot of the gangs and the crime and it was a very open, you know, everyone knew everyone and it was a great environment to grow up in. And where I learned to ride was in a place called by Bomana Pony Club or what we call the turf club. And in Papua New Guinea, they don't, you don't have a horse and have in your backyard, everyone who had horses actually leased, um, like a stable or leased, a couple of acres off the turf club. And it was based around the clock. And you lived in town, you drive out, you had your horses, uh, set up there, you would ride. And we did everything. So one weekend you'd go to pony club, next weekend you, you play polocrosse, the next weekend you'd go to a point to point race. And then you have a go at what we thought was dressage back then and just a mustering cattle, and you just did everything. And it didn't matter what it was. We just wanted to be with horses.

Natasha (00:06:40):
I love it.

Gary (00:06:43):
Well, the stock horses. So it came from cattle station or a lot of, um, a lot of race horses were, were imported from Australia and they would race for a least until they were about 10 years old. And then they'll give yes. Then they'll give them to us. And you can imagine the challenges that came with the off the track thoroughbred 10 years old raced for most of it's life.

Natasha (00:07:10):
Yeah. Yeah. It's pretty ingrained those patterns.

Gary (00:07:14):
Exactly. But we didn't care. He had four legs and a tail and it went fast.

Natasha (00:07:19):
I was going to say, it's probably good. It goes fast. Who's got the fastest.

Gary (00:07:25):
The way you jump and the way you went around barrels, you just went fast, the way you play polo cross, and you just went fast. I think we even did dressage fast. S.

Natasha (00:07:34):
Yeah. Yeah. Well, this is what I'm so curious about because I only know you as a dressage rider. So I'm hearing this amazing story of fast and crazy, fast and furious. Um, so what was the, what was the defining moment that shifted that?

Gary (00:07:48):
Okay. I, um, so when I eventually moved to Australia, I started, uh, eventing and I had a thoroughbred that I did a little bit of eventing and still in that very fast mode, a hundred miles an hour. And, um, he became a little unsound in jumping. So I continue on with dressage and I had no concept about putting a horse on the bit, no concept about putting a horse through. And I remember having lessons with Edgar Lee and Glennis Barry, and they showed me actually how to put a horse round and a horse through. And I'm thinking, wow, this horse actually feels soft now, rather than a wooden neck and wooden back horse.

Natasha (00:08:33):
I was going to say, did you even think, I think my horse is broken. This feels completely different to anything I've ever sat on that first time.

Gary (00:08:42):
It's like, wow, I can sit on its back.

Gary (00:08:46):
So instead of bouncing around, so I think Glennis Barry was a real turning point. She showed now really gymnastically work a horse, cause I haved no idea. I just had to go round in circles, you know, okay that you did this and you just did this and this. Kick it in the guts, pull it's teeth out and off you go. But Glennis showed quite a lot of gymnastic exercises and the way to actually put a horse together and to actually access the horses back. And I thought, Oh, this is so foreign to me. And so new. And then I figured out that what I liked the most was the horse came together and the host actually started responding to you. And I think liking you picking up the gut.. And, um, and I think that was a turning point. That was when I went, you know, I liked this.

Gary (00:09:44):
I liked the, the detail in the training. I love the, the, the, the work that you have to put to actually get the end result more and more challenging to me. Um, cause I used to just love everything fast and adrenaline was there, but this was very different. This was like, wow, I got it yesterday, but why can't I get it today? And then tomorrow then, and you just have to school it until you get it. And any, it was like hitting that golf ball or hitting that tennis ball at the right spot and getting the right, sweet spot and everything sort of lining up, getting on the horses and then doing the actual move and then it not going right. What was wrong? What can I do? And that became challenging to me. And then to actually take a horse that was very stiff, very unwilling, very behind the leg, behind the aid, very stuck and actually getting them to work underneath you and suppleness just like this light bulb moment. And I went, you know what? I like this, very challenging. I love it.

Natasha (00:10:56):
And in your normal life, uh, do you love challenge? Like, is that a part of your personality? You love a good challenge. You love a puzzle, you know, that that just lit up or everything, how you're wired.

Gary (00:11:09):
Yeah. One of the things that, um, when people say, you know, you hear that cliche, when someone says to you, you can't, you know, the big challenge. What I like when someone comes to me though, I have a problem or I don't like this. Uh, I feel like I've been, um, bullied. I feel like I've been in injustice, happened to me. What I'd like to do is get into that, work it and turn it around and then make some, so lady rang the other day and she was really upset. And she said to me, Gary, I don't think I can come for any more lessons. The owners have taken the horse off me. They treated me really badly. And she was in tears and I said to her, look, let's look at it this way. Would you rather go down, you know, a couple of years down the track and they actually then show their true colors or to tell us now, and then you can accept it and then move on from there. And I think I always like to look at that positives. I don't like to look, Oh, okay. Let's whine on about it now, let's get on with it. And that's, I think like with any horse, you got a problem with the horse thing. Oh my God, my horse is not doing this. Why is it doing let's work out how to get through this and get on with it.

Natasha (00:12:28):
Yeah. I love it. Okay. So you're having lessons, um, and suddenly felt this amazing feeling and starting to feel all these great things. Um, did you even know that piaffe, passage, massage, one time tempi's existed? Um,

Gary (00:12:45):
Hell no. The biggest thing I wanted to do was a single flying change. That was the goal. If I get a single flying change, I would have made it. I would have won my goal lotto. I would have been oh. I was so, so special when I did the flying change. And besides what's that it was more about the flying change. Yeah.

Natasha (00:13:09):
I love it. Okay. So you're working with Glennis and that was your focus, the one flying change by then, had you seen a Grand Prix dressage test? Had you been to competitions and seen? Yeah.

Gary (00:13:20):
Yes. I eventually started cause I used to go down to Glennis's place and watch her train and, and I could see, okay, it's a little bit more than just a single flying change. And I could see where it all started coming together and, and then it got more intense for me, I suppose, and the drive to actually get there. And of course, you know, you, I went down the path of buying myself a school master, um, that, you know, was, you could say was knew all the tricks. Um, so it could piaffe, couldn't passage, could do the one time changes, he could go sideways, but I didn't care. I just did all the tricks. Didn't look particularly good. It was very strung out, but you know what, who cares? We were going sideways.

Natasha (00:14:11):
Like, I got it. That was the point. Didn't know it had to look a certain way. I got it.

Gary (00:14:14):
And, um, you know, you, you think you're rather special and, and, but it, it, it gave me a few that, that passion. And then later on, then I got another horse, uh, that was a grand Prix horse and school master. He was great. He actually taught me how to put it together. Very, again, very old school, very old warmblood type that kind of looked a bit like a elephant and move like an elephant, but did everything right? And you, you could laugh at this and I, I would share this with you, but you know, for me to do my 15 one time changes was fantastic, but I used to do it way before X. So I did my 15 ones, but hang on what happened to the rest of the diagonal?

Natasha (00:15:15):
Not finished on the spot? I got my 15 ones.

Gary (00:15:29):
And so it was, it was great to actually learn a lot of that stuff. And then wasn't until I started riding younger horses that I went, Oh, okay. I understand now where it all fits in. And then still, I just worked with a number of different coaches and what the next coach, it really helped me, um, was actually, uh, Leoni Bramall from Germany and Leoni was one that sort of opened up a whole nother world. Um, and therefore with her for a very short time. And then that's when I had the offer to go to America with and train with Stephan. So I took Chester across the story. There was Stephan came across to do a master class. Um, I was one of the, the guest riders and the guest horse and he, and I just hit it off and he actually invited me to come to Australia. I had to come to, to America. And at that stage I was like, or I don't know whether I've got enough cash for that. I don't fund that. Uh, I don't know whether I could leave my job. I don't know whether I can leave my life here, but

Natasha (00:16:45):
Good job. Do you have a real job? Have a real job.

Gary (00:16:52):
I love that. And I say that too. I have a real job.

Gary (00:16:58):
The real job was I was a training manager for a large public company. And I looked after all the training division. So it was a registered training organization. And we had, um, offices throughout Australia and New Zealand and I was the training manager and I looked after all that. So my specialty is adult education. So I went to uni and learnt a little bit about it, but I kind of fell into that role more because I worked through that company and I worked through the ranks, got into manager, became kind of started coaching a lot of my own staff. And the CEO said to me, Gary, tell me how you train your staff because all your staff are very confident, very competent. Um, uh, they get into the call center and they hit the floor running. What do you do compared to the other managers? And I explained that my background is in training horses and that, you know, you can't overload, you can't teach a horse, you know, Grand Prix every in one session years and blah, blah, blah, and any kind of got there. And that's when he, he opened up the, the, the door to me becoming more and more involved in training for that company. So that was the real job back then.

Natasha (00:18:23):
Because obviously you had a commitment to the company and you loved what you were doing and you were busy. And at some times I'm sure high stress, but then you had these goals with the horses and it's was not like you were riding 10 horses a day. It was definitely fitting in either before or after. So I would have felt a bit of a conflict.

Gary (00:18:40):
It was very conflict, um, because I wanted to really spend time training. The horses actually subsidize the hobbies. But prior to that, I actually coached for a little while, but never made a living out of it. Um, just scraped through, um, I was just fresh. I went and did my back then he was the NCS level one. I went and did that and I came out and went right. I'm now level one, coach. Yeah, come knocking at the door, no one knocked at all. And then I'll sitting there eating two minute noodles going, okay, I'm making money.

Gary (00:19:29):
So from that, I went, right. I now have to go back and have a real job. And that's where I went back and worked. Um, I actually put horses aside for a little while during that period to concentrate on my career, but also concentrate on university, went and did some study, did all that and then came back into the riding later on. And that's when I, of course touched base with, uh, Glennis and Glennis was the one that said, Oh, come and have a look at these horses. And, and Holey, Moley, there was this fall. And of course that's where I ended up with Chester. And that's where the journey began with Chester.

Natasha (00:20:11):
Right. Okay. So yeah, we filled in that bit. So now you've got a decision. Do you go to the other side of the world? Do you go to America and take an amazing training opportunity? Learn so much more? I think you knew already. It was a sense of, it was going to be another new world you had already had the world with Glennis the world with Leoni yet it was going to be the next, the next one. Yeah. So you couldn't say no.

Gary (00:20:36):
No. So I went, um, it was a big, it was a very big decision and one that I, you know, um, discuss the family and my partner and what we ended up doing was we sent him across and Stephan was fantastic. He just said, look, you just do whatever you can and we'll make it work. And I'm in the back of my mind thinking, what, why does he want me and my horse to come to America? Let's figure it out. And he told me later on the barn that he has is quite a very lovely group of people. And it's a really lovely barn, you go there. It's very open. It's very conducive to learning. Um, you have like six coaches and trainers all working together, loads of people riding together all sharing. And he kind of likes horses and people who fit the bill, um, who were lighthearted. Uh, and because in, during the masterclass, he and I were kind of bantering and shy of course.

Gary (00:21:56):
And, um, so when, um, he took a liking to me, of course, loved Chester. Um, and when the opportunity came, he just said, look, let's I said to him, I'm not in a position to go, you know, I just don't have an open checkbook. And he said, you just do whatever you need to do and we'll make it work. So he kind of helped a little bit, which was really lovely. And he got there, his wife, Shannon, um, fantastic lady. Um, he and Shannon, uh, uh, real health nuts. They real, really early. She bakes in early morning. She bakes is healthy, dairy free, gluten free

Natasha (00:22:38):
Vegan, free, fat free,

Gary (00:22:39):
Fat, free cardboard looking things. It tasted nice. And, um, but they'll ride their horses in the morning and then they'll go off and do a gym session during the middle of the day or ride a bike and then they'll teach in the afternoon. So they're very healthy people, great environment to actually work in. And I think it's might have actually interviewed Emma. Yes, yes. And Emma was there and Emma was great in getting mee to the, to the system and Emma helped me out a lot. So that was really lovely. Yeah.

Natasha (00:23:20):
And so were you flying backwards and forwards working then training?

Gary (00:23:25):
Yeah, he would he was based there. Chester was based there and Steffen would ride him through the week or Steffen's assistant lyncher would ride him down and I would fly backwards and forwards every four weeks. So I'd run around madly for four weeks doing clinics and working and getting more money and then jumping back on a plane and flying back and

Natasha (00:23:52):
Okay. And what's the flight? 18 hours. Yes.

Gary (00:23:55):
Yeah, no, it was about 13 to 14 hours.

Natasha (00:23:58):
Okay. So long time. Yes.

Gary (00:24:01):
I got into a routine and I get there for the years on watch a movie fall asleep. And so I became an Inn where Steffen's based in San Diego or, um, in a place called Rancho Santa Fe. And it's in the hinterland of, of San Diego and San Diego is very similar to the Gold Coast in that you've picked the lifestyle you have the hinterland. Um, and it's a beautiful part of the country. Uh, and it's very relaxed. It's very similar the Australian lifestyle. So it's really easy to slip into that type of environment.

Natasha (00:24:40):
Brilliant. Okay. And what was Chester training before you sent him over what level?

Gary (00:24:45):
So he was doing, um, kind of small tour stuff. Yep. Yeah. So we already touched a bit on short steps. Um, he already started sequence changes. Um, you know, he didthe canter pirouettes. Um, but he never really came together for the Piaffe an passage. You know, we kinda touched a little bit on it, but nothing serious. Then it was Steffen and his wife that actually helped me. His wife did help me a lot. She does a lot of, um, uh, in hand, long reigning. And may she would, you know, the long reining a horse through the, the barn or up the Hills and there's lots of trails and she's long reining passaging up here piaffing there. And so she helped me out a lot with putting the piaffe and passage in for Chester.

Natasha (00:25:42):
And was that the intention for, I mean, obviously you knew you were going to learn a lot, but was it, I want to get this horse to grand Prix. I want to get to grand Prix and I think this is the best place to get that all done. Yeah.

Gary (00:25:54):
Yeah. Yeah. One of the things that actually drew me to, to Steffen was it, he wrote Chester and he made Chester look amazing and he was pumped and floating around the arena. And then he came in back to me and when he handed it back to me, just so chilled and I got on chest Chester was so relaxed and I went, Whoa, okay, there's something here because I've actually, you know, chest. And I've been in a number of, uh, final's for um, Sydney CDI, Dressage with the Stars in the young horse classes. And I've had a number of German or International guest riders get on him. Yes, yes. And on, and I big auction trot around and they're floating around looking flash and then they hand him back to me and I can,

Gary (00:26:45):
I can feel it and I'll wait, I'm not getting on this thing. Wow.

Gary (00:26:56):
But so pumped that everything was just a Bren lines. Steffen had Chester moving amazingly and with such power and grace and softness. And then he handed it back to me and Chester was like chilled. And I went, wow. Now you're addicted

Natasha (00:27:17):
You want it, then how can you access that power?

Gary (00:27:22):
And then I can show the, you know, so that was one of the things that drew me to it. And I knew then that I wanted him to help me take Chester to the next level. And he did that, you know, both him and Shannon and Liencia the three of them helped me out a lot. Um, and they were, it's a very encouraging atmosphere. Um, and you know, what the Americans are like, they're really, you know, clapping each other on and they're fantastic and it's a great environment. So it's the one, one experience I don't think I'll ever forget. And it actually changed the way I rode changed the way I change the way I think changed the way I actually train a horse.

Gary (00:28:12):
And one of the things that prior to that I used to always concentrate on, okay, at this level, your horse has to do this at this level to do this. And, and whereas I learned very quickly at Steffens that it's not about that. It's about the quality of the horse, the quality of that put it together. How can you access the horse? How can you get the horse through it, working through its body. And then you go off and do a couple of moves. And when it falls apart, how can you quickly put it back to where you had it? So you've got that. So often you see them, you know, like six people working in arena and they're not doing massive flash, extended trots and sequence changes and half pass. And are they just going through pure training and then I got hooked on that and I understand.

Gary (00:29:04):
So I suppose now when I ride a horse, it's all about what I go looking for, the problem, places, the sticky bits, and how can we address that? How can we fix this? Because if you don't fix it, it's going to raise its ugly head later on down the track and slap your head, um, need to dress it back then. So that was real eye-opener to me. And it changed the way I, I thought, it changed the way I trained. It changed the way I taught as well. So I've come back and I've come back and I've got this very different approach to, well,

Natasha (00:29:42):
But it's like, it's different, but then I'm sure they would've started to say these amazing results as well, going all right. I'll, I'll go with it. It's good.

Gary (00:29:51):
And one of the other things Tash that I really liked was, um, they would all go to a horse show, quite a big horse show as a stable. So majority of us would go and they, they, they stay there for the week and you get to school there at a competition. You still work with Stefan and you still work withShannon, you still with Lynchia and you worked there under those conditions. And there were a couple of times when there were like two CDIs back to back and you could just run, you know, run competition and go straight into the other one. And, um, and that was great to train at home. Great to try and how all the moves and how to actually put your hosts together. But then they clicked into test riding mode. And that, that was new to me because I was, I always struggled in the past of get it home and of course I, win the warmup, you know, as you do, if you get into, the test and it all falls apart, but yeah, that, that was a big eye-opener. So when I came back to Australia, I actually started encouraging all my students. Let's do this. This is training. This is test riding. Let's prepare you for competitions and absolutely. Lots that I learned.

Natasha (00:31:17):
Yeah. So how long was it all up of the coming and forward coming? Like how long was Chester there?

Gary (00:31:23):
Uh, Chester was there probably close to 18 months. Probably a little bit longer. Yeah. Oh God, I don't want to look at it.

Natasha (00:31:37):
Oh yeah. Wait, we won't go there? It's all right. Never happened. I think I could have bought a car.

Gary (00:31:45):
Yeah. BMW's Ferrari's and some posh cars.

Natasha (00:31:52):
Okay. So, um, but you've got from small tour. So you were definitely doing the CDI's, um, in the Grand Prix before

Gary (00:32:00):
No. I only actually in, when I was in America, um, I did a handful of medium tours. Oh, right. Yep. Yeah. That's it. The one in between small and big tour. And it was very, very rusty cause I was still trying to work on it myself. And at that stage Chester has his ones, if you set it up. Right. But of course, you know, it's so often I would get five and then two and then the rest of it. And uh, he kind of confirmed, um, he could piaffe he could piaffe the house down. I couldn't put the piaffe, walk piaffe, besides together. I couldn't put it all together. Uh, I got the canter pirouettes. I've got most of it, but I just couldn't put it together in that situation. And as much as we practise you know, I think, um, my, my senior brain was sort of cutting in and my grain nomad brain was cutting in and my coordination wasn't there and it was still a learning curve for me at that stage.

Gary (00:33:10):
Um, and it wasn't until I actually came home. So that helped me set it up. I came home, I had the option to stay another six months and do it. And I thought to myself, do I do it? I mean, I love going there and coming back to sports and I thought, no, I'm going to bite the bullet. I'm going home. I'm going to come home. And then, you know, continue on with the training. And until I got home that I was left to my own device, that I had to step it up. And that made me, uh, kind of stand on my own two feet. And then I played, cause back then, I think I was relying a lot on, I'm going to ask Steffen it's all apart, what do I do? Um, and he would say try this, whereas at home, it just, I just couldn't pick up the phone or I couldn't speak to him. I had to work it out.

Gary (00:34:07):
And then I touched base again with Leoni who used to come regularly from Germany and she helped me kind of polish it off a little bit, but then they, and you know yourself, you're a Grand Prix rider and trainer, you can do the moves, but it's not until you get in the ring and you actually have to put it together. And I remember someone said to me, once, when you get to grand Prix, you, A have to learn how to ride again. And do you need to do at least 20 grand Prix, for it but feel comfortable? Yeah.

Natasha (00:34:44):
Yeah. Well, what strikes me all the years it took to get to Grand Prix, it felt like it's going to take all those years to get good at it. So if it took you 10 years to get to Grand Prix, I now need 10 years at Grand Prix.

Gary (00:35:00):
And you get to Grand Prix and you're at the bottom of the pecking order and you have to play through chip away and improve your marks, improve your horse. Your horse has to get strong. Your timing has to get better because you know, you know yourself in Grand Prix, you're furiously counting, you know?

Natasha (00:35:19):
Yeah. And everything. There's no break. Next Diagonal. The next one next diagonal is the next to it.

Gary (00:35:27):
You're counting all the time and if you miss one, well, you know, you'd have to deep dive. So I felt that I stepped it up to Grand Prix. I thought, and I, I, you know, I struggled through it and going, uh, Leonie helped me and then, um, Lonnie actually joins, it helped me as well. I started having lessons with her and she, she was very great in supporting me and, and putting it all together in a test situation. And he made me ride it pretty much every day. So I used to have to ride it every day and that's where I kind of got better and better in the Grand Prix. And not only do I think I got better and better in the Grand Prix, but I think my riding in general got better. Um, the handling, my timing with young horses got better. Uh, I was poor. My poor students got copped it because I made sure they got better. And I said, right, come on, speed this process up.

Natasha (00:36:28):
These are our new standards.

Gary (00:36:31):
That's right. And no more having cups of tea, come on, let's go, let's do this. And my favorite saying is stop setting the table and folding napkins and doing the flower arrangements, we're having fish and chips on the couch. Let's do it.

Gary (00:36:50):
So, um, I think that the pushing myself through to that Grand Prix has really made me, uh, I think a better, rider in terms of timing and expectation. And, uh, and I think you, you could relate to this, you know, you, there's not, a lot of people say they can train and ridden at Grand Prix and once you get there, it's like, wow, you feel like you have such respect for anyone else that's ridden at that level. And it's like a Grand Prix club and not trying to disclude anyone, but you feel like you support each other and it feels quite nice.

Natasha (00:37:33):
Yeah, absolutely. So what's, what's your favorite memory of competing with him? What's your favorite venue or your favorite test that you ever did?

Gary (00:37:45):
The favorite tests would have to be at I rode it Willinga, um, one of the CDI's there, and I remember, I don't know what it was, but everything, I think all the moons and stars lined up and I remember riding the Grand Prix thinking, wow, I've got time to knit a jumper in between each movement. It was like, wow, wow. I've got time to prepare this. I've got time to think, but time to assess the next one. And then it all clicked for me. And that felt amazing. That was, um, probably one of my highlights. Just, it felt good. Um, and I felt like it was, I was in one and Jesse was with me in, and we had lots of conversation between the two of us and so often when I ride Chester he has a lot of discussions with me. Like, no, no, no, I can do this. You just sit there and I'll do this and I went.

Gary (00:38:43):
No, no, no, no. We need to do this together. No, no, no. I can do this. And I bet I love it. You asked about favorite riding time, another time that, and I tell this story to everyone. Um, I think we're in the finals of the five-year-old at Dressage with the Stars and think from memory, I can't, we were, I was in the top three and it got down to the last three of us and it was pretty edgy, like, yeah. The atmosphere I had him so pumped for the trot work and I was like, this is I'm on fire, went across and do the walk and of course you remember Werribee in the corner with the buys. Um, they've also got wooden floors and there was a massive dog fight.

Gary (00:39:37):
And of course everyone's scattered chairs fell down and Chester froze, ran backwards and went, I don't know, something's over there, completely lost the whole thing. Um, and the pieces, everything went to pieces, but I remember thinking it's stopped and everyone pause and the judges were looking at me and I was looking at the judges and the people look at me and I'm gonna give a people I'm going to die. I'm gonna die here. But, um, you continued on, I remember, um, off, more or less said to me, Gary, um, this is certainly not your Sunday.

Natasha (00:40:17):
Oh, I love that. It's your favorite memory though? Like when you, yeah,

Gary (00:40:20):
I got, and I just thought, well, it all fell apart and you know what

Natasha (00:40:24):
You survived and exactly, you didn't burst into flames yep. That's awesome.

Gary (00:40:30):
Yeah, I did. I was waiting for the earth to open up and so I could smell it.

Natasha (00:40:35):
But it doesn't actually happen. So there's nothing to worry about. It's all good.

Gary (00:40:39):
Well, I say that to a lot of people, because I say, you know, you worked so hard to get to something like that and in, in a split second to go up and all fall apart. So yeah. Soldier on.

Natasha (00:40:53):
Exactly. So well said. So, um, then there would've come a time. Um, that, uh, what are you thinking about, like, what are the goals with this horse and is he, am I going to keep riding him forever? Like, is there a retirement, um, how did you speak, speak to that last bit? And then I believe he did something very, very cool.

Gary (00:41:14):
Yes. Um, so Chester he's now 17 and last year I was riding along thinking to myself, like he's now 16 and it's always in the back of my mind, you know, what happens in his Twilight years, life. He's definitely part of the, family's not going anywhere. Um, you can imagine I've had lots of offers, you know, people want to buy him, but he's been with the family for so long. I just thought, you know, you can't do that. And, um, and I didn't really want to be one of those Grand Prix riders that bashed around on their old Grand Prix horse in their twenties stiff as an ironing board. And for people to go out, he's still riding Gand Prix. I wish he would retire that horse. And what for? To say I've written grand Prix. You know, I think it was a bonus to actually get him to go Grand Prix and keep him sound in the brain sound in the mind, sound in the body and that's a bonus.

Gary (00:42:20):
And, and, um, to keep him there would be ideal, but I'm also aware that he's getting older. So what I did, I wanted him to continue on with life, uh, with his, um, his competition life and actually looked around for someone to actually take him on. I didn't want to sell him. I wanted him to stay here. I wanted a young rider to take him on. And, um, this is where Indie Cochrane came in. Uh, India, I've taught since she was eight years old, she's an event rider and a lovely young lady, lovely family. Um, and I remember even at eight years old, she was like riding for Australia. She came in on the pony and she was like determined. And, and the words that I can explain, words that I can describe, India's someone that's very compassionate. Um, someone that's very resilient, uh, someone that would just keep working hard.

Gary (00:43:28):
Uh, and as I said, a very supportive family and they would, um, they have come to me religiously every week and they'd bring one horse that horse wasn't like, like unfit or lame they'd bring the other horse. And they were very dedicated to the horses education, but also the child's education and the child's riding career. So when I made that offer to, cause she's had a couple of rides on Chester before I've allowed, I've got a couple of my students have a little sit. Um, and she had a ride on Chester and it didn't particularly go too well when she first rode him. But that was more, you know, cause I think he was so, um, you know, so fit, Grand Prix fit and sort of, yeah, she was still, I mean the know has never ridden past novice and for her to take on a horse like this, but what I like about it is that she's a very kind rider and she's a very thoughtful rider and, um, and has amazing feel so and coordination. So when I made the offer, one of the nicest things she did was she said, Gary, thank you very much burst into tears. She said, thank you very much. Um, can I have some time to think about it? And I was absolutely gobsmacked.

Natasha (00:44:50):
Yeah. You're like, what do you mean

Gary (00:44:55):
Any norma person would grab me by the throat and shake it and say, of course I'll take this opportunity. But she said no. And I just think about it. And I found out from my mom, she sat down with a family. She wanted to make sure she dedicated time to her school, dedicate time to other horse and the eventing the time to family to take on another commitment like this. And I was like, wow, that's very grown up.

Natasha (00:45:20):
What maturity, like, do I even have that maturity now?

Gary (00:45:29):
I know right. The journey started with, uh, Indi and Chester last year. Uh, we had him down it because, you know, she was still learning how to go sideways. And she went out and she's learning lots. Like she's got out and tick some boxes with the medium levels. She's had a go at, some advanced tests. Um, she's had a couple of go at, at home with the Prix St George and Small tour. She can press the buttons, they kind of are all there, but putting it all together is a, is another story. Um, and I think it's just that she's a, it's a very good mix and, and Chester uh, loves her. Absolutely loves her. And, and they work well together and she comes and rides here pretty much, five, six days a week. Um, and then around the corner. So they come and they ride Chester and they still have lessons with me with the other horse and they have lessons with Chester. Um, and I kind of feel like she's joined the, the family. Um, I haven't young riders that work with me. And, and sometimes I feel like either a soccer dad.

Natasha (00:46:49):

Gary (00:46:53):
Cause situation, I'm a soccer dad or dance moms. Um, but the young girls are great and Inid's part of it. And um, we all go to shows together. We help each other out and really want to see her journey to under 25 Grand Prix. And it is a very exciting thing for her. And, and, and that, that they're very grateful, a really lovely family. Uh, the mother and father were always supportive, uh, and they do anything they can and they're hardworking. No, they can't afford to go and buy a grand Prix horse. Uh, but uh, they work hard, they have their own business. Um, she works hard at school and, and good family. So very happy with what's happening there.

Natasha (00:47:39):
Beautiful story. So then what about you? Do you have some new horses? Do you just have one horse what's what's a typical day look like for you and what horses are you riding at the moment?

Gary (00:47:51):
Well, my day pretty much starts at about, I get up fairly early, help out with the horses and I start riding at about eight, eight 30, and I ride anywhere up to about four to five horses a day. So in the morning, and I might teach a couple before lunchtime and then pretty much the afternoon onwards, depending on days I start teaching. And sometimes I start teaching it sort of later afternoon, go in the evening. Um, and that's Monday through to Friday, but Friday before the whole COVID hit. I used to do the horses in the morning by the first of the morning, and then jump on a plane and after lunch and either fly around Australia and do clinic somewhere for the weekend, fly home on the Sunday night and then start again. So that's routine here at home. Um, but since COVID, um, of course I don't travel as much, I get to do things at home. I get to do a bit of gardening. I actually, I managed to clean my oven. Um, I don't think it's ever been cleaned.

Gary (00:49:12):
And the nice thing was I got to reconnect with quite a lot of my local students because in the past, when I was gallivanting around Australia, coaching, all my local students would go, well Gary we can never find you. You're never home. So, you know, we kind of have lessons with you, but now I'm home. A lot of the students have reconnected and come back and I'm probably busier than I was before. In terms of horses. I have a number of horses that come in for training, of course, um, have two young horse squad. Yeah. Two young horses at the moment. I have a, um, a five-year old Chemawa mare and she's quite a big mare quite elegant. Um, and I've always made a rule never to actually own big horses because as you probably appreciate, putting them together is, is another, uh, hurdle that you have to face.

Gary (00:50:12):
But she's 17.1, but she's got a great brain. She's really light off her feet. Um, and, but I love her temperament and I love her attitude towards it. And she's, you know, I call her miss universe because she's quite pretty. And so she's kind of the horses I'm bringing through. Another one I have is a, um, for romance to gelding who's, um, three years old, just been started lovely, um, really quite easy to work with and horse that's way past it's actual year. So I felt very excited with the two young ones coming through and, you know, you get them to Grand Prix and then you kind of start again and you'd bring another one through. And then, so

Natasha (00:51:04):
For everyone listening, um, who may have started their coaching career, and you mentioned, you know, nobody called or no one knocks and then to come full circle and to be able to not have to go back to the job and to coach and ride and train and live what you absolutely love. I'm sure everyone's like, wow, it can be done.

Gary (00:51:24):
I think I credit that to a number of things. I think time that I had when I, in my professional life, my real job, where I learned to work with adult education and learn to an end, you know, this is, you're an educator yourself. And, um, you, you often see professionals who are very good at their job. Um, they placed them in a role to actually teach, but they can't teach. They can do their job really well. So, um, and I found that, I think I learned quite a lot from that. And then now to come back into coaching in training in the equestrian, world, I was able to bring that across and utilize all the adult learning principles and how to structure lessons, and how to engage and all that sort of stuff, stuff that you know so well, and that, um, and I think that's where the draw card is.

Gary (00:52:25):
Now. People are starting to come to go, wow, I'm getting something from this. I understand. And, and I can see the lesson, um, where it's taking me and I can see the plan and I can see what, why we're doing this and, and, and the relevance. And I think that's one of the key things. And the other thing is, I think Steffen kind of gave me a little bit of a, you know, working with Steffen has given me a little bit of a push a bit of a profile. Um, but it's also given me, um, lots of different direction on how to train horses. So he's very much the happy athlete, the happy horse he works with. Um, Shannon, his wife is another one. They worked very much with the horse. Um, they're very, um, there are closed doors, they're Chinese, very open. They welcome people to come and sit, watch them.

Gary (00:53:22):
They're open about their discussion with training. And that was, that was quite a, an eye opener. And it, I think it's built my, um, my new way of training. I suppose my reputation is then proceeded from that. So, um, and I think that's where now you're right. Whereas before I was like waiting for people to come and have lessons with me now, um, you know, people are knocking on my door and it's really lovely feeling and I'm, I'm grateful for it and, and have to remember to, you know, put back to the spot so to speak.

Natasha (00:54:00):
Yeah. Well, and that's what I'm seeing as well. Like your time with Steffen, you really got to model what you loved as a, as a learning person. Don't know why I don't have a word for that. Um, and to hear that you are now modeling what you saw with the competitions and you were with your team, goes to the competitions. Cause I know, I think every rider will resonate with, we, it isn't a lone sport. And then I know for years I used to get to a competition and I would know nobody and I would have no one to talk to and no one. And I just had to figure it out myself and go by myself to the gear check and go by myself and hope that this was my ring and hope that this was the time I should be doing my test and I didn't have a groom. I didn't have anyone around. So that whole team, um, support is such a huge thing. And I love that you've brought that back with you and fostered that in your community.

Gary (00:54:51):
Yeah, it's it's and I think that's something that we should adopt more in Australia. We tend to ride by ourselves. We've got our five acres. We have our horses in the backyard. The only time we really get to see someone as we go to competition or start some social event, um, and get to see your coach maybe once a week or once a fortnight and off between, you know, you develop bad habits. Um, the, the model they had it at Steffen's was very much about you're under that guidance all the time you had that support. Um, so if you couldn't, you know, discuss it with one person, you could go to someone else. Um, and I often see Arthur used. I remember seeing Steffen and Shannon, helping all the other coaches with their students. So, you know, a coach had an issue with the horse or with the student, and there was a little problem there.

Gary (00:55:50):
And I remember Steffen would pull that person aside and say, Hey, why don't you try this, try that. So they were supporting the coaches that were there. Uh, and coming back to Australia, I could see that we all, we're all isolated. We all do our own little thing. You come together for the competition. Um, whereas even in Europe and you know, where your all together, because you're right under one bond, your horses agisted together. Um, and I think we should do more of that whether it's getting together a couple of times a week, riding together, supporting each other, helping each other. Um, and I, there's a local club here. And I think a lot of clubs probably do the same throughout Australia where they have a, they call it the ladies day on Thursday, all the ladies get there and they have morning tea and they get together, they ride together and, you know, I think that should be more of, we should do more of that and support each other. And the other thing I learned also was the idea of coaches working together, because

Natasha (00:57:01):
Yes, that's when you said that, you know, all the coaches work and there's, it's not my client, your client. And, you know, Steffen comes in and helps, and it's just, we're all here to help and whoever can help at that time. And, and there's no his or hers or mine and yours, what a wonderful community

Gary (00:57:20):
It's like. Uh, Nicole Magoffin, Nicole Magoffin is, um, spent time at Steffens with JB and Zach. And she understood that as well. And, and yeah, she travels around Australia coaching and I travel around Australia coaching and there are times we actually bump into each other, we share and the number of different students, and we would bounce ideas off of each other and say, hi, what did you do with that person? And, Oh my God, I had problems with this. What did you do? Um, and it was great. The Nick and I, you know, we talk a lot and, and, and we share a lot of students. And so that's when she's away, she goes, if I'm in trouble, you ring Gary up and vice versa. And I think we should do that often. We should really sort of, and that shows a bit of confidence within ourselves as coaches and as people. So you're right about that. This is my student is my client. Don't touch it and

Natasha (00:58:15):
We have to transcend that. Absolutely. Um, so what are your future goals? Do you, do you write down goals? Do you have a plan for 20, 30, 20, 40, 2050?

Gary (00:58:27):
My goal is, um, I would really love to continue of course, training horses, but my, my goal is with young riders, I love passion with young riders and I have a number of young riders coming through. Um, I feel like I'm, I'm a talent scout. I go around and look at all these young riders and go, right. Okay. You might hate, but you know what, I've tagged you and you're coming up the rank, you've got no option. Um, and you can see those kids and you want to give them the opportunity to actually come through. And, um, and I love working with them. I love working with the families as well. And, you know, I love my favorite saying to a parent is, uh, continue fertilizing that Moneytree

Natasha (00:59:14):

Gary (00:59:17):
That's a couple more because you need more money tree. Also. I also say to them, it's a great sport for your child to come meet through, because it's not like a tennis racket. You can't just put it back in the cupboard. You have to, you know, you have responsibilities with your animals. Um, so, you know, foster that and grow it and, and do that. So my goals are, can I love bringing the young riders through, um, taking them through to FEI, showing them that, uh, I would like to continue I plan. So these young horses that I've got, uh, I also, you know, would like to have a little look at maybe doing some judging myself. Cause I've seen a number of, I've been exposed to a number of very good judges and been with them and go, wow. And I remember sitting with a couple and thinking penciling for them, or just sitting with them and, and listening and thinking, they actually do know what they're talking about and they can see right through what we're trying to hide. And, um, and I liked that part and I think that's something I would eventually like to, to head in as well. Some judging continue on producing young riders. Um, I have a number of adult riders who actually say, hang on, what about us? You know, with the kids said, what about us? And, um, and of course producing, um, I think producing sound mind and sound, body horses.

Gary (01:00:58):

Natasha (01:00:59):
Great goals. Awesome. Do you have a piece of advice that you live by or do all your students go ah, Gary always says, is there a,

Gary (01:01:11):
I think one of the things I really love saying to all my students is to, I always give them the advice that they should ride more than one horse. Yeah. I always say to them, right, you can beg, borrow, steal, steal your neighbour's horse is something become accustomed to a variety of horses because your timing, your skill level will improve. And that's gonna make your you're riding for your own horse a whole lot better. Um, and I'm always suggesting, I mean, you'll get lots of parents that sort of give me the evil eye and say, don't say that the horse, and you know, we've already got five at home and we don't need another one. And, but I, I'm always saying, you know, you now have a very hot horse. You need to ride a horse at very behind the eight. You need to ride a horse that does this and does that. And, um, and I'm probably one to constantly promote that and tell all my students and every, anyone, anyone that wants to listen, go and ride in as many horses as you can. So you get the field.

Natasha (01:02:25):
Uh, do you have any sponsors you'd like to mention?

Gary (01:02:29):
Yes. I'm sponsored by Mitavite. Mitavite looked after me for a number of years. Mitavite feeds all my horses of course. Back on Track is another one that looks after me. They send me all the goodies for my horse and myself cause you know, uh, I think the brain,

Natasha (01:02:51):
You're still 21 aren't you?

Gary (01:02:51):
Yeah, that's what I reckon. You know brain says you're 21, but you get up in the morning and this, you know, over 50 body tends to sort of creep out of bed. Um, I have, um, Rose Hip Vitals, all the horses I've got, I've got on Rose Hip Vitals, um, Ocean Easy Stables. They sort of supply me with a lot of gear that I have. So, but, and then there's a lady called Catherine Sullivan-Butt who looks after all my saddles, she's a saddle fitter. And she travels around New South Wales, Northern New South Wales and Queensland fitting saddles. And she's always looked after Chester. So love it, love it.

Natasha (01:03:35):
We will have those companies in the show notes for people that want who want to find them. And what about where listeners can find you on social media? I'm sure you're on Tik TOK. Dancing up a storm

Gary (01:03:46):
I'm actually not I've I've yet to try that. I've been all the younger generation they're telling me. Gary, you gotta get on TikTOk. Um, I don't trust myself on TikToK. I think the whole lot level I think I would probably cause you know, Tash, I'm very shy and if you put a camera in front of me, I'd be like, no, I'm, I'm the generation of Facebook and Instagram and, and yeah, that's, that's the extent. Uh, I remember someone said to me, what's that one? Snapchat? Yeah. I don't know Snapchat. I don't know. I don't understand. Don't understand the concept. Can't get it my head and go. Why?

Natasha (01:04:49):
So, uh, just, uh, your name if for Facebook and Instagram,

Gary (01:04:55):
It's just Gary Lung. Yes. Yeah. Same Gary Lung as well. So great.

Natasha (01:05:00):
Okay. We'll put that in the show notes. Anything else that we need to mention to make this complete?

Gary (01:05:06):
Uh, no, thank you very much for inviting me. I think I've kind of, yeah, I've said a lot.

Natasha (01:05:16):
Awesome. Thank you much for coming. I'm sure you've inspired lots of people with your journey and I know how much you help everyone in Australia and how much we appreciate you. So thanks for coming along today.

Natasha (01:05:29):
To stay up to date with the latest content, don't forget to hit subscribe to this podcast. Go on, hit subscribe. I'd love if you would also love to leave us a review to help us how we could do better or make this even more amazing for you. And remember to follow us on Instagram at Your Riding Success and Natasha dot Althoff.


Podcast Episode 40: Hayley Watson-Greaves - All Things Dressage

In this podcast, we speak with Hayley Watson-Greaves. Hayley is a well respected Grand Prix competitor and has a yard full of up and coming horses to develop. Hayley is trained by the highly respected, Olympic dressage rider Carl Hester and was previously trained by Olympic Rider Jane Gregory. Some of her notable achievements include World Cup Finals in Paris 2018, FEI Gold Badge, Olympia World Cup 4 years running and British Dressage Supreme National Champion in 2017.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Hayley (00:00:00):
Welcome to this Your Riding Success episode with Hayley Watson-Graves. Hayley has competed very successfully in a number of disciplines and apart of many teams winning both Gold individual and team medals. She is fortunate to be trained by highly respected, Olympic dressage rider Carl Hester for the past 12 years and was previously trained by Olympic Rider Jane Gregory. Some of her notable achievements include World Cup Finals Paris 2018, FEI Gold Badge, Olympia World Cup 4 years running and British Dressage Supreme National Champion in 2017. Hayley is a successful Grand Prix competitor and has a yard of top class Warmbloods from 3 years old upwards that have all been trained by her from the beginning. Here's Hayley to share her story. Here's Hayley to share her amazing story.

New Speaker (00:00:44):
Welcome to your writing success podcast. My name is Natasha Althoff and I'm Grand Prix dressage rider from Australia, author of three books and a leading online trainer of riders all around the world, wanting to take their riding to the next level. I'm also a shopaholic mother of two amazing children, and obsessed with helping riders to be all they can be. Each week I'm going to bringing you stories of inspiration, ideas, and strategies of how to make real progress in your riding and give you actionable advice on overcoming riding fear and anxiety so you can take your riding to the next level and be the rider you dream to be. So let's get into today's episode.

New Speaker (00:01:20):
So let's get started. You have done everything in the riding world. So tell us how you got started and how you got involved with horses and a little bit of what your early horse life looked like?

Hayley (00:01:28):
I think my parents were quite into animals and horses. Um, so I guess I've been around them all my life. Um, I started off as probably a lot of people did as a, at a riding school, uh, used to go after, um, school to have lessons on some crazy little ponies and, uh, yeah, so it sort of really started from there. Um, and then I just, I loved horses. I loved being around them. Um, and my parents always said to me, I had to work hard to, you know, if I wanted to be involved with horses, had to work hard. So, uh, yeah, I, you know, it was super, super keen, um, yeah and to develop from there really. So that's my very, very early, early start and then slowly progressed and, uh, mum and dad bought me a pony when I was about eight years old. Um, there's was a naughty little what's it used to tank off with me, used to jump the first cross country fence, turn around and Gallop back to the trailers, um, fell off him numerous times can stop him, everything else. So she did. So I learned the hard way how to ride and hold on. I think the main thing. Um, yeah, so yeah, kind of all started there..

Hayley (00:02:43):
I have a theory. I've been having a lot of conversations with the amazing riders just like yourself and the more amazing the rider is, the naughtier the pony they had at the start. It appears I'm seeing it's complete correlation it hilarious.

Hayley (00:03:02):
Sounds about right, yes. Teaches you how to stay grounded. And sometimes it's actually literally grounded on the floor. Just get back on again. So yeah, that's always the motto that you fall off and get straight back over again. So yeah,

Hayley (00:03:16):
Perfect. So, your age, you've got your pony, everything's going great. Do you even know that competition's existed? Did you want to be an Olympian when you grew up or were you just like, I want to go fast. I just want to ride, I just want to be with my pony.

Hayley (00:03:30):
I think at the very start I was just wanting to be with my pony, but I am a crazy driven person. Um, I do like to have goals and aspirations, so I guess as I started competing and action.

Hayley (00:03:57):
Um, I was always really driven and had aspirations to do well in life and um, yeah, when I started competing and being really successful competing. Um, yeah. I then started thinking actually, this is what it wants to do and I want to be an Olympian, I want to ride at Badminton um, horse trials eventing, and really sort of spurred all that.

Natasha (00:04:22):
How old were you?

New Speaker (00:04:22):
Uh, probably about 12, possibly a bit younger actually. No, it might have been 11, 10, 11. Yeah. As I write this, I have pictures

Natasha (00:04:30):
I love it and those jumps must have been so big when you were 11 literally looking up.

Hayley (00:04:41):
Yeah. I think even the jumps I did at that age, um, because I did like senior veenting trials, which the jump's there were three foot six, and I was still really small on my little pony and I did actually win a senior eventing trials and even then the jumps were huge. So yeah. I was quite used to it. It's um, yeah, that was my aspiration that changed it after a while. So yeah. To dressage.

Natasha (00:05:08):
So how did that change? If you've got Badminton, I'm going to become an eventer I'm going to rock and roll. What happened?

Hayley (00:05:15):
Oh, I just wasn't brave enough I think. I um. Yeah. I had a couple of quite bad falls and um, to be honest, I was said my pain, he was so good at jumping. This is a different pony, not the first little thing that I started off with. Um, but yeah, he was just amazing at jumping. Um, my mum and dad said to me, you know, if you want to win, you're going to have to get some dressage lessons because you know, you can't win just on the jumping. Um, but I'm, to be honest, the pony that I had, who was a star jumper, I couldn't get him on the bit. So I was going around this dressage test eating his ears pretty much. I was thinking I was doing the right thing. And then mom and dad thinking, you're pretty

Hayley (00:05:58):
Good. Yeah, I did. Yeah.

Hayley (00:05:59):
Yeah. So look at me. I can't stop, but we'll just go around this ring. Didn't have a clue. Um, but yeah, I got a few dressage lessons and uh, yeah, I mean, not really, really paid off I learnt how to get my pony on the bit and ride accurately. And um, yeah, and for me, dressage sort of became a bit of a puzzle and I love puzzles as a kid. So I've got some, I was really good at jigsaw puzzles and things that lots of working things out. Um, so yeah, I think it, just, to me, it was a puzzle and you had to sort of find all the pieces to make the picture perfect. And that was kind of, I got a bit addicted to it. I have to say so. Right.

Natasha (00:06:42):
I love it. So, and I'd love the, I use the puzzle analogy a lot when I talk about dressage as well and what I say is when I started dressage, I don't know if it was for you, but I thought the puzzle had eight pieces. So it was a pretty small puzzle, maybe grew to 50, a hundred. And now I think it's like a million piece puzzle and I've only filled out 10 of them.

New Speaker (00:07:03):
Definitely. You're always learning. You're always sort of play these pieces. Every horse is so different that you have to find a different puzzle for them. Uh, yeah, no puzzle is the same,

Natasha (00:07:16):
More fun. So are you a patient person because you said you liked doing puzzles as a kid and I did not like doing puzzles, and I'm not patient. Like I'm like what, can't find a piece and off I'll walk. Um, bit more patient and a bit more methodical. And you, you really do enjoy that part of the puzzle.

New Speaker (00:07:37):
Yeah. I think I, I definitely do have patience, um, which is what I feel, um, I need, especially around horses. Um, we need to sort of keep stepping back and reassessing, you know, why isn't this method working for this horse and be very open-minded and yeah, so I would say I'm quite a patient person.

Natasha (00:08:01):
And are you also, I find, um, dressage riders in particular, they tend to be very, um, like type a personalities, very perfectionistic. Everything needs to be in the right place at the right time with the right thing. And is that you as well, or are you a little bit, yeah she'll be right.

Hayley (00:08:16):
I think I'm a little bit of both actually. I'm not too, uh, too much of a perfectionist that it rules my life, if that makes sense. Um, I do like to have a bit of a relaxed side to it as well, because I feel for me it would lose the enjoyment if I was like, you know, every little bit of hair needs to be in exactly the right place. And, um, so yeah, I've kind of, I think I've got a nice balance of the both actually being, being a bit of a perfectionist, but also having a bit of a laid back side and saying, you know, and I think, I think that's side, Um, yeah, uh, laid back side to it, to me that I, um, you know, can, can sort of reassess and say it's okay, don't worry. Know if it doesn't happen today. There's always some other day and yeah. So

Natasha (00:09:14):
I love it. Okay. So, um, you, uh, have been trained by Carl Hester for many years.

New Speaker (00:09:22):
Yes. I have yeah.

Natasha (00:09:24):
And you previously trained by JaneGregory and Adam Kemp amongst other trainers. So what's your biggest philosophy in training. And was there something that you believed earlier that you now don't believe or you, you learned? Like, I think back when I was learning, and then I remember the first time someone told me, you turn with an outside rain, I was like, no. And this whole concept of an outside rein in a and shoulder control, I was like, what. Do you want to talk for people that are going through that dressage journey and this, this whole discovery of more puzzles? Um, just what your trainers kind of helped you along with?

Hayley (00:10:07):
Yeah, I think, um, so Adam Kemp was really, really early days, uh, when I had the ponies. Um, think I just, uh, I'll just quickly talk through how I sort of came to train with Carl, what have you, um, Jane, Jane Gregory was a massive influence in my life. So when I was, uh, 13, 14, every school holiday, like summer, winter, every half term, I was up there at her yard with my pony working as a group, um, having lessons sitting on her, some of her school masters, just walking her Olympic horse off. That is why, you know, I remember that moment when she said, can you walk, can you get on a, uh, Capito and just walk him off from me? And I was like, my eyes.

Hayley (00:10:52):
Yes, yes.

Hayley (00:10:56):
I just sat there like a pee on a drug, just like, ah, I don't know what to do. Um, so yeah, I mean, she taught me, uh, like hard work and, um, you know, patience with the horses and also to, uh, build up a relationship with them on the ground as well as when you're on them and that's vitally important. So I think that's something that's really, really stuck with me, um, through all these years is that, you know, it's not just about when you're riding the horse. It's about the relationship you have with them and the respect between each other, between you and the horse on the ground, as well as when you're on board. And it does translate quite a lot. So I think that's pretty important and what I learned from her quite a lot. Um, yeah. And then, um, Jane moved a bit further away from me and unfortunately she passed away a few years after I started training with her.

Hayley (00:11:44):
That was when I was in horses and then I moved on managed to get lessons from Carl, so I haven't looked back. But, um, yeah, I mean that, I've learned something different from all the people I've trained with and I've never sort of squashed any of it. So I've never said, Oh, you know, that's, that's not why, you know, that's not what I know, Mary, you know, I think you have to be very open-minded and everybody's trying to get to the same point of the mindset that everybody's just got a slightly different way of doing it or the peak of the mindset. Um, yeah, everybody's got a slight, slight different, a slight different way of doing it. So I think it's important to take little bits and actually learns from it and develop it. And yes, you might find that, that you turn more from the outside rein than the inside rein. Um, but why is that, you know, you've got to then think it's not like turning a motorbike or a bicycle it's, it's about actually wrapping the horse around your inside leg. Like, and so it's sort of developing on these things that you learned.

Natasha (00:12:40):
So did you find with Carl, that it was just developing on things you learned or were you, is there something that stands out? They were like, Oh, you like really mean that it's a directive rather than an absolute yeah.

Hayley (00:12:56):
I mean it definitely. Yeah. Um, I just learned more and more from Carl. I just remember the very, very first lesson I had with him. I have the, so this is moving into horses with like really fast trapper journey. Uh, he, the whole cyborg was four years old. He was as naughty as sin. And, um, at the start and the very first lesson I had with Carl, it was pretty much galloping round round the arena, getting the horse in front of my leg.

Hayley (00:13:24):
I was like, Oh my goodness. This is like the biggest revelation ever is to get the horse forward. And it was, yeah. One of those sort of standouts, not the best lesson because I had to watch my mirrors and, um, uh, but yeah, it was, uh, it was definitely a lesson that's kind of ingrained, ingrained to me now. And I, uh, you know, see a lot of lazy horses and now I have to get them a bit sharper. So just by a bit of [inaudible],

Natasha (00:13:56):
I absolutely love it. Okay. So I don't know where we're at in your journey so just take us back to that point. Um, maybe like your, your first, uh, idea of a Grand Prix test and what kind of horse you had at the time and, and your first journey towards Grand Prix with that particular horse.

Hayley (00:14:14):
Okay, so there's um, right. So the four year old horse I spoke about with Carl, when I started training with Carl, um, he moved, uh, like a poker pony. We used to call him, um, uh, but he said, you know, this will be your horse that you'll take to Grand Prix, you know, your first grand Prix horse cause he was pretty trainable. And, you know, he was, um, eventually as he started going forward.

Hayley (00:14:38):
Exactly. Yeah,

Hayley (00:14:39):
He was, he was good. So yeah, I started training him and uh, yeah, it's amazing. Um, so training up to that, the grand Prix level, and I actually sort of forced a couple of youngsters coming along behind him, which I use, I trained as well. And yeah, I did my first grand Prix, um, probably got over 60%, just other,

Natasha (00:15:06):
Did you cry? How did it feel because how many years had you been working towards, like you were 11 when you kind of got the first idea of it?

Hayley (00:15:16):
I actually then did pony, I competed I did a lot of, um, sort of top level competition on my pony that Jane breed helped me or Jane Gregory helped me train up to the age of 16 and I was reserved for the European pony team, uh, just missed out, but I am like miss reserve, I think I missed back up. Yeah. And then I actually, I actually gave up for a couple of years, um, and traveled Australia.

Natasha (00:15:49):
Oh, tell me about this. So firstly, for people, like what, what initiated the giving up? Was it maybe I'm not that into it as I thought I was and I want to really adventure and see, see who I am. Was it a self discovery or, yeah, I think,

Hayley (00:16:04):
But I actually, so I mean, it'd been quite high pressured because I was, I was at school and then I was competing ponies and yeah, it's quite high level. So it was quite for a young person. There was quite a lot to do plus sort of working for Jane as well, then the school holidays. So I never really got too much of a breather. Um, and then, uh, we bought a four year old mare who was a complete and utter kie bag, shall we say? And at the end he just sort of 16, this was meant to be my new junior, my next junior horse. And I was just like, you know, I just, it just wasn't going to be, um, and I wanted to do my A levels at school and I met my now husband, uh, at school as well, so I guess boys..

Hayley (00:16:54):
So that's, so once I left school, um, my husband and his family immigrated to Australia and you went, let's go for the ride. And I went and traveled, traveled with him around Australia for a couple of years. Um, which I have to say was the best, the best thing, just to have a break and actually reassess them, realize that it made me realize that I did really want to get back into the horses and I did want to get on the Olympic team and compete at the Olympics and be very successful in what I was doing. So yeah, it kind of, it was a great like press refresh button and I get going again and I was a bit more mature then. So I really had, you know, knew what I wanted to do. And it was my sort of own decisions do that, which was even better. So.

Natasha (00:17:43):
Okay. So then you got the four year old and you're like, I'm going to train it to Grand Prix. So I, what age were you again?

Hayley (00:17:50):
I must've been 22. Yep.

Natasha (00:17:53):
And then you did your first grand Prix?

Hayley (00:17:56):
I did my first grand Prix at the age of 20. I think it was about25,26.

Natasha (00:18:02):
Oh, I know, just when I was young and I'm still young,

Hayley (00:18:09):
Uh, only like five years ago.

Natasha (00:18:11):
Yeah I was just going to say I'm never going to ask what year it was. So it's just, you consistently, you can get older. We'll just say two years ago..

Hayley (00:18:27):
Is that sort of, yeah, but yeah, it was over 10 year ago and I did my first Grand prix.

Natasha (00:18:33):
And was that the start of the end? Was that like, Oh, this is so fun. There's 15 ones and skipping, I'm trotting on the spot. I'm doing cool stuff. Let's get set up.

Hayley (00:18:46):
Exactly. Right. I just want to get my horses to Grand Prix and you know, I want to scout the international stage and everything else. Um, so yeah, I mean, there's a bit of luck that I came across my top horse, so yeah. It's um, so, but by the time my top horse had come up through the levels, so I trained sort of three and then plus my top four to Grand Prix so I've done three horses, but they were only sort of capable of reaching some national competition. They weren't sort of capable of going any further as in the international circuit, so yeah.

Natasha (00:19:21):
Yeah. Okay. Do you know your top horse was your top horse when you met him or her or what?

Hayley (00:19:26):
Not at all.

Natasha (00:19:26):
Yeah, I love it.

Hayley (00:19:29):
He was two years old in a field. Um, I called him a bit of a rescue because I'd bought sort of horses, um, to buy and sell to sort of like make some money so I could buy another horse.

Hayley (00:19:45):
Gotta make some money somehow. It just doesn't drop from the sky unfortunately. Yeah. I actually went to see him and, and in the meantime I bought another one I saw I can't afford to, so I kind of left him and then I got phone calls a few months later saying, you know, the owners, um, don't want to pay me the livery. Will you pay me what they owe me and you can have them. And I was like, otherwise, you know, I dunno what I'm going to do with it, but it could be put down or whatever. So I was like, yeah, well I'll have him. So I, um, didn't pay very much for him, brought him home. I saw it when I can bring him on and sell it, make money. Um, yeah, I did actually advertise him for sale and then I was like, God, he's the sharpest as shit. We can't really sell. Um, so yeah, a couple of people came to try himand then I was like, no, I, I just can't, I I've got to keep him and me and him just build some bonds. I mean, he just absolutely loved me, followed me everywhere. He was very insecure. So it was really nice to kind of, again, building that bond up from the ground. And, um, yeah.

Natasha (00:20:51):
So you then did your first international with him?

Hayley (00:20:54):
With him? Yes. Yes.

Natasha (00:20:56):
That's another crying moment. Did you cry at that moment?

Hayley (00:20:59):
Probably. To be honest I'm not really a crying person, I just, I do get quite like excited in myself and I just have this big smile and cheeks like, cause I like her. Um, but, uh, yeah, there is, it was amazing. I just, you know, when I did the small tour international, I was like, right, okay, next thing's big tour. Um, and it actually, um, it, it all that developed really, really quickly, um, with him. So I was kind of like rushed, not rushed is the wrong word. It, it just felt like a bit of a whirlwind. It was like, I was like, well, this horse has international potential, grand Prix potential, team potential. And I was like, Oh my goodness, this is what I really want. This is my dream. Are we really going to get there. And he was like, right, you have to get on the world class program because he's got amazing potential to get on these teams and we have to get you the support and yeah, it just absolutely snowballed from there really and it was. Yeah. So I did my first international grand Prix in this country, in the UK. And then, um, I did my first abroad international in Barcelona, which is probably the furthest point in Europe.

Natasha (00:22:14):
But it's nice and sunny. It's lovely.

Hayley (00:22:16):
Lovely. Yeah. Brilliant. So there is a two week long show, three days to get there because I traveled around in a trailer at that point. I mean, you know, I was kind of doing it all on a shoestring and um, the Carl and to Caroline had said, Oh, you know, from the world-class it's such, you know, you've got to, you've got to get lorrie cause going to have to stay somewhere if you want to do these international competitions, I was like, Oh crap. So I had to take my HDB say, buy a lorrie and then within like a couple of weeks, I was driving down to Barcelona.

Natasha (00:22:52):
And what does your partner do? Does he have the ability to take off work and come with you? Or is he nine to five?

Hayley (00:23:03):
Um, I had a friend come along with me. She'd been sort of, uh, helped me out with horses. So that was nice that she got like nice free, free holiday trip and helped me with no, my husband runs a printing company, run a printing company. So he does that.

Natasha (00:23:25):
Yeah. I mean, you're like, Oh, I'm just off to Barcelona have fun.

Hayley (00:23:31):
It's funny cause I see as a progressive, these realized that I'd been going away a bit, then he's like, Oh yeah, I'll come with you on that one. So going to like Doha in Qatar and I'm going to Palmer to Mallorca the size, the Ireland or Spain and Australia, you know, he was like, yeah, I'll come.

Natasha (00:23:51):
Love it. Okay. So what year was your first international grand prix?

Hayley (00:23:55):
25th. Oh, so 2014 was my first year of international Grand Prix in this country and then the going abroad was 2015.

Natasha (00:24:04):
Okay. So you're like, I'm assuming 2016. Um, that's my that's when I finally resolved my childhood ambition. I'm very much looking forward to it.

Hayley (00:24:15):

Natasha (00:24:15):
We know our horses. It's just always a straight line between here and where we want to go. And it always goes magically perfect. Yeah. Tell me, um, how the 2016 year started and what involved, what happened in that year?

Hayley (00:24:32):
It was so many shows. It was crazy. Cause I mean, I was on the, I was on the long list for the Olympics, so we had to get a certain amount of shows in before the 2016 Olympics and yeah, it was pretty crazy and I was, um, it was slightly frustrating because, uh, I'd actually the first international I did in Europe, Barcelona where I actually won the freestyle. So I was like, wow, like, you know, first show, how does it happen?

Natasha (00:25:01):
Yeah. Yeah. That's how it goes.

Hayley (00:25:05):
Yeah. It was, it was great. Uh, the sort of development, there's a lot of pressure, you know, to, to get the scores. And my scores were a little bit under parts, the off, and then they picked up again. I sort, gosh, have I peaked too early? And um, yeah. And then it was sort of coming because we don't have a selection trial. So it is literally just, you know, during the competitions and trying to get as good as scores as possible and be consistent and to be fair, we were consistent with a few sort of highest scores, you know, mixed in the, in and out. So, um, yeah, so it was quite, it was quite a fun year. It was just very, very busy because I was competing once or twice a month abroad. But as much as I could to get my scores up.

Natasha (00:25:46):
Were you riding any other horses at the time or was it just focusing on this one horse and this one dream or were you trying to actually do life?

Hayley (00:25:53):
Oh, to do life as well? Yeah. So, Doing a lot of teaching still. Um, I had my others at home, so younger ones on my actual national Grand Prix horses at home as well. So having to keep them because I don't have a rider. So I am, I mean, I'm lucky now I've got a rider, riding my youngsters now, but um, yeah, I didn't have a rider at the time, so I was having to try and do everything and fit everything in. And so yeah, it was pretty crazy, but you know, you've got to work hard to get there and it's a, yeah.

Natasha (00:26:31):
So let's talk about, talk about the 16 games. People might not know what happened. Right. Talk us through your emotions through that.

Hayley (00:26:39):
Yeah. So I mean, I, I knew you have an idea of who's going to be selecting the teams. Um, um, I kind of, I saw go and gotta be way down the line and what have you. Um, but yeah, no, I got phone call. I was in Austria competing because it was after the selection date and he said, Oh, you're a good, she was all chef to keep that. And he said, you know, your non traveling reserve and I was like. So I was reserve for the Olympics. I was so you know, that was just for me, although I didn't quite make the team. It was so like amazing to even be sort of at that high up and considered for it. Um, yeah. So, uh, yeah, pretty shocked and excited as well. And um, but it did mean that we had to hold on.

Hayley (00:27:30):
Like we had to pack as if we were going get everything prepared as if we're going to train as if we were going, because up until that D day up until the very, very last flight, I could have we got called up at any minute so we were preparing for the Olympics. Um, yeah. So, I mean, unfortunately I didn't get to take squeak over. Um, but I did get to go over as part of an ambition and athletes ambition program. So I got to experience it as well. So which then of course made me want to even more, I'm just like, right. Yeah.

Natasha (00:28:06):
Yeah, like was there a cycle. Like I can't imagine the psychological, I have to kind of trick myself that we are going to give it my hundred percent and to push and fight and to just, you know, cause I gotta be ready. And then that 12 hours of our, yeah,

Hayley (00:28:24):
Because you do build yourself up to, you know, you have to get yourself in sort of competition mindset, you know, you have to be prepared as well. Um, but you know, I di I guess this is where my slight sort of relaxed side concern where I'm like, you know, you kind of build up and, you know, the perfectionist side, the driven side, and then you're like, okay, I need to, yeah, you do need to sort of that day, just to kind of reassess the, sort of bring you down a little bit and reset and say, well, you know, I was, I was bloody close.

Natasha (00:28:59):
Exactly and angry now. Not angry, I don't think that's the right word. Ferociousness, driven. So you're at the games and like isn't this just lovely and can't wait until 2020. Were you thinking 2020? Did, was it going to be that horse? Are you thinking a young one? Did you also have 2018 in your mind? What goes on in your planning for the goals and what has to happen? It's not just you wake up one day and go, I'll go to the Olympics tomorrow. You need a plan and a big kind of a five, 10 year goals that you've got to put in with animals that hurt and do stupid things because they're stupid sometimes. If you can talk through how you try and manage that and what you were thinking at 16 in terms of 18 and 20?

Hayley (00:29:44):
Yeah. So after 2016 I mean, the drive for the Olympics was still 110%. Right. You know, this is what I ultimate goal. I think that is, you know, to the point. Um, but also, you know, in between you've got other competitions that I always wanted to do the world cup series and gets to the finals at the world cup and there's the Europeans and The World Equestrian Games and other things to plan for so I guess, you know, although your sort of ultimate goal is the Olympics. You also have to sort of think about the next year. Cause like you said, horses, the horses and they do silly things sometimes and you think, Oh, you know, and um, yeah. So I guess that's what aim for, and in 2017 I actually just gunned it for the world cup series because the program I wanted to do the Europeans and the world cup season is it's really difficult to run one horse at that.

Natasha (00:30:45):
Aw, that's really, really hard.

Hayley (00:30:48):
Do you know, the world cup series was so hard because you're chasing points and training in the winter, the snow. And I mean, I'm not, you know, I have an outdoor school, so it was freezing sometimes. So I mean Rubin's light would be out there in like winter rugs, just, you know, just trying to keep him exercised. Um, so that was really, really hard, but amazing. And I got there and I was like right.

Hayley (00:31:11):
Uh, it was incredible, um, you know, competing in Paris and yeah, just being part of the world cup finals is just amazing. So.

Natasha (00:31:24):
Alright. And then were we aiming for that 17? Where are we aiming for 18?

Hayley (00:31:31):
18 was the uh, World Equestrian's. Yeah. Yeah. So then yeah, the next sort of focus was on World Equestrian Games so although I'd done the world cup, cause the Paris world cup finals was, uh, April, 2018. It kind of runs quite close towards that. So then we had to just take a little bit of a breather cause we'd had quite a busy winter and just do a few shows up for the World Equestrian Games, um, which I'm fortunate like that hadn't done it. I couldn't do enough, um, to get the qualify, you know, to get sort of teams based. So that was fine. Um, yeah. So then the next one was the Europeans and I was like, right. I'm gunning for the Europeans, which has, which was the 2019.

Natasha (00:32:19):

Hayley (00:32:20):
Um, So I made a decision to either do the world's cup, either do the World Cup competition or go over to Qatar in Doha. And I went over to Qatar and we did. Yeah, well, I've been there. I think that was my third time. Cause I just loved it. It was incredible. And um, yeah, I finished my grand Prix, did the freestyle the next day. And then my beautiful horse was seen bolting was no bride on. So after I did the freestyle, I was being interviewed. So, um, my husband, because my husband came over as far as my grom, um, they were just, he was quite happy in the warmup, just being held and giving treats and he shook his head fly bell came off, he freaked galloped and fell over a couple of times and luckily get it back to me find his mommy.

Natasha (00:33:23):
Yeah mommy I got a fright.

Hayley (00:33:23):
It was very much like that. It was like ah you silly boy, but no didn't well, luckily he, um, there was nothing serious, so it was just like bruised, bruised muscles and uh, like skin burns cause he'd fallen over on the rubber mat. Um, but apart from that, my God, he got off unscathed. I was lucky. And then of course we had to fly out the next day. I think it was in the evening. Um, so he had to be fit to fly cause if he wasn't was would have been staying there for another four months because there wasn't another flight.

Hayley (00:34:02):
Yeah. He was very, very lucky. So that kind of wrote out a little bit of 2019.

Natasha (00:34:12):
Like were you still thinking 2020 for him?

Hayley (00:34:15):
Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And I thought, well, you know, he only did two shows in 2019, um, in this country two international shows and absolutely blasted it. He just, it was incredible. We were second at hartbury International freestyle to Charlotte Dujardin and uh, yeah, he was amazing. Um, the two shows he did. Um, and then, and then yeah, he got an eye ulcer also in his eye and it was like, okay, we'll just write this year off and then crack on for 2020. So that was the aim.

Natasha (00:34:50):
And how were you gearing up in, did you compete in, so February March, was there any early indications for how your, how you were traveling for 2020?

Hayley (00:35:01):
Well, so we were meant to be competing early March, but cause it was locked down. So I have my competition plan for the year and I had sort of a glass and then obviously the lovely COVID hit so yeah, nothing's been happening.

Natasha (00:35:21):
So how did you keep momentum and, and focus? Um, and how were you still doing that? I assume you're still aiming for 2021 then. How did you keep that going? That focus still and, and that, that energy.

Hayley (00:35:38):
Yeah. Well, um, it's quite nice to be at home actually and, and sort of train a little bit, although obviously missing out on competitions and everything else is frustrating, but it was quite, um, so getting a bit twitch now what's going that, but you know, it's quite nice to kind of refocus, um, just gave him a little bit of a breather and then I actually started doing some training videos, um, through lock down because I thought, well, I want to try and give something back. So I just took like a few like little training videos and people loved them and it was keeping the horses occupied. It's giving them something different, you know, they're like being dressed up in their, you know, matching boots and everything else. Um, you know, and they were having a bit of fun and I was having fun with it as well. So that's kind of how we started off keeping the focus. And then yeah. Now it's, it's just sort of, it's, it's harder with the, the grand Prix horses, obviously, because you just got to keep them fit and mentally, you know, interested and everything else. You can't just drill them Grand Prix movements all the time. So, um, yeah, it's, you know, taking them out to different, um, arena hires and um, yeah, just trying to conjure up different things for them really.

Natasha (00:36:51):
You mentioned earlier, and I wanted to make sure that I remembered to come back to it. Um, you mentioned that you've learned from a very early on in your training, how important the partnership was and having that on the ground training. Can you speak more about what you do about that and how you focus on that only with young ones and then that takes it through and yes just a little bit more?

Hayley (00:37:13):
Yeah, I think so. I mean, I don't do, uh, like in hand work so to speak, but I think it's, it all starts in the, um, stable, I mean, there's just that line of respect. Um, just little things like, you know, when you went to the stable you ask them to go back and they stepped back and um, you know, do carrot stretches with them, you know, scratch them, uh, you know, massage them and just sort of actually be with them and spend time with them and build. And also you get to know their personality as well. I find it like you would spend a bit of time with them on the ground. Um, with the youngsters, I do quite a bit of loose schooling when I start them off. Um, and actually I did with the old one, uh, Ruben slice. I don't, because he he's a bit crazy, so I lose lunge, them without a lunge line and, um, we do transitions, so they will stay around me and then they followed me around the arena, chase loss, and then they come back and it just little things to that just to build up a bit of a rapport with them.

Hayley (00:38:13):
Um, so yeah, and I think that's, you know, they know, like I know if they've been getting away with something in the stable, like if they've been a bit cheeky or something. Cause when I ride, you know, Greenville, um, cause when I ride them there, then a bit cheeky. Yeah. Hang on a second what are you doing. It's, it's really, I find it fascinating. I really do. And I think it's really important to know their personalities as well because everyone is different and there needs to be, they need to be trained and um, you know, communicated to, uh, in a different way. You know, they're not all the same.

Natasha (00:38:51):
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So when you think back to all your achievements and gosh, there's been so many, do you have a favorite?

Hayley (00:39:02):
Uh, I think I have, um, a couple of favorites is winningmy International in Barcelona, um, competing in the World Cup finals and being reserve for the Rio Olympics. Um, there's a lot of people that would love to even be that close. So I just feel very, very lucky. Um, I also received my FEI gold badge. Um, yeah. And a CDI is top level. Um, yeah, so I th I can't really pinpoint one if I'm honest. So I've just been very, very lucky and fortunate to be able to get to where I have and have an absolute, super horse to do that with. So, yeah. And I hope I've got many more in the yard, the youngsters coming up and I'm really excited by them as well. So I just hope we can continue on. So yeah.

Natasha (00:39:53):
And I know I asked, did you know it was a top horse and you said, absolutely not. It was a two year. I would've thought of that. When did you, was it you that thought, Oh, hang on. Or was it Carl first? Was he four? Was he six? What was the defining, would you remember a defining moment where you went, Whoa. He learned that quick or he's good at that.

Hayley (00:40:12):
Yeah. So I think it was, um, so Carl didn't actually see him really until he was seven. All right. Yeah. Cause I, I mean, I do like to try and train myself as well, so I'll have the lessons on the more advanced horses, but, um, you know, I like to work out. Yeah. I guess when I, I mean, he was just so trainable and actually he probably could have been at grand Prix at seven years old because he just had the mind for it. Um, and I remember I was trotting along in his little like poke pony trot. His extended trot was just flicking his toes out and I was like, okay. Whereas now when you see it, I mean, anybody knows Ruben smile know that's the sort of path. Um, I just, I was trying to just squeeze them as well, like gently. And he did two passage steps and I was like, mom come and have a look at this. So I did, I couldn't believe it. I was like the defining moment.

Natasha (00:41:17):
For everyone that can't see your face, Hayley's face just lit up . And like, I'm back in that moment. God, that would have been such a cool moment.

Hayley (00:41:28):
Yeah. Yeah. And although I felt passage before my others, that was something that me being young and, and just, you know, you ask and he was like, yeah. Okay. And I go, have you read it? Yeah. I mean, from there I was like, right. Yeah, this horse is pretty special. He just has that head brain on him. Yeah. And even though now.

Natasha (00:41:54):
I love it. Um, do you have any others that you're excited about?

Hayley (00:42:01):
Yeah I've got an eight year old I'm currently training up towards Inter 2 Level. Um, he'll be at Grand Prix next year. Uh, he's a bit, he's completely different. Ruben's like, he's quite the laid back dude. Um, and he's got what I would call my fun horse. Like he just, you know, you could do anything with him. He just, you know, he's, he's brilliant. I've got a six year old, um, and a four year old I'm very, very excited to buy it. Um, yeah. My, my four year old, I love my six year olds to pieces, but my four year old just gives me goosebumps every time I see him trot. I'm just like, I just, yeah. Like just love seeing him. It's it's amazing. So yeah, I hope he'll really follows in the footsteps along with the other two as well. So yeah.

Natasha (00:42:45):
I love it. Where do you, where do you find these horses? You're obviously not buying ready-made grand Prix horses. You're buying the young ones and you're doing all the work yourself. So, um, do you, do you have a particular bloodline that you like to look at or do you just, you don't even care. Don't even show me the papers. I'm just going to look at in front of me. What's your strategy? Cause I have a very bad buying horse strategy, I pick the black one.

Hayley (00:43:13):
I don't go for particular bloodlines, but there is bloodlines I do have a lead with a passionate, but that's just personal taste. I always buy stallions or geldings, I don't tend to buy mares so that narrows it down a little bit. Although, I will, I will try a mare again I just prefer geldings and stallions.

Natasha (00:43:30):
Just back to the junior horse. This junior horse really. Was she chesnut?

Hayley (00:43:41):
Well, she, was four years old and a witch. No she was light bay.

Hayley (00:43:49):
No markings on her. So yeah. I was like, yeah, no she, yeah, but she has. Yeah. So it all relates back.

Natasha (00:43:55):
I love it.

Hayley (00:43:58):
I ride other people's mares and I train mares and they're lovely. You know, when you've got a good one that's fantastic. And so I may do one day, but yeah, at the moment, no. Um, but yeah, no, I tend to carry forward. So obviously I look at that movement, but for me it's also the, um, interaction with humans.

Hayley (00:44:15):
So some horses are quite aloof and uh, when you watch them on the video, and some horses have a lot of presence and then they come in and say, hello, but like not run the person over that's videoing them, but they actually come in and say, what are you doing? And I liked that a lot. Um, and I do sort of, um, I mean I try and buy in this country if I can. So my four year old and, uh, Ruben slides are from, uh, born in Britain. Um, and then the other two were from Holland. So yeah, but there's mainly, yeah. I mean, I bought two from a video and, um, which was a huge, huge risk, but luckily, it worked out alright. But yeah. So yeah.

Natasha (00:44:56):
Do you find it hard? Like you said, you bought from a video and you kind of did just cross your fingers. Is that what you have to do?

Hayley (00:45:04):
Really hard. Yeah. I mean that, the pure reason was I just couldn't get over it. This was few years ago now when I bought my eight year old who's coming up to Inter 2. Yeah. And I just, I just loved them. I was like, you know, I'll take him because he wasn't too much money. I was like, yeah, let's take the punt on him. And uh, yeah. And so yeah, you do go, I'll read and fingers crossed to go, have I made the right decision? What have I done? Um, but yeah.

Natasha (00:45:31):
Yeah. Thanks so much for sharing. I think every person who puts money down and buys a horse, we all have the same thought, oh what have I done, have I made the right decision.

Hayley (00:45:45):
Is that the right horse for me. What am I doing?

Natasha (00:45:49):
It's a partner. It's a husband. It's not a husband, but it's a partner. And normally we date well years on end to check that's the right partner. With a horse. We get one, maybe two.

Hayley (00:46:02):
Normally it's, you know, you sit at the yard, there's less of a light settled in. Then when you get it back, it's like a roaring dragon and then you're like, well, I just bought because I buy them as two and three-year-olds.

Natasha (00:46:14):
You can't even sit on them sometimes.

Hayley (00:46:17):
So you just have to go from the sort of paces and the personality. So yeah

Natasha (00:46:23):
Well it turned out alright for you.

Hayley (00:46:31):
If you're doing it though.

Natasha (00:46:32):
I know. I know. Okay. What about, um, what's been your most disappointing moment or your biggest low, where you went, Oh, this is going to take me a couple of days to get back from.

Hayley (00:46:46):
I know you asked me this question, but I just, I can't think of anything in particular, apart from sort of incident in Doha, which is most recent ones. Um, because I mean, we didn't talk about it, like me, me and my groom and my husband didn't really talk about the incident after it happened, because I think we were all in shock and like what disaster it could have turned that, I mean, it was still off for like eight weeks, but bloody hell were we lucky? Um, and I think, yeah, I mean, any sort of let you know if I've had a not so good ride or anything else, I try and not, well, I I've got a 10 minute rule, which is your life, like have a, have a rant abot it. You need 10 minutes ranting, and then you have to shut up.

Natasha (00:47:40):
You're dood. I give myself an hour, 10 minutes

Hayley (00:47:44):
10 minutes is fine. Well, this is when we're like on the teams and things as well. So when you went to your teammates, you don't tend to say much to my teammates. If I've had lots of good ride or anybody, I'll take myself into my lorrie and I like to cry, I might cry. Um, or I write it down, like my feelings and I'll just be like, okay, well, why didn't it go? Well, you know, things in my head never to be read again, walk out, start again. That's my kind of little competition message. Yeah. Yeah. My mom's brilliant because I can, if I do need to rant to somebody, I just pick up the phone. It either went really well or didn't do well.

Natasha (00:48:34):
That's great philosophy. Awesome. And do you ever get nervous when you compete?

Hayley (00:48:39):
Luckily not

Natasha (00:48:42):
Your balance of I've got to get it perfect, but it really doesn't really mean too much. And if you've got that balance, right. There's nothing really.

Hayley (00:48:50):
Yeah. I mean, I think when I go into the arena because people often ask me, you know what I think when I go into arena, it's just me and my horse, you know, I, I'm going to try it. I'm going to do the best I can and do it to the best of my ability. I'm not going to flunk it on purpose or anything like that, you know, compete and potentially win. Um, but yeah,

Natasha (00:49:13):
You're only going to win and do your best when you're relaxed and enjoying it.

Hayley (00:49:17):
Yeah. So read you like a book and be like also stays in something as simple as going into canter and it'll start doing something else because it won't read you properly. So, yeah.

Natasha (00:49:35):
That's it. Um, do you have a piece of advice that you live by or a quote that you are always known for saying?

Hayley (00:49:42):
Yeah, my biggest thing, and this is me and my students is that less is more. I seesSo far, too many times. You know, you're asking for a basic transition, they're doing 101 things, or you can think yourself, am I doing this using the horse? And I think actually if you just peeled it back and do a little bit less, your, you can then expect or have more from your horse, don't bombard them with too many aids or come out with, well, yeah, definitely. So less is more as my little quote.

Natasha (00:50:17):
No, that's perfect advice. Have you heard of the 80 20 rule?

Hayley (00:50:21):
Yes. Yeah, yeah.

Natasha (00:50:23):
Yeah. And that's, that does, I've heard of it, uh, quite quite a couple of times, but I've just gone back into reading all the books and I'm like, ah, like that 20% of what I do could be 80% of what the horse gives me 80% of everything that principle in action.

Hayley (00:50:40):
And if you do too much confuse the hell out of the horse and find yourself sometimes because what am I doing? Riding a shoulder-in or a half pass or something, it's like I said, I bought 80, use it while I'm doing this. There's this peel it back uncomplicating.

Natasha (00:51:07):
And you're offering online virtual lessons and freestyle floor plan's. So tell me about this freestyle floor plans. If you won your first freestyle, are you a dancer? Do you have a musical background or what's going on?

Hayley (00:51:24):
I enjoy music? I I'm learning to play the piano again. Um, for many year's um, yeah, my brother's pretty musical as well. Um, yeah, so we've always been brought up with music in the family and um, freestyle I love dancing. Um, I would like to, you know, would have back in the day, like to have been a dancer.

Hayley (00:51:44):
So I did like a little mini dancing with the stars type thing for a local charity many years, and I loved it, but definitely not a dance dancing on the horse. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Um, yeah, I actually started the online, um, online business back in January, 2019. So before this COVID stuff hit and it was just to allow people, access to have lessons and obviously, uh, you know, develop their floor plans and, and, um, you know, do video assessments and things. So then obviously when this year hit, uh, it became really, really popular. Like I'd already set it up and I'd already done the trials of which works better and systems and everything else. Um, so yeah, it's been really popular and it means I can teach around the world. Like I used to come over to Australia to teach how can just teach from my office.

Hayley (00:52:44):
So yeah, the floor plan is I just, I find it really interesting. I love coming up with patterns and you have to communicate with the rider and they want the horse is good at as well. Yeah. You have to think about, so it's like, you know, you do have to find out a few things about the horse and the rider and you know, sometimes they send me a video of them actually riding. Okay. Yeah. Then you make a floor plan to suit.

Natasha (00:53:17):
And do you do the music or do you have someone that you partner with?

Hayley (00:53:20):
I used to, well, I used to do the music many years ago, my own music. Um, and I did for a few years until Carl told me to get to a professionals, to do your music. If you're going to the Olympics, you gotta have to. Okay. So yeah, no, I worked with a local guy who doesn't live too far away, so that's great. And he's done my, um, compositions for Rubin the last few times, so, yeah.

Natasha (00:53:47):
Super. And, um, you mentioned you're a gorgeous husband that you met when you were still at school. I met my husband when I was in school. So have you, have you found it hard balancing life and the Olympics and is there any other goals you haven't said. You said that you've started playing the piano again? Do you ever get frustrated that there's more, you want to do, trying to fit it all in, you've got your business as well.

Hayley (00:54:15):
I try, I try not to, I try, try and keep my goals how they are because I think I put myself into too much pressure, then I'll never succeed at the ones that I want to like truly do. So, you know, like the, the whole that, you know, obviously the Olympics thing, team competitions and training more horses up to that level as well. You know, I don't just want to be a one horse wonder. Um, you know, I want to want to keep going now I've got to this level of like right off the bat. Um, so yeah, that's my ultimate sort of goal. And then the things that, you know, the business helps with every day life and yeah, learning the piano, that's just a little hobby just for my time to switch off a little bit. And so I don't put myself as too much pressure with those. Um, yeah. And just teaching as well. Um, I think it's important to not bombard myself, assuming it goes, cause I will just keep going, keep going, keep going inside.

Natasha (00:55:12):
You know yourself very well, which is a good thing or you know, what the right balance for you.

Hayley (00:55:18):
Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. I think you have to definitely get the balance. Right. Um, you know, I've been lucky that my husband's not that involved in the sort of horsey side, um, of it is actually quite nice cause we can sort of take time out together and go do something else. It's not all revolved around the same thing all the time. So yeah.

Natasha (00:55:42):
Uh, do you have any sponsors you'd like to mention?

Hayley (00:55:44):
I have quite a few sponsors and I absolutely, you know, I couldn't, I wouldn't be where I was with them. They're absolutely fantastic. And I mean, I, I list them all. So, um, Topspec has been one of my main sponsors for many well, since I can remember. And it's, I mean with a lot of the products that I'm sponsored by, um, I was, have been using them first and it's kind of been built out through our relationship, of using them first rather than sort of approaching me saying, would you like, um, so yeah, I mean, Topspec Horse Feeds has been feeding my horses for 15 years, plus they know quite well. Um, Ideal saddles, um, there in Australia as well. Um, I have my own, uh, Hayley WG Saddle. Um,

Natasha (00:56:39):
Let's talk about that as an 11 year old kid, when that happened, that would have felt pretty special.

Hayley (00:56:45):
Yeah, it definiately was. They, they just said, Oh, we want to design the saddle for you and for the public and you know, have your name on it. And um, a brand that's yours because all those saddles are named after girls. So yeah. So it's really cool. So I've got my Hailey WG and then I love it. They're fantastic. But I've been riding in Ideal Saddles again for ages. I used to buy secondhand ones. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Fantastic. Um, yeah.

Natasha (00:57:19):
What makes the Hayley the Hayley?

Hayley (00:57:22):
So it's got a very comfortable, um, arm chair seat. I love that. Yeah. It's just a slightly different tree and the horse has got a bit more freedom and movement, the flaps are shorter so that you can get more connection with the horse. Um, and because I do make everything from scratch, you can have your own knee rolls, but I've obviously piked my knee roles that suit me. Um, and I have a deeper cancel at the back so that my tail sits here, the side of the it and you don't end up sitting on your tails.

Natasha (00:57:54):
That's an annoying thing, but it's

Hayley (00:58:00):
Sort of all in a, in a nutshell, that's kind of what it's designed around. So yeah, it's brilliant. Um, and yeah, so, uh, this year, um, I'd talked enough jackets. So I suppose by Lotus Romeo, Centreline

Natasha (00:58:15):
I like the bling bling, I like the bling bling and all the colors and all the choices.

Hayley (00:58:21):
So many colors, so many designs, you just, there's such an amazing fit as well. When you put it on, you just feel like royalty. It's like tailored jacket. Yeah. Um, my chef hats, um, and uh, yeah, which, what the jacket was designed around. So that's fantastic. And it's just such a shame that later things were canceled this year cause was supposed to campaign in them then. Yeah. So, yeah. And then Stockpin Chic, who've been such brilliant sponsors since I won the, Oh, I forgot to mention that I won the British Dressage National Champion 2017.

Natasha (00:59:04):
That's pretty fancy. I love that.

Hayley (00:59:06):
That was huge. That was a British National Championship. Anyway, it didn't make it that's okay. Yeah. That should have even gotten a trophy there. Yeah. Stop. Stockpin Chic. I met them at the national championship that sort of reminded of me and they do matching stops with, for the Lotus Romeo jackets and perfect. Yep. Um, but Supreme products, which is obviously to make the horses shiny. Um, Petrie, riding boots. Lovely. I've got such fancy boots, they are fantastic.

Natasha (00:59:48):
Do you go for the colors or, or, you know,

Hayley (00:59:54):
I've, I've got my, uh, my show boots black, and then I've got blue ones. Um, I have like a snakeskin, I've got red ones with a, uh, like a black sort of flower print on them.

Hayley (01:00:14):
Um, my clothing, uh, sponsors Trendy Equine who do arrange of names clothing and gloves, um, and Scharf. And I have some quite a few sponsors. Yeah, definitely. Um, the boots from Scharf Equestion. Fantastic boots. They're featured in all my videos, all my trainings I did as well, horses love them. I've been using them for many years as well. Lovely Barbie, bright pink ones. Um, and sorry, Cirencester Saddler's who actually put me in contact with Ideal Saddles. Okay. Arc Equine who's a micro current technology, or you start with my horses every day and Filthy Beasts Horse Rug Laundry as well.

Natasha (01:01:16):
Love it. You've used them. You know, they're great. Really great.

Hayley (01:01:20):
Exactly. Yeah. It is really a good partnership. And like I said, it wouldn't be where I am without them. Um, and it's great to be able to support some of the up and coming businesses as well.

Hayley (01:01:29):
So some of the time as well, you know, we work well together and, and try and help each other out. So yeah.

Natasha (01:01:35):
Is there anyone else that we need to mention.

Hayley (01:01:41):
Yeah. So I have a great home team and I've got, uh, Anna Davidson who is my equine physio for the horses. Uh, she's a fantastic support and sponsor for the horses and Theresa Prichard, who is a chiropractor and I've known both of them for many years and they've been absolutely fantastic sports names on my home team.

Natasha (01:02:01):
Ah, perfect. Awesome. Excellent. Okay. So where can my listeners find you on social media? They can see all the cool boots, they can see your training, if they want a freestyle or some lessons. Where can they find you?

Natasha (01:02:15):
I have a website which is, uh, WG,, which has all the information of lessons and training videos. And then on social media, Facebook it's Haley w no, it's not. It's Hayley Watson-Greaves WG dressage is my Facebook page. And then Instagram is Hayley Watson-greaves and on Twitter as well. There's WG Dressage.

Hayley (01:02:42):
Twitter. Is that what you called? No, I should have said tweet.

Hayley (01:02:51):
Uh, to be honest though, I don't, but I do sort of keep up, I've got an account to sort of share my sponsors, uh, posts and things I don't want to get to it if I'm honest. It's taken me a while to get Facebook.

Natasha (01:03:02):
Oh, I know. And let's not bring up tik-tok we just, we just totally young.

Hayley (01:03:10):
No tiktok I do not get.

Natasha (01:03:14):
I love it. We'll put all of that in the show notes so people can access all of that. Is there anything else you'd like to say before we go?

Hayley (01:03:19):
Thank you for inviting me to do the podcast. It's been, been great fun, and it's great that we can talk through the other side of the world as well.

Natasha (01:03:29):
Very cool. Thank you so much for your time and for sharing so much of your journey with our listeners really appreciate it.

Hayley (01:03:35):
My pleases. It's been great.

Hayley (01:03:37):
To stay up to date with the latest content. Don't forget to hit subscribe to this podcast. Go on, hit subscribe. I'd love if you would also love to leave us a review to help us how we could do better or make this even more amazing for you. And remember to follow us on Instagram at Your Riding Success and Natasha.Althoff.



Podcast Episode 39: Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu | Breaking Records

In this podcast, we speak with Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu. Brittany is a successful Canadian Grand Prix rider and has competed at the the Pan American Games, World Equestrian Games, and is shortlisted for the Tokyo Olympic Games. Brittany has had a passion for horses from a young age and quickly developed through the ranks. Brittany spend many years overseas furthering her training, however now resides in Canada to establish her business.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00):
Welcome to this Your Riding Success podcast episode with Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu. Inspired by a love of horses at a very young age, Brittany began her career in dressage and quickly rose through the ranks. Brittany and her gelding All In have helped lead the Canadian team to a silver metal finish at the 2015 pan American games, wowed Carl Hester during a Toronto masterclass and was the highest-scoring Canadian combination at the 2018 World Equestrian Games climbing the rankings to number one grand Prix dressage rider in Canada for two consecutive years. In 2017, she made the decision to relocate back to Canada, to establish her business and to give back what she has learned to the sport she loves so much. With her sights still looking to compete at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Brittany has so much to share with her experiences. I'm so excited to bring you this amazing episode with Brittany.

Natasha (00:50):
Welcome to the Your Riding Success Podcast. My name is Natasha Althoff and I'm a Grand Prix dressage rider from Australia, author of three books and a leading online trainer of riders all around the world, wanting to take their riding to the next level. I'm also a shopaholic mother of two amazing children and obsessed with helping riders to be all. Each week I'm going to bringing you stories of inspiration, ideas, and strategies of how to make real progress in your riding and give you actionable advice on overcoming riding fear and anxiety so you can take your riding to the next level and be the rider you dream to be. So let's get into today's episode.

Brittany (01:25):
All right. So thank you so much for joining us today. I'm super pumped to chat.

Brittany (01:30):
Yes. Thank you so much for having me.

Natasha (01:33):
Awesome. Sorry, why don't we start at the start? What did you want to be when you grew up? Like where did you have a pony in a very young age? How did you get involved with horses?

Brittany (01:45):
Well, I always loved horses from a very young age. I have a picture of my dad holding me on a Western horse when I could barely sit up, um, as a very young child. So my dad was into horses. Um, his wife at the time ha um, also had a riding school. So I was always involved in, you know, we always had many, a kids and western programs at our, at our stable. I had a pony, well, I had several ponies, but, um, yeah, it was, it was, I tried jumping. I did dressage. Um, I definitely fell in love with the dressage part of it. Jumping I was a little bit nervous I would say, but, um, I always wanted to be in the barn. Of course I never wanted to go to school. I wouldn't want to be in the, you know, typical girl pony, but it was so fun because I had all of, like, I met so many friends to ride thing, lifetime friends. Um, it was like the place that you go and you hang out 10, you know, and just enjoy horses. So, and I don't think today that happens as much as it did when I was younger. So I was,

Natasha (03:03):
And did you grow up reading like a saddle club books where you Like, yeah.

Natasha (03:10):
Yeah. It's, we're just living in the book. We're just living the dream.

Brittany (03:16):
I am the show too. They made a, they made a TV show.

Natasha (03:22):
I didn't have that. I didn't have to deal with my imagination.

Brittany (03:29):
Even there was even, there was computer games where you could, you know, be a jockey or pretend to jump for yeah, I know. Right.

Natasha (03:39):
So your horsey horse, when did you have a moment where you went, like when I asked, would ask you when you're like eight or nine, what are you going to be when you grow up? Would you have said a horse rider?

Brittany (03:52):
Yes, I think so. I would have for sure, my head that, well, my parents supported me, um, for sure they supported me. Um, but I always had in my head, well, the right thing is to go to school, to go to university and, um, you know, cause that's what you're supposed to do.

Brittany (04:16):
And, uh, I did, but I decided, you know, halfway through that, it wasn't for me. And I worked so hard. Um, you know, in barns, working students, mucking, stalls, everything I could to, you know, get to where I am now. And my dad always said, well, if you work hard, then you know, I will, I will back you. So I was, I was fortunate for that for sure. Um, but we were in, I was in so many great programs as, um, as a junior opponent, pony, junior and young rider. Um, that always kept me motivated. And when, when I got a taste of, um, being on a team or being, you know, involved in a, you know, a big CDI, I, I thrived on that and I realized from then on that, you know, I wanted to be a team rider. I think in 2001, I had leased a pony from my, one of my trainers, client clients.

Brittany (05:28):
I couldn't even get it on the bit now that I look back and in Montreal they did. Oh yes. And they did, um, they were having the, for where they introduced the FEI pony in CDI in 2001. And I'm like, well, I have to do that. I was leasing this pony. I couldn't get it on the bit, but I'm like, whatever, I'm going to go for it. And, and um, you know, when I think back of those days, and we also did some, uh, invitationals and Mexico city where we went on, we went as a team and we borrowed horses that again, we could barely get through the movements, but when I look back at all of these incredible opportunities that I had it just each time I, I lived that I wanted more. So I knew that I, there was nothing else I wanted to do.

Brittany (06:32):
And you know, like we all talk about, you know, there's disappointments, of course there's more disappointments really then, then fame for sure. And success, especially when you're learning and going up the levels. Sometimes I feel like, you know, the kids and the young riders and, you know, they all see everybody at the end, the end result when they go down centre line. And of course it looks polished, but the hours and, you know, sometimes the frustration and the tears and the, that you have to go through that to get that finished project finished, uh, product is, is not always easy.

Natasha (07:14):
Absolutely. So you've decided you, you went to uni, you went, no, no, no, this is not for me. I'm going to become a dressage rider and if kinda sometimes sounds it would have been easier to stay at uni. Like when you say you become a working student and mucking horses stalls.,

Brittany (07:28):
That's it. I had two jobs, I had two horses. I was, I was mucking, I don't know, mucking 30 stalls, riding, grooming everything. So exhausting. Like, why did I do this? But, but in the freezing cold, it was in Ottawa. It was so cold in the winter, like minus 30, but that's what you do when you love horses.

Natasha (07:54):
I can't even comprehend those temperatures. Okay. Now do all of that because you, you would definite I'm going to go to the Olympics or was it, I just want to be the best rider I can be or what was your dream propelling, all that work to happen?

Brittany (08:07):
No, the Olympics was for sure. My, yeah, my, the Olympics was for sure. My dream. Um, I knew one day I was going to try what I could to, to get there. I didn't know how it was ever going to happen, you know, how any of it was going to happen and probably most people don't. Um, but I knew I was going to try my best.

Natasha (08:30):

Brittany (08:31):
To get there.

Natasha (08:32):
Okay. So what kind of unfolded in those years, did you get some opportunities? Did you get all your own horse up to FEI or Grand Prix or what was?

Brittany (08:41):
Yes. So I trained with Ruth caution, Alrick Hidaman and for many years of my life. And they were like the, you know, the juniors and riders that stage of my life. Um, I had a horse, um, you know, that I was on the team for young riders and things like that. And Ruth retired, I still train with Alrick a little bit and then I got an opportunity to train with Ashley Holzer. About eight years ago, I started training with, or Ashley gave me an opportunity to train with her. Um, and the horse that I have now All In, um, was some six or seven.

Natasha (09:22):
I love that name by the way.

Brittany (09:23):
The, the auction, I didn't name them. The auction that I bought in from Vegas. I can't take credit for that, but, um, I, she gave me the opportunity to go train with her. So I packed my bags and I went to New York. And, um, I think a couple of weeks after I started training with her, I went and showed him Devin with all-in and fourth level and it went really well. And I started to see like really his talent and things, you know, the training just kept getting better and he kept getting stronger and she taught me how with a lot of her help, how to train a horse from basically walk, trot, canter, a flying change one way to a Grand Prix horse.

Natasha (10:10):
I love it. And what, how old were you when you did the move?

Brittany (10:17):
22. Yeah.

Natasha (10:19):
So was that hard, had you done much traveling from your home prior to that?

Brittany (10:26):
Yes I did. I was traveling since high school, so I grew up in Nova Scotia. Um, and I was living in Ottawa for, for a long time. Um, so I was always traveling, but you know, when I, when I got the opportunity to train with Ashley, I just met my husband. Um, so, you know, when you're younger, you're like, okay, well, yes. And he went to school to be an engineer. So he also had big goals for himself and I had big goals for myself. So it worked. Yeah. Not going to say it was easy, but it works.

Brittany (11:11):
Um, so yeah, it was an incredible experience that I had in New York with Ashley. It was, you know, just her training program. Um, what I learned watching, I would sit there and watch her teach, you know, to amateurs, to professionals, um, seeing her ride young horses, to Grand Prix horses, you know, just seeing the different tactics that she used for different horses. It was, it was like me going to school. Yeah. You know, that was my stuff with my schooling. Yeah. Um, that was a really an incredible opportunity. I received a grant, um, in like when I was training with Ashley to go to Europe and train with a trainer in Europe for three months. So I went here and I trained with Patrick Kittel, which was also an incredible experience. So All, All In and I packed her bags and went to Germany and we spent three months there. Amazing people. So fun. Learned so much would do it all over again. Yeah.

Natasha (12:23):
Yeah. Okay. So you were, what year did All In go Grand Prix?

Brittany (12:34):
Okay. I did, um, the Pan Am's in 2015 and in 2015, I did my first national Grand Prix.

Brittany (12:46):
Cool. All right. I'm quite like I'm on track for 16?

Brittany (12:54):
I knew he was green and I knew I was green for Rio, but I was, I try to give it a go, um, uh, Canada didn't send a team. They only send two individuals. So I knew that it was going to be very, very tough. Um, but for my first year Grand Prix, you know, I, I was so proud of him that he, you know, that he stepped up to the plate and just, uh, you know, in 2013 I was, I did one national grand Prix. And then I did the Pan AM's. I wasn't even focusing on the Grand Prix then. So, and he's a huge horse. It's a lot to put together from start to finish for the test and just strength wise. Like you think you're ready, but you go in down centre line and it's like, Oh gosh. I mean, I need to practice more. Um, so I did give it a go and I was close, but I was, was much more prepared for this year.

Natasha (14:01):
Yes. So were you, um, did you, is it still with All In you were prepared for this year? Yeah. Cause how old this year?

Brittany (14:09):
So, so all in this year is 15. Oh, I had an, yeah. I had an incredible winter season in Florida. The best I've ever had many personal bests going up into Tokyo. So it was, it was sad for me that Tokyo, but you know, there's other, there's other issues in the world right now. So

Natasha (14:36):
How did you find the momentum? Like I know it's next year, but that's still, maybe even uncertain. Did you give yourself an hour, a day away? How much part along the floor did you do before you really reset, stepped up and went okay. Now what I working on? So

Brittany (14:52):
After we came back from Florida, this, um, end of March, we came back and I just finished on such a high. At the end, I won a bronze medal in the freestyle. I had, you know, we won to a team medal. It was, it was an amazing show. So all in and I came back to Montreal, we were all pumped, but in the back of my head, I was saying to myself, like prepare yourself because with what is happening, Tokyo probably will not be happening. And when I was like, I don't know, I think it was like 10:30 at night. And I look on my phone and I get an email saying Canada is not sending teams to Tokyo. I was, I was for sure sad and disappointed, but I knew that this was coming. Yes. So this summer, I, I did give All In a break because I thought, you know, he's, he's 15.

Brittany (15:49):
He has done so many shows in his life and I want them to be, I didn't want to put extra miles on his legs for no reason because everything was so uncertain. You know, when were we going to the next horse show? We had no idea when, you know, we didn't know when can we travel to the US, we don't know. So I gave him a very, very, very light summer. The last couple of months, I started to, um, amp them up again. And we will be going to Florida. We are leaving on November 10th.

Natasha (16:25):
So the borders are open. You can do that?

Brittany (16:28):
So as of now, um, if you have a letter stating that you are trying for the Olympics, um, you cannot, uh, people can't quote me because I'm not a hundred percent sure I haven't tried it myself, but, um, apparently you still cannot drive. You have to fly, but the commercial trucks can ship the horses down. Yep, yep. Yep. So that is the plan as of today that, um,

Natasha (16:57):
Hard to make plans.

Brittany (16:59):
Very hard. I've been, I've changed my plans. I'm telling my students like, just bare with me. I don't really know what I'm doing, but, but it's the same for my students, you know, with, they all want to go, but you know, we can't families can't travel back and forth because of quarantine. It's very, very difficult.

Natasha (17:21):
Mm, absolutely. But

Brittany (17:24):
I made plans to go Florida. Um, seen that they're gonna go so I want to get back with, Ashlee and get into a strict program and kind of start off where I left off last season.

Natasha (17:39):
Yeah, absolutely. And did she help you with like some online lessons or have you been alone, like doing your own thing until you come back to Florida?

Brittany (17:48):
Um, we started, we started, well, once I came back from Florida, like, I really gave all in some, like, I think I gave him like a month in the paddock and I, I rode him, but just like long and low and really, I barely picked him up. And just the last couple months I started to do Pixeo with her online. It's been really great. Really great.

Natasha (18:12):
So you've had some and now you're just like I cant to compete.

Brittany (18:15):
Yes, that's it. Okay. Let's go.

Natasha (18:22):

Natasha (18:25):
In the craziness of the crazy you've you seem to be doing really amazingly amazing to be able to go, well, these are the plans and the competition season should probably start. At least I'll be with my coach physically, and then I'm doing my best chance to be in the best situation I can be for Tokyo.

Brittany (18:48):
Yeah. That's what I'm hoping for.

Natasha (18:51):
Okay. So do you have also other things to consider? You said you've got, you had a husband, like he obviously wasn't your husband then, but he's your husband now?

Brittany (18:59):
Yes. And I have a baby. My baby is six months, 16 months, baby boy.

Natasha (19:13):
Oh my God. Oh my God. How do you just get you and your horse to Florida? Tell me, what are you doing with your baby boy and your husband and everything else?

Brittany (19:20):
So that's the complicated part. Um, it's still very up in the air, but my son, um, after Christmas will come with me to Florida, um, along with my mother, cause she will help me. Um, and she will look after him and everything like that. And my husband usually comes to Florida like back and forth. Um, and he has some time off during Christmas and new year's. So usually the after Christmas we go to Florida for, he comes to Florida for two weeks. This year, everything is really up in the air. So I can't make any, we don't know he has been working from home. I said, can you work from home in Florida? He tells me that's not realistic. So I, I don't know yet that part of it is complicated. I'm sad that the, you know, quarantine is still in place. So we will, we will see

Natasha (20:24):
Thank you so much for sharing because people might just, you know, they turn on the TV in 2021 and they see you win a gold medal at the Olympics and they go how nice for Brittany, how nice would it be for Brittany? But the thing's sacrificed and the struggles you've had, and no one sees that, but, they're hard.

Brittany (20:45):
And I'm going to go to Florida like a few days after my horse and I'm going to, was going to stay there for three or four weeks to get some serious training and maybe do one competition in December. And my husband and I were just talking about it tonight, like, okay, well, I haven't got to go, but Theo is probably going to stay home and I'm thinking, Oh my gosh, how am I going to go two weeks without seeing him? You know? But that's the reality sometimes and the sacrifices that you have to make. And I'm so happy that my husband is supportive in all this because you know, the lifestyle sometimes is not reality and it's tough to juggle family life and this sport. There's no question it's very tough, but I always knew that I wanted that along with, I love my sport and I'm totally dedicated, but I also knew that I wanted an outside life. And I tell my students that that is very important also in life to, um, to have an outside life. So it's just how you juggle.

Natasha (21:52):
Absolutely. No have you only got the one horse or have you got like three or four other young horses coming up that you also have to think about?

Brittany (22:01):
I have, I, I own just one horse. Um, I ha um, one of my very good friends and teammates Jill Irving and her husband had purchased a young horse for me to ride this, um, this summer. So he is with me, he's four years old, um, bought him off an auction online. Um, so that was, um, that was really an amazing, um, an amazing opportunity for me. And, um, we're still in the process too, of maybe looking for another young horse. Um, I have some things and

Natasha (22:40):
Can we go back to, we bought them online. Did you try him or you literally just buy now button, please tell us everyone at home. Cause I'm just like

Brittany (22:54):
All of my clients and students know I'm totally against buying off video. Um, but, um, the guys that I work with in Hollins, um, I really trust and one of them is my good friend. The other guy, um, was All In's previous owner as a young horse. They've been looking out for, you know, a reasonably priced young horse for me, um, to take up the levels. And they said, you know, I think you should give this horse a try. And I was like, Oh my gosh, we can actually do this by the fourth. But I did. And I will say his temperament is a hundred percent. And for me that's very important.

Natasha (23:47):
Absolutely. And that's, again, we're going to see you in 10 years when another Olympic gold medal with this four year old that will probably be 14 and people go again, how nice for Brittany? How much luck did Brittany have. She had to take this. There is risk. There is, there is, Oh my God, I can't breathe. I have to do something. That's out of my comfort zone that I've never done before in order to get the rewards. So thank you again for sharing that story by now, but you go. Yeah.

Brittany (24:16):
And when you're on a young horse, you know, it's like with all in you walk, talk in or around a couple of times, you're like, okay, this is a nice feeling, but you know, you don't know what road you're going to go down. So you, you hope for the best. And you know, it's like a dream that your young horse is going to take you to the Olympics. Yes. You know, that's a dream and I know every young horse might not, but I'm going to try it again.

Natasha (24:45):
And then, sorry you were going onto another young horse or something. I just had a few

Brittany (24:50):
We are looking for another, um, young horse, um, to, to, to purchase. But I, like I said, I wanted to wait until things open up so I could go over and try some horses in Europe. I don't want to buy too many off video because, you know, I lucked out with, but you just, you just don't know. And I'm going to be totally honest. You know, I'm a new mother, your body takes a long time to get back to where it was before, when you're not used to riding four year olds. You know, I want to be sure that the four year old I'm on is not going to kill me. You know, you want to, I want to be a team rider. And so, you know, the young horses that I choose, I wanted, I want to really choose. Right.

Natasha (25:43):
Yes. So when you go to Florida, will the young horse come with you or will that stay out of coming to you?

Brittany (25:50):
Yes, he's coming. Yeah. Okay.

Natasha (25:53):
So is that also in the back of your mind, you don't want to have an army of 10 horses cause how would you logistically figure it out? Yeah,

Brittany (26:00):
That's it. And I was going to get a couple of sale horses as well, but I thought, you know what, between the horns I have, my family, I have very ambitious students that I want to be there for them. And I want to give them the best I can. They're all a great bunch of young girls who want to make this their career. Um, and it's so exciting for Canada that we have that. So I want to give them as much as I can on myself. So I have, I have enough right now, more than enough.

Natasha (26:36):
Cool. Um, so do you want to talk about your training methods that you use when your, when sitting on your horses, whether it's a four year old or whether it's all in, um, what are you thinking about as you ride them around, like is forward what you're thinking about or is balance what you're thinking about or engage? Like what, what is the things that you're thinking about that your must do's, like your checklist of, I can't proceed to the flying changes or the piaffe until I've got this.

Brittany (27:07):
Well, straightness and balance are for sure um, two key components that I always every single day pick apart the straightness of the horse, the balance of the horse, the control speed control is also a huge factor in both young and older trained horses. Um, with All In, you know, I've known him for so long and I have such a, you know, such a, like a marriage partnership really. Um, but every day I ride him and, you know, I wanna, you know, get him straight. I want also laterally, supple him, um, is something that I think is very important. Um, you know, bringing them back into a smaller trot so that the balance stays really underneath my seat, I find is also very important. Those are for sure. Checklists. Um, I think, yeah, like I said, speed control is a big one in every gate, walk, trot, canter, um, making sure that you know, that you have full control of what you're asking for.

Brittany (28:16):
And I think Ashley really, um, emphasized that and taught me that especially, you know, it's not just enter, also pssage, you know, and how to, you know, make the passage bigger, make the passage smaller, having a complete control in every, every single stride. Because when you go through Grand Prix tests, you realize how fast things can unravel very quickly. And if you don't have tools in your toolbox to fix it, it can get very overwhelming. And I try to make things very straightforward in my riding and not try not to complicate two things, you know, like when you have half-halt, okay, you have to come back when I put my leg on, you have to go. Um, and for the young horses, I like to, um, you know, obviously change up their, their, you know, weekly schedule, not do the same thing all the time, you know, take them well, even all in too.

Brittany (29:18):
But for the young horses, I think it's very important also, including cavalettes and, and poles, um, and some hill training and of course, some hack days. And, um, we have a big, um, outdoor jumper ring at the barn that I'm boarding at and, you know, just to go out and have a big gallop and let the horse really open up their stride is also very important, not just riding inside and in a smaller arena where the horse can actually really, you know, open themselves up and really let go. Yeah. Um, so those, and also some lunging too, you know, over, over cavalettes that they can find their own balance themselves, not always with a rider, looking for, you know, even contact and all the things that you know, and what I, when I was training all in as a young horse, I didn't obviously know what I know now. So my, the new young horse that I'm riding, I'm thinking way more about, you know, the end result, what I'm looking for, not just okay, I'm going to do a 20 meters.

Natasha (30:26):
Yeah. I'm just going to circle. That's what I'm. And was that, do you remember having a bit of a shock when you first went to Ashley, like, did you just go, w w what, what, like straightness is important? Um, balance.

Brittany (30:42):
Well, I, I, I knew all of, like, because I had great trainers before too, so I, I knew all of this, but I, I guess when you act, when you start to do more of the Grand Prix stuff, you see how, why, why it's so important, you know, like not just when you do your 20 meter circle. So, and I was used to riding so many young horses and when I was younger and not such, you know, highly trained horses, I had Prix St George horses, but that was it. Yeah. So I wasn't, so Ashley just really opened my eyes up for the Grand Prix and really taught me, you know, how to train a horse from start to finish, which is, and, you know, of course each horse is different. Um, but all of her horses are so correctly trained and easy to ride. So I, you know, her system works and it's, it's, it's simple too. And I think that's, what's also important is to try to keep things as simple and straightforward as possible. So it's also easy to teach and that it doesn't confuse people.

Natasha (32:03):
Yeah. That's huge. Awesome. Okay. You were awarded the, I'm not, I'm just going to say it. I'm going to say the wrong word, Brosda Olympic bursary for the second time. Tell us about this grant. And, um, what was it like to win it for a second time? That's awesome.

Brittany (32:23):
Well, this grant and was very special to me because Elizabeth, um, the girl that got killed in a car accident, I had actually taught a few times, um, she was a very young motivated girl that her dream was to go to the Olympics and she had so much motivation and I didn't know her well, but I did teach her a few times. Yeah. So when I was awarded and I wanted to, you know, really try to, you know, use it in the sense where I used it for my training, so I could get better so that I could go to the Olympics and try to, you know, really, really put the, put the money to very good use. Um, so winning it for a second time was very, very special to me. Um,

Natasha (33:19):
So the first time when you used it with Patrick?

Brittany (33:23):
No, that was another, um, that was, that was something else. Yeah, that, that was only a one time thing. The training in Europe, um, the Brosda, uh, bursary is every year. Oh, wow.

Natasha (33:40):
Okay. Yep. All right. So, um, you talked about some of the highs. Um, you obviously had an amazing show season, uh, in, in does, does it start December, January, February, and then ends in March, doesn't it? So you've had some amazing highs. What's your favorite? Like, I know we haven't got to the favorite favorite yet because that's coming so far.

Brittany (34:04):
Well, I will, I, my favorite was, and at the Pan Am's in Toronto, I will never forget that moment just being on home turf, the crowd just erupted when I finished and it still gives me goosebumps. That was, I mean, I can't even describe the feeling. It was just so cool. And to have personal bests, there was also, you know, even better, we almost beat the Americans, which, so it was that, that to me was my all time high, of course, competing at the World Equestrian games was, uh, was another high. Um, but a different one. Yeah.

Natasha (34:53):
Yeah. Okay. So let me just even go back. Do you remember your first Grand Priz? Like it was your first Grand Prix on that horse on a horse, you trained, but it was your first Grand Prix in your life anyway, like, was that a, I would've cried after that.

Brittany (35:08):
Well, it didn't go as well as I thought is was going to go.

Natasha (35:12):
Well, my next follow question was going to be I hope it what was a pretty bad score cause if you came out with of,

Brittany (35:20):
I should say. Well, I should say then no, that's a lie. That's my first national show that I did Grand Prix went very well. I was, I couldn't go. He was awesome. Like, is this actually how it's going to go? And then I did my CDI. Yes. I think I scored like 70 in the national and like, Oh my gosh, this is so amazing. Then I went into the CDI and got 64.

Natasha (35:47):
Naw, still not a bad score but ok. Now expecting a seventy.

Brittany (35:55):
Well, I was maybe expecting to do a little bit better, but you know, like I said before, you don't realize, you know, how, how much strength the horses need to get through a test. Yeah. And, and just the accuracy and how much they have to be on the aides. And the time that, you know, like I always tell my students, you know, you learn how to ride your horse at home, and then you need to learn how to go into the ring and ride your horse because it's sometimes two different animals. Um, you know, he's, he has a heart of gold and he tries every single day to, to do what I asked, but he, he was pretty hot. So he, it's a lot of horse. He's almost 18 hands and I'm not very big. So it's a lot of horse to manage, especially when they start to fatigue and get, and get tired. So I took my horse and it took us a couple of years to really get into the Grand Prix groove I should say, you know, and to get the experience and, you know, once you think you fix one thing, then you lose something else. And this year I finally felt that everything was coming together in a, in an incredible way. So

Natasha (37:27):
That's amazing. And did you want to talk about the WEG experience.How was that?

Brittany (37:32):
Oh, it was very cool. Um, that was always a dream in mind to be to go to a world championship. And, um, you know, I think the WED it was a little bit disappointing in the sense that the hurricane that was coming in, it really kind of disrupted the whole vibe of everybody because everybody was just kind of focused on, are we leaving? Is the show going to happen? And it feels so bad for the people that couldn't do their freestyles. That's just real. That's very upsetting for them. Um, you know, I had two unfortunate mistakes that I never have at WEG. Little things, but costly things. So I was, you know, that little disappointed in,

Natasha (38:19):
Can you share what I feel everyone can be like, I don't do that.

Brittany (38:25):
So I, in the zigzag and the cancer zigzag, um, and like, I think the last flying change, he kind of went back when I aided so it was not on the count.

Natasha (38:38):
Not on the sixth.

Brittany (38:39):
So, so when you have that, it's a five. Yeah, when you have a mistake.

Natasha (38:45):
Isn't it so hard because you've done so many half passes and changes and it was just one of them.

Brittany (38:54):
Change one change. And I don't know if he was like, kind of looking at the camera.

Natasha (38:59):
Yeah. Yeah.

Brittany (39:00):
Because he did this too at the Pan Am when, on the second day and the last change, on the canter zigzag, he kind of went back, like he kind of startled. So, and then I did a great first canter pirouette and I changed at X and he changed back. So he did like a one tempi at X. So I had to change back. I was like, Oh my gosh. So again, very, very costly. And then the test was great. Yeah.

Natasha (39:39):
So have you thought about that, Tempi? Was it, you were thinking ahead of the second piro and not paying enough attention?

Brittany (39:46):
Probably moved my leg and I probably ate it in, but you know, sometimes when I changed to the right at X, he can get a little crooked. So if I had to take in the left rein too much and he changed back, wow. I'm like, you know, when you just be like, Oh, can I just have a redo?

Natasha (40:12):
It's just a warm up and I'll see you soon. I'll come back.

Brittany (40:16):
But you know, to be in my first world championship and have 70%. I led Canada. So again, I was very happy. I was very, if I didn't have those mistakes, I would have been going through to the special. So, you know, but I say you learn from your mistakes and you just keep going,

Natasha (40:38):
That's it, that's it all right. For everyone that's listening to this going well, I haven't had my, like, that's great with all your success. I've had, I've just competed on the weekend and I just got eliminated or I just kinda lost, or my horse does totally had a hissy. Can you share with us. Have you had a bad moment?

Brittany (40:59):
Oh, yes. I've had many, many. Which I think all top riders would probably say the same, but, um, yeah, many shows where I'll remember my young rider horse just stopped and wouldn't go mid canter pirouette. I'm like kicking and nothing's happening. And you know, you just go out of there and be like, okay, try it again. But at one point so disappointing or, you know, I, one time when I was trying to qualify for the young rider championships, I missed my score by 0.02 to go on the last day. And it was raining so much and I was riding in so much mud. I thought I just have to be nice. Nice to meet today. Just give me the score. But no, and I missed the championship. I couldn't go. Wow. By 0.02. Yeah. Yeah. That's so again, that was really disappointing. I bought, um, an incredible Prix St George horse in Europe, I sold two horses, my two horses to get him six months later, he had a terrible, terrible suspensory and had to go to rehab was off for like two years. So it was also very challenging. Um, very sad.

Natasha (42:33):
And then what happened, did he eventually come good?

Brittany (42:35):
He did, he came back. I leased him to one of my very good friends. Now she did the junior championships because I knew, I wasn't sure if you would come back to do Prix St George at the level that I wanted him and I wanted him just to stay sound and, you know, having an easier workload. So at leased him to her, to her, and she did very, very well. And I took him back and I did a few, a few Prix St George, but I could see things starting to unravel again a little bit. So I, I put him in a field. He came, yeah, it is. It is. He came back for maybe a year and a half, two years at the most. Um, so that was really upsetting. Um, Oh, well, no I've had, when I was younger, my gosh, my horses, you know, couldn't get them on a bit. They would try to lead the rein, all the ups and downs that you go through and you learn from your mistakes. Or I remember this other horse that I had, I was doing a junior test and then doing an extended trot down centre line and he spooked and he stopped and reared rated G and I'm like, why are you doing this? You know, you just want to be like why.

Brittany (44:16):
Yeah. But yes, there is like, I tell most people there is no, you know, there's sometimes a lot more, you know, hardships then yes, then goods. But when the good comes, it feels good. And it just gives you that drive to, you know, want to do it again,

Natasha (44:37):
To go through all the rest of the bad that's coming together.

Brittany (44:40):

Natasha (44:44):
Uh, awesome. Um, do you have a piece of advice that you live by, or a quote or a motto that you're like, this is what I do when things get tough or?

Brittany (44:56):
Um, my coach and my dad always said, you know, never give up and work hard and it's a simple thing to live by, but it's so true. Even when things geat tough, you just keep on pulling through and there is light at the end of the tunnel. And if you work hard and you really, um, really dream it and want it, you will get it. Yeah.

Natasha (45:26):
And I think, um, you mentioned it earlier as well. Like that is so simple. It's very simple to understand. We can all understand it just because something's inputted. It doesn't mean that it's easy to do. It's actually quite hard to work is very hard that you mentioned to your father. If you work hard, I'll do everything I can to support you. It wasn't just all do everything. You've got a dream. I'll do everything to support you. If you have a dream, I'll help you.

Brittany (45:53):
Oh yeah. He always liked, there was if I wasn't working, he was in, I needed to really, um, and you know, I didn't expect anything for free either. You know, his sport costs a lot of money, like everybody knows and you know, it's, he needed to see that I was working for it. And you know, every time I, I, you know, my trainer like, Oh, she needs another horse. Or he said, okay, well, even if I was attached, I had to sell it to get another one. And it was it as a young person. It was, it was tough. It was really tough because I had such a connection with that horse. And I thought, I'm like, you know, I did it, but it also makes you a stronger person too. It does to be as strong. It, it does. And you have to be a strong person to be in this industry and to deal with all of the, you know, the stress of competitions and horses and you have to be very strong. Yeah.

Natasha (47:04):
Awesome. I love it. If any of our Canadian listeners want to get in touch for lessons or full training, are you open to them contacting you?

Brittany (47:14):
Yes. Um, people can contact me through social media, Facebook, Instagram. I also have a website for

Natasha (47:21):
And do you have any sponsors you'd like to mention?

Brittany (47:32):
Yes, I have. Um, I have amazing sponsors. Um, of course, you know, I want to thank them for everything that they do and I'll obviously make All In look amazing. But CF construction, Samshield, Eco Gold, Back On Track, Alexia Fairchild, um, load air Shannon. Those are just dressage, um, sport boots. Those are a few. Excellent.

Natasha (48:03):
You can put that in the show notes. Um, excellent. Anything else you'd like to share before we end today?

Brittany (48:09):
I think that's everything. Thank you so much for having me.

Natasha (48:13):
It's my absolute pleasure thank you.

Brittany (48:13):
To stay up to date with the latest content. Don't forget to hit subscribe to this podcast. Go on, hit subscribe. I'd love if you would also love to leave us a review to help us how we could do better or make this even more amazing for you. And remember to follow us on Instagram at Your Riding Success and Natasha.Altoff.


Podcast Episode 38: Charlotte Jorst | Earnest, Dedicated and Hard Working

In this podcast, we speak with Charlotte Jorst. In this episode we chat through Charlotte's successful business ventures, competing as an adult amateur and future Olympic goals.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00):
Welcome to this Your Riding Success episode with the amazing, brilliant Charlotte Jorst. Charlotte Jorst is a Danish-born American Grand Prix dressage rider. Charlotte success story is one of earnest dedication, persistent optimism, and unabashed hard work. An avid horse lover from day one, she rode Fjord horses bareback in her youth, but never received any formal instructor. As an adult she shifted her focus into building a successful career as an entrepreneur and business owner, creating and growing the watch brand Skagen into a distinguished company that was later acquired by Fossil. The most recent venture in this internationally adored sunscreen brand, Kastel Denmark, the joyful dedication to her horses, natural understanding of them as individuals and drive to improve herself and her equine partners have led to nearly immediate success. One of the few elite Grand Prix riders competing as an adult amateur, she was living proof that hard work pays off and it's never too late to start a new adventure.
Natasha (00:54):
I have never met an such an amazing human as Charlotte. I feel honored that I got to spend an hour of my time with her, and she really was a kindred spirit and really, um, her the way she sees the world and the way she tacks life is something I really admire about her and really enjoy, um, exploring. So I really, really enjoyed this conversation and I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I did having it.
New Speaker (01:18):
Welcome to The Your Riding Success podcast. My name is Natasha Althoff, Grand Prix dressage rider from Australia, author of three books and a leading online trainer of riders all around the world, wanting to take their riding to the next level. I'm also a shopaholic mother of two amazing children and obsessed with helping riders to be all they can be. Each week I'm going to bring in new stories of inspiration, ideas, and strategies of how to make real progress in your riding and give you actionable advice on overcoming riding fear and anxiety. So you can take your riding to the next level and be the rider you dream to be. So let's get into today 's episode. Thrilled to have you on the podcast. Charlotte. Welcome.
Charlotte (01:56):
Thank you so much. I've been so excited to be here. It's been, it's been, I've been looking forward for weeks.
Natasha (02:03):
I love it. So I guess the first question is how did you get started? Why dressage? How did it all begin?
Charlotte (02:11):
Well, when I was a kid, I rode ponies and then, um, and then I, you know, then I started the business and I had kids and then the whole thing I could never kinda ride again. And then when, um, I turned 35, my husband gave me a horse for our 10 years anniversary now, not knowing what would happen. And it was of course completely the wrong horse. He was four years old and he was like completely misunderstood. But, um, I rode it for a little bit and then I gave it to my daughter. She did Hunter jumper. And then I actually started doing Hunter jumper for a long time with the girls when my two girls that went. So we had a great time and I had zero timing for the hunter jumper. I would like not able to count and I couldn't do anything.
Charlotte (03:01):
So I never became very good and it drove me nuts. So then I was like, Oh, I'll start dressage. Then I, uh, and then that's how I started dressage. So like a 42 or 43, I started dressage and again, the wrong horse, but at least now I could ride a little bit and then I just started there and just started doing, but then it was always after work and adult amateur people still remember me, you know, driving around with my trailer and my car. And I do, you know, do their own grooming and Oh, those things I went through for years and it was, so it was just after work and I was a travel then not, so it was very interrupted.
Natasha (03:42):
Yeah. Okay. Well, I love it. Let me, let me unpack for psychology. So you, um, were very much so back in school, what did you want to be when you grew up? What was the plan?
Charlotte (03:53):
I was, I always wanted to be a millionaire.
Natasha (04:00):
I love it. Don't you dare apologize.
Charlotte (04:03):
It was not cool to say in Denmark because it's like really socialistic. And really, so when I said I wanted to be a millionaire, if you were like, Oh my God, don't you want to do something for others?
Natasha (04:22):
Yeah. It's when you become a millionaire, you can do so much for others.
Charlotte (04:25):
Yeah. So then, uh, so, so that's what I wanted. So I just wanted to find means to an end too. And I figured I could do whatever I wanted, which is exactly how we'd kind of worked out. So all those years I have to say, I, I always wanted to ride. I always, always my dream for all those years, I had Skagen to start riding. I mean, he was, so it was such a powerful emotion. I would sometimes sit at my desk and I would just think about when I could start riding.
Natasha (05:00):
That is amazing.
Charlotte (05:02):
Incredible. And I really, I put so much passion, so much work into that company because at one day I wanted it out and I was said to my husband, we need to have an out before I turn 50, because otherwise I think I'm going to, it's going to be too late for me to really, to get, to get somewhere with it.
Natasha (05:19):
And was it always, so it was, was it the driving force, the money or was it the driving force the money for the horses?
Charlotte (05:27):
I don't ever think, you know, once you're in your business, the driving force is never the money, the driving is simply, making it bigger and making it more successful. Um, having fun and, and never really was about the money. And it was, it was more about, um, building that company up. And then, so at that I could ride one day.
Natasha (05:51):
Yeah. The freedom that the time, cause you understood, we need some time here. So you set the goal for 50, you hit it earlier, didn't you?
Charlotte (05:59):
I did it at 49. We sold, that's funny. I called everybody. I went out and told every, I could barely ride. I could talk there, but now I'm going to the Olympics. Like,
Natasha (06:12):
But you were used to that your whole life has been people saying, yeah. Right. And you're doing it anyway. So rock on.
Charlotte (06:19):
And then I started really riding and uh, and then I got, um, Nintendo, which has been really, really great horse for me. And, uh, and then I really started, you know, applying myself on riging and I trained with [inaudible] for a year and a half and it was great. And I trained with, um, with different people and it's been, and I've really, really applied myself. And, uh, with the same sestinas I did was Skagen and it's just been an incredible journey. And it's been, uh, it's been so much fun with those. I just have so much fun with the horses. I just think it's such a privilege to be able to ride for me because I wasn't able to for so many years, and it was such a big dream. So to execute it, it's just, I'm appreciative every day.
Natasha (07:10):
Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So let me, let me try and understand, are you a competitive person was part of the business success, just this drive to, to win against you, not to win against the world, but just to be better, to be better, a better company, a better product, a better result. And is that now in the riding, like you straightaway chosen Olympics, it wasn't, I just want to go for a little hack. It was, what's the biggest thing I can do here that bit. I'll do that. So I'm just loving that I can resonate with that so much. So what's, what is your nature? What is your, your wiring of how you approach your life?
Charlotte (07:48):
Well, I think that is the wiringit just to, uh, to win and, and with, with Skagen, it was always about getting it bigger, um, to the point that it became such a compulsion that you could never, I could never work hard enough to feel the serpent of the success. So in the end, you know, it was like a hamster wheel. You just worked and work. And when I decided, when we decided to really sell the company was a Sunday afternoon, I'll never forget. I went out with my girls and we went to buy shoes and I went up to the calendar at a woman's, a Macy's and there was the watches. And I didn't like the way they were displayed. So this assembled the whole display and our nice little shoe buying thing became like this obsessive compulsive taking all the watches down, building it back up five hours later, they're, you know, exhausted.
Charlotte (08:39):
I am exhausted. Everybody is just, and I could never relax. And then I was just like, in order for me to get out of this, I have to just, just get on with something else. So a little bit of a, um, nature in that, you know, I get, I get compulsively competitive about things. I just have to, uh, I just have to do it and I will drive myself into the ground and everything for that and that, whatever it takes, whatever it takes with the horses, I just have a lot more fun with the horses. And I love that. You always, first of all, you can't really be that compulsive. You can't overtrain. Cause you have to have them on that side
Natasha (09:29):
And you can't. Cause I'm a lot, like you make it happen. You can't make it happen. That's a whole other world. You can't make anything. And it's like, Whoa, I'm in Disneyland. This is a whole different world.
Charlotte (09:43):
And sometimes he does some go that week. That's a week it's time.
Natasha (09:53):
Yeah. It it's, it's it. Oh my God. Yes, yes, yes. So firstly, let's go back to when you sold the company, I love that you had enough awareness to go. I have to get out out. Um, because I know me and I know what I want to do. Was there sadness? I think I would have cried and felt, felt very weird for a couple months.
Charlotte (10:14):
It was, it was weird. And it, you do feel sadness, but you know, you also, it wasn't like a short-term thing. It wasn't like, spur, you know, I've been in it for 23 years. He was very, very, and he was, he was all encompassing, um, for so many years, that was never, we owned the company outright and there was never ever, there was always so much risk involved in it when you own it out. Right. And it was never, you never could relax. So that was the third belief. And he was also funny because it was so, uh, difficult, like I said, to feel the servant, but once you had sold the company and now you have the money in the bank, it was almost like a stick in the ground. Okay. I did deserve this because if somebody wanted to pay this for it. So it was like, in that sense, it was such a huge sigh of relief. Like you didn't have to just keep on running against the clock almost.
Natasha (11:09):
What a gift. Okay. So we are in a whole new era, you've got the horses, you've got the freedom, you've got the time and you go competition hat on, I'm going to go to the Olympics. So was it hard to find coaches that were on side with you that went, yep. We can do this, let's do this. Or did you get a lot of people going that's nice and, and not really giving you what you needed?
Charlotte (11:34):
Hmm. It was definitely a mixture. There was definitely people that were like, um, this will never, they were like, yeah. Right. And they will, this will never happen. And then there were other people that, um, I think kind of got me early on and were like, Oh, maybe, maybe if anyone can, you probably might be,
Natasha (11:55):
Wants to be one person. It would be, I love it.
Charlotte (12:00):
Well, I would say that that is Def, that was definitely a mixture. And there still is, you know, there's still, I still feel like sometimes I feel like an imposter, you know, that because so many people have spent a whole life just riding and being in the barn. And, and I try to tell them that, you know, I've also spent my whole life working. I just worked in a different way, but it doesn't that I haven't worked for this, you know, I just,
Natasha (12:25):
And you don't know, you, you totally understand discipline and commitment and, um, being particular and all those other traits that you need.
Charlotte (12:34):
Yeah. Well, I can try it, you know? So it was, it's been definitely. Um, and then there has been, you know, of course some kind of jealousy, but I'm in general. I feel like I feel very, uh, loved also on the internet and stuff. I don't feel like I get, um, I get like crabby people, you know, criticizing me tremendously or, or anything like that. I actually feel this is a very human community, horseback riding people. I think they're great people. And, and I feel very, you know, I just feel very comfortable in it and it does criticize me or critcize others. I usually attack it head on because I hate that it's an ad or I hate that you come up the side of a, of an arena, you know, they're clearly not doing well. And then people out there standing criticizing, I hate that because you don't know the story of the person. He could be a horse that they rescued the week prior and they actually doing a great job with it or something. So I always say something if I hear something, because I feel that this is hard.
Natasha (13:49):
Perfect philosophy. Abso-freaking-lutely yep. Okay. So, um, you you've, what, what year was it when you said Olympics? What, what year?
Charlotte (14:00):
Well, that's what I said six years ago. Right. So that was in
Natasha (14:06):
2014. 14 years. Okay. And did you go, I'll be there at 2016 or were you planning 2020
Charlotte (14:18):
For sure. I was like 16 and I was so disappointed.
Natasha (14:28):
Oh my God. Yes.
Charlotte (14:31):
I was so disappointed. And I remember somebody said to me, what if it becomes 20? Then I was like, uh, 20, 20. I was like, Oh my God, 2022. And now I'm going to be way too old. That won't work. It has to be in 16 or nothing. It was so hard. I was like, this is a lot harder than I feel like it would be.
Natasha (14:52):
I know. You just got to trot on the spot a bit, do some skipping that takes six months to learn. I'm sure.
Charlotte (15:01):
So odd. I was like, okay, so now, um, so, but now I feel like I'm actually, uh, I went to world cup finals in Sweden in 16. Yeah.
Natasha (15:12):
Oh, awesome. How was that? What was that your first international?
Charlotte (15:17):
Nope, that was the first I did nation's cups, I think in 15, but that was like the first, really big one where, you know, the 15 best in the world are there. And I, I had one dealt with Edward Gal in Rotterdam, which was like, I was so star struck, but they're at that, uh, at that, that was, you know, everybody was there and I was like there with them and he was, I remember that was, it was, it was really crazy. It was really, really, because it was the first one where it was like a real event, but I also had a lot of fun with it because I felt like I felt like I derserved to be there. And then the other thing is that it was the end of it. It wasn't qualifying for anything, so I could just relax and have fun with it. And I did, and I did really well there. Yeah. So it was, it was really a good experience. I loved it.
Natasha (16:08):
Okay. So that was 16. You're like, Oh, so it happened at the end. So the Olympics. Okay. Definitely what you then like bring on 2020, I've got this.
Charlotte (16:18):
But at that point I was way more educated and I, I was, uh, I, I knew then how difficult it was going to be. And, um, so, um, I decided just to, you know, pluck along and, uh, and, and, and get more experience inside the international world. So then it became more strategically like pursuing and really live. And, um, and
Natasha (16:45):
When you say the strategic, so obviously in your company for you to build it from absolutely nothing to what it became, did you have mentors, coaches, people in your lives that helped you to do that? Or did you figure it all out on your own?
Charlotte (16:59):
You know, we had, I had my husband, so we had it together and we just, I feel like the customer just as the horse will usually tell you what they want. And then you just keep on doing more of what they want. And I feel like with the horses, that if you just do what the horse is good at and you praise them, then it, it becomes very, very, it become more cooperative. And I feel like in the ring, you just, you need that collaboration. So you have to like, it's the same with you in the morning you wake up and you can't, you can't, you hate doing yoga in the morning. Now somebody forces you. I mean, you're going to be disgruntled the whole day, but if you love to, for a run and I feel the same with the horses. So I always try to do everything they love to do every day, or at least finish up on a good note. And then, you know, you sprinkle in a little bit of the difficult stuff for them. And then I learned by, by, by the 16th, I really knew that. And I was really having a good philosophy. So that became my strategy just because I knew I had to do it quicker than others, because I couldn't find a quick way of getting up, getting good quickly on my side.
Natasha (18:28):
How did you,
Natasha (18:32):
No, you go, you go, no, no, I'm done. No, I'm just fascinated. Like you, as you said, you said, you got to the end of 16, you went, well, I'm going to have to be very strategic. You understood, as you said, okay, well, I'm going to, I don't have the time. I've got to find the quick way. I've got to find, you know, what Matt, the, the bits that matter, like in business, we do lots of things, but what are the bits that really are the things that matter? And, and I feel that you've done the same with the riding going, okay, well, what are those bits? So, um, did you rely on getting strategy for someone else from other people, or were you aware everyone's strategy is their strategy and I'm unique and I've got, I've got to do it a faster way and I'm going to have to get my thinking cap on and figure this new path out for me.
Charlotte (19:15):
I think it was a combination of the two. Um, first of all, I had, I've had really, really great trainers, but I also have had trainers that I have not. Then I trained with them for a year and a half. And I feel like a lot of people get stuck with someone. And I knew that I was, you know, so I would train with somebody a year and a half and then I'd have to go, okay, I have to move on. Um, and now I've really found a great, uh, person that I've been with the last three years and, and she's fantastic. And we compliment each other extremely well. And it's not so often that we get sick and tired of each other and that she also, she also recognizes that, that I have my own method, but I don't think anyone can do it on, on your own. And she's a real horseman. And, uh, and I'm that, I'm that really encouraging person that to the horses. So, um, I think that's a really, that's a really good map. So it's definitely a little bit of everything, but I think the force, the forte is to move on when it's no longer working.
Natasha (20:22):
Hmm. Mm.
Charlotte (20:26):
Natasha (20:26):
And that can be hard for some people. Like I would also think the things that you've learned in your business help to make those decisions you have to in business, you have to make decisions quickly and you have to go with them. And I think in some other cases that it can be hard if people aren't used to or practice to that, that they put off making the decision, not realizing that that is in fact, making a decision and staying with the trainer for however long.
Charlotte (20:50):
And then they also get afraid of the horse then that they live other people's ride the horse, or, uh, so there's a many, many pitfalls along the way. And you just have to kind of stay the course. And, and, and, and then the other thing that I think is, uh, that, that I, that I is a strength is I think it's, it's easier to be imperfect at Grand Prix then to, at first level, people always say, Oh, I want to try the first level before I move up to second level. I'm like, when, when, when did you, when did anyone last time get a hundred percent? No one gets 100%. It's easier to be imperfect. At least you can say, well, I screwed up, but at least it was at Grand Prix.
Natasha (21:37):
I didn't get 50% Grand Prix is way cooler than a 65% prelim, but that's me.
Charlotte (21:46):
And then, you know, you figure it out. So I also think that going for it, I think I suck. And then they find excuses for not doing it.
Natasha (22:00):
Mm Hmm. Yep. So let's talk about then horse choices. You're in 2016, did you trust that you knew? So I don't feel I'm good at picking horses. I always get the black pretty ones. Um, and so I don't, I should not be trusted. I don't know what that's like. I don't even notice. Sorry. Did you have to rely on people to help you find these horses? Or did you, are you, do you have a good natural eye or how does that work?
Charlotte (22:36):
I do not have a good eye and I do not have, uh, good people to help me because everybody always wanted to make money from me. So that has been such a hassle and so many bad choices. And, um, but, and, and I've been, I feel like I felt like such a failure a lot of times, because I feel like taking advantage. I think that's the hardest part of everybody's just out to get you, whether you were buying a $50,000 horse or a 500,000, or I just feel like, you know, it's, it's a very dishonest industry and that has been a very different, difficult things for me. I've just been lucky to have happened in Nintendo throughout, um, that has been, that had a key for three years, which was really good. And now I have a really good group of horses, but it's been a very uphill battle and I am very, very positive, but also slightly naive person. I like to believe in people.
Natasha (23:40):
Me too, all people are good, aren't they? Yeah.
Charlotte (23:47):
And if they just aren't in the horse business and I don't know, then people say, Oh, the things that better, I'm like, I've had a horrible experience. And then they say, Oh, the Dutch are better. No. Well, the Germans, the Germans, I still at faith in the Spanish people. Cause I've never been there to buy a horse. I love it. It's really difficult. And I feel like it's difficult for everybody. So,
Natasha (24:18):
And even that aside, because I do think that's a huge part of it. And then even if everyone's being honest, it's a horse. They change like to make a decision about a partnership. We don't get married. Like we date. We spent a lot of time going, is this the right life partner to walk this path with, but with a horse, you get one ride, maybe two, if you're lucky three and make a decision.
Charlotte (24:43):
And then they come over usually from Europe and then yes, it's so difficult to manage the shoe, the environment. I think it's really, really, really difficult. Especially if you get one over that's that is doing Grand Prix in is 10 or 11. And I mean, it's almost impossible to keep them sound and no it's extremely difficult, or then you can buy a five-year-old, but then, you know, it takes forever.
Natasha (25:14):
Yeah. We don't have that time.
Charlotte (25:16):
There was no winning with that. It's just a very difficult, and I have just gotten lucky with Nintendo and then now I have Galaxy that's developing incredibly and I have, but Botticelli that's developed. So now I, all of a sudden have a little bit of streak of luck, which I was so good.
Natasha (25:34):
Bring it on. Yeah. Okay. So you've got three horses that you ride
Charlotte (25:39):
I have five actually.
Natasha (25:41):
Yeah. Okay. What does a week look like? You've gone from, I don't have time to ride. I'm running my business to buy horses. How do you spend your days
Charlotte (25:53):
Early in the morning? And then I go ride. So I sit on the first one at eight o'clock and then I, um, I ride them all very differently. Nintendo loves his trail rides. So I start with him. He needs to be ridden first in the morning because otherwise he won't get left. Yeah. So then I'd usually, and then I just ride him 10, 15 minutes to keep him in shape. And then I move on and I'm usually done by one, depending on if I have to do many, many trail bikes, then I go home. I check in on the business. I do emails in the afternoon. Uh, I do usually a yoga a couple of times a week. I go for a walk with the dog and then I took over the next morning.
Natasha (26:35):
Yeah. Yeah. Okay. And do you just have a smile on your face?
Charlotte (26:41):
If I'm in Reno product meetings? And I also do a lot of social media where, when, if I'm in Reno, we have a whole day, every week of social media where she takes me and we do little tidbits of things. So that can be, that's a little bit different when I'm up there. So I worked quite a bit with my,
Natasha (27:02):
No. I'd love to know Do you think that you were like, do you feel I've worked to this week or is everything you're doing? Whether it's work, whether it's riding, whatever it is, is your life just amazing or do you go, there is 10 hours there, five hours. Is there 10 hours? Is there 30 hours of work? So to me, my definition of work is the things I don't like to do. Like I am so not working right now. I am having a fliggin blast. Um, is that, like it is for you?
Charlotte (27:30):
Do you sometimes feel like your days a little bit daunting? Yes. Terrified. Yeah. That's what it feels like. Mostly, especially like when I go to bed in the evening, then the next day seems daunting to me because there's just so many things, but that's, that's as close to work as I guess I would say daunting is more the word than real work. I don't feel I have a work, but sometimes I just feel like it's, it's overwhelming with all the projects in one day.
Natasha (28:00):
And is that just our personality? Cause we like so many things and we want to do that and that, and that. And surely we can fit that in too.
Charlotte (28:07):
Exactly. I think that's just the personality and I wouldn't want it any other way, but it still gets, you know, the day before, you know, you still kind of go, Oh my God, if I don't sleep, please let me sleep well, because otherwise I'm just going to drag even though that feeling.
Natasha (28:24):
Absolutely. I love it. All right. So you've got some great horses now, were you, um, were you in a good place for 2020 or the fact that it's been moved to 2021? Is that a good thing for you in terms of where your horses are at?
Charlotte (28:39):
No way? I think I'm gonna, um, I'm trying all the Nintendo again, he, was in a really great place last year, but he's still in a really great place. He's going to be 18 next year. Um, but he's in a great place. I just had him checked by the team that, and he's absolutely perfect and going and, uh, and I'm doing a new freestyle, so I'm very excited then I have the others, but I'm not sure that there'll be, um, ready to do the qualifications next year. You don't know. I still have a few months and both Botticelli and, um, and Galaxy up very, very coming along very fast. So you never know what, you never know, whether they be getting a score in March or something and then going to Europe and you don't know.
Natasha (29:26):
Yeah. And do you think about 24 or have you given yourself any fixed ideas around when you stop riding or if you're going to be in 2050? I don't even know if that's an Olympic year, but how do you go sit and do you plan for your riding?
Charlotte (29:43):
Well, what I have really learned is that the competitions exist in your head. It's like, yeah. So I feel like that's who you're competing with. You're competing in your head and physically, unless I fall off or, you know, knock on wood, I don't feel like I have any of the mutations. I feel like I'm in great shape and I can, I can totally do 24 and maybe 28. Um, but so that's, that's exactly, that's exactly how I feel. And I thought I didn't think I'd be this way, but it is. Yeah. It's very cool.
Natasha (30:21):
So cool. Absolutely. Okay. So, um, what would you say has been your biggest competition highlight so far when you look back at your career, what's been your favorite moment?
Charlotte (30:36):
Uh, my favorite moment has been the world cup in Sweden and the nation's cup in Rotterdam. And then I have to say the, um, the central park show was incredible with all those skyscrapers around me and, and my daughter was studying and in New York at the time, so everybody was there. So those were my best, my best moments and Wellington, you know, and all the competitions there. I think it's been so much fun to go there and compete and meet all these people.
Natasha (31:09):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yep. Okay. And for what about, um, cause everyone listening, they're going, Oh, well this sounds all very magical and fabulous. Um, do we have a competition where we came dead last? Last, we got eliminated. It was,
Charlotte (31:27):
Oh my God. It's been such a nightmare. So the first thing I, I always dressed up when I was, I knew a festival of champions. I always knew it was like in back when I started riding in 14 was that was like this thing to do Stephanie Peters everybody was there. So I was like, Oh my God, I have to go there. So I qualified on you. Challenges I took to go to Colorado was Nintendo, just got Nintendo. And then I had, Vitale's had to go to Colorado and it was, it was snowing this park and it was like insanely difficult to qualify, but I did. And I go there and I totally screw up. I mean, to such an extent, I can't remember the course wrong course constantly on both horses. And it is just a complete nightmare. And last off, of course, everybody's just shaking their head. See, see, we told her and there she is, she's not doing it. I remember hiding in the stall because I was so embarrassed all day.
Charlotte (32:40):
My throat was so dry from not having anything to drink for 10 hours that I finally came out and then everybody was just like, Oh, hi, how are you? Nobody even remembered our hearts screwed up. And that's when I just never mattered. It didn't matter. I tried and I was doing it and I never had that attitude again. I was at one time I actually got eliminated from central park because I did something wrong. And, and I have also bought, I was a first rider. This is a good one on a team, I remember that new FEI rule that if you're wrong road wrong course, twice, you got eliminated. I was the first rider in the world getting eliminated on that.
Natasha (33:24):
Hey, congratulations. Rockstar.
Charlotte (33:28):
So I have had the worst time. So, and you know, even now you look back at the years and overall it's been going really well. I mean, you have, it's been incredible dream, but then I looked at individual tests along the way, I've had many bad tests in between.
Natasha (33:50):
Exactly. And it just sounds like a learning journey. And like you said, everybody has them, but normally they're done in prelim, as you said, because people start there. You just happened to do them internationally grand Prix, but same learning, same learning. We've all got to learn. Oh, it's like really important to learn your tests. I thought it was just a guideline.
Charlotte (34:10):
No, I haven't had I'm the worst and I still cannot remember them, but I'm trying. So it's, it's just a big it's I have, I still screw up constantly, but it's, it's all good, you know? Yeah.
Natasha (34:22):
Yes. I love it. And I love that you, you understood like you, you went, Oh, it really doesn't matter. Cause that's where I'm at. I'm like, it really doesn't matter. So how do you balance? I do this for fun. It really makes no difference. It doesn't matter at the end of the day with it's still something I'm really like, cause that's how I see it, but it's still something I'm desperately working for and I desperately want, and I'm definitely committed to. Do you have that kind of balance?
Charlotte (34:49):
It's very difficult to do because if it's just all fun, then you don't have the drive. And if it's all, um, all serious and going then the disappointments, when you screw up becomes so huge. So it's, it's a very, it's, it's something you have to work with yourself with all the time. I feel like, and you have to work on it and just make sure that you, if you do balance it and you do, you do your very best, but when it's enough, it's also enough, you know, you can do it anymore, but it that's, I don't think anyone has ever perfected that, you know, and, and you have to take the good with the bad and I get still super disappointed and yeah. Remember that things happen for a reason and you maybe you don't see the reason right when you're in it, but you will later.
Natasha (35:48):
I so believe that. Absolutely. All right. So, um, those who have had the opportunity to watch you train and compete often comment on your positive attitude and infectious happiness, while in the startup and I've, that's totally come across today. So what is it about, you've mentioned about the horses, um, and making them happy. And what is it that you identified with the horse or the dressage? Like why is it something that you were in ponies when you were a little girl and you're still in horses now, just talk about what horses mean to you and why you ride a little bit.
Charlotte (36:26):
I think it's such a privilege to be out there riding. And I just think that you can really, you can, you can, you really help them. They, you can get so much done together. And I really loved that aspect of it. I've I'll literally sit up there and they, you know, you spur them and then you pull a little bit the rein, but come on, come on, you can do it, you can do it. And then you can just feel them. They're like, I don't want to, you know, and then you just put, you push them and you go, come on, come on, come on. And then all of a sudden they just go and then, and I just feel, it's so satisfying and you get a horse, like Galaxy that when he first came, you know, he had clearly been breeding and breeding and breeding and you didn't really want to go anywhere.
Charlotte (37:08):
And he had never been in a ring and, and he just, wasn't really very motivated. And then to where I took him to the championship show and he just goes, and he does, he went three days in a row, really difficult tests and he just tries his heart heart out. And that's just, I mean, to me, it's just, I'll be forever grateful for those moments to this horse. And you know, I'm making, I'm making him understand that every single day when I get, and I also greet them, you know, when I see them, I go, hi, how are you? And you're so happy to see you. And they, I pet them and they are like, so excited, you know, every day we're doing something they're so excited. And then I try to do like to do every day. And if they don't like something, I just don't do it with them. Like sapling hates trail riding. So I just don't say like, and what they don't and then you just do things for them that they really like. So that every day is a fun day for them. Yep.
Natasha (38:06):
And what is the schedule for a week? Do you work with them four days a week? Six days a week. And are they out in the field or are they on a Walker? What's their general routine?
Charlotte (38:16):
When they're up in Reno, they go, um, they go out in the, on the class every day here. They just planned out an hour every day. And then I work them, um, depending on what they like, like Nintendo likes to be ridden a lot every day. So I try to be on him like an hour and a half every day. Uh, but then I just walk around, you know, and pet him and he loves that. He loves the attention, but the others, they, um, some of them get anxious if they're out too long. So then I try to compress the time. So I really try to get to know each horse. Yeah. So that they're there, that they feel like that you have a good day every day. And when you have the days where things have just not going to happen. And I tried something that worked and then I just finish on that.
Charlotte (39:08):
Yeah. They go back with that sense of having done something, an accomplishment, like galaxy is a good example. He was so tired yesterday. And then I just gave him an easy day. But then, uh, in the end I passed him a little bit and patted him and gave him a lot of sugar. And he went to, he went up to the barn. Oh yeah. You know, I did something and it was just two minutes of riding all together, you know, but he felt so good about himself. So yeah, it was so that's what I try to do every day. And that shows in them.
Natasha (39:46):
Mm. Yep. Okay. So, um, you sold your company at 49 and then got on the Olympic dream and then somewhere along the way you started a new company.
Charlotte (39:59):
Because when I started riing outside in, I got skin cancer. Oh my God. And then I was like, yo, yay. Now I can ride it at 11 in the morning and 10 in the morning riding all day really happy. And then I got skin cancer, six months later. Now the doctor, Oh my God. Now you can't be out in the sun at all. You need to stay in. And I'm like, I was just indoor for 25 years trying to do this. I'm not, I'm not getting indoor. And they're like, and then I tried to find clothing that would work. And it just, wasn't very pretty. But then I, I studied shop rakes and everything. And then, um, I found this fabric, this double wear fabric. That's so cool and neat to wear. And then I started riding in it and then I was like, Oh, I'm sure other people would probably like this too. And then Kastel was started and it's been a great, that's a great company. It's
Natasha (40:59):
Will you a bit more strategic about going, I'm going to start this company because I can see it helps people and I can see there's a need for it. And I really want to do this, but I'm keeping my riding. So I'm going to make sure I hire more people in the thinking part. So I don't need to be as involved.
Charlotte (41:17):
Yes, that was for sure. And I'm not, I promised myself, I wouldn't sit in the office and eight hours a day and work. And so I really, I really did. And that has also been difficult because, um, the company has grown quite as fast as Skagen. And so it's been difficult to pace myself, but I have the best employees now and we have such a good team and I trust him so much. And I feel that in many ways they do a better job than I would ever have been able to. So, um, so it's, I'm very proud of the company. So I would want it to be, have been bigger. You know, I would like it to be bigger, but I'm not willing to put in eight hours a day in the office to make it bigger. So it's, it is what it is. And it's, it's it's super company.
Natasha (42:08):
Yep. And do you feel that pull though, like again, talking about this balance, you go, I want it more successful, but I am aware of what, what that would mean. So no, it's okay. Where it is. And is it that constant Pulll? No. Pull, no. That you have to play.
Charlotte (42:23):
Yes. And then I also, sometimes I find myself getting impatient with the employees. So then I have, fortunately I have this great woman that runs the company. She says to me, yes, Charlotte, we are all fully committed. She did say that to me, it's so hard to all fully committed. So if you want that, you're going to have to hire another person. I'm like, okay, okay. Okay. We won't do it that, and I don't want a big company either. So I didn't get that extra person cause I, I really I'm very happy with the way it is.
Natasha (43:06):
Yeah. Putting those fences in and you keep testing. No, no, no. That's not going to lead to what I actually want, which is my time and my freedom and all that, but it would be cool.
Charlotte (43:16):
No, it's okay. It's fine because it's serving a great purpose and, and it's, it's, you know, it's worked really well with, uh, with all my horse friends and everybody's wearing, it's just, it's just that, it's a good, great conceptually. It's just super cool. Yeah.
Natasha (43:34):
Yes. It is super, super. Does it come to Australia because I know in Australia we do have the sun as well and skin cancer
Charlotte (43:42):
Australia. Yeah. Yeah. So there are somebody that's wearing it over there. It's going pretty well in Australia.
Natasha (43:49):
That's amazing. So, uh, we'll, we'll make sure we get the notes and put it in the show notes for you all. So, um, you guys can get onto that. Awesome. Uh, do you have any sponsors you'd like to mention?
Charlotte (44:03):
Um, no, just my own Kastel, because most of the riders and as amateur so I don't really, nobody sponsors me. Yeah.
Natasha (44:12):
Not a thing. Like we don't, we do have it in Australia, but does that at an international competition? Do you, do you get separated from the professionals?
Charlotte (44:22):
No. No, because I like, cause I am an amateur. I don't, I don't, I don't make any money. So I just feel like I want to keep that status because it does.
Natasha (44:36):
It's such a shining inspiration for everyone going off out amateur domains, X, whatever it makes it mean in their head. And it goes, Oh, it just means Olympian. That's what it means. I love it. I love, I think you're inspiring people all over the world and being a rockstar about it.
Charlotte (44:53):
I hope so. I really try. And, and uh, and I think there are so many great people in, in this industry that it, it it's really, that has been probably the most amazing thing for me is the, the reach and the friendships and the, all of that. So if I never get to the Olympics, I'm actually very happy with how everything has panned out because people give you time. Yeah. It's, it's just an amazing and the horses and I think it's an, has been an amazing venture and news and, and I, I wouldn't trade it in for anything even not for the Olympics or anything. I just think people are so wonderful.
Natasha (45:33):
Oh, that's amazing. Awesome. Sorry. Um, where can people find you on social media, if they want to watch your journey and see you rock it out next year in 2021?
Charlotte (45:42):
I think on my Facebook, I have an athlete's page, Charlotte Jorst, and then I'm also on Instagram and I am actually active so they can really follow and get to know all the horses and, uh, and my, all my kids and everything.
Natasha (45:57):
Yeah. Beautiful. Beautiful. Excellent. Is there anything else you'd like to share with everyone?
Charlotte (46:03):
No, I think we've covered everything you have been so incredibly great. Like a shining light yourself.
Natasha (46:13):
All right. Well, thank you so much for your time. I'm sure everyone is buzzing after this podcast and can't wait to go ride and can't wait to go to their own Olympics. And, um, I really appreciate you taking the time.
Charlotte (46:22):
Thanks again.
Natasha (46:31):
To stay up to date with the latest content. Don't forget to hit subscribe to this podcast. Go on, hit subscribe. I'd love. If you would also love to leave us a review to help us how we could do better or make this even more amazing for you. And remember to follow us on Instagram at Your Riding Success and Natasha.Althoff.

Podcast Episode 37: Interview With Tash

Love this episode? Make sure you leave us a review! In this podcast, get to know more about Tash's journey in this Q&A with husband, Phil.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00):
In today's podcast, we have the amazing Tash with the...
Phil (00:04):
Amazing. Phil.
Natasha (00:07):
Phil is gonna come and ask me some more questions so you can get to know me better and get to know some more cool things. Are we going to do some cool things Phil?
Phil (00:14):
I reckon we'll discover a few things about you, that the people out there may not have known.
Natasha (00:19):
Welcome to the Your Riding Success podcast. My name is Natasha Althoff and I'm Grand Prix dressage rider from Australia, author of three books and a leading online trainer of riders all around the world, wanting to take their riding to the next level. I'm also a chocoholic mother of two amazing children and obsessed with helping riders be all they can be each week. I'm going to bring in new stories of inspiration, ideas, and strategies of how to make real progress in your riding and give you actionable advice on overcoming riding fear and anxiety. So you can take a riding to the next level and be the rider you dream to be. So let's get into today's episode.
Natasha (00:54):
Well, I think we should also just point out there's people that don't know. Um, we have known each other a really long time.
Phil (01:01):
Yes. We met each other at school in, uh, many years ago,
Natasha (01:07):
1998, February of 1998. Um, I remember a friend of mine rang, rang me up. She was working in the, uh, uniform shop and she was like, Oh my God, this really hot guy came in to get a school uniform. And I went, Oh really? And she's like, Oh, I don't know how hot he is. Cause he had long hair and he's obviously going to have to cut it because our school was quite strict and I went Oh, long hair. He doesn't sound good. Looking at all. I was very anti long hair, which we're in right now. Yeah.
Phil (01:39):
What you do is cut my hair. We saw it happen with Tyler outside.
Natasha (01:44):
Anyway, just cause I can't cut. Hair does not mean anyway. Um, so these are, I remember sitting there. I was so excited. It was my first day of year 12. Um, I was 16 years old and I remember we were so excited and it was assembly and everyone was coming in for assembly. And this man, well, you weren't a man and you weren't a boy. You were adolescent. This guy let's just call him, walks in with a beautiful haircut. May I may I add? And I went, Oh wow. Who is that? I, him, I'm going to go out with him. I like him. So what are you doing year 12. When you like someone you tell all your friends. Yeah, that's what you do. And Phil's at this new school and everyone is going out that girl likes you. You, that girl likes you.
Natasha (02:28):
And he didn't quite know. Every time he looked around, I was with other girls. Cause of course you're around other girls. It was like which one? Um, and cut along. And then they told me his name is Reginald. And I was like, Oh, I don't know if I can like a guy because I was very deep back then obviously. I've judged you on your hair and I judged you on your name. Um, but then I found out his name is Phil and he plays piano. Amazing. I had a fact file in my diary of Phil. I was like, I know he plays piano really well. I think I hope he has a pack. I'm like he can swim. And then we had swimming carnival and I could confirm he did have a six pack and he could swim really fast and he could play piano amazingly. I was like, this guy is amazing. So had to, had to make him my boyfriend, which we did two weeks later. He didn't have a choice in the matter.
Phil (03:24):
Did, but I think we can move on to maybe more horse related things.
Natasha (03:28):
Sorry. But yes. Well we'll cut a long story story. I do remember two months into us being boyfriend and girlfriend. I remember putting the, the, the closing the gate to my horse paddock. And as I closed my gate, I just a thought came into my head and I said, I'm going to marry Phil. And I think I told you, I said we're getting married. Um, cause we used to write each other love letters. Thousands of pages of love letters.
Natasha (03:51):
Yeah. And the thing back then. Okay. We wrote people would write letters like I'd write letters to my girlfriends. I'd write letters to my boyfriend who was new back then. Wasn't it. When we did not have a phone, it was Hotmail. But do we sound, we did not have an SMS.
Natasha (04:05):
This came the following year 99, but now, so how old are we now? You're 39. I'm 38. So how long have you,
Natasha (04:14):
But anyway, I did have a birthday 39
Natasha (04:19):
And I met you when I was 16. How long
Phil (04:21):
Have you met in 1998 to 20. Now it's 22 years.
Natasha (04:24):
This is why I a married him. Cause he's much better at math than me 22 years. And guess what?
Natasha (04:30):
I love you more. You'd hope so. Wouldn't you? He got better. That's why I can love him more. Just the hair again, scrub right into the interview.
Phil (04:40):
Well, cause we want to know about you, I guess that was knowing a little bit about you and your personal story. Um, but let's talk horses, horses. How did you start getting involved in horses? Like did you just, it's just like one day I'm like four or five. I like horses or just, how did it come about?
Natasha (04:58):
So when you're, when you're a baby and when you're a toddler, you learn what animals are. And I remember like, this is a cat, this is a dog. This is a horse. I'm like horse, horse, horse, horse. And ever since I could remember, my parents always asked me to write down what I wanted, my birthday and Christmas. And I got really angry and frustrated because I would just write one thing, horse. It was nothing else on the list I just wanted to host. And my parents were like, you can't have one, you can't have one, can't have one, you can't have one. And I just heard you can't have one yet. Um, and yeah, eventually, uh, one day, um, I was going a little off the rails. I was around. Yeah. I don't know how old I was, but I was getting a little out of control and maybe hanging out with the wrong kind of people.
Natasha (05:40):
And my aunt, auntie Mary, who I will forever be grateful for, said to my dad, um, she's been asking for whole life for something that will occupy all her days and all her time and all her weekends and all her evenings. Um, and you've never given it to her, maybe, maybe you should give that to her. And my dad went, Oh God, that's a really smart idea. So he said yes to the horse and I stopped going in the wrong direction and stopped hanging out with anyone except my horsey friends and spent all my time with them.
Phil (06:12):
Well, there you go. So it's just, there's just, as soon as you knew horse existed, you loved the horses.
Natasha (06:18):
Yes. I just, I just, I, and I don't think I had ever gone and ridden one.
Phil (06:22):
Do you remember your first experience of seeing or, uh, or actually like, um, patting a horse or meeting a horse? Yes.
Natasha (06:28):
So I don't remember it there's a photo of me. Um, and I was probably around 12 months and I was obviously getting a pony ride and my dad's holding, holding me and the horse. Um, I've got a massive smile on my face, but I don't actually remember it. The first memory I have is my aunt and uncle had an Arabian horse farm. And so I loved my first horse. I loved was not Friesians. It was an Arabian. And, um, they I, I couldn't ride the horses, but I could help. I remember just being so excited. So being about seven, seven or eight and going my aunt and uncle lived in Queensland, so I would visit them once a year. And I remember going there and, um, their sons had to feed the horses. Like it was a chore for them. And I remember just saying to them, I can't believe this is like what you get to do every day. And they were like moaning and groaning going. Yeah, we have to do our chores. And I just was like, what can I do? Can I put the lucerine in or can I make up the mallaces? And I just, I looked forward to that Queensland trip for no other reason, except it meant I got to spend a week feeding horses, patting horses. I would just smell them. They smell so good. I don't know if it's so good, but like, to me, that smell, I just adored them. Yeah. So that's my first memory.
Phil (07:46):
Pretty cool. Yeah. Alrighty. Next question for you. So people probably wouldn't know that, um, you haven't always ridden just purely dressage. What was some of, what were some of the other areas that you kind of felt had a play in or dabbled or yeah?
Natasha (08:02):
So my, my criteria when it came to buying a horse was I rode with a friend of mine and, um, uh, I really wanted a horse that came when you called it because we kept our horses at group agistment, like this massive acreage paddocks of like, I don't know, maybe 30, 50 acres. And, um, it was a real drag if your horse was down like 50 acres away and you had to walk and walk and walk and walk. Um, so two, if your horse was 50 acres away and you called it and it came like you were the most special person at the agistment. So that was my criteria. It came when it caught when, uh, when it was called. Um, as a side note, I did have a horse at first and it didn't come when it was called and that's okay too, because then you tie the lead rope around its halter and you get on and you ride it bareback back up to the, up to the adjustment, which was also fun. Um, yeah, so my criteria was coming call and be the fastest. So would do races. Like I never rode dressage ever at the start. We just, um, would like race each other. And I wanted the fastest horse. I still wanted to win. I still being every memory around horses was killing competition. I wanted to win, but yet I wanted to look around
Phil (09:11):
Sweet, pleasure, pleasure riding at the start.
Natasha (09:15):
I would just ride in our bathers all day and take the horses in and out of the dam. And, um, uh, what else would we do with them? Race. And I guess we did some jumping. Yeah. I remember I liked jumping. I did. I liked the feeling of going in the air. Um, yeah.
Phil (09:32):
And what horse were you riding at this stage? I think I kind of remember one of your young horses. Hmm.
Natasha (09:37):
No. Well, this was, I leased a horse called JB originally, and then yes, we bought Tyson, but then the jumping, so I, JB, I really loved jumping and I always thought I was going to go to the Olympics for three days eventing. And then I bought, um, a Chestnut Arabian. That was beautiful. That came when I called and was fast, but he did not jump. And that really caused me a lot of grief. So I had to become a little bit of a better dressage rider because that's all we could do. And we did win a lot of dressage things with him. And then I bought my off the track thoroughbred, my black off the track thoroughbred because I was going to go to the Olympics on him. And then I started going, these jumps are getting really high and they were not getting really high, bless/
Phil (10:18):
I'm actually remember some of those jumps. I came to some of those early competitions. I can't honestly not remember them at the moment, but I do remember my favorite part was always back then. It was like running around the course, jumping giant trees and then like landing in the water and stuff. So I used to position myself at the water jump and watch everyone attempt the water jumps and stuff like that. But I do remember you. Yes cross-country. And I don't remember much of the show jumping that you do and stuff. So the yes,yes, and then you moved into more of the dressage.
Natasha (10:46):
Yeah. Again, based on the horse, the horse was getting unsound and had degeneration from the racing we think. Um, and so jumping was gonna wear him out so much quicker, so we just turned to dressage and I think I got another year out of him before.
Phil (11:01):
Yeah. That's very cool. Yeah. Well, I want you to take us now through some of your coaching experience. No, not you coaching other people, but you've been coached. And some of the people that, uh, or coaches that may have had a big impact on your riding and maybe even your direction as you went through the years, is there any particular coaches that stand out or lessons learned that had a bit of an impact on you?
Natasha (11:26):
Yes. So, um, I think,
Phil (11:33):
Natasha (11:33):
I, I do remember my first coach, her name was Helen and, um, God bless her because she had to like wrangle all us people that just wanted to go fast and jump. And she was the first one, like, no we're going to do flat. And she told me like what a diagonal was and what, uh, what, uh, what, um, the correct lead for the Canter was.
Phil (11:54):
Group coaching at the time. And how are we guys? We're a group of people and the group of like 10, 10 year olds or something like that.
Natasha (12:00):
Oh, I was never that young. I was like 15. Yes. Yes. I wasn't riding when I was 10. Yeah. Um, so yes, I remember that. And I remember just thinking boring hate this, um, I was not into it. Um, and then I, I remember, I can't remember the coaches lady, but I remember the moment when she said you don't turn with an inside rain, you turn with an outside rain. And I remember thinking she was really old and really dumb, and that does not sound right. Um, and I remember, yeah. And that was me trying to become a dressage rider and just going, nah, that doesn't sound right. Total rejection. So I don't know if I was amazing to coach when I was young. I think I did have a lot of rejection of ideas. Um, knowing what I know now, my personality is I need to know why if she had explained the, cause she didn't explain the biomechanics of why an outside rain could turn a shoulder.
Natasha (13:02):
She just said, T turn with the outside shoulder. And I'd like to turn by pulling your outside rein. And that is koo koo. Um, so knowing what I know now, if a coach says that I, I need to know more for me to action that. Um, but I didn't know that back then. So I think I would have been quite rejective of a lot of the concepts that were taught to me if it didn't fit into my paradigm, which is annoying for them. So, sorry. Um, uh, and I think it's hard, like, especially when you're young, um, your coach, if you're not just there to learn riding, you're going through so much other stuff and self-belief, and self-confidence, and, um, I had big goals. Like, it didn't matter that I didn't know that I thought you turned with your inside rein. I still thought I was going to go to the Olympics next year. So I think I had these grandiose ideas. I had projection if it didn't fit into what I knew. Um, so I can't imagine I was very coachable.
Phil (14:01):
Yeah, no. And I was thinking to myself then as, as one of your almost biggest coaching moments, not even being with horse coaches at all, it's actually kind of in your, um, your own training. Um, if you want to tell us a little bit about that and how that just enabled you to understand. Yeah.
Natasha (14:18):
I think my whole life, I remember being very frustrated, very confused. And, um, and I'm not, I don't think it was the coaches. It was me cause I didn't know how I worked and I didn't ask for what I needed. And I probably had a coach that she was definitely a different personality, um, a learning style to me. So she taught in her learning style, which wasn't compatible with mine. Um, so I then just made that mean I was useless and I couldn't learn and I was really bad at riding. Um, but none of that stopped me. I'm still to the Olympics. Um, but yes, I think the turning point when the, the moment when I see in my riding career and in my coat, when I was getting lessons, when I stopped feeling frustrated, lost, confused, alone, stupid, and started really learning was, um, when I learned about how I worked.
Natasha (15:12):
So I went and understood. Um, I went and did and I'll pay training and communication training and coaching training, and learnt how, um, communication actually works, how humans are wired, how some humans, um, were learn in one way, how some humans learn in a different way. How, um, when we communicate how ineffective communication is, it's impossible to communicate clearly. I am successively try to communicate clearly. And I know I'm only 10% of communicating what I'm actually trying to say, which is the, the fault of the English language and the like not even the English language, the fault of language and the fault of, you know, it's not fault. It's just what it is. Um, so yes, that was definitely a defining moment in me, understanding how I worked, how then I could get the knowledge because when you want to learn something, it's just, you got to get the knowledge. Um, but how we get the knowledge and how we can actually use what said to us in a, in a functional way, like I said, people could have been telling me these concepts for years, but if I couldn't hear or understand the concept, why waste your breath? It never would have gone.
Phil (16:19):
And then at night I think they would use them to ask the right questions, to get the information that you wanted, then
Natasha (16:26):
I took responsibility for my learning and, um, definitely went to a lot of different coaches. And at one point I didn't have a coach because that's the other thing. So you go to a coach and that's the wrong word. You go to riding instructors to learn, how do I turn with the outside rein? What is the diagonal? How do I ride piaffe? That's teach me the skill. But a coach to me, the definition of a coach is there's so much more to that. So I didn't have anyone that believed in me. I said, I'm going to get, get this Friesian to grand Prix. And I had all these humans that I was paying to help me get that goal that was saying, well, we'll, we'll teach you the skill, but we don't think you can do it. And we don't think that'll happen. Um, again, thank god I had my training to go well, that's okay. I don't need you to believe in that because I just need to get the skill from you. But there w there did become a time where I just went. I don't think they're even really trying to teach me the skill because their map around, why would I teach her this? Because there's no way that that would happen with kind of blocking the thing. So, yeah, there's a lot. That's Oh, I could talk for hours around coaching
Phil (17:34):
That's for another, I think that's another one. I think we'll delve into that. Another time I go into that very deep, but as certainly that, when I was thinking in that question and knowing you for that long, and then just you with the different riding coaches. No, I think thinking it's actually your coaching away from, um, the horses that got you, the biggest influence on your riding. Right.
Natasha (17:56):
Well said, and I should point out now. I'm very lucky, um, that I, I, yeah, I've got, um,
Natasha (18:02):
Great coaching access. Yes, yes. Yes. I'm very, very grateful. Yeah.
Natasha (18:06):
Today's episode of the, your running success podcast is brought to you by Eqflix. It's a video streaming library with videos on anything you could imagine related to horses, barn secrets, overcoming fear, dressage videos, goal-setting videos, fitness videos, anything you would need to improve your riding journey. You can try it all for $1 for a 30 day trial, with no ads and cancel at any time you can access it all for a limited time, only for just $1 for your first month and then $9 recurring every month thereafter cancel at any time. If you'd like to access this $1 30 day trial, visit or click the link in the show notes.
Phil (18:45):
Well, they were up to, um, a bit of a fun part of the episode. Now it's some, some quick fire questions. Well, I'll quickly find it.
Natasha (18:54):
I'm getting too stressed. I'm like, is it a one word answer? I can't what, what, what? Okay, good
Phil (19:00):
Speak without thinking questions. No, it's not.
Natasha (19:02):
I always speak without thinking.
Phil (19:05):
Alrighty. Are you ready? Tash, for question one question one, if you could be any animal I want about that, what would it be and why? Oh, that's complete. After talking in this whole thing where there's nothing.
Natasha (19:17):
No. What came into my head was tiger? No lion. No, I am. Okay. I feel like why would I want to be a horse someone rides me, let me go around in circles. No, not a horse. Cat. No, not a lion cause then I don't have my food. I cat I change my answer to cat. I sleep all day. I get fed. I have to do nothing except sleep and eat
Phil (19:43):
Sounds about right. So, uh, okay. What is one thing that is on your bucket list or one thing you wanna put on your bucket list that you want to do? Just one quick, quick question.
Natasha (19:54):
No they deserve pondering. If I could only do one more thing. Oh, what really? It sounds I want to come to mind is I really desperately want to get my kids to Lapland and, um, see the Northern lights go on a reindeer sleigh, go on a Husky sleigh and, um, experience like 23 hours of darkness or however many hours.
Phil (20:20):
For those of you who don't know what Laplan is.
Natasha (20:21):
Oh, I don't even know if that's what you call it. Yeah,
Phil (20:23):
I think that's yeah, I think it's yeah. So it's up in the, they consider it the central North pole and yeah,
Natasha (20:30):
And there's a little Santa's house and, and I want to go there in the month of December and, and, Oh, I just want to drink hot chocolate and a little sleigh with a reindeer.
Phil (20:38):
It's some gentle snow coming down. No wind. So it's just quite nice, but it's probably going to be absolutely.
Natasha (20:43):
Oh, see, in my mind, it's not even going to be cold cause in my mind, I know there's snow, but I didn't even realize that it would also be cold.
Phil (20:53):
Okay. Moving on. This is an interesting one. I don't know if you have an answer, but who is your favorite superhero and why?
Phil (21:00):
I'm not very good with the superheroes. Um, so my brain goes one to wonderwoman, cause I know she's a woman, who's a super hero and she's pretty cool. She's like, yeah, I like it.
Phil (21:10):
You saw it recently.
Natasha (21:11):
So yes. Gorgeous actress.
Phil (21:14):
Who do you admire the most?
Natasha (21:17):
The most tough question. What came to mind is I was really lucky and honored very recently to have an interview with Charlotte Jorst. Um, and I admire her out of everyone. Like, so my, my brain went Isabel Werth because I really admire her results, but it's only, I only admire her for that little area. But in terms of whose life do I admire the most, we always used to say like maybe Richard Branson, because he seemed to have a good balance of everything. Um, and I think Charlotte's got a really cool balance. So go Charlotte, thank you for our time together. You really,
Phil (21:56):
And keeping on the movie theme from earlier, if a movie was made of your life, the life of Tash, what would the genre be and who would play Tash?
Natasha (22:07):
Well, I was going to say romantic comedy. Um, probably just comedy, so comedy, um, who would play me? Um, can I say the girl that was in wonder woman? She's pretty cool. You can, uh, Gal Ghotu.
Phil (22:24):
Yeah. We'll get it or something. You get it? Yeah. Who knows? We don't know our names.
Natasha (22:27):
And like, no, she like the, she doesn't really signify, like who, who would play me? Like maybe Catherine Zeta Jones. I don't know. Very hard questions.
Phil (22:41):
Um, are you a morning person? A night person and I'm going to add something into this as well or neither?
Natasha (22:48):
You know, I'm a morning person. Oh, Okay.
Phil (22:52):
I did not know that because um, I get up before you every morning, but I don't think I know. That's why I said neither.
Natasha (22:59):
Where do I go? Where do I have the most? Yet Phil gets up before me and goes to sleep after me. Cause you have this crazy energy. That just, you're weird. No, you're not weak. You're just very special. I'm also very special. So I need between eight and nine hours of sleep you do between seven and eight or six and seven Oh seven. You're like a seven. Yeah. And I like, it's gotta be over the eight. Yes. Yeah. So I still think I'm a morning person. I definitely have lots of energy in the morning. I could not, I can stay in bed till 10, but I can't sleep till 10. Yeah. I'm always awake. So my rule is, and it's not something that I set an alarm for or. My body will wake up every single day when the sun is up. So I like to not sleep with the blinds closed and when the sun's up, I'm awake. And the only time I have to set the blinds closed is when we're in Europe and it's it's light at like 2:00 AM. And then my brain's like,
Phil (23:55):
Where as here now we start getting a light about, Well at six o'clock.
Natasha (23:58):
So I'm normally in bed, but, but my energy is definitely the best in the morning. Everything I try and fit all my life into lunchtime and then I eat and then I pretty much have to snooze the rest of the day. Take on that cat. So yeah, I'm a morning person. I'm just not an early morning.
Phil (24:16):
Yes. Okay. Now what is one of your weird quirks, Tash?
Natasha (24:23):
You know what I'm going to say.
Natasha (24:25):
What would you say? One of my, my biggest quirks is?
Phil (24:29):
Oh, obsession of sitting in front of a blowing heater.
Natasha (24:31):
Yeah. That's what I was good at that. So I think my biggest quirk is if you, yeah, I always have a heater on my feet. Um, and so in the office I have a heater on my feet, but even in my office, sometimes they just, um, well you guys can't see cause you're listening, but I get down. I have to sit in front of the heater, making a like, and like, so I was just as she goes around with a bum in the air. Cause I just, I just, yeah. I like, I, yeah, I don't know that just got weird quick. Um, yeah,
Phil (25:02):
We're coming into summer now and I know in the office here. We're all kind of like, um, short t-shirt or even single it and it's, it's warm and you're still.
Natasha (25:11):
Yes. And you would extrapolate that to honor. Tasha does really well in 40 degree heat. I don't do well in heat either. No, I just run cold. So I need like 20 degrees means jumper and jacket and heater on. But then when it gets to about 25, well, 25 is okay, but 30 is now too hot and I can't do anything either. I just, I think I have a problem with temperature regulation.
Phil (25:32):
Just that it's just, um, like it's, it's quite assess. Um, do you have any superstitions?
Natasha (25:40):
Conditions? Well, clearly not because nothing's coming to mind. Like I don't, I love black cats. I'm cool with ladders. I'm cool with cracks, paddling. That's the thing, you know, you want me to step on a crack?
Phil (25:52):
Okay. Then you don't have any superstitions. No. Um, and lastly, could you describe yourself in three words, three words, fun, loving, uh, obsessed. I'll say fun. Loving is one word. Okay. Sorry.
Natasha (26:13):
Oh, it's fun. Loving, obsessed. And, and make it happen. Oh, that's not one word. Well, it looks that it's make it happen. So we need one more word. What you described me in three words would describe me as,
Phil (26:33):
Oh, um, I'll put you like energetic slash bubbly. Like you're quite a bubbly personality. Um, planning, goal planning, goal setting kind of thing. Definitely there. And, um, shortcut, as you said, that that's a great thing. Finding the best way to get the quickest results.
Natasha (27:05):
That is definitely my wiring. Yes. Cool.
Phil (27:09):
That's my answer.
Natasha (27:10):
I love that. I love that. It's like, this is my wife. I, I describe her as bubbly. I'm like my dream to be. This is my bubbly shortcut. Thank you very much. I totally agree. Yeah. So my words would be fun. Loving, um, obsessed and shortcut. I like that.
Phil (27:26):
Yeah. There you go. Done. That is, that brings us to the end of get to know you a little bit more about Tash.
Natasha (27:34):
Awesome. We need to know at one time, I think people would like to get to know you.
Phil (27:39):
We'll see as we go on.
Natasha (27:39):
Awesome. Have an amazing week guys. And we'll see you next time.
Natasha (27:44):
To stay up to date with the latest content don't forget to hit subscribe to this podcast. Go on, hit subscribe. I'd love if you would also love to leave us a review to help us how we could do better or make this even more amazing for you. And remember to follow us on Instagram at Your Riding Success and Natasha.Althoff.

Podcast Episode 36: Zoe Farrant - The Riders Physio

In this podcast, we speak with Zoe Farrant. Zoe is an accomplished Australian Sports Physiotherapist and currently also holds a place on the Victorian Dressage Development Squad. This episode narrows in on Zoe's career and why it's particularly beneficial for riders and athletes to see a physiotherapist. To keep up with her journey, you can follow Zoe on Instagram @zo_the_physio or check out online services at

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00):

Zoe Farrant is an APA sports physiotherapist and owner of The Rider’s Physio. She has provided physiotherapy services for riders of all disciplines and levels more than 10 years. Highlights, of Zoe’s physiotherapy career to date have included assisting high-performance squad riders to achieve great success through Equestrian Western Australia, Equestrian Victoria and Victorian AOR. What do you know what that is? Zoe? You should know the amateur owner rider, um, part. So thank you very much . On an individual level you have successfully rehabilitated countless riders back to peak performance and beyond assisting many individuals with chronic pain to ride pain-free. Zoe is also currently a member herself on the Victoria dressage development squad with her horse Welstrem.

Natasha (00:49):

Welcome to The Your Riding Success Podcast. My name is Natasha Althoff and I'm a Grand Prix dressage rider from Australia, author of three books and a leading online trainer of riders all around the world, wanting to take their riding to the next level. I'm also a shopaholic mother of two amazing children and obsessed with helping riders be all they can be. Each week I'm going to bring in new stories of inspiration, ideas, and strategies of how to make real progress in your riding and give you actionable advice on overcoming riding fear and anxiety so you can take your riding to the next level and be the rider you dream to be. So let's get into today's episode.

Natasha (01:26):

Welcome Zoe. Thank you so much for joining us. How does it feel having that bio going on about you?

Zoe (01:35):

Oh yeah, that was, that was quite nice. I sort of always think, I dunno, I'm just talking first sort of thing, so I know nothing and have done nothing. So it's nice to hear someone like yourself who I respect a lot, sort of say these nice things. So I appreciate that. Thank you for having me on today.

Natasha (01:51):

Oh, I'm excited. I'm excited to, I don't know much about this area, so you are going to teach me and our listeners a lot. I am sure. So should we just jump into it? What, what do you do? Is it a riders physio. Why do we need one? What's going on?

Zoe (02:07):

Uh, so essentially a rider’s physio or, um, what I am, I'm a physio who, like I said, I've been a physio for the last 10, 11 years, and I've been a very passionate sort of horsey, crazy person like yourself for far longer than that. Um, and essentially a rider's physio is someone who understands the sport and intricacies as to, you know, what we require physically to be able to perform at our best in the saddle. So if you have an injury that you're trying to rehabilitate to get back into the saddle as quickly as possible and as safely as possible, or you're just wanting to enhance your performance and work on some positional issues that your coach, you know, like yourself, um, you know, sometimes it can be a frustrating process of being told as the rider and as the person coaching, telling the individual over and over again, you know, keep your legs still stop pulling on that, right rein, you know, stop slouching, try and sit up straight. And that the individual sometimes physically cannot do that thing. So it's about being able to unpick that off the horse and give some strategies, um, unmounted but also mounted from a biomechanical standpoint and more of a physio side of things, or unpacking the patho mechanics as to why that person is in pain in the saddle and giving them some strategies that's maybe a little bit different from what they might hear from their coach or someone who, um, you know, is focusing a lot on the horse as well as the rider. So, um, my end of it is very much focusing on the rider themselves rather than, um, you know, paying so much attention to how the horse is going. It's about focusing on the rider and giving them the physical ability to perform in a state of let their best so that they can influence the horse better. Um, obviously, yeah, so there's obviously physios that, um, treat horses, which I am actually qualified as a horse physio too, but I've actually decided to just focus on the rider and go into that in a lot of depth. Um, so fortunately where I am on the Mornington peninsula, there's several really good horse physios that, um, you know, often you might flag that that horse really ought to be seen to, by a, um, experienced horse physio. So I can refer to my colleagues in that way. Um, but my sort of specialty areas really zoning in on the riders and athlete and rehabbing them through the various injuries and trying to give them the physical capability to do their best in the saddle, through exercise programs, through hands-on techniques and various, um, sort of biofeedback ways. So that was probably a big,

Natasha (04:57):

No, so I guess my first thing that I think about as you said too much, right rein. Like, let go, if the coach is saying, why are you using so much right rein or why is your left leg all the way back? Like put it forward, put it forward. How do we know? Is that always, um, a physio thing? Or is that a mental thing or is that the horse? Like, I, my mind is blowing now that I'm thinking about it, when you said, you know, that you are so qualified with the horse. Yeah. So if the horse is stiff to the right, um, does the horse make you do something to compensate that? Or do you just, yeah, please just unpack. We obviously walk into the relationship, like all relationships with our baggage and the horse. I've got my own baggage and we're like tight together. And there's just like, how do you just unwrap that box of what is the rider? What is the horse and what is the things they do together, et cetera,

Zoe (06:01):

Uh, with great difficulty. So it's very, very involved. Yeah. And each, each individual case is always quite unique. So, um, you know, no horses perfectly straight. And really, it seems from the research that no rider is perfectly symmetrical either. So it's about identifying our asymmetries and our weaknesses and our things that we could be better at and then improving those. And hopefully we see an improvement in our ability to, to actually influence the horse. So, um, you know, it's a real chicken and egg situation, but, um, to keep it perfectly simple, if we can sort of observe what's going on on under saddle and what's happening, um, you know, what the issues are that the rider has been working with their coach and getting frustrated about, um, and then sort of break that down through a written, an unmatched assessment to see what physical, um, difficulties is that does that rider have that might be actually contributing to the problem in the saddle and make that as good as possible. And I'm saying what impact that has on the horse and, you know, being able to identify when someone really ought to get a bit involved or their horse physio involved to, if, you know, if we think that the main issue is that the horse is actually making the saddle slip to the side, because it has some sort of hind limb stiffness or very, very mild lameness that the rider wasn't aware of, um, that, you know, you are very quick to refer on to the vet to actually do a bit of a diagnostic work up and see what's going on there and get a qualified horse physio involved that can actually do the work on that horse. And, and, um, come up with a little bit more of a, um, approach for the horse. So it's just very individual to the, to the rider and the horse in the situation.

Zoe (07:54):

But I think at the end of the day, if we can make ourselves as symmetrical as possible in our flexibility, through our hips, our ankles, our pelvis, and through our back, um, similar left versus right. And that we have a similar strength and coordination of both sides that really helps, but certainly, you know, a lot of it does come down to, to good coaching and, um, really working on these things, like, for example, going back to the right rein that keeps pulling all the time. A lot of that is habit. And a lot of that comes down to, you know, if we're, right-hand dominant, we're often a little bit more dominant on that, right. Rain and we have difficulty with giving that right rain. So, um, you know, through having someone on the ground or in your ears, maybe not on the ground at the moment, it's more virtual and coaching remotely works beautifully.

We're all learning. It's been fantastic. And that's something that you've done for some time, so hats off to you. Um, but yeah, having our mentor, our coach constantly reminding us, cause we just have to get used to strengthening the neural pathways. So that actually gives us better coordination and control of that limb, which might not be that you're tight or stiff anywhere. It might just be, I've got a terrible habit and habits are really hard to break.

Natasha (09:10):

Thank you. Cause I was going with the physical bit. And where is that? Yeah, that neural pathway of just, this is what I do. I just get on and I'll hold onto this for no other reason then. Yeah. I love it. Off the whole. So like if I just come into your office, will you do tests to show, to just find out, like you said, and my stronger, obviously I am right handed. So I would assume my right bicep or right forearm is stronger. I don't know. You tell me.

Zoe (09:42):

Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. So, um, generally speaking the way that it goes, if you were to come in for an assessment, um, if you're a local person, you'd bring your horse down, we'd have a look at your riding and I'd take some film footage, which we then sit together and slow down and watch in slow motion, which none of us like, I hate it when I watch myself in slow Mo [inaudible] it's so, ah, I just find it so humiliating, but at the same time, it's such, it's such a great way to learn. So you've gotta be constantly sort of reflecting and critiquing ourselves, um, to get better, you know, we're all in this together. But anyway, enough of that, that I just totally go down a different path there.

Um, after watching that slow motion analysis and, and marking up, you know, things that we flagged before the riders to issues that the individuals had with their coach or their, their painful problem, whatever it might be, then the horse gets put away or we've flipped to, um, doing some, uh, physical assessments of the riders. So we'd run through from head to toe sort of muscle strength, muscle length, range of movement, um, through all the key areas that we know are relevant to riders, um, and get a bit of a impressionist to how cardiovascularly fit the individual is, you know, um, even down to things like their nutrition and their sleep patterns and all that sort of thing, because from my end, I really think, and fortunately it's a, it's a growing vibe about it here in Australia and internationally that people are starting to acknowledge that riders athletes too.

It's not just the horse, you know, there's two athletes in the equation and we need to treat both of them appropriately rather than just focusing on the horse. And, um, yeah, essentially going through head to toe assessment, flagging any, um, things that, from that off the horse assessment, might've been contributing to the difficulties in the saddle and then setting up individualized management program off the horse and on the horse around that. And then communicating back with the coach that we found X, Y, Z, what do they think about that if that's appropriate? So, um, does that answer that question?

Natasha (12:06):

Um, when you look at a rod, this is a cool question. I don't, I don't know what you're going to give me for this one. Um, had someone who was cardiovascularly fit. So they were a runner and they were also like a pilates champion and like into CrossFit. So there's this strong, would you see that they will ride, um, better? So let's say with the skill level is the same. They both are novice, you've got two riders and you've got that person who's a marathon runner CrossFitter and out is champion. And you've got someone who just rides the horses and they're both novice level. Will, would you, would you expect one can sit better, do things better on a horse than the other, like how important is all that other stuff?

Zoe (12:57):

That, that's a really, um, that's a good question. So, and I think, um, there's so many different things that make us more or less of a skillful rider, even down to, you know, how we're physically put together, what we're born with, um, our mindset, you know, how good an athlete we are in regards to, um, our mental approach to things. Yes. Um, you know,

Natasha (13:24):

So much. So if we could strip all of that, that the site, and you've just got the physical benefits and the non-physical, would you see a difference? Would you expect to see a difference? Yeah,

Zoe (13:36):

I think you would, if that individual, he doesn't do anything else except for riding. If they wrote a stable full of horses and they rode their horses well, so they spent similar amount of time on the left and right rain, they had appropriate fitting tech and they weren't riding horses that had soundness issues. Then you would expect that they would be, you know, they should have good cardiovascular fitness because they're riding, you know, eight horses a day in sit trot and canter. So we know that riders, when you are doing trot and canter, even if you are very fit individual, your heart rate gets up to 85% of your heart rate max. So if you're riding eight horses a day training, you know, for 40 minutes, each horse and 15 to 20 minutes of that is sit trot and canter work, then that individual should have good cardiovascular fitness.

Zoe (14:26):

That individual should also have a very good, strong core. Um, and that individual you'd expect is reasonably symmetrical. If they're horses, if they're riding eight different horses who all have their own little, uh, straightness issues. And hopefully that rider, hasn't got eight horses with similar asymmetries that is making the rider sit asymmetrically. You'd hope that you've got a bit of a variety and you're stable. So, so from that end, you know, you think that individual has the capability to do the job well, but we know that, you know, Olympians such as Charlotte Dujardin and , um, Jessica, um, the German rider, Jessica I always pronounce her surname incorrectly. I know that you know who I'm talking about. And most top riders nowadays, even though they riding eight horses plus a day, they are actually embarking on, you know, running programs and core strength programs. Because if you are very comfortable being uncomfortable at working at that sort of upper end of your heart rate, max, and you can coordinate your aides, your position when you're working exceptionally hard and your fatigued, then you're going to be giving you a hundred percent all the time in the saddle, rather than getting to that point where, you know, you're exhausted and you can't quite chain it all together in a coordinated manner.

Zoe (15:46):

So, um, that was a really tricky question from you, but yet the individual that maybe rides one horse, uh, one horse a week, you know, five days a week, um, probably does need a focus a lot more on, you know, doing the off the horse stuff. The rider that has a stable, full of amazing horses, that individual would still benefit from doing some off them horse, um, you know, physical training, just like athletes in any other type of sport. They, if you think about the footy players or netball players, they spend a lot of time doing non footy, non netball training in the gym. So if we think about ourselves as athletes who don't necessarily need to go to the gym, but just, you know, ticking that box, we cardiovascular very fit, but our core is as strong as it possibly could be.

Zoe (16:37):

Um, and we have the right flexibility and mobility to be able to do the job as best we can. So unfortunately I think all of us, whether we've got a stable full of horses or not, should be, you know, focusing on ourselves and, and not just, you know, focusing on getting the horses, physio, yeah. And the horses feet done, and they're perfect nutrition and then eating, you know, things that definitely, I'm not, I'm really terrible with this. I'm a chocoholic as well. I think, you know, getting some nutritious food in our diet and enough sleep and that we're feeling, you know, that we've got good energy levels and we're physically able to do the job as best we can.

Natasha (17:18):

So for everyone listening, I think they're freaking out now, sorry, let's try and make it as if they're only riding one horse three or four times a week. And they were to do something else. Cause this I'm like with super busy we're, we've got, we're running around everywhere and we're working and we've got meals to prepare and we've got kids and we've got craziness and we've just got stuff. So they said, I can do another two to three hours of movement a week. Yep. Would you say focus more on the cardiovascular, more on the core, like, like, so should I be doing squats and lunges and getting my legs strong and, and CrossFitting kind of stuff, or should I be going to the Pilates classes and that, should I be going to the yoga classes and be working on the flexibility and the suppleness? Or should I be running what's what's your answer? Is your answer do half an hour of all of those things?

Zoe (18:18):

Uh, yeah, no, they're great question to ask, but, um, I think it, it is still individual to the person because some of us are naturally very stiff, you know, we're, we're on the stiffer side of the spectrum. We have really rigid backs and we have to work really hard on staying mobile. So that individual probably would tend to be better off with, you know, yoga and Pilates based program, or, you know, you don't necessarily have to go anywhere. You can do a program at home that's appropriate for you that ticks that box. And then someone else might be on the hyper mobile side of the spectrum. So have lots of movement and can, I'm a little bit like this, but sort of touch their thumb on their wrists and elbows bend backwards. And they're super bendy. And that person also might need to work on strengthening and core stability.

Zoe (19:02):

Whether that's through CrossFit, they love CrossFit. That's great. Or if they like doing a lot is the right exercise for that individual does need to be something that they actually get some enjoyment out of otherwise they won't do it. So you can tick that box in regards to strengthening through a myriad of different styles of exercise, whether it's Pilates based core strengthening or whether it's through doing pushups and other sort of just body weight, home exercises. Um, and then another individual, maybe their cardiovascular fitness is the primary issue for them that when they're in the saddle, they're getting red, red in the face, they're getting really packed and sweaty and having to have a break really frequently through their lessons or through that by the end of their dressage tests, they feel so fatigued. They know they're not riding to their best. That individual probably ought to work a little bit more on like interval training of either walk, jogging, or find some stairs close to home and doing the stairs, um, you know, several days a week. Um, but yeah, I think, sorry, not a simple answer to that. It depends on the individual as to what you'd focus more on. So it's about being aware of where we have our weaknesses and where our strengths are, and we don't need to work on their strengths so much. We just need to focus on those weaknesses as such, whether that's cardio, lack of strength or lack of mobility, or a little bit of a combination of each.

Natasha (20:28):

Yeah. Thank you. That was so well answered. And I'm sure people are now going, Oh yes. You know, instinctually, which one that is for. Yeah. Yeah. I can't. So let me go into the next bit, um, I'm getting older. I try not to think about it one thing I've noticed is, um, I, as a child never went, hey, I've got to work on my flexibility. Like I better just work on the split. I could just do the split. I could just touch my feet to the back of my head. And then one day something happened and I couldn't do that. And as I get older and older, the flexibility tends what's going on. Is this, is this just a unique thing to me? Or can you talk a little bit more about the flexibility piece? Because I'm like going, this is now, this is something I now have to actively think about and actively seek out classes to improve this area of my life when previously I never had this issue.

Zoe (21:27):

Yeah. I don't think that's uniquely you and you're certainly not getting older.. Children are always, uh, we, we do lose flexibility as we get older. So from being a child and throughout adolescent years, we do naturally lose that unless we are constantly working on it, we do lose mobility. So, um, you know, I guess at the end of the day, we've got to think about how much mobility do you require to be a professional rider or be a rider or the best rider you can be. And there's certain parts of our body that we need to be really quite mobile and other parts, if we're too mobile, it's actually kind of, it's not a good thing. So, um, having adequate flexibility and range of movement with your hip flexes and around your pelvis and hips is really important and your lower back. So, um, you know, spending even just doing two to three, 10 minute sessions, they're really targeted mobility and stretching around those areas each week. Um, and having maybe one or two stretches that you do your mobility dynamic mobility exercise to do before you get on your horses in the morning, that might be enough to make you feel really supple and loose. Um, being able to do the splits and touch your foot on the back of the head, won't makes you a better rider. So I probably wouldn't focus on that too much. Um, yeah, if that bothers,

Natasha (22:47):

I can notice and I'm like, what else is broken? And when you riding you, do you just going, okay, this is tighter. And I know if I've gone to the gym, I'm tighter. Like everything's just tight. So yeah, that, that is really important. Isn't it?

Zoe (23:05):

Yep. So if you're doing some really quite strong strengthening exercises, you know, doing some good stretches at the end of your workout is a really good idea. And maybe using a foam roller.

Natasha (23:18):

Yeah. My husband is always on that foam roller and I'm like, that's just painful pain.

Zoe (23:25):

Uh, so it, there is, there have been studies that show, it can improve your range of movement, um, and release a bit attention. So that can be a good thing if you, you know, if you get really stuck into strength-based work and you'd end up feeling really tight and sore, then you probably ought to do a little bit more stretching and roller work. Um, perhaps, and, um, you know, maybe that's a little bit more part of your weekly regime of off the horse things that you do.

Zoe (23:54):

Great. Okay. So when people come to you and get a session, um, do they, uh, what kind of work? Cause I think people are listening, going, Oh my God. If I come and see Zoe, is that going to be like a 10 hour exercise program, a week thing, just to tell people how easy it is to improve these areas?

Zoe (24:16):

Yeah. So, um, the actual assessment does take a little bit, generally speaking, the assessment takes a good sort of hour and a half, two hours, depending on whether we've got a horse there on site or not. Um, cause I get super carried away and I like to know all the intricacies of, you know, use the individual. Um, and so in my head and my plan becomes quite involved, but what I actually give to you needs to be achievable and simple enough that you can fit it into your week. So generally speaking, it'll be, um, you know, if we found some real mobility or, or, um, tightness stiffness issues that need to be addressed, those things, uh, you know, things that I'd get you to do two to three times a day where possible, but they shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes. And, um, that would include just before you hop on the horse, you do those things.

Zoe (25:10):

Um, and then it would be a two, maybe three if you're really motivated times a week. So 20, 30 minutes of, of other exercises where possible, but I really try and enforce it. It's not something you need to beat yourself up about, you know, people who have their other aspects of their lives apart from the stuff that their physio wants them to do. And I totally understand that. So it's about understanding where your weaknesses lie and being able to do something just a little something actively towards improving them, which even just doing some really key stretchers, if you know, you're someone who lacks a bit of mobility somewhere can immediately change how you feel as far as your freedom in the saddle. So it doesn't need to take, you know, 12 weeks of doing five hours a week of exercise. It can be something that was actually really simple that really can sort of unlock and change the way you feel in a saddle. Yeah.

Natasha (26:05):

That's, that's, I'm sure everyone's has taken a big sigh of relief. That sounds very good. And, um, what's the, I always love like when we, when we learn marketing, you know, they're always saying, you know, when you market don't market, um, to, uh, you know, a good thing, it's normally solving a problem. So how many people come to you that, um, are going, I'm doing this as a preventative to, um, uh, you know, so I can ride better. And how many people come to you when they saw, or they're broken and they actually can't do something. Cause I would assume it would be the more is your client. Yeah.

Zoe (26:47):

That traditionally has been the case. I'm seeing a bit of a shift in that, um, in the last, probably a year or two, since I've been at Boneo Park, I think of getting, um, and also the, um, involvement that I have, uh, in the past with the high performance squad in, in WA, which was, um, the dressage, eventing, showjumping, vaulting, um, mob, uh, when they had a high-performance weekend. Uh, and other situations like that, it's been more about sort of performance enhancement rather than injured riders. But yeah, I would, I would struggle to say what percentage, but definitely see, see both. And it seems to be a bit, a bit more of a shift towards, um, riders saying, yep. You know, I really, I pay a lot of money and spend a lot of time working with my coach, but I've got a few elementary things that I really struggle with.

Zoe (27:38):

Can you help me with that? And that's not necessarily painful things, so yeah, I would say probably pre COVID, cause everything's a bit weird at the moment. Um, pre COVID, it probably would have been roughly about sort of 50, 60% were riders with pain and then the rest were riders that I'd see for, um, rider fitness programs and, and, um, the assessment, like we talked about just before unpicking all the strengths and weaknesses. So, um, so that's quite cool. Um, during COVID time, everything is very different, but I'm quite enjoying doing, um, some more sort of online, uh, sessions and building up, um, the more online resources and content that people can tap into at any time. So,

Natasha (28:26):

Yeah, absolutely. Sorry. Um, are you also a physio in, like, I was going to say a real hospital or they're all real. Um, but yeah. How do you, so you've, you've got your own horse that you ride, you've got this business what's a normal, typical day for you.

Zoe (28:44):

Yeah. Oh, so that also will change recently, but um, so pre COVID, I was I've been working at peninsula sports medicine group down in Roseburg, which is a really, uh, big multitude multidisciplinary, um, private practice, um, where I was, uh, four days a week. And then I'd be at Boneo on the weekends at my little space there. Um, and then also after hours at boneo by appointment. So that was my typical week. And then more recently I've actually no longer at peninsula sports medicine. I've taken a role at the sports injury clinic up in Frankston, um, which is a similar, similar sort of setup. Um, but I'm only there currently 20 hours a week, which has given me a bit more time, uh, to sort of, you know, build up some of my online stuff with riders physio, which, you know, it's my absolute passion. I love working with riders, but I do treat as well. Non-riders with, you know, their myriad of, of injuries and problems and have quite a, it's quite a strong sporting client base through the sports injury clinic trait, you know, athletes in lots of different areas from, from golf to surfing to Ninja warrior to do wonderful things. So it, um, gives you that experience with lots of different sporting injuries that we see with riders, but this, yeah, it's nice to be immersed in it.

Natasha (30:13):

Absolutely. Yeah. That would be so interesting just to see what the different sports do to the body.

Zoe (30:20):

Yeah, yeah. That

Natasha (30:21):

Is super cool. And when do you ride you ride in the morning or the afternoon?

Zoe (30:26):

Ah, depends. Yeah, just whenever I get time. So, um, yeah, I've I've yeah, definitely had a little bit more time. Last year I was reflecting back. I was very time poor, but I somehow still manage to squeeze it all in. So it's just, um, I'm sure you can absolutely relate to this and a lot of listeners too. Um, you know, not getting any more than what I require sleep wise, get up early, get either ride first thing in the morning or be riding at night at last year I had, um, by may was stabled at, by Boneo Park that meant that I could ride in the end or when it was dark, which made my things so that certainly yeah, facilitated my ability to still ride sort of six days a week, um, and sort of fitting everything else. So, yeah, it just depends on the day as to where they ride morning or afternoon having access to an indoor definitely helps.

Zoe (31:22):

Um, I don't know. I probably wouldn't have been able to ride much at all last year on I compromised something else. Uh, if I hadn't had, um, lights, uh, so, and with our weather here, um, having an indoor definitely has, has its benefits, but that certainly wasn't something that I've been blessed to have use of it through the rest of my sort of upbringing as a rider. It was rain hail or shine, or more to the point in Western Australia with the very, very hot summers getting up at ridiculous times at 5:00 AM to ride at first light because it got so hot. And, um, and then having the car next to the arena with the headlights on. So you could ride, um, at night and things like that. So, so yeah, definitely. Haven't been privileged of having use of indoor, uh, up until recently, but I've really, I'm very fortunate that I can use indoor now, I must say. Yeah,

Natasha (32:18):

I love it. So you grew up in WA. What made you make the move down to Victoria?

Zoe (32:24):

Yeah, uh, actually, um, I was at working pupil for Mary Hanna for six months, uh, many years ago and just fell in love with the Bellarine peninsula. It's just so beautiful and being a horsey person when you see rolling grassy Hills, I just, I don't know. I guess my inner horse just wanted to graze out there perhaps, but was used to

Natasha (32:49):

The Hills growing and we don't grow faster than medium canter, but nonetheless, yes.

Zoe (32:59):

Um, but yeah, so growing up in the Perth Hills, it's very, very dry and, you know, having the horses in the paddocks where there's not a blade of grass. Um, yeah, I think, you know, I loved my upbringing in Western Australia where, where we were in the Perth Hills, but at the same time, it's just, you know, Victoria and down the sand on the financial or the Bellarine Parninsula  in the morning and financials. So senior can so pretty and, you know, having to have your horse in a paddock that has grass without you having to irrigate the Paddock, um, just was unbelievable to me. And it's such a horse dence area. There's so many horsey people. I just loved it. So that spurred the move a few years later. Um, and yeah, as a physio, it's really easy to work anywhere. There's always plenty of work around for us. So, uh, been very, um, very happy since I do miss my Western Australia friends and family. Absolutely. But yeah. Has settled in really well here. So this is home now for me.

Natasha (34:03):

I love it. I love it. Great. And, um, you sponsor some riders, I believe.

Zoe (34:08):

Yeah. So, um, Abby, O'Brien, um, been working with Abby for a number of years and she's a, um, grand Prix rider from down this way. Um, some of your listeners may have followed her success with Ragah Rave. She's been through all sorts of really tough times, um, as to all dressage riders on their journey with horses, with, you know, injuries that seemed catastrophic and then rehabbing them back, um, which I personally didn't rehab the horses just too. That's definitely one thing that I, that I achieved, but looking after Abby through that period and trying to, um, you know, help her along in regards to the rider fitness side of things, which she's a very fit individual to start with. So I can't take all the kudos for that, but it's been a lot of fun working with her. She is very brave at standing on fit balls and throwing things around and doing all sorts of crazy things to try and improve her balance and her, her strengths. She's very diligent. So that's cool. Um, and then more recently, um, I was helping Fiona Selby last year with a bit of a sponsorship package with, to SITA with her. Um, she actually managed to be shortlisted for the Olympic games, which was very cool. It was also, I definitely can't take credit for any of that, but it's been a lot of fun working with the, um, Fi over a period of time. So

Natasha (35:35):

Absolutely. And how can people get in touch with you and find out more about you?

Zoe (35:38):

I'm so happy to chat on the phone at any stage or via email, uh, or my website Um, but yeah, very approachable or through social media. I'm really terrible at social media. Facebook. I probably spend a bit more time on Facebook. I'm still learning the ropes with Instagram. So, um, I'm honestly just like a dinosaur with, with all this sort of social media and, and everything tech related. No. Yeah.

Have you got a tiik-tok? Oh, the girls made me record like a couple of things, but no, I don't. I try not to go on going on. Oh gosh. Yeah. I think my mom is more all over the whole social media thing than I am, to be honest. So yeah. That's not something I'm proud of.

Zoe (36:41):

Well, she actually was trying to try to get me to do one of those with her and I had no idea what she was talking about. So I managed to avoid that one, but.

Natasha (36:50):

Beautiful. We'll we'll put it all in the show notes for anyone that wants to speak to Zoe about getting an online assessment or anything about physio and improve their riding, getting in touch. That's amazing. Anything else that you'd like to add?



Zoe (37:09):

Ah, it's just been such a pleasure to chat to Tash and I always feel very uncomfortable talking about myself, but it would have been nice if we could talk more about you. Um, but I guess that's not the nature of this podcast today, but, um, yeah. Thank you so much for having me on, um, yeah. Happy to answer any other questions, but yeah, it's been great chatting.

Zoe (37:30):

Yeah. Super thank you so much. And we'll talk to you soon.

Natasha (37:36):

If you enjoyed today's episode and you want more information, including the transcription, head over to your riding backslash podcast, there you'll find all our other podcasts. Lots of cool manuals there for you. Lots of cool other transcriptions, heaps of free resources there for you. Just go to your riding, to get that all and make sure you hit the subscribe button. So you never miss an episode.

Podcast Episode 35: Rebecca Bell | Combining Oxford and International Dressage

In this podcast, we speak with Rebecca Bell. Rebecca is a 20-year-old British dressage rider and highly successful young rider. Rebecca combines her International dressage riding career with study at Oxford University. In this episode, we chat with Rebecca about her journey into dressage, CDIP experience, Oxford University and juggling commitments.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00:00):

Welcome to this Your Riding Success episode with Rebecca Bell. Rebecca is a 20 year old British dressage rider and highly successful young rider. She is a European pony team, bronze and silver medalist and in 2015, she was part of the first British team in history to win a team gold medal at the Youtuh European dressage championships. Rebecca combines her international dressage career with study at Oxford University. Represented by Piaffe Sport, She had built quite an online presence on social media. Looking forward to our chat with Rebecca.

Welcome to the Your Riding Success podcast. My name is Natasha Althoff, grand Prix dressage from Australia, author of three books and a leading online trainer of riders all around the world, wanting to take their riding to the next level. I'm also a shopaholic mother of two amazing children, and it fits with helping riders to be all they can be. Each week I'm going to be bringing you stories of inspiration, ideas, and strategies of how to make real progress in your riding and give you actionable advice on overcoming riding fear and anxiety so you can take her riding to the next level and be the rider you dream to be. So let's get into today's episode.

Natasha (00:01:13):

Thank you so much for coming on board today, Rebecca,


Rebecca (00:01:16):

Thank you so much for inviting me. Really looking forward to it. Um, and yeah, just kind of like really flattered to be asked. So, looking forward to speaking to you


Natasha (00:01:24):

I can't wait. I can't wait for everyone to hear your story. I am a big fan of Oxford University. I went there for the not, not went there to study. We went there to like tourists and it was just an amazing place and all the people that have been there, it's like, well, this is a special place.


Rebecca (00:01:39):

Yeah. It was like that being there. I D I literally remember turning up in my first week and we were like, Oh my goodness. Am I actually studying? Yeah. So yeah, it's an amazing experience.


Natasha (00:01:24):

It is. So let's get into it first let's talk about dressage. How did you get into dressage? Were you born riding a horse? What, how did the horses unfold?

Rebecca (00:01:54):

So I was really lucky in that both of my parents, uh, had been horsey when they were younger. Um, my dad had actually showjumped fairly competitively when he was younger, although he likes to joke that really, it was just kind of for the kudos and his sisters did all the ponies and he'd just hop on and go very fast. Um, so it was kind of in the family, but, uh, I was given the a two-state riding lessons when I was young. And then when I'd kind of proven that, yeah, I was actually gonna get up in the morning and do it. I was pretty lucky and got, put a pony, um, who was probably the most unsuitable first pony anyone been given, who was amazing. He was very character building and he refused to jump. So I was like, well, there's one other route. I can take this. So that's how I started. Yeah.

Natasha (00:02:49):

Lots of people resonating. I love how you've put that character building. Um, and it is important. I think, you know, if it all goes to, well, when you're young and then suddenly that you get some hiccups, it's like, well, hang on. This, isn't how it's meant to go. But when it's bad rrom the start, we can only go up.

Rebecca (00:03:02):

You can only go up. Yeah. Although it's interesting, you say that cause like, and I'm sure we'll get into it. It's such a journey that like ponies, which obviously I did too, for a long time at a high level that is still feel how's that a little bit. And that went really well for me. So that was a big learning curve as part of my riding career and jumping off from that and going, Oh my goodness. There's actually, yeah. It's quite challenging.

Natasha (00:03:23):

Yes. Yeah. Well, let's talk about that. Cause I've got to hear that, um, you represented Great Britain in 2012 in a CDIP, which I'm guessing is like a normal CDI, but yeah, yeah, yeah. Which is huge. I mean, anytime, how old were you then?

Rebecca (00:03:40):

I was 12,

Natasha (00:03:43):

The responsibilities and my level of doing anything competently as well. I'm pretty impressed.

Rebecca (00:03:51):

Um, in general life. Yeah, that was exactly the same. It was just the five minutes I got on a pony that was like, okay, I've got to get this together. And then back to being a 12 year old, as soon as my foot was out of the stirrup.

Natasha (00:04:03):

Yeah. But I would say there's amazing life lessons that you do learn from being competitive, um, at such a young age and in a sport that not only is, you've got to be so disciplined and strict with this sport, but also on looking after the animal as well. It's not like you were in gymnastics or swimming and you turned up for training. There was also the feeding and the rugging and the brushing and all that other stuff.

Rebecca (00:04:23):

Yeah. And I've always been really fortunate in that my parents have kind of expected me to do a reasonable amount and to contribute and to work. But when I had education to balance as well, they've always been very, very supportive and I've been lucky enough to have a few people that have worked for us that have helped on the yard and basically manage the horses while I was at school or university. And then I would say do weekends or holidays, or just get up in the morning for school and feed them and poo pick them and then run for the bus smelling a bit horrible. But, um, yeah, it was, yeah, I think it was a really good learning curve because it's, and I'm sure any horse person would say this, it sort of, it just teaches you responsibility and you have to be responsible because you literally have animals relying on you. Um, and it's not quite the same level as for getting to do your homework. It's a, it's a bit more important. So not the homework isn't important for all those young people. That's not a message I want to be putting out there. Um, but, um, yeah, it's, it was a huge privilege to have them from a young age. Um, and I think what it taught me, it was incredibly valuable. So yeah, I was very lucky.

Natasha (00:05:32):

And from competing, like, let's go to that moment in 2012, when you're representing Great Britain at a CDIP, were you aware that this was important or this was quite high up or where you disliked me? I'm just riding my pony, same old, same old.

Rebecca (00:05:48):

Um, I knew it was quite a big thing because, um, I had kind of toyed whether I actually wanted to go to that one because it was my like leavers thing for primary school. Um, and that in my life that, you know, that was a really big thing. Oh, I'm going to miss the party where we all were leaving school, moving on, but I was like, no, this is, you know, this is my call up. I get to wear my GB kit. Like I didn't take them for weeks and then probably didn't prepare in the best way because I went down the center line and then turn the wrong way. I actually went really well overall, but I definitely showed my, my greenness. Um, and then a lot of big lessons, even in the space of three days of the competition is it was just a total different level of like watching the other riders and realizing wow, like that really, really good when they're 16 and on these big ponies everything. So it was good, but what was really nice is the pony that I did that first one on was the pony who went, um, on all the teams with me. So that was a nice journey to have with her.

Natasha (00:06:52):

Okay. So let me just take you back to that moment when you were watching everybody else. Um, what, what was the results that you achieved in that first year?

Rebecca (00:07:03):

Um, so at that first ever CDI, I think I got like, I'm sort of middle of the pack basically. Um, yeah,

Natasha (00:07:14):

So you're seeing all this other stuff. And did you get, are you a very competitive person? Did you got, right next year is my year or were you like, this is just all so fun. And were you just focused on the fun? I'm trying to think of an and were you nervous? Like, was it like I have to perform? I can't believe I had an error of course. Or was it like, Oh, well I'm just learning as I go. And we're having fun, like. Yeah. What's the mindset there?

Rebecca (00:07:40):

I think so I was always really competitive, but in a, like in a very positive way, it's interesting because I think it's definitely, it's something a lot of us have when we're young is that we're very like, come on, let's do it. And why shouldn't I do it? And then maybe it's even older than you get these sort of like, well, you might not be able to do it because of this. You might not be the worst. And I think I was blissfully free of them age 12, my first competition, because I was like, well, why shouldn't I beat this Dutch rider? Who's been doing it for five years and one man in reality, I didn't, but the thought was there. And I was like, Oh, well I've got freestyles still and all of this, but.

Natasha (00:08:24):

I love it. I love your optimism. It’s like I got the freestyle, everyone better watch their backs.


Rebecca (00:08:34):

I definitely started with like that level of optimism. It was something and always something that I try to keep a little bit off because I'm more aware of the importance of it. And we realized like the investment of time, I know time, money, energy. And we're like, Oh, this is really, this is significant now. And that’s, I think when we get all the little niggling doubts and stuff, but yeah, I, I was, well, I was gutted to turn wrong. Um, and I think my trainer was probably like, you've ridden this so many times. But it was good to get out of the way. Yeah. I think we get it out the way I'm at my first one. And I don't think I did that exact same mistake since, but, uh, we'll do it.

Natasha (00:09:15):

Oh yeah, totally. Okay. So then it sounds like, cause I don't know your journey at all, but you kind of alluded to it that it was kind of a dream run. You've got this pony, you do the whole, it's the same pony the whole time and you just get better and better and better that what happened or what have we got here?

Rebecca (00:09:33):

So yeah, so ponies is, was, it was pretty dreamlike actually. Um, I was really lucky that I had two ponies that we bought when they were young. Um, my trainer had kind of helped me start them. Um, I say start them that, you know, they were backed and they'd been to their first competitions and things, but, um, she sort of helped out the one that was a little bit, uh, sprightly to take her out to a few more. And so that I wasn't getting bounced off the walls. Um, but it was in that respect that wasn't, I think I wasn't quite prepared for how much pressure that was because I was coming in going my ponies on knowns. I'm an unknown, you know, nobody is expecting me to do that while I haven't bought a pony that's been and done it. So for that first year, that 2012, I'm actually the 2013 as well. I really was free of expectation, which is such a nice place to be, but obviously it's quite a rare place to be. Um, and when I got called up for 2013 for the Europeans, I was similarly, uh, it was unexpected cause really sadly I was called up as reserve. Um, because the team member couldn't go. So that was quite difficult to suddenly see like, Oh, that's what it means when it gets taken away. Um, and I sort of that's when it started creeping in, like, this is really significant. And after the first year Europeans, I had a bit of a, a bit of a crisis and it was like, how do I know right now that I have got an expectation and that I have got results and people maybe think that I would do well. Um, and that was actually the point, which is really quite young, I guess. But the point I started working with the sports psychologist. Because yeah, It was, it was a real turning point in my train of recommended him because she literally could return. And I'm sure she wouldn't mind saying she was like, I can't teach you. I worked with you for years. I'm I can't teach you. Yeah, just a total like flip of like I've ridden one way my whole life. And then now, and people might think you're doing the exact same thing, you know, but it wasn't me. It was just, it was like, it was in a different language because suddenly something so significant had changed. So yeah, that was a big, uh, turning point. And that took a lot of work to develop from and get past.

Natasha (00:11:43):

Yeah, yeah. Yep. Yep. Absolutely. Okay. So then what happens? You've done ponies, ponies, ponies, and like old 12 year olds you grew, I'm assuming.

Rebecca (00:11:54):

Yeah. So my final Europeans in 2015, I was near enough, five foot seven in a 16 inch pony saddle. And it was like, no cakes, like got to stay light as possible. It was, yeah, it was a whole new challenge, but actually I got the very best results that year. Cause I had long legs, so I could kind of scoot my pony up and do it for her a little bit. Yeah. But never across theory now, but yeah. And then there's the whole emotional thing of like selling them and have them for years and years. And that was really hard, but actually I've been super lucky that they've both gone on to do internationals again, they're both gone to European championships. Um, that's the night. Yeah. I've been like a proud mom, like watching them like, Oh. And especially when the said like the riders subsequent have developed them further and they, especially my second pony cause he kind of was in her sisters. They were brother and sister. Um, and his sister started a little bit, uh, cause I hadn't had the time necessarily to focus on him and then he's been given loads of love and attention and then people's number one and I've seen him really flourished and that’s so nice. So yeah. And then I, yeah, I continued only the FEI humps to whale of juniors and young writers. So kept on going with the, with the system really, um, and went straight into juniorss the following year.

Natasha (00:13:17):

Okay. And um, has that been, so it, it was a good transition. You found another horse and it was all kind of easy going or did we have some bumps?

Rebecca (00:13:28):

So this is the point in my life. Um, watch the 2013 was the point in my life that my hopeful horse and the horse, I actually ride now entered my life. And um, everything was really sweet for about a year. Um, and then we sort of came across a little, she was scoping written by the writer who had developed her from a young horse. Um, and that relationship broke down, which is, you know, it's hard, but it happens in the horse world and professional relationships are difficult and we'd always hope that he would keep the ride and then pass onto me, but it just didn't work out. Um, so she went to my trainer for a little bit cause I was still focusing on the ponies. And then we discovered that there were a few bits and bobs, physically that had obviously been going on for a little while and then come the vets and then comes the bone scanning and the, Oh my goodness, what is wrong with this horse? We have a brilliant vet. And he literally said, stick it out in the field.

Natasha (00:14:28):

Well it's expensive treatment plan is a field.

Rebecca (00:14:32):

Everything, but he so good. And he was like, this horse needs a break. Um, so she went out and field, um, but that left me at the end of 2015 going, I have no horse. So this is the first time I really then benefited from the generosity of people in the horse world because I went try something that was for sale that we couldn't afford. Um, and I basically said, I absolutely love him, but we can't buy him. Would you lease him? And they agreed. And I was really lucky because he then took me straight into juniors and straight onto another European championship. So he was like the perfect step up.

Natasha (00:15:09):

Stop it. You’re making this sound way too easy.

Rebecca (00:15:17):

I know, I know it's unrealistic, but like that was really good. I just had luck off the luck bear. And I think now actually, and I'll, we'll talk about it. I'm sure. I maybe think sometimes I'm paying back the balance a bit because I've had a bit of bad luck with horses and I think it always evens out, you know, and you have to remember that when you appreciate the good days, because there probably will be a slightly worse day or at least a run of really hard stuff that is going to lead that you sort of do to get there. So really appreciate it when it happens. And I did. And I love that. Yeah. With tango, he was called tango perfect dressage name. Um, and then at the end of the year, he, we agreed with his owners that he would be sold on. That was always their intention when I leased him and he found a lovely home. So it works out beautifully. Um, and then Una, who was in the field at this point? Just chilling. Yeah, No idea what awaited her. Yeah. Started to come back and that was maybe the biggest challenge of my career because she had a lot of mental expectation that things were going to hurt and was, she was, I'd gone from this really straightforward schoolmaster who albeit a little bit lazy, but would do anything for you if you asked right. And then I got on this horse that she was like, you've got to convince me because I'm not sure. And I don't know what to do. And like her reactions were quite explosive when she didn't know what to do, but yeah, building that relationship has been one of the most amazing parts of my life, so.

Natasha (00:16:43):

Oh, wow. Okay. So let me just take a step back for people that don't know when you're doing a pony CDI, what level test is that, is that like just walk canter transitions, has it got some flying changes?

Rebecca (00:16:58):

We it's kind of fusion between the British levels elementary and medium. So you have like shoulder in and half pass in trot, uh, you have extensions rein back, walk piroettes, you don't have any flying changes, but you do have lots of simple changes, which I think are the most like badly names movement in the entire world. Like just enough walk, not too much.

Natasha (00:17:24):

I’m Just like getting to medium, get the flying change.

Rebecca (00:17:29):

Yeah. Yeah. I've just finally done that with walk pirouettes. I just did my first Inter I and I'm like I’ve got past my first walk pirouettes.

Natasha (00:17:35):

I love it.

Rebecca (00:17:37):

But yeah. No canter half pass. Uh, but like extensions and canter. Yeah. So that's about where it was.

Natasha (00:17:42):

And then you said with tango, it was junior dressage.

Rebecca (00:17:50):

That advanced medium for yeah. For everything the same, but with canter half passes and a single change. Um, yeah,

Natasha (00:18:00):

I love it. Okay. So then with Una, um, were you thinking of also doing the junior stuff? So did she know a change, but it was just all explosive and there was just no harmonious partnership going on.

Rebecca (00:18:15):

She very vaguely remembered being taught a change, um, which was kind of the worst way to have her because she remembered the change being stressful, um, being a lot. And that was my biggest battle, um, because it would literally be when I, towards the end of 2016, I was getting good training sessions and then I would do one flying change and it would be like that like I had to walk and I just go in there. I just got hotcake because I'd be like, I can't continue from that. You're just not in a place I can't get through like your head

Natsaha (00:18:52):

And how old were you in 2016?

Rebecca (00:18:54):

I would have been 17 towards the end of the year when I was 16, the blind leading the blind. Um, which kind of, I think maybe lengthen the process a little bit. Cause I was like, I've never ridden a horse that does this. I wonder what I do. Um, but so I taught her changes in the field. Um, cause that seemed to be the only place that she was like, yeah, I can cope with this. Um, and then 2017, I was like, right, we're on it. We're going to go and smash this at Juniors. Um, so this is where the system is a little bit, it's quite prescriptive about what the qualifications you have to get to do the next step to the next step. And I missed the first step. Um, so I didn't get to go to the CDI. Didn't get scared of Europeans. And it was really gutting, because actually over the course of the year, she really took a step and developed and I went to a CDI right at the end of the year when I finally got my qualification score and we won two out of the three tests and I got like a massive personal best at the end of the week. And it was so like, well I loved my way out of every single test I did. I was like, Oh my God, like super emotional and the judges are like, this is like a routine CDI. Why are you crying? And I'm like this horse. Um, but that was so nice. Although I always am like, ah, maybe I could've got to the Europeans, but then my sensible head goes would have been too soon for her. And sometimes, you know, your horses development doesn't fit with the convenient competition calendar. And I'm sure a lot of people that were hoping to go to Tokyo this year are suddenly like, Oh my goodness, my horses development. It's just not, maybe the horse is getting on a little bit. They're going to have to maintain them another year. Um, yeah. So it's an unfortunate fact of it that horses do what they do. And it just didn't quite fit for that. Yeah. But it was still so rewarding to take her to that show. Not so much for the results of it, but the fact it was confirmation that all are muddling around in the field and all my work with my trainer and my trainer while I mentioned while I was at the end of ponies was riding her. And she was the one who really said, look, you need to listen to this horse. Something physically is going on. Um, and you need to help her out. So it was down to her that we even made the first step to fixing her. Um, and I was like, Oh, we all did the right thing. And that was really confirmation of that. So yeah.

Natasha (00:21:33):

And what's that amazing lessons, like I'm hearing what you've learned and what you've understood about how life works and how horses works out and how the whole thing. And you're so young. It's so awesome. Like compared to, but I guess that's what the system is. And that's what it does teach you from such a young age. You've got the pressure, you've got how to deal with that. You've got the disappointments, you've got the ups, you've got the downs and it's so much more, much less by the time you have 20 or something.

Rebecca (00:22:01):

I always, I'm doing like, uh, quite a few applications at the moment. And it's so funny because I'm like, how do I explain that I've gone on a like eight year course of just accelerated life development because I have horses. Like, it sounds bizarre to a lay person. I'm sure, but it really is true because you just have a bit of everything and you learn about, and although they're forgiving, you know, you, you do make mistakes and you're like, wow, I shouldn't have done that. And um, yeah, I would definitely recommend, you know, people go in, there's like personal development courses and stuff, like just get a horse and we'll teach you all of it. Um, and probably bankrupt you, but get a horse and it will teach you everything.

Natasha (00:22:45):

I love it. I love it. Awesome. Sorry. Um, where do you want to go to from here? What else do you need to tell me about the horses? What have I missed in your journey? So I know we got to, you were 17, nearly 18 and then what happened?

Rebecca (00:22:58):

So then I kind of reentered the stage that I was when I was 12. I had no expectations because I suddenly had this horse that, um, that my vet had basically had always been super honest with us. He'd gone. Right? I'm getting everything I can, but I will pretty much eat my heart. If you get the source too small, like PSG, like I've really unlikely. There's a, quite a lot of strain on her body. Um, you know, enjoy Hawaii. You've got her don't back off doing things, but just be aware. Um, so I went out into the world, like no expectation. Everything is a bonus. Every central line I go down brilliant. And that was such a nice place to be in. Um, we then had to encounter the monster of Tempi changes and everything came flooding back and she's like, I can't do five on the diagonal. Oh my goodness. Fade could not cope. And we went to our first, we got selected for the young rider, European championships. So that's PSG in 2019 and we didn't get any of our tempi changes. I was like, I've come all the way here. And I'm supposed to be one of the best in Europe and Nope.

Natasha (00:24:08):

For everyone who needs a line of tempi’s, have you missed a line of tempi’s representing your country?

Rebecca (00:24:18):

Yeah, it's better though. I did my first ever clean PSG on her this July, the first time. And we, it was such an, it was a beautiful sunny day. We just had locked down, which I think contributed, because locked down, I've kind of been like messing around in there, like a pony clubber and just going around the fields and stuff. And so we came and she was really fat to be totally honest. Like she didn't really look like a dressage horse and we like, well, we need to get back in the groove. And it was supposed to be the day that the Europeans would have happened in a heartbreak, but obviously rescheduled. I couldn't get to hungry all of that disappointment. And she was like, yeah, you know.

Natasha (00:25:02):

And what was the percentage you got at the bad Europeans without the tempi’s

Rebecca (00:25:07):

  1. So not too bad,

Natasha (00:25:09):

But for everyone that's done like gone into a test and not like not executed a movement. It's okay. You can go from a 66 to a 75 in 12 months? Yeah. Yeah. You've just got to keep going.

Speaker 2 (00:25:26):

Well, the benefit like ride it feel that it's happened and bin it, because otherwise we're talking to every other movement and yeah, that's what I had to learn as well. I also had to learn the opposite that if I got that first line of fours,

Natasha (00:25:38):

Oh, that didn't make it.

Rebecca (00:25:42):

My trainer’s like oh my goodness. Your legs come off, you go into Lala land.

Natasha (00:25:49):

I’m the same. I get all my tempis to the last one. Cause it's like, woo hoo.

Rebecca (00:25:54):

I can show them for going over the last fence, thinking that they've won and then it just comes down. I'm like, Oh no. So yeah. Stay in the moment.

Natasha (00:26:04):

Absafrigginlutely. I love it. Okay. So that's, that's the beautiful story we had nearly had to be in a field. Pretty much no chance of ever coming back in really crazy to ride. You didn't know what you're doing. Don't know if I'll ever get a change into this horse to eventually a change and then eventually a Prix St George for 75. Yeah.

Rebecca (00:26:24):

Yeah. And now she's like, Oh, two times the Inter I. That's fine. That's cool

Natasha (00:26:30):

I was about to say is this story does it have another ending with Grand Prix?


Rebecca (00:26:39):

I made the decision to go there. Um, I think, you know, to be she's now she'll be 14 year. So she's getting to the stage that even a normal horse would maybe give beef, getting a bit physically ropey. The fact that she's going really well. She's touch wood sound. She's happy. I'm like, I would be doing Grand Prix for myself, not her. So, uh, we're cool with,

Natasha (00:27:00):

I'm just like going, I'm talking to a 40 year old, like I'm talking mature and so wise, which normally usually comes with age and hat off to you.

Rebecca (00:27:12):

Thank you. Yeah, she's just, yeah. She's I love her and she's given me so much. I feel like I owe it to her to be like, you know, I listened to what you're saying and we'll have fun at small tour and yeah. So everyone has a nice grand Prix horse. I doubt I have about 50 for one, but yeah.

Natasha (00:27:33):

All right. So what is the plan? Do you have some young horses? Do you only ride her? What? What's a normal day. I know there's schooling stuff, but in terms of horses, how many horses have you gotten? Right.

Rebecca (00:27:44):

So I am currently riding two, um, I had a real unlucky break in 2016, where we purchased a super lovely horse with all the money that I'd sold the ponies for. Um, yeah. And he, he was the sweetest thing, but I just, just don't know what was going on in his head that there, we always joke that the wiring, somebody had wired him a bit wrong and it wasn't his fault. It was the electrician. He wired him up. Um, he, yeah, we just, we spent four years, three years really? Um, just trying everything. He just didn't, didn't like being a horse. If you like existing really well. He liked existing when he was in the field. Um, and other than that, he was like, no, I don't want to be tied up. I don't want to be in the stable. Don't want to be in the trailer. I'm gonna lose my mind. And then we'd have like three months of really good behavior. I got him up to PSG. We made 68% debut PSG. And I was like, Oh my goodness, we cracked it. And then it would be like the next day he loses his mind and his own stable and made the decision. You are not enjoying this at all. And he is currently a very beautiful field ornament. So yeah.

Natasha (00:28:59):

Thank you for sharing because I think people do do that. I mean, as you said that you said, and we'll get there talking about the investment of the time, the money and the, and the, and the, just the obsession that goes into it. And there's lots of people that have spent a time or money or both on horses and it doesn't have a happy ending. It is.

Speaker 2 (00:29:23):

It's important to like say it though and be upfront about it because, you know, you see on Instagram and stuff, these professional riders that are doing the string of horses, and I can guarantee that they've had one or two or three have not worked out. And these horses don't know that they bred for superstardom and may have been,

Natasha (00:29:45):

Or sold for this much money.

Speaker 2 (00:29:46):

They don't know that they've had a six figure price tag and all of that. Like, that's not important to them. What's important to them is do I feel safe? Do I feel okay? Am I enjoying this? Do I understand? And I just think may be less than just didn't understand. He was like, why do you want to put me in a moving box? I don't get it. Yeah, I got him. But, um, yeah, that was really hard.

Natasha (00:30:13):

Yeah. But thank you. I agree with you. The more people that can talk about these things that happen, the more and normalizes it going. Okay. I'm not the only person in the world that had this happen to.

Rebecca (00:30:25):

Yeah, no, definitely. Um, and I'm, I'm lucky in that I've been able to have other horses alongside that, but it was my big investment, big hope thought, but he didn't know that, and that is not down to him. It was just, that was really bad luck. And, and I feel like you should never give up on a horse, but equally there has to be a moment that you go, I think hopefully mercenary, like how much is too much, um, how many scans and x-rays, and is something wrong with this horse is too much. And also how much is too much for them, you know, how, who are you doing this for? Um, so

Natasha (00:31:01):

Yeah. And you said that a lot through this interview, and I think it's, it's so telling of, as I said, where your maturity is, and I think it's a big message for everyone. Who are you doing this for? What are you doing it for? The answer is you, you, you, if that more hang on.

Rebecca (00:31:15):

Yeah, no, that, that gives me, like, I I'm able to be at peace with it because I know that it was the right decision for him. And although it like guts me a bit, it's, you know, it was the only right decision. So yeah, but he's loving life. He's very hairy, very muddy, no cares in the world. Oh, look at you trot across the field beautifully. So yeah, I've got, sorry, I'd go on about him. I've got some very, a couple of very lovely horses. Um, one that we bought was a four year old from Germany who then who was my type of horse when I rode him through him through, and then he grew about a hand and a half. Um, suddenly the power that I quite liked was quite scary. And I would always be really honest. I'm not the bravest of riders. I'd always do better on a horse that I have to hold the hand and go, come on. We can do this together. The one that's going leaping from the ceiling and I have to be like, come in and listen. So he actually is where the professional rider at the moment, who's hopefully going to, um, have fun with him, develop him. I say professional she's, um, it's not said. So I can't say her name at the moment, but, um, she is similar in that she's come up through use levels, but she's always really done it off her own. She's made it work financially. She worked jobs alongside it and she's super deserving. So she's doing a fantastic job with him looking exciting. And that was really nice to be able to do that for another rider. Um, but my other boy is a recent addition that I actually is the first horse. I've, I've been lucky enough to buy with my dad. Um, and he's a nine year old, um, he's been taken super slow. That was really important to me because I've sort of ridden a horse that's gone a bit quick. Um, and yeah, we're just chilling at the moment. Everyone's like, when are you going to get out? And him, and I'm like, not till next year, because you know, when a new partnership I haven't. Yeah. Anyway wrote this year off. So we're having a lot of fun together. We're finding the time. So yeah, I love it.

Natasha (00:33:31):

Okay. So sounds like future's bright and you're clear on your goals. So now I want to talk about you. That's not all you do because if people are listening to this, it would sound like this is what you do. Um, but tell us, tell us about what else do you do and how you make it all work.

Rebecca (00:33:45):

So I, when I was younger, I was very aware of the fact that in order to do riding properly, um, it costs a lot of money and I'm in a very fortunate position that, you know, I can't go out and buy ready-made grand Prix, horse, or anything like that. And goodness, I respect people that do because you've got to drive a Ferrari and wow, wouldn't, we all do it if we could. Um, but I can't, but equally I've been in a position that I've been able to buy really nice younger horses and develop them. And I've been very aware that I want to be able to do that through my life. So I wanted to get a really good education and, um, hopefully find a job that alongside horses will support them. Um, so I can say this now because I'm graduated.

Natasha (00:34:34):


Rebecca (00:34:37):

In secondary school, I did a little, I looked at the map and I went what's universities commutable from home. Um, there is only one, unfortunately, uh, and I looked at it and I thought, Oh, that's quite a senior university. Um, I don't think I'm going to get in there by turning up at an interview and going, I want to ride ponies.

Natasha (00:34:55):

So close to my home. So please let me in.

Rebecca (00:35:02):

Put my finger on the academic side of things. Um, so it was always a bit of a, some to me that like good grades, hard work equals ponies. So yeah. Yeah. Um, that's what really motivated me. I mean, I do like, I enjoy academia. I really loved my degree. I did it in English language literature, and that was that I definitely wanted to do that as a subject cause I loved it. Um, you know, it doesn't feed in any particular, uh, career and I probably will have to take conversion course, cause I think I'd like to go into law. Um, but I was important to me that did it because I loved it because I knew it was going to be really hard and it was, um, but yeah, it was always okay. That homework will add up to good grades. A lot up to good university will add up to horses. So

Natasha (00:35:50):

Your parents have done an amazing job. Um, like I just feel they need to get so much to shape you and support you through all the learnings that you did as a young child and had give you that, um, like complex equivalents this plus this plus this equals this what a gift. It could be, you know, this plus this equals crappiness. So you'd be like, well, I'm not going to interested in plus my class, but the fact that they gave you really cool things to strive for, um, to equal your passion and your love.

Rebecca (00:36:22):

Yes, no, definitely. I was, I mean, I mean, I continue to be incredibly grateful to them because at the moment I'm on a gap year, basically doing horses and that's changed privilege to kind of have a forced holiday for a year. Um, but it was always that my dad would support me to the ends of the earth within his means as long as I was putting in the same. So, uh, not financially, but you know, in ethic. And he's. Always been that he'd rather that I said, if I needed help with something that I got my trainer to help me, that I was upfront, that I wasn't, you know, wasting people's time a little bit by being like, no, I'll do it all myself. And then imploding that. I was like, no, the most sensible way to do this is I'm going to need a hand. And I think that's really important as well because riding is quite a solitary sport when you're on the horse. But, um, when you're off, it might, I mean, you'll know it takes a village and it's really important that you use your village and you like surround yourself with people that are prepared to help you and you use them because they're there, they've put themselves there, they've sacrificed their own time in the effort and their commitment to help you and what a privilege. So yeah, absolutely make the most of it. And I've always been really lucky that I've had people that I can go like I need help. Um, the next step there.

Natasha (00:37:43):

That's huge. And let's talk about your trainer piece. Cause it sounds like this trainer has been really, um, useful and important in your journey. And I think that that is a huge thing as well. Like you said, at the end of the day, when we're in the competition ring, our traiern is not there. No one's there [inaudible]. Yeah. But to get into that ring, we, if you've never done it before, it's the same with anything. If you've never, you didn't do your English literature course without a tutor telling you what you should be doing. So in every area of our life, if we don't know how to do something, we get help and that person has to help us. But, um, with the trainer, there's so much elements to that because they have to help the homeless. They have to help you. They have to be psychologists. They have to be therapists need to be this whole gamut of thing. So yeah. Do you want to speak to a little bit more about how important that trying piece was?

Rebecca (00:38:41):

So I have trained for over 10 years now with the same trainer, Karen Roberts and, um, she was originally an event rider. Uh, she, now she does a lot of dressage coaching now. Um, and she runs a delivery OD where actually I've just recently moved my two horses. Um, so we're sort of where our journey together has developed a lot over the years. Um, and the generic is originally when I first had a lesson with her, my mum really had to convince her because she didn't really teach kids. And it was me on my little home bred jumping pony, um, like bombing around the arena with no, not a care in the world, probably the worst position

Rebeecca (00:39:24):


Rebecca (00:39:24):

Doing great. And you'd watch and be like,

Rebecca (00:39:31):

I had a, a couple of lessons to start with to then help me in finding an ex pony, which was a really fun process, which included bringing a pony back. It bolting around the arena with me and her going to my parents, puts it on the lorry and take it back. She's always been there for like those really classic development stages. Um, but then over the course of like doing my international journey, like, you know, she's not, not, you said they have to be everything and, but she's always been that she'll be everything. And she goes up the drive and she thinks even when she's at home about how she can help her clients. And she does this equally for everyone she teaches, but then goes right. Okay. That's not my area, but I know someone who will help you in that area. And she's not, there's no sort of territorialness or anything it's like this person will help you. So go to them. Um, and we've always, I mean, we've always checked with trainers that this is okay, but she's come along to sort of clinics with other trainers that maybe I've done through teams. And because he sees it as a learning opportunity for herself and I think to find someone who's so open-minded and amazing. It really was a rarity. And that's why I've stayed with her for so long. And yeah, it, it works.

Natasha (00:40:43):

She gets a rockstar metal as well. [inaudible] you understand that? That's so rare. She sounds, ego-less like to be able to go. All I see is I'm, I'm invested in you being the best and whether or not you see X, Y, Z let's get that to happen.

Rebecca (00:41:04):


Natasha (00:41:05):

And how many lessons do you have with her? Normally

Speaker 2 (00:41:08):

Really varies. So to be honest, um, if I have, so I haven't had a lesson on, in her in a while because we're kind of just sticking over, um, with my new boy, Leo, I'm having a little bit more, cause I need a bit more help. Uh, but it may be average out to like once a week maybe. Um, so it, basically, if I have a lesson on the Tuesday and there's like a little bit of unfinished business, we'll slot me in and I'll have another one on the Thursday, but then I might not have any for two weeks because she's giving me something, that's going to take a little time for me to work out. So it's very much as long as I can get in her diary. It's very much as in when I need it, which is already nice basis to have it on, which I know Maybe have to travel to a train or weekly or something.

Natasha (00:41:52):

It's intense. Yeah. What about when you were doing the ponies, um, with like the European championships, was it, and when you were really learning how to do dressage, did you need more lessons or you figured it out between us?

Rebecca (00:42:06):

No, definitely. And I had them weekly, um, because I had to fit round school. So I had both ponies. Um, we were really lucky. I'd get home from school maybe at five 30 and it would be dark. And, um, my dad got some floodlights, which was amazing lifesaving. I'd be handed the first one in with Karen and then swap see at the gate. I did sometimes joke. I could maybe get from one stirrup off onto the other pony, but that's probably the safest thing to do. Um, and then onto the next one, usually my school blouse under my coats and everything. Um, and then, yeah, so I finished up at like seven 30 and then do some homework and stuff. But she, yeah, the fact that she, you know, drove all that way to do evening lessons. Um, I think on a couple of occasions where I wasn't completely comatose, we did them before school. Um, that was really a fitting around mission for both of them.

Natasha (00:42:58):

Huge commitment for both of you. Yeah. Okay. So, um, uh, it says here that you've built quite a big following on social media and TikToK. Do you enjoy the social media or aspects? Sorry, teach me. I'm nearly 40. I don't understand that thing.

Rebecca (00:43:23):

Honestly. No, do I. I like Instagram because I'm like, so Facebook I'm like important information about my horse, you know, steps of my horse, Instagram or like pretty picture of my horse ticked off. I'm like what do you want. Video of my horse dancing. Oh, the ones that tend to go down really well, which always really cheers him up and he thinks he's great. Is there anything that my boyfriend has done with my horse. Oh yeah. Amazing. I mean, he's like, Oh, they really like me. And I'm like, yeah, Nope, it's fine. I do, I love the social media side of it because I have literally come into contact with other riders. I would never have spoken to, you know, like I, I would never be having this conversation with you, which is amazing. And I feel like you can learn so much from other riders is such a great resource, but like every good thing, my goodness does it have its payoffs as well. They are. They are vicious sometimes. Um, I don't even think I've had the half of what some other riders have come up against on it. Um, it's, I think it breeds a lot of jealousy. Um, and I think it gives this like false illusion of anonymity, uh, that makes people say things that they would never say to people's faces. Um, and yeah, especially with dressage, my goodness, like the moment you post a video and your horse comes in inch behind the vertical for one stride. Woo.

Natasha (00:45:00):

And I'd love that you said, you know, um, it's, it's jealousy and I go, it's jealousy on something. That's not real because what's projected is normally the perfect finished product. You don't post on Facebook when you retired your horse because you couldn't get it. Like you didn't do the whole story. Like we don't tend to go, Hey world, I'm having a really shitty day and things are going really bad. Here's a photo of my badness. So we tend to show and you know, I'm not judging that at all. I'm just saying that tends to be the nature of social media. So then it's, it's when people are going through the shit, they're like, there is that anger or that, that emotion that rises up in them because it's that. And so my big mantra is seek to understand, not be understood. And if people can come from that, as you said, okay, the horse went behind the vertical. Well, let's seek to understand that rather than to be understood that that's bad. Oh. And the other thing that really draws me hilarious is that when, um, if someone does a bad thing that equals they're a bad person, or if someone does a good thing there again, and I'm like, no, it's two different things, different things.

Rebecca  (00:46:13):

I always try that. Like you said about like, we don't post about the bad, obviously I don't post like, Oh, today you're in a red vertical in the corner of the school and I nearly got decks. But although maybe that would go down well, because it'd probably be quite funny to watch. Um, but I do try and post the realistic stuff. So I did actually say about Jimmy, um, and said that this, um, this is how it is. And I tried to do more

Natasha (00:46:43):


Rebecca (00:46:44):

Actually. That was one I had solidarity. I was so lucky. I had like a couple of like, Oh, well, you've pushed him to that point. And I'm like, I was like, honestly, anything you can say, I've already said to myself and I've already reconciled. So absolutely like three years of, no, I know that's not the case. I've not, I need to stop replying because I'm so like, Oh, I've got to prove myself to you. And I'm like, Nope, block leave. Don't even go there. That would be actually, that'd be my main piece of advice is just don't even engage because there's such a lock, like a bad person. And I really want to prove myself that I'm not, but I'm like, they're not going to take it so leave. Um, and yeah, the solidarity was amazing. And from riders, I really respect. And that's the main thing. Like, that's so nice when someone who I love the way they ride, I love the way they treat horses, thinks that you treat them was saying, that's like a little gold star, isn't it. And you're like, I'm doing nothing. And how validations while we will do it. And I would really encourage to people as well. Like sometimes I think we do this really passive engagement with social media. We'll be like all our friends posting things, but just occasionally being watching something. And we think, Oh, that's great in the score pass to me. Like it, you know, like comment that and say like, God, I love that station and your horse. And yeah. Like tell them because we're all really easy to jump on it and be like, ah, that's not fair. That's not great. You know, like tell them when it's great. Um, it's nice to hear. And we all

Natasha (00:48:22):

Dream in my perfect world. Like, um, I'm like, what if the world could transform too? We only say things when we want to champion. And when we see things that we go, all we disagree with that rile up an emotion or a feeling or an instinct within us, we just go, Hmm. I probably don't understand that enough. So I'm just going to either private message and ask for help, or I'm going to scroll past. And I go, Oh my God, what would that be like?

Rebecca (00:48:52):

It would be amazing. We have a lot less to talk about on social media, I guess.

Natasha (00:48:58):

Sorry, I'm you have this 12 year old child. That's like, I can win Europeans on my party squiggles that Terry, that doesn't even trot properly. I still have that stupid optimism in terms of the world could be that. And we could be that and all that kind of stuff.

Rebecca (00:49:17):

Yeah. I really don't see any reason, you know, it would only take everyone making a little change. That's amazing. Um, and also I would say like the add on to that, if you don't, you're either don't understand it or if you are, even if you think you really understand that commenting something horrible is not going to change it. So accept that it's beyond your control. You know, if, if it really is, you know, someone's posted something of some horrific abuse, then report it to the relevant authority or something that they comment. Yes.

Natasha (00:49:44):

It still doesn’t need your comment?

Rebecca (00:49:48):

Yeah. It's not going to change it. Um, I love it. If you see something happening that you think, Oh God, that's horrible and I can't change it, then go and spend 10 pounds donating to a charity that works to change it or something like there's so much better things you could do then make a comment. Um, that's snarky and horrible and everything. Because even if you think that all that person deserves it, like you don't know them at all, you've never met them.

Natasha (00:50:12):

Is that kind of culture that the shame or he must pay? Yeah. I just don't get that. Yeah.

Rebecca (00:50:21):

I think hope like there's not too much of it in the horse world, but it, when it comes about it's strong, um, we all need to be aware of it. Yeah.

Natasha (00:50:31):

Awesome. I love it. Um, so, uh, do you set goals, like, did you, as a little 12 year old, have a little list of goals up on your, um, bedroom wall? Do you have goals now or how do you go about achieving? Cause you've done amazing things. Did you always set out to achieve those things or how did it work?

Rebecca (00:50:49):

So when I had the really rigorous structure of like aiming for a Europeans, I did because it was so nice and prescriptive and I say nice and prescriptive. And you might think like, Ooh, but it was because yeah, I was like, okay, that's then. So I'd go, I'd look at my year in December with Karen, with Charlie, my school psychologist, with my parents. Um, and I would go that's then I need to go there and there to get there. I need to go there to get to those places. I having to start working on this to get to that, you know, silly things like, okay, um, horse needs a treatment. It'll have to go there. Horse needs is back doing it'll have to go there like Palm stuff back because your goal will not happen unless you have been doing this stuff from at least six weeks out and getting it all right. To give yourself the best chance to do it. So I've started doing quite a lot of, well, I say quite a lot. It's not that much, cause I'm not doing it full time, but it's really taken off actually. Um, I was so flattered together. I had a full clinic for the first time and I was like, Oh my God, you want to actually be taught by me. Um, but that's the same two people like, even in your training session, like give yourself the best chance for it to go, right? Like if you've set a goal, then go about how can you make this easy? Like it'll never be easy, but as easy as possible to achieve. So if you're about to account to transition, how can you make it as easy as possible to treat you for where you have to make sure your trot’s organized, you want to go to the Europeans to make it as easy as possible to achieve you can't control selection, but you've gotta be at your top level, like in June. So that was really important to me and really drilled into me by Charlie, actually that you only have a few things you can control to really make them on and make them right. Yeah.

Natasha (00:52:33):

And as you're saying that the goal to me, I, the goals and dreams, people go, they shouldn't be interchangeable. And I go Meh tomato, tomato, tomato, that they're both not going to be achieved unless the plan is in place. The magic, not the shiny thing.

Rebecca (00:52:51):

No, no, I, yeah. I think, you know, set that your goals as a little, well, a goal, one goal should be made up of like a hundred little ones. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Especially with horses because you know, the first step to the first step to you getting to your international competition on your freedom horses, hypothetical person might be getting him around the arena tomorrow without getting decked. And that's great Actually, or you might be injured and it might just be like getting back on and getting your confidence back. Yeah. They really the scale all the way back. And when you get to a stage that your goal is I need to get eight and nine extended trot. Pretty much that. So, yeah.

Natasha (00:53:41):

And that's the thing as well. The, the understanding of, I always say we're working on grand Prix, like putting your leg over a three-year-old if we're working on Grand Prix like if the goal is that everything we do, if I walk in for rehab or where it doesn't matter if he can get, cause that motivates me, like, it's like, why am I doing this? If I know why it's cool, but I got to know what this, what do these, like in a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle, what this piece is useful for part of the part of the grass or it's part of the hacks.

Rebecca (00:54:11):

And I also then the bit that I've always found hard is finding things to focus on in those periods that you maybe don't have a goal with a horse. Um, and I've read that they've come about a lot this year. Um, so when the Europeans got moved and realized I couldn't get to them logistically and stuff like that is, Oh my goodness. So I've had six years of aiming for stuff with this horse. Now, what do I aim for when I'm like Bo surely the goal, we all have a goal. Every time we get on a horse, which is to enjoy riding that horse, um, and you know, whatever we're doing with it, actually we, we, without realizing we will set ourselves that goal every time you ride. And that's why when we get off, when we've had a good ride where like buzzing and then we don't have such a good ride, we're a bit flat because we've not attained that little unspoken role of liking, like enjoying your ride. So I think, yeah, while we're all getting a bit, having the rug pulled out from under us and we don't really know what's going to happen competition wise. And that's a nice one as well as maybe set yourself training goals. But also if you're feeling a bit lost and a bit like unanchored by it all, then yeah. Every time you ride, you're actually starting a little goal. Um, yeah. That's to enjoy it, even if you go through.

Natasha (00:55:22):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's funny you bring up the fun piece. So I have a life mission and it's to have as much fun, love, joy and laughter in any possible moment. So it doesn't matter if I'm having, I'm having so much fucking fun right now, currently on working. I don't know. And then when I'm riding a horse, it's, it's, where's the fun, love, joy, excitement, and laughter. And it's actually in huge conflict. I talk about it with my mindset coach all the time, going okay, dressage, discipline, um, absolute ism, perfection, preciseness. And I'm like [inaudible] and I'm pretty much driven by these two parallels of, um, opposition really going well, we gotta find a way we gotta find a way to bring the fun into the discipline.

Rebecca (00:56:20):

That's why I love watching dressage prize givings so much because it's like, I know the control and there's a beers. And then that just bombing out the arena Olympia at a hundred miles an hour, like giving a good bronc or something. And I'm like, Oh yeah, that's what was driving us all really is the desire that drives, you know, your warmblood to go and have a good old buck. Like that's the feeling that you should be getting when you're riding. Is that like, Oh, I just love doing this. So

Natasha (00:56:47):

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I love it. Brilliant. Okay. Um, do you have any advice for young riders, juggling uni writing and work commitments?

Rebecca (00:56:57):

I think you do have to be boring and you really have to meticulously plan, um, and get yourself a written diary. I didn't, I was never the aesthetic diary kind of person. Um, I've got them all up on the side actually here and they keep my old ones. Cause I love to look back at them and be like, Oh, remember like this day, three years ago I was doing this. Um, but you, yeah, I would say get yourself. I mean, don't in fairness you can, but I really struggled with my diary on my phone of writing, writing it. So I put appointments on my phone, but um, yeah. Have it in front of you because that's when you also start to see caches of things. What I call like pinch points, where it's not necessarily impossible, but it's going to be tricky and that's when you then three weeks in advance, phone someone up and go. So I've got this weekend, I've got to do X, Y, Z. Could you cover the yard for me? Um, and then you've

Rebecca (00:57:56):

I've reached that point like majorly at university as well. And I've been on the phone to Karen and she's like, why have you let yourself get to here? And I'm like, Oh, because that's all I could do. And it doesn't matter if it happens and just learn why it happened to be honest about why it happened. Um, it's very easy to get a little bit like, Oh, the world is against me and it's so hard and it is hard. But to be honest that maybe you bit off a little bit more than you could chew and go, okay, let's not do that next time because nobody likes being in tears at the end of the phone to their parents or their trainer. Um, yeah, just you've build that team and, and rely on them when you need them. And as long as you're putting in a hundred percent of what you can put in. So even if you aren't university, there were weeks. I only rode twice in the week and I just literally came home, schooled the horses and they were hacking and lunging everything other than that, because that was a hundred percent of what I could put in under the circumstances I was under. Um, and as long as you're doing that, that's all you can do and be open with other people. But why that, so you can do, because you've got X, Y, Z on, or you're just feeling a bit overwhelmed, you're a bit stressed and need to just Whoa for a minute. Um, people who always do their very best to help you, they can understand your motivations and they understand that you're putting in as much as you can as well.

Rebecca (00:59:16):

Especially in this industry, like they all understand how hard it is and they, they want to help. So let them help. Um, but make sure that you're putting in as much as you can too, because you it's like half that, you know, you get out what you put in and sometimes you don't, sometimes something goes wrong in the calculations and you put in loads and you don't quite get out as much as you were hoping, but you've got to put in loads in the first place to even get the opportunity that you might get out what you were hoping for.

Natasha (00:59:47):

So, yeah, and I always find in those crushingly disappointments, or just the horrible illness of horrible, shitty thing that could have happened when you look back, you're too young. But when you look back, as you get older, you go, God, because of that, she didn't, this thing hadn't happened. I wouldn't have done this, this and this that now 10 years later has led me to this. It, you can see that everything works out for a reason.

Rebecca (01:00:10):

Yeah, no, definitely. Yeah. And I think, yeah, hold on. Sign when you're ended up for it as well. Um, yeah. Yeah. It will work out eventually. Um, and even if it's, it might be, it'd be bit, bit short-term so terrible. Test learn something from it and then going at your personal best or small scale, or it might be really long-term and it might be that, you know, you have, you have a really bad fall of your horse say, which is, I think something that maybe doesn't happen as much in dressage, but it does happen. You hear about horror falls and things, and you're thinking of four years of recovery, et cetera, et cetera. And you look back and you think actually that sent me in a direction that I would never have gone in otherwise. And all that was a horrible way to get there. And goodness, wouldn't it be nice if the universe could have just given me a post-it note.

Natasha (01:00:56):

The last lesson of this really important thing with an ice cream.

Rebecca (01:01:01):

Exactly. Wouldn't that be nice? But yeah, the lesson is that to be, to be hard and, um, you know, it's, it's hard to see it when you're right in the midst of it and you can solve it and you're like, Oh, you wouldn't understand, but it's like, everyone has them as well to different scales. And everyone goes through the same thing differently. So even if you're looking at another rider and you're like, Oh, the worst thing that's ever happened to you is X, Y, Z. That's the worst thing that's ever happened to them. But listen to what you're saying, it is the worst thing that's ever happened to them. And it will have been felt accordingly. So understand that though, you might have battled a little bit harder in your opinion, it's not comparative, um,

Natasha (01:01:41):

Could put their problems in a pile and you came with yours, you would take your, your problem. And you're like,

Rebecca (01:01:47):

No, absolutely. Yeah, definitely.

Natasha (01:01:52):

Awesome. Good stuff too. All right. So, um, you said you've graduated, so you have finished university?

Rebecca (01:02:01):

Yeah. In very sort of non-conventional way

Natasha (01:02:04):

When we were in Oxford, they were doing the, like, they would literally just terrorizing each other with lots of different paints and squidgy things and

Rebecca (01:02:16):

Oh, see, you know, so that's called trashing. Um, and that happens after exams. So I missed that. I know that. Um, so I got it from my first year examinations, but I didn't get it my finals. Cause I took my finals from my childhood bedroom, which is the most bizarre experience. Um, literally like with my cuddly toys watching me like, um, so I missed my final term, which was really good thing. Um, I had a lot that I put off and been like, no, I've got to focus on work and I'll do that in the four weeks after my exams and then poof gone. But I think in the grand scheme of things this year, like that was a very minor sacrifice really. And actually I really feel for the freshers going back now because I think it's the hardest stage to miss. Um, so yeah, so yeah, I didn't get terrorized. I didn't get chucked in the tans. I got on my horse today after I finished my exams and had my stride and stuff. So that was, that was my sanity. I was so lucky to have that too.

Natasha (01:03:13):

And I, you now you mentioned something about law, so are you in a transition state? I don't know what I want to be when I grew up. What should I do?

Rebecca (01:03:18):

So I'm in the transition stage of, I know what I want to be, but why won't you give me a job? Um, so I would like to go into the city and do commercial law. Um, and I've been really fortunate that a lady who has done a similar career path to me, went to Cambridge, uh, has kind of taught me through a little bit how it works her and she's now bought her horse up to Grand PRix. She's still compete. She's juggled it incredibly. And it's so nice to see someone that's made it work.

Natasha (01:03:54):

What a great mentor, yeah,

Rebecca (01:03:56):

Well she's, she's so like she's super busy as well, but like about a year ago I had a phone call with her and she was like, they, that they're like, you know, I'm at the end of the phone. Um, and all though, I probably so, so at some point again, but even like one phone call and someone just giving up an hour of their time, I was like, okay, this is possible. I can do this. Um, it's not totally uncharted territory, but it's, it's tough. And I've submitted lots of them.

Natasha (01:04:22):

Well, at the another five years of study, will it be another five years of study?

Rebecca (01:04:27):

No, thank goodness. I can convert my existing degree. Luckily with a year of study. Well, nine months of study. Um, yeah, so I have a conversion course and then it's like, I've had a law degree and then I do the, uh, solicitor's kind of examination. All law graduates would have to do anyway. Uh, so I've just delayed myself by nine months kind of by doing a degree other than law, which is nice. Yes. Yeah. Well that was the thing. I didn't want to tie myself to it. But then as I was doing the English degree, I was doing these work experience things and I was like, Hmm, yeah, this is my jam. I'm like, I want to do this. Um, so yeah, it's application time now. And I've got two nice rejections, but already, but we keep going and I'll continue on. Got

Rebecca (01:05:23):

Mentioned of them. I've watched, um, American TV. Is it the bar? Everyone talks about the bar. Did you bar? Is that the one?

Rebecca (01:05:31):

So that's barrister’s. So that's the people that sign up in court and do all that really cool stuff. So I want to do the slightly less glam, but like really detail oriented.

Natasha (01:05:42):

Yes. It's not all this prep, for course in. Sorry. I was riding my horse at the internationals and I didn't really review them.

Rebecca (01:05:52):

I'm not sure that would get on too well if I was so, you know, I don't know if there's some important style with some terrible murderer and I got off if I was riding my handle that,

Natasha (01:06:02):

So I'm liking what you're thinking. I'm liking the solicitor stuff. Awesome.

Rebecca (01:06:05):

Yeah. So I'm definitely, I would make commercial solicitor because I see all the things that I've done with horses and I'm like, Hm, that would work that. And, Oh my goodness. So talking to someone and trying to get your point across in a way that they understand and get past problems. And that sounds like speaking to a horse that has no idea what you're going on about. And like, there's lots of things that I really think I could apply in it. And, um, yeah, I just really liked the idea of working with people, but on exciting stuff, big stuff, exciting stuff, like really significant deals and things and making it work. And I feel like all the stuff with horses is making it work. Isn't it, it's trying to make it work to the best of everyone's ability into the best outcome. And hopefully I can write that convincingly enough on a few applications and someone would make a punch, but yeah. So that's where I'm at at the moment. So I'm writing and applying and doing that of teaching and loving it, really enjoying it. Well, good luck.

Natasha (01:07:02):

Yeah. The good names. I'll say it on Facebook. So where can listeners find you on social media?

Rebecca (01:07:10):

Um, so on socials I have Facebook, which is Rebecca Bell, dressage, Instagram, which is Rebecca Bell eight because I have a common surname and somebody already had it. Um, and that takes okays the same. Uh tik-tok I would probably say viewer discretion is goodness knows what I'm supposed to do on it. Haven't done any dancing on it yet. And I probably won't be. Um, but there's usually, it's more like videos of the cute little ponies at home and stuff. So maybe more lighthearted one, if you want the competitions and the results and the training, that's probably Facebook and Instagram.

Natasha (01:07:47):

Yep. I love it. Thank you so much for your time today. Anything you want to add or, or say as a passing thought?

Rebecca (01:07:55):

Um, Oh, well, first of all, thank you so much for having me. Um, and it's always nice to have a, have a Napster and like, and also relive it all and talk through it all. Um, and yeah, sort of don't really have that much helpful things to say to people, but maybe that, you know, that where it's probably one of the most like unique sports and that the range of backgrounds people come from and the range of facilities that they have financially time support, et cetera, et cetera. But we are all doing this for the same reason. And don't forget that when you're on social media and things, and don't forget that when you're at a competition and you're the one having the bad day, because one day you'll be the one having a good day. So yeah,

Natasha (01:08:39):

Perfectly said I love it. Thank you so much. Yeah, you too. Thank you so much for having me.


To stay up to date with the latest content, don't forget to hit subscribe to this podcast. Go on, hit subscribe. I'd love if you would also love to leave us a review to help us how we could do better or make this even more amazing for you. And remember to follow up on Instagram at your riding success and Natasha dot Althoff.

Podcast Episode 34: Emma Weinert | Hard Work & Big Ambitions

In this podcast, we speak with Emma Weinert. Emma is an Australian International Grand Prix rider and trainer working with Steffan and Shannon Peters in the US. We speak with Emma on living overseas, starting her training business, working with Olympians and her future ambitions. To keep up with her journey, you can follow Emma on Instagram @emma_weinert.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00):

Oh, welcome to this Your Riding Success episode with the brilliant Emma Weinert. Emma is the Australian grand Prix dressage rider and trainer based in the U S working with Olympic medalist, Stephen and Shannon Peters. Emma had achieved some impressive career highlights, including United States Dressage Federation, gold and silver medals. As a true animal lover, Emma has an empathetic way of working with her horses and places. Great importance on the enjoyment of their daily work whilst maintaining the highest level of standards as required for the FEI competition arena, whose approach resonates with her pupils in clinics, both in the USA and internationally. I had an amazing time having your chat to Emma to share her story.

Natasha (00:54):

Welcome to the Your Riding success podcast. My name is the Natasha Althoff and I'm a Grand Prix Dressage Rider from Australia, author of three books and a leading online trainer of riders all around the world, wanting to take their riding to the next level. I'm also a shopaholic mother of two amazing children and obsessed with helping riders to be all they can be. Each week, I'm going to be bringing you stories of inspiration, ideas, and strategies of how to make real progress in your writing and give you actionable advice on overcoming riding fear and anxiety so you can take your riding to the next level and be the rider you dream to be. So let's get into today's episode.


Natasha (01:17):

That's cool. All right, let's get started. How did it all begin? How I know where you are, which is this magical, wonderful place, but how did it start and what was the, what's the cliff notes of the boulders or the big goals that got you to where you are today?


Emma (01:34):

Um, from the very beginning or?


Natasha (01:36):

Yeah lots of people are like, they want to know, Oh, she just rode from the age of two years old and it must have been easy to have a pony or how did it all start?


Emma (01:53):

Um, I just was born horse obsessed, like pretty much all of this. I'm not from a horsey family. Um, and yeah, I was just always obsessed with horses and I would, you know, pretend to be a horse riding around like all of that. And so we ended up moving to five acres when I was five. Um, and my parents got me a pony. Um, it was a four year old, just started totally appropriate. I had no idea. My parents had no idea, the poor things, the hard way, not the easy, but I love Dan. I fell off every day and it was, you know, just nothing formal, just like most of us or the kids, you know, with a paddock in the back and the horse and off we go and somehow he survived. Um, and then I used to do like some hacking, like not at a very high level, um, but just, you know, show horses and that sort of, I always was drawn to the prettiness of that kind of thing. Um, and then my horse is that like my pony died, unfortunately had collic and he died. And then my other ones that I had, he got an injury. And then I was kind of out of horses, out of horses like that for awhile. And that was when I was about 14 and then at 17 we moved to the city. Um, and I went to the Royal Easter show and walked through the stables there. I was like, and so I ended up getting like a $2,000, like old thoroughbred at Centennial Park and like plunked around on him when I was 17.


Natasha (03:41):
Can I just say $2000 was a lot of money back then. Like I remember the first time I spent, I think it was $4000 and I couldn’t believe horses were horses courses, this much money.

Emma 03:56):

I know. Yeah, no vet check, like check, like the whole, the whole thing. But I was getting, um, like my first real dressage horse, which was a full year old warmblood, um, from Northern warmblood stud and I had him in Centennial park and that was also a bit of an adventure. Um, and then sort of started getting more into it, more serious, doing it at Centennial park. Then I would start riding a little bit for people and working a little bit like that. Um, and then I thought, I wonder if I could do this, you know, like as a career I was like, you know, makeup artist just sort of getting into that sort of area. And I just didn't like it. Um, so I was like, you know, I'd rather walk horses for $5 an hour and do that. So I really started from the bottom. I did obviously my parents helped me get horses and stuff like that. So, um, they helped me a lot. Um, and then, you know, skipping forward a lot, you know, had a string of horses, just always young ones though, never trained on the bottom, which I still do now. And, um, that's something that I'm really passionate about, um, and, and really believe in. Um, and so we got my friend and I napped Fox in, we decided that if we're in the stable going, you know, watching YouTube videos at Stephen Peters, and we really got a lot out of watching his videos, I just, it really made sense. And we're like, I wonder if he would do clinic, you know, I think I was 23 or 24.I think there's 24. I love it. She was, she was in her twenties.


Natasha (05:46):

I love it when you're in your twenties, you're like, why not? Let's just call him.


Emma (05:54):

Oh, there's no way he's ever going to come out here. You know? And so she emailed him and she's like he said yes. So I still remember that, like at midnight she texts me saying he said yes, and I was like, and then it was like how are we going to pay for Steffan Peters to come out. Well, we need to do a master class, of course. And we need to, so then we did this whole big thing at SIEC and sold a thousand tickets to this whole thing. Um, anyway, um, I rode with him for the week before, and that was kind of it. Yeah. It was a hard time for me actually, because I never planned to leave Australia and I never wanted to leave Australia ever. And I was like, I'm just going to get as good as I can get here. And that's my choice. That's what I was going to do. And then he came out and I was like, the, it was just, it just clicked with me and it made so much sense and it was so beautiful that riding style. Very much the horse was light-sensitive. And I was like, this completely makes sense to me. And I sort of had this whole big thing of, you know, either quit. I'm either going to quit.

Natasha (07:03):

And that’s how strong it was. I have to do this. Now I know how good you can do it, I have to do it like that or I'm not going to do it at all.

Emma (07:15):

So that was, weird time.


Natasha (07:18):

Um, absolutely. It's huge. And, and it's not just, okay, this is what's right for my riding. I know I should do this. You said you don't leave. You probably had friends and family and everything going on.


Emma (07:37):

Like, I still am homesick. I don’t regret what I did and I love it, but yeah. And I feel, you know, that I'm always feeling pulled back home. Um, but yeah, it's, but I'm, I feel like this is home as well. Well, so, um, yeah, so anyway, I took that four-year old that I had, that was Ben, I think, 12 and he was, you know, schooling all the Grand Prix, um, and brought him over and, uh, ended up getting a couple of other horses, um, and that, which was Velvet and Sidan who I still have now. Um, yeah. And then I was only going to come for a year or two, and I'm still here. It'll be 12 years next year.


Natasha (08:28):

And was it just, obviously you couldn't just go, I'm going to go live there for the rest of my life. So was that just a softener for your brain to go it's just a year. Anyone can do a year and then honestly, the mental game where I'm like, I'll just tell myself, honestly, you know, because I learned so much in a week, I'm like, Oh, I'll totally be totally sorted. And then I'll have not stupid optimism. It's like, Oh yeah, totally nailing it.

Emma (09:03):

But that's the awesome thing about this sport is that you never, you never stop learning and you always feel like there's always light bulb moments, which is such an awesome thing. Yeah. And it's a great environment to be around like all of those riders and it's like, I'm, uh, Stephen and Shannon's barn is about 75 horses and a bunch of Grand Prix riders. So it's, it's not just my experience that I get, we get experience.

Emma (09:37):

Yeah, totally. It's like, Oh, I've got this weird issue. You know, I had a weight issue like that. So yeah, it's hard. It's hard to leave that, that all,


Natasha (09:45):

It sounds like the most amazing environment. And I'm very much, you are the sum of your environment. And if you do want to go somewhere, you've never been before you have to be around the people that can lift you up and say, Hey, don't go that way. That's a really bad way. Like if you surround yourself with a lot of bad, like not even necessarily,


Natasha (10:18):

So if it's, if it's a non-conducive environment for you down. Absolutely. So that's kind of awesome. So what does life look like? You said you've got that horse that you brought over and two others that you still have. So they were all young. I think that's really cool for everyone listening, going, Oh my God, do I need $10 million dollars and buy all these ready-made Grand Prix horses, you can do it. So talk a little bit more about what that journey looks like, buying a young one and getting it all the way.

Emma (10:52):

Well, it's up and down for sure. But I really think, um, you know, it's not the fastest way. Maybe like the ideal scenario I think, is for riders to bring on their own horses and maybe be able to get on other horses that have experienced, but not necessarily buy those because I actually find, like I find it much more difficult riding other people's work, you know, like their training and mine because we make it our own and every rider has their own style, you know, and it's a little bit, you know, it can be the same general style, but we all have our own little style and our way, you know, so you can really make the horses how you like them to be. Um, and I think it's, you know, I really think that it's much more rewarding when you can compete and show your own work and your own training. Um, but yeah, like it's, it's tough. They're young, it's it's feels like it goes so slowly until they get to about six and then it's sort of, you know, really takes off do the same thing every day, which you pretty much are like laying the foundation and then, and then it starts to take off. And sometimes it's like really up and down and other times it's sort of more, more gradual, but, um, yeah, every horse is different. So I think it's a different journey for every horse then, um, yeah working on your weaknesses, um, I think you could, you know, when you do multiple horses, you start to find a pattern with your weaknesses and then you start to like, you know, right. I need to get those sorted out and it's fun. Yeah. It's really fun.

Natasha (12:39):

So what does a normal day look like for you? How does, how does it go?


Emma (12:50):

Um, generally speaking, so I start teaching at 6:30 AM, which is far too early, so I start at 6:30 AM and I pretty much go like back to back horses. I have, um, you know, I'm probably riding 50, 50 riding teaching. Um, so yeah, they're just staggered throughout the day back to back until, um, depending on how many right now I've got nine, I think, or soon to be nine. Um, so yeah, back-to-back um, until I'm done pretty much roughly eight to nine rides and eight to nine, nine lessons a day. No, no, nine horses under me riding some I'm training, like teaching, like, so, um, and then clinics, I go to clinic, like I teach clinics at the moment every second weekend. Um, yeah. And competing the other weekend, or how often do you.


Like last month was that, um, show, clinic, show clinic. And then I think next month is going to be the same, but for six weeks, but yeah, so that gets mentally, mentally challenging, not so much physically, but mentally challenging. Cause you just sort of like the competition's a little bit draining and then the clinics are draining as well, but you know, I totally love it, but it's yeah, it's busy, which is great. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So, um, and do you, are you having lessons yourself on any of those days? Yeah, I, now I was in full training for years. One horse a day, so I'd have, you know, five lessons a week and I would, um, now I'm, you know, one lesson a week, maybe two, but in between that the Peters are always helping me, you know, like, you know, do this, do that. Yeah. So it's not such a formal lesson, but I have a formal once a week with someone who might eat the whole time. So yeah. Like I, you know, two would be ideal, it's just hard to fit in, fit in with so much you're trying to fit in.

Natasha (15:04):

Absolutely. Okay. What are your current competition horses and like your goals with them is, are we thinking 20, 21, 2024? Do you have any goals?


Emma (15:36):

Like I I'm, I'm sort of being a little bit of a funny spot right now with that. Um, you know, I was really gunning for it with velvet my LA my Grand Prix that I had my Grand Prix mare. Um, and I really, you know, had, you know, the high hopes for her and she got close. Um, she had, you know, every time we started, you know, selects came over to watch, then something would happen. Like it was just unlucky. Um, and I had to, I had decided to retire her once she got to think she was 16, she'd done five years of grand Prix and international grand Prix, which is a lot. Um, and she wouldn't have been able to go for another two. I don't think so. I decided to retire her while she was happy and healthy. I didn't want to push it. Um, but for me that was really difficult, um, doing that. It was like a difficult process and I kind of had to put myself in a different spot mentally. Like I don't have that as a goal now, you know, um, if I got close, I would do it for sure, but I have to not, I put so much into that. It was hard just being honest.

Natasha (16:39):

I really appreciate it.


Emma (16:42):

Um, yeah, it was, it was a challenging thing. So I just, you know, I love training and I want to compete at the highest level, but I'm not like I have to go to the Olympics or I'm never, you know, that's not like my driving force every day anymore representing my country. So I have The Dunn, who is, he was the four year old that I got when I first moved over here. Um, and he's been chronically unsound. He has terrible feet issues. Like he's just silly things. Um, so, and, you know, he was not the easiest horse to me. Um, he, I never thought he would be Grand Prix horse that, you know, I loved him and like, he, he wouldn't be, I wouldn't be out of selling. I can't sell him. He is what he is. And anyway, we kept going and sure enough, like here we are, he went, made it to the Grand Prix and then, you know, that was amazing. And we kept him sound. Um, and so I'm just doing that with him for, because you know, it's all good experience. Um, I think I'm going to, if he can do it, do the CDIs next month, which is kind of like a crazy thought too, that he's not like a team horse type. Yeah. Yeah. And he's a great horse, but he's not something that I'm like, okay, I'm going to go for that because he's not reliable to be honest. And then I have, um, I've got a six, seven year old mare that I ride the Nova Equestrian, which is a Swedish, um, brand, I guess he would say that they have sales horses. Um, and so they're very nicely allowed me the chance to develop this mare for the long term. Um, so I'm going to take her out for her first start this weekend.

Emma (18:29):

Actually. I love her. So, and I'm looking for a young horse. I haven't been able to find something that really, yeah. I really want to buy, I guess yet all the time I do need to get a youngster. Um, so if anyone knows where I'm at, so I'm kind of in like a funny transitional phase right now, but, um, yeah. That's sort of where I'm at. I absolutely need more coming through, but I need more, you know, I would like more coming through. Um, but yeah, it's just, it's been so hard with COVID and the whole, like I was looking last year and then, you know, COVID here. Yeah. It's been kind of difficult.

Natasha (19:20):

Can you guys leave America right now?

Emma (19:24):

No, well, no, not particularly. I can't go to Australia.

Natasha (19:31):

No, no, I can't. I can't leave five kilometers past my house. I have a five-kilometer radius.

Emma (19:35):

Where are you in Victoria? you can go if you quarantine, it changes all the time, but generally speaking, not, yeah.

Natasha (20:08):

Yeah. Okay. So you've been invited by a question in Australia to join the Australian team at international events in Europe and the US in normal pre cOVID times. How much do you travel to different competitions? Like, do you, do you plan your on the West Coast? Aren't you, do you go to Florida and do it? Isn't there, this insane thing in Florida? Have you ever been?


Natasha (20:37):

I haven't competed. I had, I took Velvet last year. Um, she was doing, I gave her and, you know, let her be with a friend that’s a para rider too. She was trying to go to Tokyo. Um, and that's all sort of being put on the back burner too. So I've gone to Florida, but I haven't competed in Florida. And I would like to, it's just, it's tough to go there. Like when you have a business, it's tough to leave for that long. And I haven't needed to yet, you know, I did before I always did for Australia. And I was like, I'd have to go to Europe rather than Florida, because we need to do European shows. Right. So I let that guide me, but we usually have plenty of CDIs here. Um, which is good. You know, we have a CDI season which starts January and it goes through til April or May, May I think. And they kind of D you know, back to back so we can, you know, we don't have to travel that much, which is lucky, obviously the next level. But yeah, if I had a bunch of really competitive horses, it would make sense for me to go. And, but not, not right now.


Natasha (21:54):

Okay. So, um, with everything in your horses, I always ask this question, cause I think most people look up to these amazing riders and go, Oh, well, they must've, it always works out for them and I'm always seeing the wins. And I'm always saying the great stuff. So before we get to the great stuff, what is like one of your real big lows where you and I, I don't know if I can keep going, or what's the point, or why am I doing this? Why am I just going round in circles? Like I said, my whole life.


Emma (22:25):

one of the big, like the big lows was with Velvet she ended up getting injured, um, you know, trying to go to the world games. And then the two Australian judges were over. And that was kind of like the first thing that I had to present her in front of. And that was the worst test that I've ever had in my life. Um, and so that was a really big, low for sure. Um, she got an injury there. Um, so that was, yeah, that was really disappointing. And, and retiring her was really hard too. She was, she was, you know, very sound horse, but she had tiny little blips at really bad times. Um, but that was for sure, low and hard to get over. And then I that's when I sort of decided, like, I changed my goal rather than cause I was like, every day is like going, you know, you know, I was so hungry for it. And I had, I had to stop that because it was taking the joy out of my riding with so much pressure. And I was like, like every day, um, everything that I did. So I, yeah, that was a big blow for me to transition. And then, um, that, that would be the biggest one for sure.


Natasha (23:45):

Absolutely. And it's something, I talked to my mindset coach around a lot because I have all these different goals and all these different areas. I'm Chinese, I'm a shiny stage. And we have to get to this point where I have to love that I'm going after the goal. But like, let's say if I was at the  Olympics and the night before the Olympics, if I woke up and went, I don't feel like riding tomorrow, but that could be okay. And he's gone when you get to that point in all your areas, then you are okay because you're not doing it to prove that you're not doing it because you spent all this time or because you spent all this money or because people would say things about you, he's gone when you can dissociate from all of that and just freaking rock on and do what gives you joy in that moment and tomorrow. And I'm like, that's what I want to get to. And so I'm just obsessed with finding joy. Like I'm freaking joyful talking to you right now. If I in a week and go, Oh, those podcasts, I can't keep doing them, but I think it's, I don’t have to keep doing them. I know we've totally gone on a tangent, but you know, people do, they do these things where they go, I don't use that. Don't freaking swear at me. Like where, where in my house it's like, we don't have to do it. Like, so we like have to like follow some laws, but besides that, we don't have to anything.


Emma (25:10):

No, I know. And because we put ourselves in this like mental prison almost of like, duh, I need to do this. I need to do that. It's like, actually you don't and I'm still happy doing what I do. Um, yeah. And then it's funny how that affects you because you actually end up better when that much then when you select squeeze the soap too hard and it flies off, you know, really challenging. And I worked at a sports psychologist too, cause I struggled with it for sure.Yeah. It helps me a lot, but it's still, it's not like, Oh, now I'm all great. It is absolutely up and down and some weeks easy. And you're like, yeah, this is so awesome. And then the next time you like, Oh, this is hard, but that's life that's any career. Any job.


Natasha (26:01):

Yep, yep, yep. Yeah. That is lost. And I think people go, no, no, no. I got a written guarantee that my life going to be easy. It's like, no worry,


Natasha (26:12):

rather than going, this is how my day is going to go and it's going to be great. And this, that, and the other, then you have expectation, which you can be let down by, you know, whereas if you just sort of go, okay, let's just see what happens, have a plan, but be very flexible plan.


Natasha (26:27):

It is that rigidity, not rigidity. Um, but that I'm holding two opposing thoughts of, I have to set goals and I have to create plans and I have to have direction, but I'm also totally dissociated from the outcome.

Emma (26:48):

Right. Right. And is there any wiggle room within that? Not that it just yet the whole Applecart, which is hard to do when you like us. Yeah. Cause you yeah. Driven and motivated. Hey, if it goes a little bit like this. Yeah.


Natasha (26:48):

Awesome. So then let's go to, what's your biggest high? What is your proudest moment? It might be a competition moment. It might be something you remember in the arena the first time I know for me, it's like the first time I understood how to ride without pulling on my hands. Like I had my hand and the influx of counter and I went, I don't even know how this is happening, but what is it?


Emma (27:20):

I think I've got a few of them. There's lots of really awesome moments like that. That obviously the biggest one was, um, with velvet when, um, we, we won the Grand Prix Special at one of the big CDIs here and yeah. And so that was like a massive moment for me. Um, hearing the answer I'm in a different country and yeah, it was. Yeah. Cause I never, like once you get up into the international Grand Prix, you kind of like go, I'm not going to win anymore. You know, on the way up you can win. But once in the Stephen is in there all the time, I got really well, but you have to be okay with that. It's not, you're not doing it. Um, and that's just, they, they push you anyway. We had a good, a good ride and a lucky day. And so that was like a blubbering mess. Yeah. It was really good. But honestly like also just recently getting Zidane to the Grnad Prix. I never like, yeah, that was a huge, that was probably equally as big because he was so challenging on every level and that's like, yeah, I'm, I'm really proud that we got each other there. I think that's, it's not giving up. I think that is the biggest thing. Um, not giving up and just, you can do so much more than what you think if you just are stubborn about that and you just keep chipping away. But also, you know, being next to second to Stephen is that was a huge moment for me as well. Um, you know, not ever thinking that, um, you know, like they say work so hard till your idols become your rivals type of thing. We had a little banter of, he's like, you know, if you beat me, you got to buy me dinner. And it's just like, that was kind of surreal moment to me as well. Um, trying to like getting close to doing that when I look up to him so much. So that there's lots of little, like, even when you just explain something to a baby horse and they get it, it's like, that's still such a massive high for me every day.

Natasha (29:32):

So yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, and they have to be little hive otherwise, how could you keep going? There has to be something that gives it meaning and gives it for. So you run your own business over there. How does that work? How, how do you like for people that are going, maybe I just want to go to another country and start a business. How, what do you do and how does it work?

Emma (29:58):

Well, I came over just, you know, right. Like being an adjister at the Peter's place, basically had my own horses and I didn't have a business. Like I was, you know, came in the worst person, basically at the whole stable and then learn bit by bit. And then the Peters asked me, they have, you know, obviously a big barn. Um, and they asked me a couple of years ago if I wanted to be a trainer there. Yeah. So they, uh, they asked me and I obviously said yes. Um, and then bit by bit, then I just started to grow my business. I had, I had a business at another stable cause I, you know, there was a, it was already too many trainers that are like, it's called a Royo Delmar, stable. Um, so it wasn't really, you know, room for anyone else type of thing. So I had a business somewhere else for a while. Um, but then I was gone so much with that. I had that kind of moment going, Oh, why am I here? Like, why am I even here? I might as well stay back home in Australia rather than doing this whole, like I'm never at around them. So I stopped it and um, went back over and then anyway. Yeah. So I didn't sort of come over going, yeah, that's what I'm going to do. It just sort of happened, um, in an organic way. Um, yeah. And yeah, I love it. I it's so cool to be able to travel around the country. Like last weekend I went to a place I've never been a state that I've never been before in the Midwest and like, you know, go around helping and being able to travel and see the country. It's really fun.

Natasha (31:49):

Very, very cool. Do you think that's your future for the rest of your life? Or do you have a plan for Australia at some point?


Emma (31:58):

I want to come home. Yeah. I want to come for sure. So I I'm doing this for now, but I absolutely will return to Australia for sure. Which part of Australia are you from? Sydney? Oh yeah. So that's where you'd want some home to yeah. Yeah. We have a place at home and all of that, but yeah, not yet, but at some point. Yeah, I love it.

Natasha (32:34):

Okay. So, um, what we talked about a little bit with all the little micro wins, but um, why are you a horse trainer? What does that give you?

Emma (32:46):

Oh, that's a big question. I've haven’t been asked that before. I, I just love the animal, you know, I think like all of this, I do it for the horses more than the sport. Um, I love that I can combine the sport with it and then also have a career out of it. But I like, I'm a huge animal lover in everyday life with everything. Um, so the fact that I can combine, you know, a career with animals, like originally I wanted to be a Vet and this and that, like, you know, a lot of us really, but, um, yeah. I just think the sport is so beautiful and it never loses. Like I never lose that, you know, the goosebumps and all that sort of stuff. When you see really be like it's art when it's a change in the highest manner. So yeah. That I want to do that. It's like, Oh, and it's such an awesome feeling, um, when you get it.So yeah, that, um, I'm always hungry for that feeling like it's a, it's an addiction really. Like you want that high and you chasing that all the time. It's yeah, I think it's beautiful and the partnership, but yeah, the horses always, and that's, you know, I base my training a lot around that to not, not to drive for my own goals so much, but to work with the horses, to achieve my goal in their time, you know, pushing beyond what they can do for me.

Natasha (34:03):

 Very cool. And you've mentioned that you mentioned it that at the start, when you first met Stephen, like this art themes coming up for you, are you very artistic? Are you a painter at all?

Emma (34:14):

My mom can that I can, but I played instruments and entities, a similar thing. Like I always, when I teach, liken it to like playing piano when you've got, you know, if you think about the right hand too much, the left hand doesn't do any kind of go into this in-between zone and not overthink and feel. Um, no, I wouldn't say I was very artsy, but I think the music helps me a lot in that, because it is quite similar to that. You almost, you playing an instrument, but the instrument is a horse.

Natasha (34:47):

Yeah. And so was it piano or did you play lots of different ones.

Emma (34:51):

Piano, flute, guitar, a little bit, a little bit of that piano was the main, yeah, the main thing

Natasha (34:03):

And do you find riding easy, like as you talked about riding is feel react. It's not feel, think, react that's too slow. Um, and I feel that's why some people are really good at it. Um, I don't have that in my body. I'm very analytical. I'm like, let me analyze that and think about the process and the systems that would work in accordance with that. Not, not for riding, but, um, yeah. Do you feel that you've got that as a characteristic that makes you very good at what you do?

Emma (35:39):

I didn't know. I would say no. I would say I wasn't a natural rider or a rider with particularly, you know, excellent feel or anything like that. You know, I think that's what makes people like Stephen so good. They just feel so correct. So timing is good, but I didn't learn it and I have developed it more. Um, and I think riding a lot of horses gives you that as well. So now I don't now I don't think about it so much. It is like that instant reaction, but that took years and using music I didn't have. Yeah. I love that.

Natasha (36:25):

The other thing I noticed in a lot of top riders is they have this perfectionistic streak. Um, uh, they're just, you know, obsessive over the little details, whereas I'm, I'm very much as darling she'll be right. Just put her out in the paddock. Um, do you think that, especially in you and then also modeling Stephen, is that a characteristic you see in the top, top, top?

Emma (36:51):

Absolutely. A hundred percent.You're killing me. I didn't have, yeah, yeah. To the point, remind me jelly. That's right. It's something I see. Yeah, me because Ozzie's like, we're casual and I love that, but it doesn't not be both, but he'll even sort his money every night so it's all facing the right direction. Like he told me that once and I was like, are you in the bottom of my purse? And I, I had to become more like that. And that rubbed off on me a lot. Not that I don't sort my money at all. And I want to, I don't want to become, you know, anal about everything. That's the only way you mentioned to detail to detail of the little things is vital. Absolutely vital.

Natasha (38:00):

And that's where I sit there and talk to my coach going, do I, cause I have to force myself almost to become something that I'm not in that arena. Be like, okay. Yeah, yeah. If my, if my saddle is not perfect or if the saddle blanket isn't sitting exactly what I'm going to sit there and change it because that's not who I am instinctually and it's, it is really interesting to go. Can you, can you get there without having that? And the more I do these talks and the more I analyze it, More I go I don’t think so.

Emma (38:32):

There’s varying degrees of it, but honestly it's the discipline and this is what they say all the time. Like discipline is the bridge between and goals. And I hated it too. I was like, you know, I don't, I don't want to be uptight one of those uptight people and I want to have fun and this and that, but I still do it. I'm like that. Like with the like definitely everything, I have a routine with everything and everything has to be when it comes to. Yeah. It has to be like that because I feel like I can feel everything differently because then it stores you on visually the attention to that. But I'm not like that in any other area of your life, it's not like that's become a different person. You do need to bring that personality to the riding if you want to perform at that level. Yeah. Because that is the diff difference between the seven, which is yeah, you can do it.

Natasha (39:39):

I love it. Alright. So do we have any advice for riders that are looking to, um, uh, like basically it's making a commitment to your riding above all else. That's why you did the move. Um, so for riders that are considering that, do you have any advice for them about moving or committing to your riding in general? Let’s say both cause they're both pretty full on things.


Emma (40:07):

The biggest piece of advice that I would say to riders that want to get better is investing in education. That would be thing, especially in Australia that I see now that I've gone sort of like, you know, just sort of had the one lesson a week and we're in our own class and that's kind of it. Um, but then we'll buy all the fancy gear and be decked out and all that. So that everything's matching. So then if you look at the amount of money that you spend on outfits, you'd be better off to buy one saddlepad, , one set of whatever, you know, whatever. And then like even still it's, you know, I'm like, okay, yeah, no, that's totally what I should do. And then I have a lesson and you know, Stepen’s saying, why don't you try that? And like, yeah. And you'll accelerate so much more than if you look the part that would be my biggest piece of advice, invest as much as he can into your education.Um, I don't think, you know, moving away isn't true and I don't want to encourage everyone to do that. I felt like I had to do that. Um, but I don't think it's necessary at all. Um, but, and now the awesome thing now with Ozzy's is that they, we have these virtual lessons now, so yeah, it has utilize it, you know, don't be shy to contact. Like what we did is think like, Oh, I can't train Stefan Peters and you know, whoever to ask how many people that you can have access to that that would change your riding. So sit in your little bubble, like, you know, reach out to people and you'll be surprised how much, you know, I know Lyndal Oatley, she's really good with that too. Like helping everyone. So yeah, really, you don't have to make, but you've got to be proactive about your education. And if you feel like you don't have a good fit, that would be the other thing, find a coach who brings out the best in you. And that isn't necessarily the person that's winning everything and the shows are winning. They're good coaches. Yeah, exactly. And even if you're like, well, I want to train with them and you feel like you, you know, you start riding with them. It doesn't feel like a good fit, find someone else because it has to be the right person for you and the way you learn and also how, what that brings out in you. You know, if you have someone that's really tough and you're naturally very, um, timid, not up tight, but like sort of concerned and worried and people pleasing. And then you have someone that's really, that can totally squash your riding so unique that you can relax with and then grow. It would also be a massive one.Um, it doesn't always need to be the popular person, but the person that you can develop yourself with in your education the most, yeah.

Natasha (43:03):

So many golden nuggets in there. That's awesome. Beautiful. Do you have any sponsors we need to mention?

Emma (43:11):

Um, I have my Aussie sponsor high form. They've been with me for a long time. Um, Custom Saddlery in the U S and Samshield, um, tug Klatt Hobbins grain. I don't really need to mention that, but yeah, I really appreciate them and it's very helpful to have them on board.

Natasha (43:36):

We will put them in the show notes. That's excellent. And if people want to find out more about you, where can they find you?

Emma (43:43):

They can find me everywhere. Really. I have my website,, um, Facebook, uh, Emma Winert Dressage and Instagram. And yeah. And if anyone wants any help, like don't be shy to message me and ask questions. Like I love helping people. And you know, I wish that I had that a little bit more when I was back there. So I love being able to give that to people. So yeah. If anyone just wants to reach out, that's absolutely no problem do not be shy.

Natasha (44:13):

I love it. You are absolutely extraordinary. I've had the best time chatting to you. Thank you so much for being so honest and vulnerable and sharing. You've given so much help already just in that conversation and thank you so much for telling people it's okay to call you. You're a real human and you weren't,


Emma (43:29):

What's really funny is that so many people like, do you know Tash, from Your Riding Success over here, I have to tell you that because you'd be like, what you, yeah. You guys are so popular over here. So Yamaha, I talked to her. Yeah. So, and that's so good that you guys are doing that because you help a lot of people.


To stay up to date with the latest content. Don't forget to hit subscribe to this podcast. Go on, hit subscribe. I'd love if you would also love to leave us a review to help us how we could do better or make this even more amazing for you. And remember to follow us on Instagram at Your Riding Success and Natasha dot Altoff.

Podcast Episode 33: Maria Caetano | Breaking Records with Lusitano Power

In this podcast, we speak with Portugal International Grand Prix rider, Maria Caetano. Representing Portugal, she has competed at two World Equestrian Games and at six European Dressage Championships. Maria and her stallion Coroado wrote history for the Lusitano breed by becoming the first pair ever to crack the magical 80% barrier in a Kur to Music at the 2018 CDI-W Mechelen.⁠ We speak with Maria about shifting to dressage, cultural heritage with Lusitano breed, international experience, and future goals. ⁠To keep up with her journey, you can follow Maria on Instagram @mariamcaetano

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00):

Welcome to The Your Riding Success Podcast. My name is Natasha Althoff and I'm a Grand Prix Dressage Rider from Australia, author of three books and a leading online trainer of riders all around the world, wanting to take their riding to the next level. I'm also a shopaholic, mother of two amazing children and fixed with helping riders be all they can be each week. I'm going to bring in new stories of inspiration, ideas, and strategies of how to make real progress in your riding and give you actionable advice on overcoming riding fear and anxiety, so you can take a riding to the next level and be the rider you dream to be. So let's get into today's episode.

Natasha (0:36):

I'm so excited to talk to you. You are one of my heroes. I just, I'm sorry. I don't know if you know anything about me. I'm, I'm obsessed with black friesians, but I'm quite impartial to white ones as well. So let's, let's get started. When did you start getting into horses? Were you part of a horsey family? How did it all start?

Maria (0:57):

Yeah, well, actually, since I was born, I was in contact with the horses. Uh, so in my family, we, we breed horses. We also have a big farm with cattle. So I started riding in the farm since I was three, I think.  And, um, well I love to ride in the farm to help people to put the cattle together and everything things we do in the farm. And then, uh, I started competing in working equitation. Uh, I don't know if you know the, the, yeah, so we're actually competing in working equitation and almost at the same time, I started also with dressage around my 12, 13 years old. Then I started competing and, um, then more seriously, I started as young rider doing, um, international championships, uh, um, in 2005, I did my first European championships as a young rider.

Natasha (2:04):

And that was dressage? What made you do the shift from working equitation to just dressage?


Maria (2:13):

Uh, then I w I had the goal to, to reach higher stages. And of course then in working equitation, we have already world championships and so on, but that dream about Olympics and World Equestrian Games, Then I decided to follow only the dressage since 2005. I've been always in the team for Portugal Young Rider then rather be lucky to have a horse in every year that could help me to be in the team, uh, in big championships, like Europeans, World Equestrian Games. So since then too nowadays, I I've been always in the Portuguese team representing my country and with Lusitano mainly. So it's a big way too easy. So we're going unpack this well it's um, it was curious because in the beginning I was studying, I studied business, um, in school. Yes. And actually I was teaching in also in the, in the university and at the same time I was riding for, for a long time. I keep, I kept my both careers. Um, and then, uh, around 2008, I think I decided, uh, well, 2010, it, I decided to quit my business job and yeah. And, um, and to be a professional in the dressage world. Um, yeah,


Natasha (3:56):

So let's let, let me try and reverse engineer this, um, because you're just saying, wow, I ride horses and then I want to go to the peace of you wanted Olympics, world, world championships. You wanted the, the lights. Did you believe you could, was there anything around you that was like, who do you think you are? And of course you can't do that. And not on a Lucitano.

Maria (04:20):

No, actually I went, when was doing the, the working equitation, uh, I used to travel to, with my team, with the Portuguese team of working equitation to make some shows like Equitana, and also in, uh, in some, in some championships in Germany. And I saw the big stages and the peak riders and I wanted to be there. I never had it in my mind that was really, really possible, but I knew that I would like to work for it and to, and to give my best for it. And then also in my, all my holidays, I traveled to Germany since I was 14. I used to travel to Germany to make clinics and like to work as a working student and assistance rider to improve my skills. But my, my main focus was always to, to be better on my, on my technique. And then I had the also lucky to have good horses around me. Also, my parents helped me a lot in the beginning, uh, finding the right horses for me to start like a schoolmaster older, the steps were clearly done. And well, then I also had some horses from my breeding and altogether.

Natasha (05:44):

It's awesome. Okay. So, um, was it, It was always going to be a Lucitano. I like, I love this. Um, you, you breed them, your family bred them. Um, was, do you, do you look at a horse and do you go and assess it by its breed? Or is it just, it happens to be that, or if it happens to be whatever you just, it's the horse that's in front of you, you don't really see.

Maria (06:06):

Yeah, actually that's the truth. I like the horse and the horse that helps me to reach my goals, but when I can do it with a Lucitano, it gives me a special, a special pleasure of course, because it's the horse for my country and it's also amazing to ride them because they give it all for us. It's a kind of breed that sometimes you see the Warmbloods. In the past some good ones. And also now, but when, when you have that feeling inside of the arena, that of course a Warmblood can trot like flying and they have, they are strong, stronger than those Lucitano. And, but then those Lucitano, sometimes you see, it's not so strong, but they give all he has with, with the heart, you know, and the emotions, he, those eternal gifts, not only for us, but also to the public, to the audience. It's really amazing.

Natasha (07:01):

Aw. I love it. Yeah. So you really do feel that that breed does, want to perform and, and gives you just that little bit more than what you've experienced in the moment.

Maria (07:14):

Definitely. Yeah. Yeah. I love it.

Natasha (07:16):

Oh, that just makes me feel so cool. Very cool. So how did It feel I want to go to this moment when you bro. I like just even saying it gives me goosebumps and I was not there. I was not part of it, but you cracked with an 80% in a Kur to music at the 2018 CDI with a Lucitano. Did you think it was possible? Did you go in there going, come on we've we've got the 80. What was the thinking behind that moment at the time, at the moment?

Maria (07:45):

No, no. Well, I knew that one Lucitano, one day. I didn't know if it was with me or not. You'll read that score. I was sure about it. Um, and even more in the, in the future, I really believe on it, but I didn't know that it was at that moment or even that year or that season. So it was the horse was in a really good shape at the time. And we were competing very often because we were doing the world cup season, trying to qualify for the world cup, finals, and Coroado was in a really good condition. We were competing very often. What gives us better, better feeling every competition, but actually in that day, from the Grand Prix, to the freestyle, he had not a good night, he was not feeling well, was not eating. So I spent with my groom and with my vet, we spend all the nights with the horse and we really spent hours at with the horse, but at the end it was nothing serious. But anyway, I got into the arena for the Kur for the freestyle. And I was like, very careful, let me ride every step and feel how he, how he feels. And I was so focused in every exercise and in every feeling the horse was giving to me that at the end, I knew that I had done a very correct and very good performance with when I heard the 80%. I could not believe, but because I was so thinking only about the feeling and how he's feeling in the health and in the body, the older the audience was clapping. And I said, man, it was really good. Of course, when I saw the score, it was amazing.

Natasha (09:47):

Did you cry? Yeah.

Maria (9:48):

Yeah. Sure. I cry easily to good things.


Natasha (9:59):

Yeah. Yeah. That's amazing. So, um, that happened, what did that do? Cause it seems like you had that unshakeable belief, that a Lucitano will do this. Whether or not it's, whether it's a horse, we'll do that. So what is now your belief around what the horse and maybe even you and the horse can do. I'd love to know?


Maria (10:19):

I think we can, I think we can reach higher and higher stages. And also now after that, I break my, my personal best again, I broke my best and my best again, in the same, in the same competition. One year later in the world cup, we did the 80.9, almost 81%.

Maria (12:20):

And then, and also in the Rotterdam that the Portuguese team who could get the Olympic qualification with higher scores than the year before. So I think we are rising step by step. Not only me, also the other Lucitano’s in the team, the other Portugese riders. The breeders are doing a great job breeding. And the, also that the riders are believing more and more in the horses in those Lucitano breeds. So I think we have a very small scale in what concerns, the number of mares and what breeding mares and the number of horses in general. But we see the results comparing with the scale of the, the, the sports horses or warmbloods. Yes, it's really amazing. So I believe, of course not in a big number of horses in the high sport, but I believe that in some years we can have some horses, not only one or two but, some horses, the big places in world championships.

Natasha (11:52):

Yeah. That's huge. So how do you, how do you, I'm just trying to reverse engineer. You get to where you're at. So did you have coaches that didn't believe in your horse, in you, in the combination? How did, how did you get through that?


Maria (12:09):

Well, we, we, we always try to have, um, the coaches that believed on Lucitano and that's, uh, mainly not only about the breeding, but about the, the classical equitation. Uh, I always had, uh, the, the, the pleasure to ride with great teachers. We were raised coaches in the way we like to ride for the classical principles with the respect for the horse since the beginning. So I rode with a long time with Lisa Wilcox. Yeah. The American rider when she was based in the, in Germany, spend there the summertime riding with her when I was like 16. And then, and now I have the Ton de Ridder, it's a very known coach as well. And I'm with, with him together with my father, because my father had been always my coach since the beginning. Oh, wow. So we work together every day. And then now I also have Ton de Ridder that comes often to help us. So they always believed in Lucitano, they always believed in the Portuguese, um, uh, riders and the parts of these principles of equitation. So we, we, we, what we needed in Portugal was some, uh, inputs for the sports and to, to like to 15 years ago, we had already great riders, but now we can see the, the, the result of this work of being more involved in the, in what is the sport, not only the classical reputation. And I think the combination of the sports equitation and the classical can really give good results in, uh, in a country like ours.

Natasha 14:00):

Yeah, absolutely. So would you say that the riding you do now? Cause I love that it seems to come from a really solid foundation. Do you find riding dressage?

Maria 14:12):

Not at all.

Natasha (14:14):

I mean, it's not good how good you get, it's still not getting easy, but talk to me about what, what you think about riding dressage.

Maria (14:24):

I used to say, I used to say every Grand Prix test I do. I find, I find it even more difficult to be really perfect and to be really perfect every 0.2, to get one more point in one exercise, it's mainly the Grand Prix. You have no time to prepare anything. So it's really where you can see if your basis of equitation, if your base of feeling the horse, a have a, have a good relationship with the horse, everything counts to get like a half percent more, if really your principles, like if all you have it or you cannot perform a proper Grand Prix, you know? So it's what I find is that every single, single detail counts to get better performance.

Natasha (15:22):

And so when you say every detail, do you mean not just in the riding, I've been speaking to a lot of top riders and they talk about the care at home and how the horse is looked after. If, if it's getting iced, if it's booked for feet, feet, legs, get iced. If they go out in the paddock, what they’re eating, what the farrier is doing.

Maria (15:40):

This all the small, the smallest detail you think it will give you something, uh, inside the ring. Uh, also I like a lot to build a strong relationship with the horse, the bonding between the horse and the rider. It's really important with me in Colorado. I think that's one of the main points that gives us, uh, the, the, our, our success, our results, because I really spent, spent my life with the horse since he was five years old, he's with me. So like we can struggling. I always travel with a horse in the in the lorry. Um, of course I have my groom, but, uh, every hour, every, every time that he needs something I'm there. And I see I'm sure that when he's not feeling so well in some, in some cases I can look at him and like, I know what's happening. Wow. These bonding, these relation, the relationship inside the ring really, uh, is really, really important.

Natasha (16:49):

That's huge. And I feel, I'm a little bit biased. I'm like you get that relationship a little bit more with a Lucitano, don't you like, I feel that bonding or that feeling of, oh, like sometimes the horse can give, can, can give that to you. And I feel that that breed is, it's just, I don't know, a bit more sensitive, but we're a bit more in shift that I don't know.

Maria (17:17):

That's really true because that's thing that happens because that breed was created to help the riders in the war in the beginning. Of course. So they, they, they were created to, in selected mainly the breed to have these, um, relationship, these, uh, feeling between the horse and the rider. It's like the rider thinks, and the horse thinks the same. And or if, if it's a critical moment, even when it's there, because those exams are little hot in the, in the, in the way of, of the stallions, sometimes a Coroado in the warm ups, he's really naughty because he's a stallion and he likes to show that he's a stallion. How can I manage it inside the ring. And then he gets in and he says, Oh, now we will do our job. And like, leave it open for you.

Natasha (18:12):

I love it. Oh, that's so cool. Okay. So, um, you were based in Germany before COVID hit, um, tell us a little bit, I mean, obviously you were gearing up for a big games. Tell us how you’ve managed this whole, I mean, everyone's life has turned upside down for an athlete. I mean, for the Olympics, I mean, that's a, that's a huge thing. So share with us how that has gone.



Maria (18:38):

in the beginning, just to explain how I moved to Germany. Um, I was based in Portugal and I used to drive to Germany every summer to prepare the big championships. Like in May. I used to travel there to compete in Aarchen and in the big competitions around Germany, uh, and then prepare the, the like Europeans or all the World Equestrian Games that happened always in August, September. Yeah. And two years ago, I decided to stay in Germany because I wanted to do the world cup finals in the winter there. And I will have the opportunity to work in a Hope Castleman, stables. Uh, so I wanted to ride more and learn more. Of course, of course the warmblood horses experience also had some warmbloods already, but there, you can really feel these kinds of horses and ride with younger horses and all kinds of horses. It was very valuable experience for me. Well, I stayed, I didn't think about staying two years in a row in Germany before, but then I said, okay, I stay now one more winter. And then again, so at the end I found a very nice stable there to, to have my horses. And before the COVID situation, I was there with the 11 horses, but then I found that the big competitions, the big CDI is five stars and four stars were not happening. Maybe I come back home and in Portugal, we could, we had the conditions to keep competing in CDIs, three stars and national competitions, and also with the family again. So I moved back to Portugal and now I'm waiting to see what's what's going on.

Natasha 4020:12):

It's actually, it's it's do you struggle with that with the uncertainty of, is there an Olympics in 21, is there big force five-star competitions in 2021? What about doing.

Maria (22:25):

It's difficult? And also it's very important for foreign athletes to, to make, um, uh, management of, uh, the plan, the planning of the season, both some CDIs, and then depending on the horse I have right now, three horses in Grand Prix. So I like to make the, the, the, the schedule for them to go with one, two gets ridden at which one, of course, very clear in my mind, then I will speak together with my coaches to, to decide that, and now we'll add anything because we decide to go to one place and the two days later it's canceled and then it's like these, and then you cannot travel. Or so I just wait and see and make short term decisions. Then we can keep the horses, uh, working and in a good shape in good condition and wait to see.

Natasha 4621:21):

Oh, I love it. Okay. So talk to me about, um, you said you've got three grand Prix horses. Are they all Lucitano’s?

Maria (23:31):

Uh, no. I have the, the two main ones. I was, it's not as it's called a while ago. Of course, that now I gave him a break holidays because of all the situation he doesn't compete very often now, just, uh, getting, having the chance to make some like physiotherapy and some treatments. So he's just enjoying it. And then I have Fenix that's he now it's a younger Lucitano. It's 10 years old and it's rather grew others rather. And also from the same sponsor, the same owner, and he's already competing the grand Prix scoring around 70%. So it's my second option. And I want to focus now in on Fenix and the two, some CDIs give him experience to have. It's also, it's always good to have a second option if something happened. And, and the, the, the third one, it's a interesting, uh, horse it's across bred, between Lucitano and warmbloods. Son of a Bretton woods. So his son of a Dutch horse and the mother who is Lucitano and half wamblood. So he's three quarters warmblood and one quarter Lucitano.


Natasha (23:18):

And did you breed him?


Maria (23:20):

No, I bought him as a five years old. That's the only horse I own all the others are owned by some sponsors. And that's when I bought him as five years old. I would like to try these, uh, this cross between Lucitano and warmblood and he's doing great. He's only eight years old in it's already competing in Grand Prix pretty well.

Natasha (23:44):

Yeah. Okay. And is it, do you, have you found, cause obviously there's amazing things about warmbloods, there's amazing things about Lucitano, you're trying to put just all the good bits of both. And what have you found? Is there, is there any bad or like, what is he more like, does he throw to one or the other?


Maria (24:02):

No. In this case, uh, these horses got the good things from both sides. I was like, he totally looks like a warmblood athletic and tall horse and and really strong and really big movements. But then when you ask, when you ask the, the collection, the Piaffe Passage, like sinks that he's Lucitano that he well he's, but he goes to that, well, then he can do very good. The collection works like pirouttes, passafg, piaffe.. So I think in this case, I was lucky to put together both faults. I find it very interesting to do this is crossing. I think it can have a future for the breeders. I also have some more horses like him younger, and we can have a good result at the end.

Natasha 25:01):

That's amazing. I love it. All right. So what does a normal day look like for you? How many horses are you? What goes on.

Maria (25:10):

On? Well, right now I have, will be too much. No, not too much, but I have a 14 horses in my organization now, and that I ride, I used to ride mine 10 a day. I have a girl working with me and also my father helps me riding some, some horses every day. So we kind of share, uh, the horses. So I start riding at 8:30 to give time for the grooms to prepare everything. And I try to ride the most part of the horses during the morning, mainly on summer because of summer in Portugal. Very hot. Well, on summer I start earlier. Oh, I've got you. It's all good. Yeah. All good on summer. I have to start earlier in the morning because we can, in Portugal, we can have like 38 degrees, almost 40 degrees.

Natasha (26:12):

You’ve got an indoor I'm assuming to keep the sun out at least?.

Maria (26:16):

Yes. We have an indoor and outdoor arena, but I always, I like to write outdoor better. I really like it. Um, so like when I was in Germany, it’s the opposite, you have to ride really cold. So yeah.

Natasha (26:37):

And then do you do teaching in the afternoon or what, after all the horses are done, what do you do?

Maria (28:18):

Uh, well then, uh, when I finished my job with the horses, I like to go to a little bit to the gym and, or jogging outside and it's good, but I live in a farm. I love to jog around the farm. Yeah. So that's my day. And then the day off for the horses, we used to give them two days off in the weekend, but, or they are walked on hand or they go to the park or we, we, we love to go hacking with the horses. I find, I find it really, really important to go in the field with them, clear the mind to make muscles walking for like one hour or something like that. I think it's really important at the end that the horses have different things to do during the week. Not only dressage.

Natasha (27:34):

So what does a normal week look like, is it two days in the arena, one day outside hack or what does the week look like?

Maria (27:38):

I do from Monday to Friday, I'm training in arena, but not the same every day. I like to do one day to fall. For example, in the Grand Prix horse, I like to focus one day, mainly the canter exercises. Then the next day more of passage,piaffe, then one day only stretching and give some plastics. So during the week I do mainly working outside then in the, can I go outside with them in the paddock, then outside cantering in the field, all this.

Natasha (28:17):

And, um, you mentioned that you're riding stallions, are they breeding stallions as well? Do you have to incorporate that into their routine?

Maria (28:25):

Some of them, yes. Yes. Mainly Feniz. Now my, the, my second Grand Prix horse, he's a really good breeding stallion. And also one very interesting horse. I am riding it's a six years old named Jasmeen booze. So that horse will be, I think he will be a great grand Prix horse in the future. And we are planning now to go with him to the world championships for young horses. Yes. The six years old class. And he's already breathing a lot in Portugal that readers are really interested in the, in this, in this horse and are using him a lot. So we have to, to coordinate the, the, the breathing UTS.

Natasha (29:08):

And do you do that or someone comes in and does the whole, um, like, is it chilled semen or is it livecover or I wouldn't be live cover.

Maria (29:17):

No, no, no. It's, it's semen frozen semen or also the fresh semen, but so planned in this case that the owner of these horses dressage plus, and they have all the facilities to do these, to do this breeding the collection of the Semens. So in the breeding season, I move the horse, moves to them from my stable to dressage stable. And they do the collection during I think, two months or something like that, working the horse. But of course, during these two months, uh, the horse is only focused on breathing and then he comes back to, right.

Natasha (29:55):

So you really separate you're a dressage horse now you to be a breeding horse now and come back. Okay. And does that help the stallions understand their job?

Maria (30:04):

Yeah. I have things with trainings, we do, we do the opposite. We working and we collect, I said depends on the horse, but in both cases they don't change the mind when it's to work. They work when it's to go breeding they love that too.

Natasha (30:25):

I love it. Awesome. Okay. So, um, you mentioned that you go for runs. Do you also hit the gym too? Do weights? Wait, I'm sure, like, everyone's curious

Maria (30:40):

No, no, no. I just run some stretching exercises, but no weights, because I think that's, uh, for the body of the rider, it's important that you have the, some strengths of course, but that you have, I'm not a skinny body, but I don't like to see when you are really that strong with muscles, riding a horse, you know, because I think it kind of blocks in my case. I don't know. I understand that in my, when I tried it, of course, sometimes in the gym and then I feel that my body is blocked when I'm riding too much muscles in the, mainly in the arms or in the shoulders. I prefer when my body's like a tree. So I only run two more. I think it's more to do something different than the only the riding for, for the body.

Natasha (31:35):

Yeah. And does it help your brain?

Maria (31:40):

I wanted to say also to clear a little bit my brain. When you have the possibility to do it outside and in the field. I like to go and look at the cattle, so it’s kind of like a therapy for the body and mind.


Natasha (31:59):

Cause it’s also like meditation. Do you actually meditate as well or is that probably how you would meditate by going for a run?


Maria (32:11):

I think that's, that's actually now I'm, I'm curious to see because many riders have like mental coaches and this kind of therapies and helps from, from professionals. I never used it before, but I'm sure it's a, it's a good, a good thing to do, to do before competitions and so on. I have some colleagues that use it and actually I'm curious too, to see how it works. Yeah.

Natasha (32:43):

What I think is great though, is like, as you said, like at that test it's, to me, it's, it's about having no past and no future it's about being in that moment. And as you described that test where you did so well with you are right in that zone, baby. You're right. When you need it to be.

Maria (33:00):

It me it's really likely if anything happens that sometimes if it didn't go so well, and usually my tests when I'm not focusing the, in, in every movement of the horse and I'm thinking of something else or in the results or bad in the training, it's never a good idea. It never goes, well, the good result and really a good test, it's when I'm totally focused in what I'm doing. Yeah. And when it happens usually then, yeah.

Natasha 33:32):

Well, awesome. All right. So we've done all this chatting about how you've, you've just amazing and it's all been amazing. Please share with everyone listening of something that didn't go so well, because I know lots of people listen to these podcasts or watch the top riders and they go, well, yeah. They just have it all perfect. And it always works. It's great for me. Why like, is there something that you want to share? Did you come last one time? Did it something really bad? And so it's okay. Like, did you ever get


Maria 0434:40):

In the sports you have no chance to be always in the top. That's why it's so, so good also for the education for children and because what is the life? Um, it really shows you what is the life? Yeah. So yeah, of course I had many bad moments when I remember it's it was a sad moment. More than the competition. I had a very good Lucitano with us was only nine years old. And we were qualified for the world equestrian games in Kentucky in 2010. And he passed away five days before the flights to the States. you'd thing here, the like I'm a skin allergy. And he had to give antibiotics to that. The skin goes better to fly. Then it was a long flight and then he was scratching or so on. And he made an anaphylactic shock, like an alergy reaction to the antibiotics. So in like five minutes in my hand, see the way. So it was a really hard, it was really hard for me. I know the team and it was a horse breed at home.

Natasha (35:22):

Yeah. And that's the thing is these things can happen. And we all know what it's like when you lose a pet. So you lose it. Yeah. Your pet, you've got this bond and you're losing your sporting plans

Maria (35:44):

And at the time I remember it was my, my first, uh, world equestrian games. And I remember that like some weeks before I was so excited that I used to tell everyone, I want to put this horse in a protection. I don't want that last thing happens. And I was always calling the room. How is he feeling out? And now after that, I used to say, okay, I have to take care of the horses. Of course the best I know to do everything. But I only think about the championship, a big goal. I only talk about it when I, when it's done. It's like I say, I'm going to the Olympics. No, I don't say that. Just say I've been in Olympics only after that. And I think about this because otherwise it's really, you have to, you have to focus in the, in the daily work and not dream about, of course you can dream about fixings, but not put so much of you into it. Things like this can happen because we are athletes. We, uh, as a person, we are an athlete. Something happened, happen us and also something to the horse, because that's why our sport is so difficult because you have to count on two human. Well, not human beings, but to

Natasha (37:09):

Yes. But that's like, if you have a rowing partner or a beach volleyball partner, at least you can communicate with words, Hey, look, after yourself, the horse has no idea. Um, so it is the hardest, I think when it comes to partnerships. Yeah. But what a great lesson, as you've said, it it's, it's, I think that the most horrible things and the most saddening things, and at the time I can't even comprehend what that loss would have felt like, but what a gift that's given to you from now on too keep you, in that moment.

Maria (37:41):

I really saw it. And I really to keep like this and the motivation I had at the time of seven years old horse was already doing the, all the grand prix movements. So it will be eight years old, the night that the in January, he could compete grand Prix. So I told him, he competed with me, I think four Europeans and one will be person games. So I told him, now you have to give it in, in January, February the year he was there, competing Grand Prix . And in as eight years old, he did his first European championships in Rotterdam them. So it gives me, it gave me strengths to keep working and to do my job even with more.

Natasha (38:40):

That is awesome. Okay. So who are the people in your system and how do they help you? How does it all work?

Maria (40:20):

Yeah, I told them read before. That's my, daddy's always with me. He’s my coach, my mental coach, my friend. Then he really leaves my career together with me. He goes to every competition. So we really have a great relationship since the beginning of my, or my sports career. Of course, then I have my thunder reader, my, my, my coach from, from Holland and my groom, my assistant rider. And she's also my groom, a very nice girl from Portugal already for some well, not for a long time ago for some months, but she's really, really nice. As I told you, I like to travel with the horses in the lorry. So you really spend hours together. Yeah. And we, we, we lived, we had together this situation in, in Germany with the Covid, we were stuck there for some, like, I think four months without competitions. We love to go into, on with her. We 12 horses in the arena every day. So it's it. And of course the, the, the, the farriers is the blacksmith and the vets are very important. We do. Uh, we do. I think the team, the team of, uh, around the horse is all round one horse to, to get to the highest level. It's really important every week. Again, it's important. So to have a strong and solid team, it's, it's a really, uh, seeing, I try to find every day. Yeah, that's huge.

Natasha (40:36):

Awesome. Okay. And do you have any other hobbies? What do you do on your days off for, is there anything else that you seek out

Maria (40:45):

I liked, I liked to hike alot to, to, to go out for dinner with friends. Yeah. So I like to cook and to receive people at home to invite people, home dinners with friends at home as well. So mainly we seem to all, to go out with my boyfriend to, to travel like small, always small holidays because horses cannot stop. So we try to go like, when, when I, when my, my assistant rider can stay with all the horses during the weekend, I like to go to travel for one week and the round also in Spain or Portugal to, to make my, my brain a little bit free of all the emotions that horses give you every day. And of course the jogging makes part of the hobbies. I don't see it like a bad thing. I like to do it. So, yeah.

Natasha (41:37):

And does your partner do anything with horses or what does he do?

Maria (41:42):

No. No, not at all. He also runs some farms, family farms, uh, and he has some business in the, in the electric industry. Like the, the, I don't know the, but how have you can spell it in English? Like the, the, the sun, solar energy, solar energy. Yeah. Cool. With horses. It's good that you can talk about differences. Yeah.

Natasha (42:13):

Very cool. All right. So do you want to share what your goals are for the next 10 years? Or do you want to keep it quiet? We'll just talk about, like, we don't need to talk about what you want to do. If you just want to talk about what you have done. I totally get it.


Maria (42:30):

No, no, no. I like to, I like to, as I told you, I like to focus in my daily work and I like to keep improving my skills to be everyday better on my technique, on my riding, on my relationship with the horses and it, in 10 years, I'm doing the same I'm doing right now. I'm happy because to be in the team every year, too, to be able to have a grand Prix horse continuously in the, in the sport, since he able to ride CDI,  Five Stars, world cups for me, that's already really big. So we have the chance to, to maintain my level because for a, for an athlete, that's difficult to keep going in the same level because sometimes you have up and downs. So if in 10 years I'm doing the same I'm doing right now. I'm happy. Of course, if I can do better and have better qualifications and to go to the Olympics next year, and then to the Olympics of Paris, that's great, but I don't think to much about it.

Speaker 3 (43:39):

That's amazing. Awesome. Alright. Do you have any sponsors that you want to mention?

Maria (45:21):

Well, um, about sport, I also call sponsors though, my horse owners, and I really mentioned them really important for my career and they are mainly men. Most of them are with me since the beginning of my career. Uh, so (inaudible name) is he now is the owner of Coronado and the Fenix. Yes. I used to say they are my angels because they are with me for everything. And they trust in our team since the beginning and supported my career. And they trust in my decisions. They are always there for, for me and without them, of course, without Coroado, I think nothing would be the same. And now I have, uh, also, uh, who you'll be (inaudible name) have some, had one horse, very important with me before then it was sold to Brazil. And now we have three horses together. Also a Blueberry Farm is from the States. They are with me for only for half a year. But I really believe in the future relationship. Also a sponsor from Columbia, Harold Foxconn, that has some horses with me as well. So it's great to have a good people around you. It's the main thing. Yeah. to, to be successful in the sport, without the right people and mainly good people. I always try to find my partners and my team, my sponsors from people with good values and really love the sports and the horses. It's the main thing, because then the business, of course, you have to put it together at the end, but, but if you really believe when you're sending your rider in your team at the end, you will have a good result.

Natasha (45:45):

That's awesome.

Maria (45:48):

Then I work with some brands, dressage tack. I ride in Bates Saddles. Yes. Yes. Australian brand. It seems already a five or six years. They are my sponsors. I really, really liked it. I told them if one day, for some reason I cannot, I cannot have your sponsorship. I will buy all the sadles.

Natasha (46:23):

Do you have a favorite saddle? Cause I think they’ve brought out a new one recently. How's that?

Maria (46:28):

I just got it. It's amazing. Yeah. I used to ride in the Inova Mano plus. Yes. The new one is it's called Artist and that's like the same, but with some improvements would be, I will replace all myself as for the new one.

Natasha (46:43):

Yeah. And, um, cause obviously the Lucitano, has a bit of a different back, so you'd find it's good for those kinds of breeds?

Maria (46:50):

Right. Yeah. That's why I found it. So, so good for, for me or for my horses, because you can hear that the settle to each horse. Great. So in the Lucitano used to use to be a skinny horses when they are young, like six years old, they are skinny and with the small bag. So it's difficult to settle and suddenly when they get muscles, they go like round back. So you settle through all the years to change horses with these saddles, you have the opportunity to change and to adapt them to the new horse. So it's also a valuable scene. And of course, then I have some sponsors for gloves, Coco and also the, the, the protection boots from Sandonna, it's an Italian brand. I have TRM from Ireland's for the vitamins supplements, the nutritional supplements. Well I have, I'm lucky I have a Portuguese brand with me that is Regal Way too, for the clothes, the riding clothes. So I'm lucky, good brands around me as well.

Natasha 48:09):

Yeah. Well, I always think, you know, like attracts, like, and you're always saying extraordinary human being and everyone just wants to be around and all extraordinary people coming together.


Natasha 48:25):

Great. And where can listeners find you? Are you on, um, I'm assuming Instagram and Facebook. Are you on tik tik yet?

Maria (48:31):

Yet? No, it's not my thing tik tok. Well, I find it funny when I see some videos from tik tok, but I don't know if I can do it. No, I have Instagram. It's my main, um, social media. It's uh, I've seen my name is if you put Maria Caetano you go to my page, but uh, I see my name in Instagram. It's Maria M hi, it's Ann altogether.

Natasha (49:03):

Well, definitely that will be in the show notes. So if you want to find the spelling and find Maria or on Instagram, you can definitely do that and follow all your amazing horses. And I'm so excited that we know there's some really good ones coming up too. I mean, they're all good, but really cool ones that are young that are gonna come through

Maria (49:21):

Yeah. Saying, well, I have young horses coming, so it's really important for a career of an athletes. We have this, all the ages of horses coming through. Uh, so absolutely.

Natasha (49:36):

And do you have any advice for young riders or any riders that are like I want to, I want to be her. I want to do that. What, What do you think is the secret to your success?

Maria (49:49):

That's really, really important to focus on the daily work. Not don't struggle thinking about your next goal to be in a big competition or in a team or whatever. I think if you focus really on your work and mainly on the relationship between the rider and the horse to understand what, what your horse needs, what you can do for, for the horse, what you can improve in your, in your seat or in your EDS, or if we focus everyday these small details, then you will reach the, for sure you reach the goal, you have it.

Natasha (50:32):

I love it. And do you think. How important is education in that?

Natasha (50:37):

So if they're working alone, do you suggest, I mean, it sounds like, yeah, You had amazing people around you and you also went to Germany and went more, you had amazing people around you and you also went to Germany and went more, more, I want to learn more now.


Maria (50:50):

Of course you have to, to try to learn more every day, even when you are in already in a good position of, uh, of the sports of, with good results, you have to try to learn more and more and to see a better riders. That's another reason why I moved to Germany also to be together with the best riders in the world. Because also if you see them everyday, it's easier that you try to be like them and then you can be like them. So to learn from every single loop, get many videos and try to be better every day. So you will, you will be one of one of the best. So I think I really believe on it and to believe when you are a horse, that's what I wanted to mention before you believe on the horse that you have, because sometimes we struggle saying no, uh, I'm riding well, but my horse, it's not enough because I have no money to buy a better horse or something. If you believe in your horse, of course, the horses to have the basic conditions. And sometimes also to try to force one horse that it's not a super athlete to be a super athlete. It's also not a good thing, but if you have a good horse with you, with the basic conditions, you can believe in these horses.


Natasha (52:17):

That's it, everybody. She is amazing. And that was a perfect place to end. Cause that is so perfectly said. Thank you so much for sharing your time with us and for sharing all those amazing golden nuggets. I deeply appreciate it.


Maria (52:32):

Thank you very much. This was a big pleasure to be with you.


 To stay up to date with the latest content. Don't forget to hit subscribe to this podcast, leave us a review and follow us on Instagram at your @Your Riding Success and @Natsha.althoff.

Podcast Episode 32: Q&A | Get to know Tash ft Phil

In this podcast, Phil interviews Tash in a highly requested Q&A episode. Find out what horses are at the Riding Success Institute, what a typical day looks like, talking achievements, future plans and much more!

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:01):

In today's podcast, we thought we would do something different. I've have a guest. Say hello.

Phil (00:05):

Hello? Maybe I'm guest mystery. Um, I'm Phil.

Natasha (00:13):

And who is the Phil?

Phil (00:14):

Okay. Behind the scenes. They've been playing a little bit of a role in the YouTube videos.

Natasha (00:20):

Yeah. But those of you that don't know, Phil is my beautiful, amazing stunning husband. And, uh, we've had some questions come in and Phil thought it would be funny if he could ask me some questions.

Phil (00:31):

Maybe put you in the hot seat. If we can call that.

Natasha (00:34):

I like a hot seat. I like a heated seat.

Phil (00:37):

Well, you do. You got the heater on probably now, but you don't. Um, but we thought we would ask you the questions and you can sit back. So these are some questions that were sent through from some listeners. Yes. So we thought we'd ask you and just kind of get to get to know a bit more about Tash that's it. So let's get into it. Okay. So they would like to know, firstly, what horses do you currently own? What do you have,

Natasha (01:02):

Did we want to, do I answer that in the presence of my husband? Well, we actually have still four Friesian mares that, um, we love, we love going to go see the black ones go. It's nothing better than going into a paddock and seeing four beautiful black horses. And we have, uh, two Friesian stallions still. Yes. Well three actually. we have, um, one who's 20, uh, so he doesn't breed anymore. And, um, ABA.

Phil (01:34):

Who took you to, well, you guys went to grand Prix.

Natasha (01:37):

Aba was the first Friesian in Australasia to go to Grand Prix. He, um, I trained him all the way from prelim to Grand Prix and had so much fun with him. And then he works here at the Institute, helping beginners. yeah me. Yeah, that's it. So then we also have Ollie. Ollie is I think he's about seven. Would he be about seven or eight? Um, and he's nearly about to go Prix St George and he's a purebred Friesian stallion, very different to Aba, um, uh, has the same kind of attitude, but uh, definitely has a bit better talent than Aba, but Aba made up for it with his beautiful heart. And then I have a younger Friesian. Who's very, very exciting called Q. We called him Q uh, so that's the Friesian side of it. And then what do we have on the warmblood side of it?

Natasha (02:28):

Well, we still have Gretchen gorgeous Gretchen, who I bought a couple of years, like a lot of years ago now. And she is confirmed Small Tour. She's working on all the Grand Prix work and she's in England. She was meant to be my international horse to compete. And there was a bit of wandering around with, okay, where am I going over to Europe to do that? And then COVID hit. And now I definitely am not going over to Europe to do that. So Gretchen actually is for sale. We need to, because it looks like we won't be able to get over there until 2022. And that's a bit too long. So that's Gretchen's plan. Uh, and what other horses do we have here? The next horse I'm riding is not a horse I own, but a horse that, um, does lessons at the Institute. I've kind of fallen in love. His name's Benito and he is knocking on the door, of small tour. He can definitely get through a Prix St George test We could get through it. Um, so I'm working with him and absolutely loving that. And, um, Jive is my new Grand Prix horse. So he arrives at the end of October. And, um, we're really thrilled to start working with him because he's what scares me though is hes is Chestnut. I have a Chestnut horse.

Phil (03:47):

I'm a bit like I'm Gretchen.

Natasha (03:50):

Yeah, no, she's a Bay. So, and Benito is a Bay, so I don't own a black warmblood.

Phil (03:58):

And what's your goal like? So you've got Benito. Um, are you planning to compete him at a competition at the aim?

Natasha (04:05):

Yes, if the virus like Australia is trying to do some, some feeding of the virus kind of stuff. So there's the, the word on the street is mid-November, there's a competition. And I would like to take Bonito in the Prix St George and I would like to take a Jive into the Grand Prix. That would be the plan. So my goals for them is just to get them both to Grand Prix . Well, job's already there. And just to that, that's my new foray into a 70% world in Grand Prix.

Phil (04:34):

I was going to say, is that, is that your big goal to crack a 70% in the grand Prix?

Natasha (04:41):

Yeah. So my personal best Grand Prix score is wait for it. 62 and a half percent. It's huge. Let me give you 64 and a half. I think I did get that in the Kur. Does that count? It's gotta, can't, it's a problem. So, um, and that was the same in small tour. So I had only ever really scored a 61 62 and small tour, and then Wessel came along and I cracked a 70 with Wessel. So, um, these warmbloods help you crack that 70 barrier. So now we want to do the same thing in Grand Prix. So that's the goal. Bring it on.

Phil (05:14):

That is exciting. Okay. And that would ever, I would love to know what, what does a day in your life look like as an equestrian? How does it,

Natasha (05:22):

Well, I wouldn't say I'm an, an equestrian. Um, I despise labels as you know, and I am never not, I am never just one thing, am I?

Phil (05:33):

Yeah. You have many things, Tash.

Natasha (05:35):

Beautifully multifaceted. So my day looks like I wake up, I see my gorgeous kids and get them ready for school and then come down and ride some horses and then come down, um, and normally go live or do something to serve our amazing community or I'll record a podcast, or I record a YouTube video or something. I record a program.

Phil (05:58):

You brushed very quickly. I ride some horses in the morning, but is that, is that you generally like to ride like three, four horses? So let's say that you like to ride to your Friesian, Oli, Bonito and soon to be Jive. So probably say three rides is generally like what you'd like to do in the morning. And then sometimes, um, throughout that week, um, working with your new, um, our project kind of thing, we'll do one more.

Natasha (06:23):

My favorite horses, we didn't, I didn't mention that. I currently own them, I guess I do own them.

Phil (06:27):

Yes, but that's, and it's over kind of re-training those. So you kind of have three, sometimes four rides.

Natasha (06:34):

Yeah, potentially five. Um, yes, but, uh, I have changed when I was 20 all I wanted to do was ride 10 horses a day. Um, I got up to riding seven a day and I think I even competed, um, for the most I've ever competed is four horses in eight dressage tests in a day. That was fun. Um, but I'm not, I'm actually, that's not my goals anymore. I've changed and that's okay. Um, and, um, I'd prefer to ride less horses and spend more time doing other things, stuff in the office. And, um, I do gym, don't laugh. I do do gym, not at the intensity that you do, but I do do gym. And it's really important that we spend time with our kids. So we try to be there. Um, you know, there's no work, there's no nothing going on once school's finished so we can spend time with them. Yeah. That's my day, roughly. Otherwise go on YouTube. Didn't you do a whole day in the life of Tash.

Phil (07:28):

I did. Yes. Yes. There is. There is quite a bit of time spent in the office and, and you're trying to get the message out and help as many equestrian riders in the world as you can. What was it like your aim with this like fear? And for example, you want to help, I think, is it 1 million riders who have been impacted by fear in some way, overcome their fear and get back that love of riding?

Natasha (07:50):

Absolutely. It is not okay if someone's scared to do something they love. It is my mission on the planet to help anyone that has that cause it's not a nice feeling.

Phil (07:59):

Yeah. I think we've touched on this a little bit in the, in the previous questions, when you were talking about England and stuff at a COVID-19, how's it impacted your everyday life, I guess it's, I guess one could say it certainly impacted what you had planned for 20. You had to, you had a lot of plans for 2020 overseas, and I think he's hitting the international, adding to it or circuit. I don't want you to call it for the first time. Do you want to share a little bit?

Natasha (08:25):

Well, yes. So I don't think it's really impacted my everyday life, like my day to day life, but it's certainly impacted, um, the overall year and the goals and the plans. So yes, I was meant to be, um, you and I were going to with the kids move to England for four months. And in those four months we were going to travel to, there was international competitions in England where I wasn't going to go to France and Germany, um, with Jive, the grand Prix horse, and with Gretchen the present Grand Prix horse, that was the plan didn't happen like that. Uh, so what a great gift, what a great thing to learn, um, to, to, you know, make other goals and make other plans and change the goalposts. Cause you only control what you can control. Uh, so yeah. How has it impacted our everyday life, uh, to day to day life? I'm just sad that we don't get to go to our favorite burger shop once a week. Cause we can't leave our home. We, um, I run a five kilometer. It's not mine, but yes, no day to day. It's not too bad because we're very, very lucky that we live on a hundred acres. And so when we're confined to our house, it's okay, our horses are here, everything's here, our pet’s are here. Um, but yeah, we don't see anyone. We don't see family and we don't see friends, which is sad.

Phil (09:44):

No, no, it'll be gone. Maybe say maybe a year or so. We'll say, um, what has been your biggest achievement in your riding career so far?

Natasha (09:56):

Huh? Um, so I guess you'd probably say the biggest achievement would have to be your highest score in grand Prix. But personally, when I think of my favorite memory, I think of the first rug that Arbor won me in like novice, we won like novice champion and I was like, woo, I'm a champion. And I have a rug to prove it. It made me feel very good. Um, and as disastrous as our first Grand Prix was, I think it scored like a 52 or 55% percent. It was over 50. That's a win in my book. Like at uni you only had to get over 50. That was like my standards when you're first doing my first Grand Prix, it was like, I've done this. I had a goal I'd said for seven years, I will be the first Australian person to bring a Friesian to Grand Prix. I will be the first, um, I will own the first Friesian in Australia at Grand Prix. I'm going to do this. And every coach and every person told me that wasn't going to happen. It couldn't happen. And, um, I couldn't do it. And it was like, yeah, I did it.

Phil (10:58):

I thought you were going to share, I've got one memory of your riding or many memories, but one particular was your, um, um, your birthday one year. And I think you'd been, you might've been doing that.

Natasha (11:10):

I've been doing Grand Prix, I think. Yeah.

Phil (11:13):

And you're still having some slight problems in the one, one time tempi’s, and you're actually competing on your birthday. You said best, best, best birthday present today. If I can get my 15 ones and you got it. And he was like, I remember you, you're like, I don't know how the rest of the test went, but you're like,

Natasha (11:36):

Yeah, I don't think it went that well, but I was like, let's just retire now. Like, it’s done.

Phil (11:40):

It took only like half of the long, like the diagonal that was. I remembered that one stands out as one thing it's just like really wish, wish, wish. And it happened on the day that you said decided today is going to happen. So intention, big thing there. Um, and probably carrying on, because we've obviously been talking a bit about Aba, but what horses taught you the most and why?

Natasha (12:04):

I think that question’s, it's not every horse teaches you. There's not one horse that teaches you. Like Jorrit, it bucked me off all the time. He taught me so much, um, about staying on a bucking horse and how to feel when a horse is about to buck and to stop it before it bucks. And that's a skill I used on the Thoroughbreds It's a skill, not that I've tried to buck, but you know, it's a skill you use all the time on young horses or whatever. It's going to happen. Every horse. And I've been lucky. I've been, I've ridden a lot of horses, not, not an insane amount of horses, but I've written a few and trained a lot. I'm probably trying 20 up to medium level. So, um, they all teach me something and they all make me giggle. Because even when you think, Oh, now I know how to do something. The next horse you get on. You're like, Whoa, this is new what am I learning here? As you would know, in your last experience of riding Aba and Oli they're different. Oh, and Tambo, look at you.

Phil (13:03):

Um, all different tests, different lesson every time.

Natasha (13:07):

And, and I didn't, we didn't even mention Tambo. Tambo was the first horse. Again, he couldn't even canter a circle and we took him to Grand Prix. He didn't compete a Grand Prix, but he definitely trained it all and competed in into two. And, um, he probably taught me the most cause he was the first.

Phil (13:24):

Yes. Taught you to feed the system.

Natasha (13:27):

Yeah. They all told me that.

Phil (13:29):

Okay. Now what is something that you find difficult when riding, it could still be currently now? And how do you overcome this? So what's difficult. What's something in your riding is still fun. Challenging.

Natasha (13:41):

Well, let me talk about, so I remember when I was learning to ride, I could not tell if I was on the correct diagonal.

Phil (13:48):

I understand that.

Natasha (13:51):

And I felt so, I was really ashamed that I didn't know, cause everyone around me did. And it was almost, um, like they were going to laugh at me if I admitted that I didn't know. So I don't know if that still goes on today and riding schools and stuff. And I just think that's a real, like, that's not good because it's hard to learn something when you don't admit that you need help to learn something. So when the coach would say, are you on the right diagonal? Or tell us if your, what diagonal you're on. I'd always guess because thank God there's only two to choose from. So you do have a good percentage chance of getting it right some of the time. Um, so I think so if I found everything difficult with riding, I couldn't tell my correct diagonal. Then I couldn't tell us the horse was on the correct canter lead then I couldn't tell if my horse, um, you know, like the, the, the coach I'd say is the horse forward enough?

Natasha (14:44):

I'd be like, well, it's moving forward. So surely. Yes. Um, but pretty much everything I learn I, I find difficult. I'm the first to say I'm really not very talented at the riding thing, but how do I overcome that. Persistence baby? Like, I am the most persistent human being on the planet. Um, and the more I've grown and grown up and matured, the more I've gone. It's just better when I say I don't understand that. Can you please help me? Can you please explain that you're asking questions. Yeah. And you have to make sure you've got the right coach, because that can be confronting. Sometimes coaches get really upset with me because I think I'm questioning them and I'm not questioning them. I'm questioning like how. I'm not questioning the idea that the horse should be more forward. I'm just saying, how would I know that the horse is, or isn't more forward and how would I go about generating more forward?

Natasha (15:35):

And how would I know that I have successfully accomplished that? I am very giving me this. Look, I'm very audit to digital. Like I, how I process my world is very much, I need to know every step before I can take action, which is a huge problem. Like I am so genetically flawed to not succeed in dressage because everything about how I'm wired goes against me. So everything I do naturally, which is I'm not going to do anything until I have all the answers well, that I'll never, I'll never ride a step because I don't have, I'll never have all the answers you speak to 70 year old grand Prix dressage rider that have been doing it for a hundred years, even though there are only 70 and they say I'm still learning. So that is a huge floor. So I know I have to take imperfect action without knowing all the steps, which is hard for me.

Natasha (16:22):

And then, um, I I'm very nitty gritty, like, okay, but, but why would we do that when that happens? And if that happens and we know that riding isn't linear like that, it's not a math equation. Well, when two plus one equals three, do this. Um, so there's a lot and I'm not very patient and I'm not very, um, uh, disciplined and I'm not very focused so well, as you know, so all these things really impact my dressage career. So I find things difficult. And how do I overcome this by knowing myself really well and surrounding myself with humans that are okay with me asking questions and trying to get the answers. That was a long answer to that question.

Phil (17:01):

It is, I think it may also provide some help and stuff in the next question, because we'd like to know what is some advice you would give to younger riders or probably doesn't even have to be necessarily younger. It could be people that have also any riders aspiring to compete. I guess this is at the top level, but I think even at any level, really, but, um, but yes, I guess to get towards the Grand Prix levels and stuff like that, and like.

Natasha (17:26):

I think really get clear on what it is that you want. Like, some people think I am an incredible failure in my career because I've only scored 62% at Grand Prix. And that I took my Friesian out to Grand Prix when he didn't have 15 ones and when I could only score 52% and think that's something to be horribly ashamed about. And it was a real failure because it wasn't a 60 or a 65 or a 70. And I giggled because I go.

Phil (17:58):

With that level of thinking, they would never have gone out to compete ever.

Natasha (18:02):

I would have been really happy with that. So for them, the goal to see, to score, let's say for them, I don't know what they decide in their brain, but let's say they go, 65% is a, is a satisfactory score. And anything below that isn't and therefore I'm only going to go out when I can guarantee I'm going to get a 65. And if that means they only ever compete Prix St George, and that's their goal, then that's awesome. They've accomplished it. So, so the first thing is get super clear on your goal. My goal was to get to Grand Priz. I didn't care how it looked. I come from a circus family. It doesn't matter. It just do the trick. Um, but now that's not my goal. I will never do a Grand Prix again for a 62. Cause I've done that.

Natasha (18:42):

So now I want to play in a different world, which means I have to learn a whole different lot of stuff and I have different goals. So the advice is what is top level to you? Cause it's different to everybody and then just do it like it. No, it sounds that's a nice slogan, but there wasn't anything special about me to get my Friesian to Grand Prix. Everyone told me I couldn't, everyone told me I can't. Everyone said it can't be done. The horse can't do it. You can't do it. That's a stupid goal. Don't do it. But it's my life. And I decided that that's what I wanted. And so I just went ahead and did it anyway. So my advice is just go and do what you want to do anyway. And you can't listen to anyone that isn't on board. And that's a huge thing. Like some, like I don't care what age you are to, to go and do what you want to do while everyone's saying that's not a good idea. That's a big thing.

Phil (19:39):

Listening to yourself.

Natasha (19:43):

The life, like when I hear about people that are like, Oh, you know, my parents wanted me to go to University. So I went and I did that and I go, Oh my gosh, Tash, what were you thinking? And that's the thing we tell our kids. Like we almost, you don't like it. I encouraged Danika to not listen to us. I go, just because we said it doesn't mean that you should do it.

Phil (20:04):

I'd like it if you did. If you went to bed, but

Natasha (20:09):

Choose and decide that it's not right for you. Um, I, I, I, I'm not you, I can't force you Danika. You are your own human now she's six. Um, but yeah, as a here as a, as a parent, I'm sure I'll get it wrong. And I'm sure heaps of people are listening to this going what a bad parent. That's cool. Awesome. You have your thought and you have your idea, but I think that the quicker you can learn that it is only your life and only you decide what makes you happy. And then just go do that. I think we've done

Phil (20:44):

To apply that back to the whole. And I think one of the things you're saying, the horses, it's almost just get, start, like start you, you can be at home planning and trying to get it like perfect. Right. But until you actually go out there and start competing, like, then you can start making adjustments. It's kind of like, you know, that the people who go plan forever, but never execute, waiting for it to be perfect. So you kind of like, just, get started.

Natasha (21:10):

And that is my nemesis because I don't care about perfection. It's just not even a thought in my brain that allows me to take action quickly and get out there. But that also means to score a hundred percent and to win a gold medal, I need to seek perfection. So that's where I'm not wired in a way that probably will lead to that outcome, which I've reconciled and totally cool with because I'm having fun.

Phil (21:36):

I guess that's something unique also about you is that you have ridden the Friesians. And then now I started with the Warmbloods. It's going to say now, but we've been doing the Warmbloods for a while, but that's, that's a really, that's quite a unique experience. There's a lot of riders out there, either I'm riding Friesians or I'm riding a particular breed or I'm writing the Warmbloods and now you've been able to do the two. Um, how, how are they, how how's the differences for you in training and competing these horses?

Natasha (22:03):

For me, uh, warmbloods are stronger. They're more talented, they're more athletic. They are bred to perform in the dressage arena. That's what they're bred to do. Um, and you, you know that when you ride them and everything's easy with them, like nothing is, if you ha if you have a good one, um, I've had like, everything's easy. Um, their bodies are made to do it. So, um, that's the good thing. Uh, but my heart is with Friesians because, uh, they were bred to pull a cart. I don't know if they were bred back in the day to go into war. Um, but I know for me, it feels like they could carry me into war that they they're, they're a hundred percent. What do you want, mom? I'm here to give it to you. Like, I just feel they try so much and they have beautiful hearts.

Natasha (23:01):

And, um, I've always said with Friesians, I’m lazy, I like to eat a lot of food. They like to eat a lot of food. They're pretty lazy. Um, so I just gel with them and, and connect to them so much more like they're my heart horse. Um, but it's hard when you've got a horse that's not built to do it. And you're saying, can I please get you to do this job? And they're like, sure, like Oli had tries harder than any other horse I've ever sat on in my life. Just struggling. But he can't do it.

Phil (23:29):

I mean, you always liked it too. You got like the formula one racing with the, the race cars, uh, the Warmbloods they're built for this race, for the speed for execution of it. And then you bring a Friesian along to this race course and a completely different vehicle. That is just, it's a truckk. Yeah. And you're trying, and you,

Natasha (23:48):

The truck to go faster and the truck is going, I'll try, I'll try my hardest. Um, and I love that feeling and I love that about them. And they've got really big egos cause I brought the stallions and they, they teach me, you know, sometimes I'm like, Oh, maybe, maybe I don't belong here. Or maybe I'm not okay and then you were at a you're at a Friesian and they're screaming going, Hey, I'm here. I'm awesome. And I just, they teach me how to show up in the world and they teach me how to have confidence and they teach me, um, what really matters. That got with deep. But that's how I feel.

Phil (24:22):

Excellent. Well, that is all of our questions for you today.

Natasha (24:30):

I love it. Thanks for hanging out with me. Thanks for hanging out, hanging out with us guys. Hope you enjoyed that conversation. Make sure to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review and we'll see you guys next time.

Phil (24:43):

Yep. See you later.

Podcast Episode 31: Briana Burgess | Achieving International Success

In this podcast, we speak with Briana Burgess. Briana is a successful international rider, trainer and coach. We speak with Briana about her journey working in professional stables from a young age, finding La Scala, dealing with highs and lows and the discipline it takes to get to the top level. To keep up with her journey, you can follow Briana on Instagram @briana_burgess.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:01):

So welcome to this Your Riding Success episode with Briana Burgess. Briana is an Australian International Grand Prix Dressage Rider and has achieved the amazing feat of top 10 in the World Young Horse Championships. Briana has been based in Germany for the past 12 years and has trained under some of the world’s best trainers. Briana offers world-class coaching and clinics for dressage riders and specializes in young horses till Grand Prix. She has an impressive resume with too many achievements to mention. So let's get into it and listen to the amazing Briana Burgess story.

Natasha (00:31):

Welcome to the Your Riding Success podcast. My name is Natasha Althoff. I'm a Grand Prix Dressage Rider from Australia, author of three books and a leading online trainer of riders all around the world, wanting to take their riding to the next level. I'm also a shopaholic, mother of two amazing children and obsessed with helping riders to be all they can be. Each week I'm going to bring in new stories of inspiration, ideas, and strategies of how to make real progress in your writing and give you actionable advice on overcoming writing fear and anxiety. So you can take your riding to the next level and be the rider you dream to be. So let's get into today's episode for your time today. Super thrilled to have this

Briana (01:09):

Conversation. Yeah, thank you. I'm delighted to be with you. Excellent. So, for everyone listening, I think we always want to know, how did you get started with horses? Was it you've been with horses all your life, or did you get started later in life and just talk about your early background with horses and what led you to dressage? Yeah, so I started like most people, I guess, most kids and I started off with a pony when I was nine years old and I had one horse and young riders in the dressage and that sort of just developed from there. So I was always super, super keen to get overseas and learn to ride and work and everything like that. So when I finished my final exams in year 12, I, uh, found a job on yard and groom, a working student position in Belgium with Johann Rockx.

Briana (02:06):

Who's now the Dutch team trainer. And I left, uh, immediately after my high school exams. And I went to work as a working student. So that's how it all got started. Wow. And did you always know that, like in year 10 year 11, when people are like, what are you going to be when you grow up or what are you going to do? Was it always, I'm going to be a horse rider and I'm going to go off to Europe to learn and train. Oh definitely, I was super obsessed with that. I have to say, like, my parents would tell you that they tried to steer me into other career options, but, um, I was really just dying to do that and, uh, and learn as much as I could about dressage and riding. And, uh, I could really see that that's where it was all going on. And I wanted to be a part of that. And did you have dreams and goals that you were going to

Natasha (03:00):

Become an Olympian, a gold medalist Olympian? That that is what drives you. :ike for what purpose did you want to become a great dressage rider for it to be a job or for something bigger? Like what was,

Briana (03:11):

Oh, no, I always had this dream since I was a child. I really wanted to go to the Olympic games and whatever that, whatever that meant to me as a, as a young girl, that was what my dream and my goal was and so as you mature and get older, you try to figure out ways you can at least start on the track, uh, to, to riding and learning and becoming better at what you're doing and educate yourself so much and try to invest in yourself as much as you can, uh, in the, in the learning and so on.

Natasha (03:51):

Yeah, yeah. I just so admire you. You've had a dream and frickin getting about getting it done, so thank you. And [inaudible] okay. So let's, let's talk that through you packed your bags and you're in Denmark and what was it in Belgium? Sorry, sorry, sorry. I'm getting all confused with chocolate bites. You were in the bed of chocolate flash.

Briana (04:18):

That's right, exactly.

Natasha (04:21):

Yeah. So what's that like for people who may be considering it, were are you homesick? There's a new climate to get used to there's new there's pressure from this new job.

Briana (04:31):

Oh, I mean, look, to be totally honest, I was completely overwhelmed. Um, when I, uh, I'd never lived away from home before when I was 18 and that experience in itself, uh, arriving in a new country. So at that stage, as you would know, um, the internet wasn't exactly like it is now. So it was really hard to know where you're going and to find people and to get into contact with people. And, um, so I turned up at the airport in Brussels and I knew that Johann, his wife, Penny Rochx said she was meant to meet me, but of course I had no idea what she looked like. She had no idea what I look like. So I turned up there with my little backpack and, um, I found penny and that crowd and, you know, uh, I'd never been really around another speaking language. I'd never lived overseas before. I had never worked in a professional stable before. So all of these things were completely new, but it was such a valuable, um, experience for me in such a good foundation to have looking back and reflecting on it.

Natasha (05:43):

And, but while it was happening, as you said, like it's so confronting, what kept you going? Just that dream of like, I know this is where I need to be. It doesn't really matter how hard it is, how scary it is, it's this. So it doesn't matter. Well, yeah, I think,

Briana (05:58):

You know, once, uh, once I got there, I really realized how much I didn't know about anything. So you just go, wow, this is such a great, uh, opportunity for me to really learn and to be a sponge. And just to put my head down and tail up and really take this by two hands and, uh, get the most out of this, uh, opportunity. Good on you. Yeah. Okay. So, so you were there for how long? Uh, so I was there initially, I think, uh, for eight months. And then I came back to Sydney where I was, uh, to go to university and study, um, teaching at a university. So I did that for a year and then I thought, Hmm, I still, you know, really had the bug stronger than ever. And, uh, so I investigated to take a gap year and to do this again.

Briana (06:53):

So I went back to Johann and Penny Rockx, this place in Belgium, where they were living at that time. And this time I took my horse over my young rider horse with me. And I worked like continued to work there as a working student. And I had a referral to Monica Theodorescu at a school in Germany that I would start there with Penny and go on for six months and then I would go and work for Monica. And, uh, when I got to Germany, that was also another completely different experience. And I thought, this is what I'm going to do. Uh, so I stayed Monica stand for four years as a working student and learning and, uh, grooming for her also. And I moved up to, to riding, um, after about probably I would say after about a year and a half, two years, I was able to ride there on other horses and the university education.

Natasha (07:53):

We're not going back to that. That, that was sorry, I'm doing this. I'm a rider. Yeah. I'm pretty stubborn. I have to say. So I was really set on, on that this was my way in life, and I felt so strongly about that. Especially when you're 20 years old, you have probably, probably more emotions than the average person. So I was quite fixated on that idea that this is definitely my thing in life. Right. Okay. So you were in Germany for four years and then what happened and what was happening, just fighting lots of horses, or were you really planning for an Olympics or anything? Did you know? I still took my young rider horse with me. So I turned up to, to, uh, Monica's place. I still remember it was the 1st of July and it was a very hot summer and I had packed my bags in Holland.

Briana (08:50):

I put, um, my horse on a horse truck. I jumped in the horse truck and I drove with a driver and he dropped me off at the front gate. And I had my horse in my hand and my suitcase in the other one, and I rang the doorbell. And so it started like this. And in Germany, there is a phrase and it says by sweeping, you learn to ride. So that means that you start from the very bottom. So I mucked out about 15 stables every morning and got tacked up all of Monica's horses, so I was assigned to Monica to be her groom. So she rode between nine and 10 horses every day, uh, between, uh, 730 in the morning and, uh, 130. So we were, uh, doing that. And, uh, that's what I really concentrated on was trying to, uh, learn as much as I could from her, because that was such a fantastic opportunity.

Briana (09:46):

And, uh, I was able to travel with her to a European championships and Windsor and to a World Championships in Las Vegas with the German team and really learn horse management. I would really recommend that to anyone who wants to do it like this, that you really learn everything from A to Z doing it like this. Riding is not just about the Riding. It's also got a lot to do with everything that goes on around it with the management of the horses and learning the discipline to work with them every day. Yeah. Yeah. Wow. Okay. So you've got that. And where is your young rider horse by the end of the four years? So, uh, I ended up getting her with Monica together to the Grand Prix and I did, uh, uh, show CDIs there was Monica, uh, in young riders I think was at young riders or open.

Briana (10:42):

I can't really remember at this stage. Uh, I think it was open CDI and small tour. So that was a great experience, uh, to be introduced into European shows this way. And I think by the time that she was 17, I retired her. So she ended up going to a beautiful family in South of Germany where she's still being ridden. She's 27 now. And she still goes to shows with a little girl and she's just the sweetest and she's super fit and very sound still. So she has had a great life. Yeah. Nice retirement for her. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So then what was the plan then? What happened after the four years? So after the four years, I, uh, said I would like to move on and go somewhere different, try something different. So I moved to a place called Asana Brook, which was 40 minutes or so North from Monica's stables was, she was based at, and, uh, I turned up at a stable, I had two horses of my own at this stage, young horses and, uh, I didn't speak any German, so I didn't learn much at Monica's probably a little bit, but not a lot.

Briana (11:58):

So I turned up at this stable, a very German stable, and, uh, I picked up horses, lots of three-year-olds to ride from breeders and farmers in the area. So I'd compete on these horses for them. And, uh, then I got a job working at a show jumping stable at a quite a good show jumping stable doing flat work. So I did that for two years and at the end of this this time, I think I was 25. And I said, Oh, what I really need to do. I really need to try to get hold of a good horse. And, uh, so I sold my two horses that I'd trained up to Prix St George at that stage. And, uh, the next next phase was La Scale. Okay. So, and that was because you still had inside of you, this, this girl dream, like it's, it's got to be the Olympics.

Natasha (12:49):

It's gotta be the best. It's gotta be the highest of the highest. So I need the best horse I can get. Well, it wasn't necessarily so much at that stage. I'd matured a little bit more of my thinking. And, uh, I really wanted to give myself the opportunity, uh, to shine a little bit more with what I had learned. Um, and without a good horse, you can be the best rider in the world, but without a good horse underneath you, you're, you're just a rider. So you need to find your match and you need to find a horse that, uh, it's like a marriage. You need to find this match between you. That works really well. And you have a great feeling together. That's what, that's what every rider needs and what every rider looks for. Absolutely. So, um, how, how do you find a horse like that?

Briana (13:36):

How do you go about doing that? Well, it's when I look back on it now, um, I realized just how, uh, luck and opportunity came into play at this time, because, uh, I have always so many people asking me these days, Oh, we just need to find a Grand Prix horse. Can you find a great one? Um, and it is really, really difficult. Um, so, uh, this happened, uh, my mum, actually, I was talking about my plans and I said, well, if I, you know, if I can't really make it here, then I should maybe stop riding or come back to Australia. But she said, no, wait, just first, uh, let me message Lyndal Oatley and see what she has. They've got horses for sale. I think that's what she said. So she messaged Lyndal and Lunda; said, sure, we have three horses. You can come down and try them.

Briana (14:29):

And, um, they didn't live so far away. And I said, yeah, sure. I'll go down and try them. And, um, so we arrived there at Patrick’s stable an outstanding stables. And, uh, they showed me two horses. And, um, I said, no, not really. Not really none. The third one came out and it was this fat old sort of horse. And I said, Oh, that's kind of interesting. That one, he was 15 at that stage. And I rode him. Uh, he was quite unfit. He'd only come in to the stable, like six weeks before from the owner to be sold. And he wasn't in like a super shape just yet. So I had a little ride on him and I said from the first stride in rising trot that I took, I was like, wow, that's it. That's the horse. And, uh, yeah. And I just knew that this was the horse for me.

Briana (15:20):

And I said to Patrick at the time, I said, okay, he's a little, you know, he's a little overweight at the moment little unfit, but I'll let you guys work with him. They had Aarchen coming up at that stage and I said, I'll come back in four weeks and then I'll try him again. And then I came back in four weeks and I said, yeah, definitely. He was in a super shape by then. And, uh, I said, yeah, that's definitely a horse that uh, I think it's going to be a super match together for happiness. Okay. So, so then what happens? I'm just fascinated by this whole story they're not happened. So what happened was that I said to Patrick, I said, I love this horse so much. Um, but if I buy this horse, uh, I really want to train with you. I said, there's no point of me buying a horse like this.

Briana (16:09):

I've never ridden Grand Prix myself. I've trained horses and written to president George, but I don't want to buy a grand Prix horse and take it home because I don't know what I'm doing. What am I, what am I going to press? Because, um, you don't realize how, uh, complex, um, the Grand Prix work is and how much you have to learn in it until you're actually doing it. You're like, Oh, okay. Where you really, really need a consistent training here and a very good trainer. And so I, um, agreed then with Patrick that to leave La Scala there. And I would drive every afternoon after I'd finished my work down to Patrick and we would train every afternoon. So that was Monday to Saturday. And I think three months later, I had my first start in Grand Prix. And, uh, went from there. I think by the third Grand Prix I did was an international show and Holland and, uh, Rosendahl, CDI Rosendal.

Briana (17:10):

And we sort of, um, did quite well there, we had over 70% in the Grand Prix and third place and quite a good field. So that's exactly how it started off and then onto the team and everything like that after that. So it was quite a good, good, uh, good journey to have, I would say like how long was the drive every day you've worked a full shift. Everyone knows how exhausting that is. And then how long was the drive? So I would drive half an hour to work to Austin, a broken, and then I would drive one hour and 10 minutes down to monster and I would drive one hour back to my home. So there was a lot of driving every day. And I think I did that for, I would say almost two years. I did that. Yeah, that's huge. And obviously you're seeing some great results.

Natasha (18:02):

And so the motivation is high and the learning, it seems that you also love the actual journey and you're just like, Ooh, you would have loved having Patrick every day, tell you things and teach you things. Absolutely. And it's invaluable to have such a fantastic coach. Uh, Patrick is an amazing coach and he has an incredible feel for the horses and the riders. And, um, not to mention the amount of experience they have. So I was 26 years old at that stage. And you really need the support group around you and these mentors around you, um, because it's just uncharted territory. Um, but it was for me anyway at that stage. And, um, so that was absolutely a highlight for me. And it was so invaluable. Yeah. Okay. So, um, what year did you get La Scala? Um, 2014, I think 2014. Yes. Yeah. So you were planning on 2016.

Briana (19:07):

Was that your plan for there you go already happened? Like, what was the next big competition? Obviously there's all the internationals, but were you thinking Olympic 16 or where I was saying earlier, I might be a little bit confused on this because I think WEG was, was WEG 2014? Perhaps and calm when it was in France. Okay. So then it was in August, 2013 then because WEG was the following. Okay. Did you, do you remember having a conversation to Patrick going? This is my goal. Well, Patrick was the one that planted the seed. I just said to him, uh, one day, cause I said my biggest dream and it sounds so funny now, but I said to him, my biggest dream is just to ride Grand Prix and um, he's like, Oh, he's like, Oh, well he's like, well, why don't you go? I mean, you can go and do this and you can go and do that and why not?

Briana (20:10):

And we should do all of this stuff. And I was like, Oh, wow. Okay. Um, so it was really great to also have a trainer that really, uh, believed in me at that time and believed in the horse and opened up my eyes to possibilities as well. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So that, that was the plan. And obviously you, you get on track three months later, you you're getting the 70. Um, so, so yeah, where did we get, what, what then happened? So I just continued to compete them with Patrick. So we would drive to the shows. Uh, Patrick would, I think he had Scandic at that stage and he would often ride Scandic and I would be in the other class, uh, with La Scala and, uh, so we went to a variety of shows and then came the qualification rounds for, uh, the WEG, uh, in France. And then we campaigned for the, for the WEG. Yeah.

Natasha (21:11):

And do you want to, do you want to talk about what happened?

Briana (21:15):

Yeah, I will talk about what happened. So, um, we were at the last qualifying event in Deauville and, um, city art, Deauville, and France, and, uh, we trained, uh, that afternoon and training was super, the horse was in a super form. He was really, uh, we just needed to do that show basically. So, um, uh, we took him, uh, we finished wash the horse off. He went back in the box, you know, all the usual things icing and all that kind of stuff. And, uh, the trot up was in the afternoon and we took him out for the trot up and, uh, he was not sound, uh, or was showing signs of unsoundness in the trot up. Um, it wasn't a bad, it was quite minor. So he passed the trot up anyway, but then I made the decision not to compete him because we weren't quite sure if he'd stood on a stone, if you know, and it's just not worth the, um, it's not worth to push the horses.

Briana (22:18):

Um, especially at this stage, uh, if something has gone wrong and we weren't really a hundred percent sure. So we've just made the decision then not to ride or I made the decision not to ride. Hmm, Hmm. Hmm. So that, uh, that followed on and, um, to, um, quite a lengthy process afterwards. And, um, um, they wanted to put La Scala than out of the, of the team. And we appealed that decision because we were able to show that the horse was, uh, able to compete and, um, due to some outside pressures, then I decided to, to pull, pull the start. So, uh, that was WEG 2014.

Natasha (23:08):

And how did you bounce back fine or at the time, um, everyone goes through highs and lows, and I think it's really important on this that people realize, you know, they look at you and they go, Oh, I must be so easy for you. And it always works out. No it doesn't, she's human, we're all human. So how did you get through that time? You would have felt everyone's looking at you and it would have been, as you said, pressure everywhere, your pressure on yourself and then the pressure from everyone else. How did you get through that? Well, I was because I'd worked so many years.

Briana (23:40):

Well, I was because I'd worked so many years in a professional stable by that stage. And I'd worked a lot with Monica and been around, you know, someone that was on the German team. She had more pressure than anybody that I knew on her. And I really used her as a mentor and she handled, she also had lows in her careers or in her career. And I could see how she handled things, how she approached things. And I learned a lot from her and, uh, um, I was em, and I always say this horses get injuries. They are horses. And especially at that top level, and it is what it is. I mean, I was of course disappointed, but things go on life goes on and there will be another time to shine, so to speak. So, um, my main priority was, uh, my horse and, um, and I was also, um, so aware that, uh, my rise up to that point had been very quick and I was just so grateful for all the opportunities that I had, um, that it, it didn't really worry me too much. I have to say. Um, I did everything in my stride at that point.

Natasha (25:03):

And what a great gift is, you said to have to be around professionals. Cause that's, that's an essence was it's taking responsibility and understanding that sometimes shit goes wrong and there's no point getting involved in that. It just, okay, well, as you, as you said, it's over German off that you're moving on next.

Briana (25:22):

Well, you don't have that much choice I guess. You can cry about it and throw the toys out of the pram, but in the end, um, it brings absolutely nothing. So, um, yeah,

Natasha (25:34):

I also don't waste your energy on it.

Briana (25:37):

No, and you know, so many, cause I was quite young. I was 26 or 27 and I had so many top riders come to me with support and encouragement. And I said, you know, I missed out on two Olympics because of, uh, my horse just went unsound. And, and so many people came and I said, Oh, look, this is part of the sport. And I mean, if you cannot roll with the highs and the lows, then you better buy a tennis racket. It's um, it is the nature of the sport and you're not alone. And I think it's easy these days on social media to watch everybody and think everybody's shining and they don't have any, um, difficulties or disappointments, but that's entirely not true. But, um, it's good for everyone to remember that the success you see, um, is one moment and there is so much preparation that goes into getting to that point.

Natasha (26:33):

Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So what now, 2014, are you thinking about 2016? Um, is La Scala. Like, like what, how old is he now? Is he yeah.

Briana (26:44):

Yeah. Um, so we did, he came back in of course in 2015 and he did some really, or we did some really great shows in, in that time. And I was able to do world dressage masters, five star, which was fantastic. And, uh, we always said, and I always said the horse will tell us when he's had enough. And um, and he was, I think, 17 or 18 by that 18 by that stage. And he was giving his absolute best the horse. And, um, by the time I always said Rio would be, we'll just wait and see. I was not that convinced. I could already feel it in my stomach that maybe that's going to not be for us. Um, so I made the decision then I think it was, uh, I competed in Belgium and the CDI, I think he was second or third in the Grand Prix. And after that I said, okay, he's done now. And that was in February in 2016. And um, then he also retired then. \

Natasha (27:50):

Wow. Okay. And you were still with Patrick and still doing, um, your work in Germany. Um, and how long did so then, so then what happened? I feel that's all I keep asking what happened next.

Briana (28:04):

So I just, I was running, uh, uh, sales and training stable, um, and I'd moved down to monster. So I could be closer than to, uh, training, uh, that I could go there more easily and commute easily to Patrick's place. And so La Scala, he, uh, retired, but of course then the next, uh, um, things come in the next, uh, horses come in. So I had a call from Michael Klinke, Ingrid Klinke’s brother, and he lives around the corner or lived around the corner and he said, Hey, Briana, I have two horses. Um, do you want to take one of them. Come and ride them, see which one you like, you take one in for training and we can sell it. And so I went to his place and I rode a horse there and that was Sissy, my next Grand Prix horse. So he said, ah, yeah, this mare, she doesn't learn the flying changes. Everybody tried with her, she was elementary, medium level if she got the changes. And I said, yeah, don't worry. I said, I like her. I'm like, I really liked to ride this horse. So just send her over and I'll work with her for a few weeks and we'll see what happens. So Sissy gets the changes up to two tempi’s in six weeks and I said, that's not so bad.

Natasha (29:29):

Maybe I can acknowledge you for that for a second.God, everywhere around Germany to get the changes. It's all right. I do it. Six weeks. That's awesome.

Briana (29:32):

But I really liked that horse and I had a connection with that horse. And in training, you need to take time and be thoughtful and mares are also quite sensitive. So you need to take that into account, um, as well in how you train them and educate them. But, um, so that's sort of how Sissy’ story came about as well. So, uh, then she, uh, I, she stayed with me and I developed her up to Grand Prix level. So she was doing Grand Prix two years later. That's amazing. And did you end up buying her or you would still just riding her? I bought a share, uh, in her initially and, um, last year, uh, in 2019 I bought her out completely. Um, then, uh, later in the year I made the decision to, to sell her. So she got sold to the States last year.

Natasha (30:30):

Yeah. Okay. All right. And, um, so was she planned for WEG in 2018 or was the timing not quite right?

Briana (31:29):

I thought, I thought I would give that a shot, um, because she was very, uh, of course, very green at that stage. I just would spoke with my trainer. I had a different trainer by that stage in France. Alexander [inaudible] is his name. And, uh, he'd helped me with the Piaffe and passage. And besides she had found that quite challenging because she was quite a big, long mare. She didn't find that the easiest thing. So he really helped me, uh, with the finishing touches for this. And I think that was in about November, December, 2017, that we were getting ready for Grand Prix. So she had also to one start nationally and France. I took her second Grand Prix. She ever did was at a CDI and France as well, where she got 66%, I think in her first start.

So I was super proud of her and the next show was another CDI, her third Grand Prix. And she hit the, I think just below 70 in the specialGrand Prix. So I thought, yeah, maybe that could work. So you just go along a little bit like that. The horses tell you if they're up to it or not. In the first season of Grand Prix, you spend a lot of time consolidating the horses that they understand what's going on. That they, they find strength in the Grand Prix. The first season is really educating them through it because they're real babies at that level, still going through the Grand Prix. So you just take your time and see what happens. Right. Okay. So 2019, you've now sold sissy what's what's what's then the plan.

Briana (32:27):

Yeah. So I got to the stage because I'd been in Germany for 12 years and I thought, well, I sold my good horse now and I would like to have a look at a few other, um, professional, uh, opportunities and ideas. And, uh, I decided to with a colleague, that I would go to the States and see what that's like there. Um, into Florida. So I was there two months last year, uh, riding and so on. And, um, that's sort of where I wanted to, uh, end up for a while, but of course, uh, COVID hits and then, uh, everything, uh, turns to shit. Um, yeah. Yeah. So, uh, COVID really then put a spanner in the works as it has for everybody on the planet. And so plans plans changed.

Natasha (33:18):

So, so what are, where, where are you right now and what are the, do you have horses right now and where are?

Briana (33:25):

Well? So I, um, decided to come back, I'll just go back a step. So I came back to Australia last year in may. I moved back from Germany last year and, uh, I started doing, I really love to coach and I love training. So I started with, uh, clinics around Australia. So in Tasmania and Victoria, ACT, places like this, and also in Queensland and I was doing these clinic rounds. And then I thought, yeah, I'll go to the, to the USA. I came back waiting for my visa. And the idea was that while that was all happening, I would just take a few horses from clients and training while I was in Australia before I left to go overseas again. Um, so I'm currently based at, uh, Jemma Heran’s place on the Gold Coast. She has an amazing, um, dressage barn there and it's a super facility and, um, just a beautiful atmosphere. And, um, so that's where I am at the moment with, uh, some clients horses and training that are there either just for training for a few weeks or a few months, or some are there, at the moment with the idea that they will get sold at some point.

Natasha (34:42):

Yeah. Okay. So what are the plans for, do you, do you like to set plans and goals for five years in advance? Or do you just look at 2021? Um, what, how do you like to, to, to work that?

Briana (35:00):

Well, I don't like to make such long-term plans, especially with horses. I find that kind of impossible because there are so many small steps leading up to things you have to be so flexible. Um, things change, um, all the time and you kind of have to roll with the punches and, um, and see what's going on. Yes, of course I would like to aim for a big championship again, but there are many, many steps involved before getting to that point. So short term goals are what I'm always focused on, um, with the horses and, um, and just being flexible because as you can say with COVID, um, uh, uh, pandemic comes into play and then the Olympics has canceled and all of these things, I mean, these things are totally out of our control. Exactly. Yeah. You have a great philosophy, as you said, like, there's this, I worry about the things I can worry about and all these other things, there's no point me investing the energy.

Briana (36:04):

There is no point. And, um, I think it's always nice to have this idea that you could get that you always need to have that idea, but, um, I don't wake up in the morning, uh, thinking about Paris Olympics, for example. Um, I think about the things that are on hand, the horses that I have in for training and other business things that I'm doing at the moment. And, um, there is plenty of plenty of time to plan so far. So short term goals are the best way for me anyway. Yeah, absolutely.


Natasha (36:50):

So you've trained with so many people and met so many people. Um, do you, is it, is it like asking to say, who's your favorite child? If I say, who is, who was the most important influential person you trained and what the biggest lesson was?

Briana (37:05):

Look, I, I have learned so much from everybody that I've trained with and I'm starting off with Johann and Penny at their place in Belgium and, uh, at Monica's place. It was so invaluable to me because I really learned to work so hard and to be super disciplined. And these things are absolutely a foundation with horses. If you don't do that, you're just, yeah, you can kind of forget it. Uh, if you're looking to do it on a big, big scale or, or you have, um, dreams to complete compete internationally or whatever it is, for example, so that was a foundation and that Monica's place. Um, I learned so many lessons and also their system there is really based on the training scale. So I learned how to train horses from breaking them in, uh, right through. So that was fantastic. I always say that Patrick was a huge influence on my riding. I think, um, I learned an incredible amount from him. He's a brilliant trainer and, um, of course the other people that I've trained with after Patrick, um, I trained a little bit, uh, before the world horse championships with heaven, lung handbag and, um, with Alexander Ash, a French trainer and a friend from, for me. And, um, everybody brings something to the table, but first you definitely need to be very sure about the training scale and, uh, and have a system in place. And then after you add to it. So, um, that's, that's really how I feel about that. Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. I know nothing about cooking, but I believe that's what they say. You have to like learn how to make the recipe first before then you play with the recipe yourself. It's helped that. I wouldn't know anything about that cooking either.

Natasha (38:54):

Okay. So, um, let's talk about, you achieved a top 10 in the world young horse championships. Um, you've obviously ridden young horses a lot. You've obviously taken young horses to the top of the top and you've also bought, made Grand Prix horses. Do you have a preference or do you just think whatever your goals are at the time, whatever it works out to be at the time, or do you like to make it look? I don't mind. My job, um, is taking horses in for training. I mean, they come in at whatever age that they come in, some come in at three, some come in at eight or nine, some might come in at 10 or 11 and you have to, uh, be very adjustable and young horse riding is different from riding older horses. Um, so I don't in saying that I don't have a preference, but I do love working with the young horses because you can really shape and mold them.

Briana (39:54):

You, um, show them the way in life. You build their confidence. They're like sponges at that age. So they learn really exceptionally quickly. And that's very rewarding to work with the dumb horses and just to see how they change, you know, from taking them to their first show where their eyes are like popping out on stalks and then a few shows in, they actually understand what this competition stuff is about and they really start to shine and show themselves off and get self confidence and all of these aspects of, of young horses for me, really interesting. And, uh, I always loved to watch the horses developed muscularly and mentally. And it's fascinating to me to see what dressage training really does for the horses.

Natasha (40:43):

Um, I'd love to talk more about, uh, it seems a very common theme. Um, this barn management, stable management, the discipline, not just in the training itself, as you said in the care, I feel that's something I know for me, I'm Aussie, I’m she'll be right. Just chuck it in the paddock, not as awful as that, but it's very, very loose and, you know, it's very much a she'll be right kind of attitude. And then when I'm around, um, you know, the, the top people it's like the thing is so particular and so precise and so structured. And so I I'm just fascinated by that, but it seems that is the, um, like you can't get around that. If you want to be a top dressage rider in the world, you have to bring that to the care and like that, that amount of discipline, that amount of attention to detail. Just if you can expand on that a bit.

Briana (41:38):

Yeah. So, uh, that's something I really learned. And in, um, in this professional stables where I worked at when I was young ago was, um, that the horses need strict routines. They need, um, to, uh, have the riders really checking them every day, brushing them twice a day, checking every little lump or bump or no lumps and bumps, or if one strand of hair is, I mean, it was that particular and, um, uh, hand walking them and icing them and, um, you know, the boxes and all this kind of stuff. Um, making sure all the tack is fitting. And also when you're writing them being really vigilant, uh, that everything is fitting them correctly. And if something's not working, then don't be afraid to try something else. Um, make sure that the horses as comfortable as possible. Um, and this is all, uh, I personally think it has almost all of it to do with success, because if you do not manage the horses correctly, you do not get the horses to the competition in top shape. They have to be absolutely in the best shape that you can have them in to ask them to compete at their absolute best. And, uh, no detail escapes, uh, escapes us there. And, um, I couldn't imagine for every other sport or profession, it's the same details are so important and, um, something so small can make such a big difference for these horses because they are sensitive animals at the end of the day.

Natasha (43:18):

Mm it's fascinating. Um, I can't remember which cycling team. I think it's the UK cycling team, but forgive me, everybody if I'm wrong, but their coach, I think it was in the nineties, kind of came up with his 1% idea and he said, okay, we're going to, um, carry our pillows to every qualifying event that we go to. Cause then if you, you should sleep 1% better and we're going to, I'm going to take the bike to the bike man and make him make the bike 1% lighter. And I'm going to get your outfits more streamlined so you can have 1% less wind resistance. I clearly don't know much about riding bikes, but it was always one to sent things. And I ended up winning the Olympic medal purely from I said, but one plus cent plus 1% plus 1% adds up to 10%, which adds up to a gold medal.

Briana (44:06):

Absolutely. And when you are such, I mean like these cyclists, for example, when you are such a finely tuned athlete yourself, then you have to look at where you can improve. Um, and for the horses, it's exactly the same. We're always saying, how can we do this better? How can we, um, optimize our performance? Or how can the horse optimize his performance or for the rider when they're competing, what will make me more concentrated? What will, um, you know, it's, it's, uh, it's got a lot to, it comes, you know, it has everything to do with, with the success and the end of, um, of competing or even if you're just training on a daily basis. But I can definitely say that there is, uh, no a top rider in the world that, uh, just, uh, throws his horse in the paddock and leaves it there. Actually, the idea to me is just so ridiculous that I have to laugh because it just does not happen. Like no success comes from, from this kind of management in any sport.

Natasha (45:14):

Absolutely. And do you think it's, um, like I love that question when you were like, you know, the question always is how can this be better? Do you think in Australia, we don't know.

Briana (45:23):

I ask that question enough. Yeah, I would. I would hope, um, to see in Australia that people start to ask this question more, how, how can we be better? How can I make, how can I get this better and really, uh, hunt that information down, you know, and really, um, look at, look at themselves as an athlete and the horse as an athlete and say, how can we as a team and a combination achieve what we would like to achieve? What do we need to do to get to where we would like to be? Um, there's no use looking at your competitors around you and saying, Oh, this one does that. And that one does, does this. And they've got a better horse and whatever that's completely summit. Absolutely not interesting. What dressage is about to me is that, uh, with this training scale, you should be able to train any horse.

Briana (46:17):

Okay. Some horses have more natural quality than the other ones in the end, but if you are a rider and you understand the training scale and you, um, can carry that out in a way with the horses that the horses, uh, understand and learn that in a good, healthy way, then there is no reason to, to look at the other ones and wonder about what they're doing. Yes. We always need to watch our competitors to say, Hey, they're doing a super job. And I really would like to ride my half pass like this, or they manage their horses. Amazing. What are they doing? But folks, I would say, really focus on, on yourself. Don't worry about everybody else. Um, I always say, uh, I have enough of my own problems to think about. I need, I don't need to worry about everybody else.

Natasha (47:09):

Absolutely. It always think, you know, competition as, or what if people are looking at me, it's like, well, I'm not looking at them.

Briana (47:15):

I've got, I've got my own shit to thoughts. We've got our own shit to do. Don't even worry about it. So it does not matter at all. Um, so yeah, I think that would be, uh, for, in Australia, I would like to see this culture really develop here. So what can I do to be better? You know, how can I be behaving more like a professional, um, and really, I would love to see writers here really encouraging each other. And, um, and we're all doing the same sport here because we have a passion and a love for horses and for riding. That's why we do it. Um, so it would be great to really foster that, um, culture here, um, a positive sports culture and dressage in Australia that we're all working towards the same goal.

Natasha (48:08):

Absolutely. And it's, it's, I think it's a Tony Robbins quote, you know, the quality of our lives is determined by the quality of the questions we ask. And I think that, you know, I've been doing a lot of these podcasts now and this theme of, you know, it has to be better, can always be better and keep searching for better. I go, that's really unique. I haven't, that's not how I was trained in all my pony club lessons and to know my normal way of going. But I got, I do that in so many other areas of my life where I really want to Excel and be the best, but it's like, we almost all I know for me, I can't speak for everyone, but I was like, Oh, my horse riding is somehow exempt from that or different from that, or more amateur, sorry about that.

Natasha (48:51):

But I think you're absolutely right when we bring to it that professionalism and we go, well, we want to do this the best we can and show everyone's different. And everyone's, I understand not everyone wants to go to the Olympics or where did they fit in if they've got a full time job, but they just want to do it. But as you said, a lot of these 1%, isn't that much time to ice and to do certain things for your horse, it can still be done on someone that's only riding one horse a day when they've got a full time job.

Briana (49:19):

Yeah. And I should reiterate that as well. Not everybody, not every rider wants to go the Olympic games, you know, not everybody wants to go to a competition on the weekend. So I think so for me, it's different. It's, it's my job. Um, but I think for these riders, um, they, uh, can find ways to do it, uh, the best that suits their lifestyle of course, and their obligations. And, um, and that's, that's also important to be flexible there as well.

Natasha (49:51):

Yep. Yep. Love it. Awesome. Okay. Um, do you have any hobbies outside of riding?

Briana (49:56):

Uh, I probably do, but I've never done them because I've always been working. Uh, so I would say when I moved back to Australia last year was the first time that I had some time to actually, um, do things. So weren't only horse orientated. So, um, I like to be in nature and going outside and hiking and, um, and these kinds of things, I guess. Um, but pretty I'm focused on, on the horses. I have to say. I live and breathe that, yeah.

Natasha (50:34):

I love it. Do you have any advice, um, for riders that, uh, wants to take the next step in their riding, they want to think about making it their career or making it, um, you know, the most important thing in their lives. Um, what's your biggest advice?

Briana (50:52):

Well, all I can say, especially for younger riders looking to step up is that, um, go and learn first. Um, it's impossible to be a 21 or 22 years old and, um, uh, trying to, to be a top professional at that age. Um, you know, I always compare it to, you know, you go to university to learn, right? So I think those years when you're young like that and your service septic to learning and being able to change yourself and mold yourself, um, really take the opportunity to go under a rider, go under a professional rider, go overseas, have these experiences because it is so invaluable and it makes you better. You learn so much. And, um, in the end that's an incredibly important, and I want them to know also that the way is not easy. Um, it's really bloody, it's bloody tough. I'm telling you it's really, really hard. And I would just say head down and tail up and just work your little socks off and be humble, be respectful to people around you and you will make the way you will find your own way in it.

Natasha (52:11):

I love it. I love it. And, um, do you have any sponsors that you'd like to mention?

Briana (52:18):

Yeah, I do. I have a great sponsor. My favorite sponsors County Saddles. They've been fantastic. I ride in County every day. They're wonderful. Uh, I work closely with, uh, Mel Waller, uh, here in Queensland. She's amazing. I love her. Um, the other sponsor that has fantastic clothes and I've just got them on board recently, Stride Equestrian, they're got the most amazing breeches and riding clothes, so they're definitely worth a look. If anyone is looking to buy some new, uh, riding clothes there. And, uh, for the horses, I have Calgary Barcelona, which is, uh, products that are specifically designed, uh, for sweating and heat. So they're really amazing products that don't overheat tendons and so on. So they really promote the, the health of the horse.

Natasha (53:10):

Yeah. Excellent. Beautiful. Um, and where can listeners find out more about you if they, are you available for lessons if they would like to organize that?

Briana (53:19):

Yeah, so I'm available for training, of course, with the border closure at the moment. Um, my clinics and things have come to a hold temporarily, but, uh, hopefully when the borders opened up, I will be teaching again and, uh, Hobart, Melbourne and, and, um, the ACT. So they're always welcome to contact me on Facebook if they're interested or on my social media page, um, which is, um, Briana Burgess on Instagram, so they can find me there. Great. And you've also, um, if people have either short-term training horses to be sold or long-term training, they can contact you for that as well. Yeah. Um, it depends what, what people are looking for, but, uh, I take in both, um, owners that would like the horses just to be centered for training, or if they have a horse that they would perhaps like to sell, I would also consider that as well.


Natasha (53:19):

To stay up to date with the latest content, don’t forget to hit subscribe to this podcast, go on. Hit subscribe. I’d also love if you could leave us a review to help us how we could do better or make this even more amazing for you. And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram at Your Riding Success and Natasha.Althoff.

Podcast Episode 30: Jayden Brown | Passion for Dressage

In this podcast, we speak with Jayden Brown. Jayden is an Australian Grand Prix Rider and head trainer at Wilinga Park. In this chat, we speak with Jayden about his overseas experiences, achievements, and future ambitions. To keep up with his journey, you can follow Jayden on Instagram @jayden_brown_dressage.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00:00):

Welcome to this week's your riding success episode with the amazing Jayden Brown. Jayden is an Australian professional dressage rider and current head trainer at the state of the art equestrian facility. Jayden has previously represented Auatralia at the 2008 young rider world cup on the 2013 world young horse championships. He's also had experience working in bright Britain at Emma Glendale's. Oh, I do. I cannot say that suburb.

Jayden (00:00:27):


Natasha (00:00:35):

It's set seems like a gorgeous village. Jayden had enormous success in currently campaigning, both younger horses grandprix horses and all the levels in between. Welcome to the, your riding success podcast. My name is Natasha Althoff and I'm a grand Prix dressage rider from Australia author of three books and a leading online trainer of riders all around the world, wanting to take their riding to the next level. I'm also a chocoholic mother of two amazing children and obsessed with helping riders be all they can be. Each week, I'm going to bring in new stories of inspiration, ideas, and strategies of how to make real progress in your writing and give you actionable advice on overcoming riding fear and anxiety. So you can take your writing to the next level and be the rider you dream to be. So let's get into today.

Jayden (00:01:20):

Thank you for having me.

Natasha (00:01:23):

How does it feel when you hear that? Is it a bit awkward or are you like yeah, that..

Jayden (00:01:29):

Um, uh, I think sometimes it is a little bit awkward. Um, and sometimes I guess you don't quite remember all the little bits along the way you kind of, um, I guess just feel busy for a long time and then you look back and, you know, that's, that's cool.

Natasha (00:01:51):

Yeah. I love it. Beautiful. All right. So, um, I love, um, where you're at and the success that you're experiencing, but what I think is really cool for all the riders listening is, um, if they're not at that level of success, you, I bet you couldn't rise trot one day and I bet, you know, your, if your horse was on the correct lead, and sometimes even with that happen, looking back, you can connect the dots, the dots and Google, if that bad thing hadn't happened, I wouldn't have moved here or I wouldn't have got that horse. So if you can just keep in mind as we have our conversation, that that's kind of what we're looking for, if we can find it, that connect looking back. Beautiful. So, um, with that in mind, how did you start with holes?

Jayden (00:02:36):

I'm on a little Palomino pony. Um, I've got three older sisters, so my sisters, uh, all rode horses when they were kids and I followed them into it. And, um, now they've sort of had a bit of a break, but they're just getting back into horses with their own kids. So, um, I think my mom is quite happy that she's got a little ponies again. Yeah. So that's kind of how I got into it. And, um, and in terms of getting into dressage, I really just was terrible at jumping. So that kind of decided the path for me

Natasha (00:03:13):

That you, you, you happy to jump, but I fell, fell down or you just couldn't even get over them.

Jayden (00:03:19):

Yeah. I can get over the in a fashion. Um, but they fell down a lot and usually I quite, I quite like eventing. And, um, even when I say a good event right now, I, I kind of think, well, that looks, that looks fun, but, um, I can't spot a distance to save myself. And, um, the horse I had at the time tended to not really want to go into water. So, um, that kind of set me on the dressage path and then I kind of stuck with it.

Natasha (00:03:51):

Right. So what was it? I understand the, the, uh, the jumping bit, I was a bit the same. I, um, uh, was winning after the dressage and then lost after all the dumpy things. And I quit well on the head. Um, but so I get that shift, but then what was it for you that really went, Oh, this is fun. Like, was it experiencing a piaffe for the first time or was it going to put a big show, seeing the top riders do it and go, Oh, if that's what it is, that's what I want to do. Or was it just all very gradual for you?

Jayden (00:04:22):

Yeah, I think it was quite gradual for me and I kind of just, um, I don't know. It was, it was always just like the logical next step by, I kind of started in panic club and went into school and, and, um, as I was finishing school, I kind of started taking on the odd, extra horse to ride, um, for other people. And then, um, and I guess it was the challenge of, um, dressage is one of those ones that you never really never really quite there. And, um, and the more you learn, the more you realize that you don't know nearly as much as you thought you did. So that's, uh, I guess that might be something slightly wrong with all of us for sticking it out. But I think that that's kind of why we all do it because, um, there, you know, we, we don't ever really get to that point that we know everything. Um, so that's always a challenge and it's just a different kind of challenge, um, as you, as you go through.

Natasha (00:05:22):

Yeah. So if you're what I'm, what I'm hearing is you love the challenge to be perfect, knowing that you'll never be perfect.

Jayden (00:05:32):

Yeah. And I guess in a way it's not even senators to challenge to be, be perfect. It's just a challenge to get better. Um, yeah. Yeah. That's it. Yeah, absolutely. We do. We do well, but it's those high scores and yeah. So it is, is that drive to, um, what might start out as good. We can make better and what starts out terrible. We can still make better. So it doesn't really where we start. We hopefully get better at it. Yeah.

Natasha (00:06:07):

Love it. And is that part of your innate personality? Are you very, um, precise and, um, disciplined and seeking the best out of everything in your normal day to day life? Or is it something you've cultivated?

Jayden (00:06:23):

Um, I'd probably say, uh, I'm, I'm quite laid back about a lot of things. And so I know a lot of dress out writers that are really perfectionist in every aspect of their life. And I mean, everything has its place and, you know, um, that kind of thing, but I'm, I'm quite laid back with a lot of things. And I think that is probably what allows me to sometimes say with the horses. Okay. Well, it doesn't matter if we don't have it yet. We can pick up where we've left off and push on tomorrow. So I don't, I don't have that sort of, I guess, feeling that it has to be perfect right now. Um, but I do want to be making some steps towards the goal. So, um, yeah, I guess, I guess I'm kind of fairly chilled out about it all, generally speaking

Natasha (00:07:17):

Thing to say, like for everyone right. And going, so I have to get it perfect. And you're absolutely right. We wish, but somewhere on that journey is

Jayden (00:07:28):

Yeah. Yeah. As long as we're kind of making steps towards the goal and, and, um, I mean, sometimes even a backward step is a necessary part of the process, so it's, um, yeah, just, just chipping away on them. Um, quite, uh, I guess when I have a goal I'm quite determined, uh, to achieve it. So, um, it's always just putting in the, the steps in between to make it happen. Um, so yeah, I'd say when I have something in mind, I'm quite determined about it more than more than anything else.

Natasha (00:08:03):

I love it. I love it. All right. So tell me how you got to the 2009 young rod, a world cup. How did that come about?

Jayden (00:08:12):

Well, I had, um, I guess I had a whole set, I trained through, into school and trained him up to present George and then sold him, um, as a bit of a school master. Um, and so then I started looking for, you know, the next horse and, um, usually whenever I have a horse of my own sells, the goal is always to buy something a little bit more talented to fill the spots. Um, hopefully, you know, keep, keep, keep chipping away at and getting the best tools as I can. And, and the horse that I purchased was a seven year old who was, um, a little bit wild and he was just of those, uh, I think probably to this day, he will be the smartest horse I've ever had. And I'm probably one of the horses I've clicked with the best. Um, he sort of went from prelim to present George in six months and got over 70% at his first test at every level, along the way and well, and he was just one of those horses that it just, it all, all worked.

Jayden (00:09:24):

And I was, um, Jenny Gokey was helping me train him and we sort of went with the plan that we'd push on as quickly as the horse would let us, and we would just make sure we didn't skip any steps in the middle. Um, so we, we well and truly ticked every box that needed to be ticked. And he just kept saying yes, and then we got to about present George and that's when he said, okay, this is where I need to chill a bit. And, um, and then it just worked out to be good timing that, um, the following year, um, I was still young enough for the young writer series and, uh, equine influenza got in the way of qualifying a little bit. So that made it quite difficult to get to the CDIs. Um, that was a real challenge and lots of paperwork.

Jayden (00:10:13):

And then at the end of the year, we sort of had been selected. And, um, and yeah, that was, that was sort of how that happened. But, um, it was another one of those things that we Jenny and I had this idea that we could, we could get that, get that goal. And, you know, that's a goal that we'd set and we just sort of worked backwards from the finals and, and figured out what boxes needed to be ticked along the way. And, and we really kind of made that the plan for the year. And, um, and then at the end of the year, we were both in freezing cold Frank Britt and, uh, at the young writer world cup. Yeah.

Natasha (00:10:56):

Insight. So, um, you said that you, you had this goal when you were younger, did you like, is your goal I'm going to become a gold medalist. Olympian is your goal. I just want to ride horses. Um, what is your overarching, you seem very goal orientated, which I've totally.

Jayden (00:11:15):


Natasha (00:11:16):

What's, what's your overarching vision for? Why do you ride?

Jayden (00:11:22):

Um, well, I, my personal goal is just to train as many good ground Prairie horses as I can. Um, and if, uh, if something like a, a team championship or an Olympics fit in with that along the way, then that would be an awesome bonus. Um, it is a goal, but at the same time, I want to enjoy my life with horses more than anything else. Cause if you stop enjoying it, then what's point. Um, and all my goals, I think I'm competitive goals. If they start to attract from that sort of, um, enjoyment of training my horses, that's when I start to reevaluate and think, okay, is this a goal for right now? Or is this maybe a golfer for later? But, um, but I definitely, I definitely would, would, would love to go to an Olympics and, uh, would love to do, um, lots of international Granbury and, um, hopefully by training as many grumpy horses as I can, one of them will be in the right place at the right time for it all to fall into place.

Natasha (00:12:36):

Yep. Yep. So when you are in freezing cold Frankfurt in 2008, where you obviously, it was the goal you'd sit a year ago or six months previous.

Jayden (00:12:46):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It was about 12 months out.

Natasha (00:12:50):

Yeah. And so how were you feeling? Were you talk us through that? Because obviously that's a big moment. Um, you're quite young, um, but everyone around you was also the same night and you're all there. And, um, did you have pressure that you like, uh, how were you feeling? Were you just super excited, super pumped, or were you like, Oh my God, this long and all this way I've got to freaking do well or what was going through my head?

Jayden (00:13:14):

Um, well I think the nerves kind of sorted themselves out quite early on because I'm Jenny and I had actually just arrived at Frankfurt. And, um, the stables were sort of in a, I guess, like an undercover parking parking lot next to the main arena. And you sort of walk through this little tunnel to get to the warmup and all of that. And, um, we were there the day, you know, a day earlier where we're just doing our thing, settling the horse in. And then all of a sudden we see all the other riders dressed in their, um, country uniforms and they look like they're going to something important and they changed the day of the product and not told us we were there.

Natasha (00:14:02):

You and Jenny not speak German.

Jayden (00:14:05):

Uh, I speak, we speak a little bit when we can understand, I understand more than I speak

Natasha (00:14:13):

The 15 thing, the prerogative with it up. So you're literally in a foreign place. You've got a little bit of the language and your, um, suddenly you're like, what else am I missing if I've missed the, just try to up, you're feeling a little bit out of place a little bit, or do I belong here, but we're going to give it a go.

Jayden (00:14:32):

Yeah. And so I think I plowed it up the whole say in about two minutes, ran to the chart up. It was fine. And so I think that kind of boiling over of nerves. And I think Jenny would probably say that it's one of the few times she's seen me genuinely nervous. Um, yeah. And then that was kind of that got it out of the way sort of thing. So after that, we're all a little bit like, well, we can't be more nervous than that. So now we can just get on with the, get on with the job and um, yeah. And then that's, that's sort of what we did, but I was also incredibly sick at the time. Um, I think I wrote the freestyle and then went and, um, sat in the shower for an hour. I was at the worst flu in the world

Natasha (00:15:23):

And the weather, um, or had you,

Jayden (00:15:26):

Yeah, I haven't had a, had a really bad fever and a flu. And so I looked back at the pictures and I, I think I just look so pale and I'm like a ghost because I was feeling so unwell. But, um, but yeah, it was, um, that's just the way it is. You push all of them. Yeah. You get it done.

Natasha (00:15:46):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. You're not going all that way. It's a discount that a bit sick, um, results where you like, yeah. I obviously, if you, you executed the test when you're feeling like that, so of course you were proud, but was it the result that you wanted?

Jayden (00:16:02):

Uh, yeah. Yeah. I was really happy with the result because I, in the qualifying round, I counted down the center line, hold that at an X and my horse spotted that moment to spot the giant Christmas tree hanging upside down from the roof of the, um, was held at a really old opera house. He promptly ran backwards to a, and then that was Al sort of introduction to international competition in January. So we kind of had one, uh, pretty bad test. Um, the rest of the test was, was quite fine, but, um, with a start like that year, you're really not going to climb your way back up the ladder too much. But, um, but the freestyle was, was really good and it was the last competition I I ever did on that horse. And, um, it was, it was one of the best tests he's ever done. And, um, yes, I was really, really happy with that and, and, uh, yeah, it was great way to sort of finish things up.

Natasha (00:17:07):

Yeah. So you come home from Germany and you've had your first international competition. Are you now obsessed? Are you like, I have to get that's all I have to do now or was it like, that was fun. And now what you are a bit lost? Like what, what happened when you came here?

Jayden (00:17:22):

Yeah, like I stayed in Germany for about 12 months. Um, so the whole side took over eight. He got sold to America and he's still sort of on school master duties, which is really nice. I see the occasional video of, of him. And, um, and then I bought a young horse while I was in Germany and, um, and I sort of, I spent a year training and competing and I had a job as a, as a rider and, and probably got to about the 12 month Mark. And I started to think, Nick, I don't really know if living and working in Germany is, is for me. Um, I, I, I didn't find it that fun really. Yeah. I'm not really sure it was. Um, and, and probably for a long time, I thought Germany just, wasn't a very fun place. Um, and it's, it's probably only now that I've, I've got some really good friends in Germany who are really fun people. And I think I had been working with them and maybe, maybe I would've, um, would've stayed, but it was kind of one of those things. I, I got to the point where I had enough money to fly my whole tone or, or I committed to staying there indefinitely and I decided to come home and, um, and then push on with kind of setting up my own, my own business here.

Natasha (00:18:50):

Yep. Yep. Okay. So you're doing that. How do you end up at the 2013 world young cos championships? Um,

Jayden (00:18:59):

Well, I was, um, I guess just luckily for me, um, Nicole Tufts, um, had a really good client who had a few horses in training with her and the youngest son, their horses have just, uh, just come out of quarantine and she got him back to her place and just said, this horse is way too big for me. So she called me up and said, do you want, do you want the ride? And, um, he was a bit of a challenging four year old Sandra hit. And, um, I sort of said, absolutely. Um, I'll take it. And then it was at the stage of, um, setting up a business where you really did take any pain horse that came through the door. It wouldn't have mattered. Um, I D I didn't see the horse before he arrived. I just said yes. Um, I would have been stupid not to.

Jayden (00:20:00):

Um, and, um, and yeah, I really, really clicked with him. And, um, we were selected, um, with him as a five-year-old, but, um, just with the timing of it, getting him to Europe, um, with the timeframe between being selected and the competition, it would have been possible to get him over there in time. Cause it was quite a short notice period. And then, um, the following year he'd been, um, he was going to be sold. So he'd actually been qualified here and then sent to Europe, uh, to be sold. And, um, so I just flew over a week before the competition to refamiliarize myself, with him and then, um, and then get in the room.

Jayden (00:20:50):

Yeah, it was really good. It was, um, I sort of had this, uh, the dream for me was to be in the main vinyl. Um, I thought that would be a, a challenge, um, to qualify for the big final. And, um, we just missed out on a place in the big vinyl from the first round, but then in the constellation final, we were second and that got us through, into the big final. So, um, yeah, got in the big final and um, yeah, I think he ended up 14th maybe. So, yeah, it was pretty, pretty happy with that.

Natasha (00:21:26):

Yeah. And did you have the owners or a coach around, are you doing this all alone in a crazy country where you don't speak much language or if you've got a great support network grant? Just not all sounds so glamorous. I just went to the one, the world Yonkers championship. It can be very terrifying if you don't have that support around you.

Jayden (00:21:46):

I have that. Uh, yeah. Well, the horse had been sent, uh, to be in training with [inaudible] and so he had the horse in training. So I went there to, uh, to, I guess, train with him for about eight days before the show. And, uh, and then we, we transported the horse to the, to the venue and then, um, he lived about an hour and a half or two hours away. So I stayed, um, at the venue and, um, he would, he went back back to his stable to, um, you know, to keep training all his, his other horses. And, um, and then I think the day before the show, um, Bo and Linda Dallas at the owners of the horse, they basically win and they were there to watch. And, and, um, I know it was, it was a really fun, fun show because I'm always, always had a, had a really good time at the event. So it was, it was quite nice to get the, get the tests done and then go and go and sit and sit in the, uh, in the tent, watching, watching all the other competitions go on and have a good laugh.

Natasha (00:22:58):

But when it came to compete, like I'm just, you're saying very strong, like, um, happy moments.

Jayden (00:23:06):


Natasha (00:23:07):

Um, cause when you can really share that with you just have to be, it's fine. You have to be the professional. You have to be, I got this. Um, it's all good. But was there a moment that you had a freak out?

Jayden (00:23:20):

Um, not so much at that event? Um, I think we got that. I got that done early on at the young writer world cup. I, I very nearly crashed into Isabella, so, so I had a, had a bit of a near miss and she just laughed. She laughed and really steered around each other and, and Canada. So, um, I kind of thought, well, that can happen. Uh, you know, it was fun. Um, yeah. And, um, and I, I guess I've always just had a little bit the mentality of, um, you know, I at my place to be here, so I'm just gonna do my thing and I don't care who else is in the arena. We're all, we're all the same competition. So, um, yeah, it was. Um, but, um, yeah, so I, I didn't, didn't find a warmup or the competition in general to, to nerve wracking. Um, that particular year at the young health championships, uh, Haley Barris was in the five-year-old and Jessica Greeley was also there and they were both great company and, um, it was nice to catch up with two of these that had been based in Europe for, um, quite a while. And, um, yeah, it was, it was quite a fun, a fun show for me.

Natasha (00:24:41):

Yeah. Yeah, no, that's okay. The minute you said there's more, I don't know. I just, if you're in this weird country or by yourself. Beautiful, but

Jayden (00:24:50):


Natasha (00:24:52):

Alright. So then, um, you're in, um, 2017 and you're in the UK on the mountain, John horses. How do you have that happen?

Jayden (00:25:03):

Um, well it was probably, um, maybe a year or two, maybe a year before I went to England. I started having this feeling that I, I don't know, necessarily made the wrong decision in coming back to Australia, but I kind of felt like it was something I wanted to try again, um, have probably a different perspective on, on living overseas. Um, and so I decided that I would, um, just keep my eye out for something. Um, and it was at one Equitana that I met, uh, Emma and her breeding manager at the time. Um, Sarah who's from Western Queensland. So she used to fly over to do seasonal work, announcing John. And, um, I expressed interest in going to look at some, uh, some falls and, um, and then in the time between, when I met them, then when I was actually looking at going over a plan changed a little bit, and I was in a, in a position where I thought I wanted to be back over, um, in the center of the dressage world.

Jayden (00:26:22):

And then I thought England was a good compromise between being totally immersed in it in Germany or Holland or something like that, but having a bit more of a familiar surrounding, um, and yeah, I really England as a country. I, I, I loved living in, uh, in England. It was a great, great climate for me. I liked the cold and, um, um, yeah, and I actually only, I came back, um, back to Australia, uh, to apply for a visa to take a job in Denmark and it was just getting more and more difficult. And, um, in the time that I was trying to get all the paperwork done, I had a few good horses, uh, sent my way and I thought, well, this is probably the first time I've had multiple horses that are as good as what I was riding in Europe, but I'm surrounded by my friends and people. I know. And like, and I thought, well, here's my chance to do it to the same standard as I wanted to do it over there. Um, but in, in the, in the home environment, so I kind of made the most of that opportunity and then decided to stay. But, um, but it was a, it was a great, great two years, a very busy sort of probably a year and a half

Natasha (00:27:47):

Would be amazing. Charlotte, was that ever an opportunity?

Jayden (00:27:51):

Well, yeah, they were about six hours away, away from us. We will ride up North. Um, when I first got to announce and John and Neil Fourie was, um, coming up quite regularly and, and, um, and he was really helpful and helped me out a few of the big, big shows and, and, um, I sort of would have the chat with Charlotte at, at competitions and some of the horses that I had had been horses that she'd she'd written, um, yeah, on and off. So, um, sometimes it was good to trade notes on and then sometimes just comforting to know that, um, something I was struggling with was the same thing that she was working on. So it was, um, you know, made me feel a bit better.

Natasha (00:28:39):

Yeah. Awesome. Okay. So, um, because your Australian Australia, not, you, you don't have a mum or dad that has an English passport, that was always your thing.

Jayden (00:28:50):

Yeah. Longer than the 12 months. And at the time I would have really liked to probably set up my own stable in England. Um, my was sort of, uh, looking, looking into that quite a lot, but, um, I had, uh, I still had time on my visa. I had a two year visa, but the conditions were that I had to be employed. I couldn't be self employed at all. So, um, to set up my own stable, wasn't really a something I could have done at the time. And, and, um, yeah, I sort of was ready to ready to move on. So I, um, ended up, ended up back here. And

Natasha (00:29:31):

So you like cold weather Queensland, is that right?

Jayden (00:29:35):

Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And, um, well, I, I actually, before I came here, I was, uh, looking at, uh, different stables, um, in Victoria that I kind of, uh, earmarking as, as potential places to set up, set up business. And, um, as it turns out this year would not have been a good year to move to Victoria, I don't think, but, um, yeah, but, uh, that, that was sort of my, uh, my 12 month plan. Um, before, before I came here, it was, um, to get things set up so that I was in a position to move South because, um, yeah, the heat in Queensland does me in, so I can't stand it.

Natasha (00:30:20):

Love it. So you've got now, um, tell me again, which border is it? Is it I say T where you're actually in,

Jayden (00:30:30):

Well, where technically we are we're in new South Wales, so we're right on the coast here, but yeah, yeah. Canberra would be, uh, yeah, it's, um, we're just down to me. Um, so for us to get to Canberra, we go up to Clyde mountain. So, um, we don't get quite as cold a temperature as Canberra does. And, uh, so I've, I've, I haven't been to the South coast of new South Wales all that much, but, um, so far it's, it's seeming like my ideal climate, not, not too hot in summer and cold enough to keep me happy in winter.

Natasha (00:31:09):

I love it. So talk to us about how you ended up at Willinga and, and yeah, how that all happened.

Jayden (00:31:17):

Um, I guess, um, I had competed here, uh, last year and, um, obviously knew it was a beautiful place and, and, um, you know, a horse, a horse heaven really. And, uh, at the end of last year, uh, one of the horses, I was training Quincy, he got sold to Terry, um, and he was, he was probably, um, I guess one of the, it was probably at the time, the best or the most promising horse I had. Um, so that was, I guess you get a little bit used to it when you don't own the horses, but, um, you know, it's always sad if, uh, if a really good one leaves the stable and, um, and then as

Natasha (00:32:01):

Is it a little bit sad or is it devastating, like cause DUI to have, to not bond with the horse to begin with because you know, that, that is the real possibility, or do you think that you'll do that, but actually bond horrendously and then get quite devastated when that happens.

Jayden (00:32:18):


Natasha (00:32:20):

That's a real thing that, you know, Edward still kind of talks about. Yeah,

Jayden (00:32:27):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I think probably in his situation, I mean, having for that amount of time and to, to achieve such big results, it would be yeah. Would be, it would be a totally different story, but, um, it's probably something that I've put into perspective when I had sat on various the whole stuff. I did the young horse championships on and after I got back from Germany and he was, he was sold to one of the Swedish, um, teen writers, um, everybody sort of said, Oh, you must be devastated that. So, you know, say heartbreaking, how could they, how could they sell the horse after you, you know, you had that result. And, um, but the reality was on you 12 months earlier that the horse was going to be sold. Um, and the reasons were completely understandable. Um, and not just one more soul, you know, quite a few of their horses, uh, also sold. And so I had plenty of time and I was offered a very, very good deal to, to, um, buy the horse if I wanted. But, um, I think if you are going to be a professional ride out, it's something you either, you know, you have to either accept or, um, or in a different world, don't do it as a job.

Natasha (00:33:48):

No, it's a very young person listening. This is part of your decision making strategy. I know for me, I was like, I ain't doing that. I have to get my own. Yeah.

Jayden (00:33:57):

Yeah. I think it does affect how people structure their business as well. Um, you know, a lot of people do, um, and that's not a trade one, not a, not something they're, um, happy, happy to do. So they make the conscious decision that the competition horses are going to be horses they own. So they're always in the, um, in control of the horse's future. And then they make their money from coaching or from how, you know, or having things set up so they can have other horses and, and, um, and to a point, and that's what I do. I have some horses of my own, but, um, I, I can kind of, I don't know what it's like, I can, I can, yeah, yeah. I can kind of organize everything in my head that I'm I'm, I enjoy the horses while I have them, but I know that somebody else owns them, but that also means somebody else owns the risk. Um, so I'm in a fortunate position that I, you know, I, I'm not the one out of pocket if something devastating happens, which, um, which that is part of the trade. And

Natasha (00:35:16):

I know we get that as well.

Jayden (00:35:20):

Yeah. So it's, um, and if, if, uh, if a horse is to be sold, I've always been fortunate that I've had had owners that, um, do it in a really fair way. They, you know, I'm always, I'm always the first to be told that it's, it's, I think it's different if, if you're the trainer of the horse and you're the last person to find out, um, that, that is a little, a little bit different and I have, have had that done, um, occasionally. And, uh, you, it doesn't change whether you miss the horse or not, but you, you kind of hope, hope that, um, the professional respect is there both ways for the, um, and, um, but, but I'm, I'm, I guess I'm happy to have beautiful horses to train them, and if they get sold, I just hope that they go on to still be beautiful horses for their next, um, for them, uh, rider. And actually one of the, the horses I had read last year, he just won the small to a championship in the, um, Iowa, um, series at the Brisbane CDN. So that's always a nice thing to, to see, um, while I'm not involved with the horse anymore, you can see that he's well cared for and loved by the new new rider. So, um, that kind of makes a difference, the show.

Natasha (00:36:50):

Yeah. So, um, the Quincy got sold to Terry.

Jayden (00:36:54):

Yeah. And then, yeah, I was, I was, well, I was, um, that was just the way it was circumstances that the was to be sold and, and I had, uh, I had quite a few nice horses. Um, and then there were, uh, Brett had injured himself, um, because he was obviously here before me, and then there were rumors going around, uh, that I had been offered a job, which I haven't at the time. And, um, and I hadn't, I hadn't actually considered, um, considered trying to put myself in a position here until I heard those rumors and wow. I thought, Oh, well, that's just a river, but that sounds like it could be a, uh, an interesting idea. Um, and then I sort of, I guess I just sat out, sat on it for a little while. And then, um, I saw her on Facebook one day that, um, Brett had announced he wasn't renewing his contract. And, um, I thought, well, it's official. Um, or I may as well send the Naval and see if, if I can make those rumors become reality. And that kind of, uh, I think probably four weeks later I was, um, had packed up, packed up everything and, and was on my way down here with, uh, with five, five minutes that I trained in Queensland. And I bought them with me. And I guess then that's, that was the beginning of my leg to park.

Natasha (00:38:43):

Yeah. So tell us what a normal day at willing to park now looks for you. You've said you brought five horses down. How many horses were there then to ride with the blue linger? And I do still doing those five what's going on.

Jayden (00:38:55):

Yeah. So now I, um, basically, uh, in the mornings I, I ride, um, all of the Bolinga horses that I train. Um, so I've got six, um, six that I do in the morning. And then, um, I've, I've just got four, um, four horses at the moment from, from some of my previous clients. And, um, I do them after lunch, so that's a pretty busy day. We sort of, we get a lot done, but, um, we were pretty efficient, efficient team here.

Natasha (00:39:32):

So how often, how long are you riding the horses? Does it change? Like if you got some three or four year olds that get written maybe less or, but they all get rid of the same amount of time?

Jayden (00:39:42):

Um, yeah. Uh, generally Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, I work them, uh, you know, pretty standard, um, 40 minute ride in the arena. Um, usually they have a little bit of, uh, a wander through the gardens on the way to and from, um, to, and from the arena. And then on a Wednesday, we tend to, um, take them out in groups around the property and up in some of the trials out the back and, and just take them for a bit of a trial ride. And then we do that in the morning. Um, uh, three of us take, take the horses out, um, together. And then in the afternoon on a Wednesday, they go on the treadmill. And, um, and so they will have a session on that once a week generally.

Natasha (00:40:31):

And then what happened with that by Sunday?

Jayden (00:40:33):

They're just in the paddock. Yeah. They had just spent a weekend in the paddock. And, um, and so generally during the week, uh, my, um, the holsters that are written after lunch, we'll go in the paddock, um, first thing, and then the holes that are written in the morning, as soon as they're written, they'd go out in the paddock afterwards. So, um, we try to get them to spend as much time as we can, um, with them in the paddicks, which is, um, which is quite nice for them.

Natasha (00:41:01):

Yeah, absolutely. So for anyone listening, who's thinking that they might want to become a writer when they grow up. Whenever that is, I still haven't grown up, but whenever I'm writing 10 horses a day, tell them what that's really like, because when you'll pull smash you'll, but is there a point where you're like 10, it seems like, how do you, how do you look after your brain by the time you get to the 10th horse, how do you look after your physicality? Um, by the time you get to your horse, how do you manage your energy and your, um, patients and your, your discipline and just, you know, you've gotta, you've got to, you have to show up as your best on the 10th course, same as the first. And that's a really challenging thing to do. If anyone thinks about a normal work day, what are they like talking at their computer at 4:00 PM, as opposed to 8:00 AM? I'm not so good in the afternoon.

Jayden (00:42:01):

Um, I think it's something that you definitely build up a fitness for. Um, if you're not used to riding that number of horses and you all of a sudden get thrown into it, it is exhausting. Um, I'm very fit for that kind of work. Um, because it's what I do most days of the week. Um, it's what I've done most days of wake for a long time. Um, and you, I guess you, you figure out what works, what works for you. I definitely work best if I have most of my horses done before lunchtime. Um, because then you have a little snack and another coffee, and then you kind of get through the afternoon. And, um, I tend to ride the mobile challenging horses early, um, more so the physically challenging ones, if some horses, um, do make me more physically tired than others and other horses, uh, more of a mental, um, mental workout than a physical workout.

Jayden (00:43:11):

So, you know, you just, uh, I think you, you, you balance what works best for you and, and, uh, and some people will never enjoy writing 10 roses a day. Um, for some people too, is, is the limit. And, um, and yeah, you just, you just learn what works for you. And, and I, um, and I also, if, if I am all in on a horse and I just think, Oh, I am not feeling it. I don't feel bad about taking them for Kantar around me either, or, you know, I'll might stretch them and, um, take them, take them for a walk. Um, you know, if, if it got to a point where I was doing that more times than I wasn't, then I might start worrying about it, but, um, that's also really good for the horses. So I, I don't feel guilty if I think, Oh, I just feel like rubbish today.

Jayden (00:44:08):

I'm gonna, I'm just gonna give myself an easy day because, um, if I'm not functioning well, I'm not going to train them well anyways, so it would be an unproductive session. So, um, I kind of just take it as it comes, but, uh, but for the most part, I, I get to the last awesome I get off and I'm still in a pretty good mood and we have a great atmosphere in the, in the stables. And, um, you know, usually if, if, uh, one of us is in a, in a bad varied, we just, yeah, we'd make a coffee run or something. I bet go get muffins from the local cafe and that kind of, yeah, absolutely.

Natasha (00:44:54):

I love it. Sorry. The other thing I think about it being a professional rider is the impact that it has on your, um, social life. So you were moving, you were in Germany for 12 months, and then you were in England and now then you're in Queensland and now you're in new South Wales. Um, do you ever resent that part of it that you, um, you know, you might have a best friend in XYZ ed and you're like, you live here now or your favorite coffee shop is in X place and you can't get there as often.

Jayden (00:45:30):

Yeah. Um, yeah, to a point. Um, my, with my friends, um, probably not as much, I have quite a small group of really good friends rather than a big group of acquaintances. Um, so, uh, I, and I guess I've, I'm, I'm friendly with a lot of people, but, um, in terms of really close friends, it's a small group and we were all the kind of people that it wouldn't matter if you went a week or a month without talking to one another, nobody's insecure about the friendship. We all know we're still friends, and we all understand that sometimes you just get busy and stuff happens and you might not return the text for a day or a week, or, you know, none of us are bothered by that. So, um, it's quite easy to maintain those sorts of friendships and, um, and that, that friends that have slowly built up over over years, um, so that kind of, uh, proper friends that I liked.

Jayden (00:46:41):

But, um, yeah. And so that, that side of things is not so difficult to manage. Um, I do miss my old favorite cafe or takeaway place in Brisbane, but, um, particularly moving to, uh, a much more regional area, um, noticeably, more quiet. Um, I lived very close to the city in Brisbane, so, um, that side of things was, was quite different, but, um, but it's, um, one thing I, I think horses are great for is, um, they've given me the opportunity to live in some really cute places. And, um, and I probably wouldn't done that if I had a normal job or a normal job, uh, for, I did about two weeks of an engineering degree, very quickly decided that I had forgotten everything I learned in school. And if I had half a chance of finishing it, I made it to, uh, press pause on that one and go and do some revision. I haven't, haven't been back to the, uh, the idea of a degree.

Natasha (00:48:06):

So, um, where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?

Jayden (00:48:11):

Um, I don't really know. Um, hopefully still enjoying my horses. Um, and yeah, it's a good question. I don't really, um, yeah, I don't really know,

Natasha (00:48:29):

But you liked the short term goals 12 months.

Jayden (00:48:33):

Yeah. Yeah. And I think, um, a lot of my goals are dependent on what horses I have, um, because it wouldn't matter how much I wanted to go to an Olympics if I didn't have a hole with the physical capabilities of going or the mental capabilities of going or just being the right age or, um, you know, it would be a goal that would, uh, be impossible to achieve or I'd, I'd, you know, ruin the whole by trying. So the goals have to be, um, you know, relative to the horses I have. So, um, I kind of have an idea of where I'd like to go with each horse. Um, but then you don't always know if, if that horse is, um, staying for five years or five months kind of thing, and yeah.

Natasha (00:49:26):

Was it kind of stay sound there's so many little barriers.

Jayden (00:49:31):

Yeah. Yeah. So, um, I guess my, my overall goal, and I just liked to have trained a lot of good horses in the next five to 10 years. Um, if I'm, if I can do that and then it will be, I'll be happy. Um, and then just see what happens along the way.

Natasha (00:49:49):

Yeah. So when you, what are the, when you think about, you know, we sometimes go, how was your day? It was a really bad day, or how was your day? It was a really good day. What is a good day or happiness to you?

Jayden (00:50:06):

Um, yes sir. I mean, for probably the most horse people, whether you've had a good or bad day is, is almost entirely dependent on how good or bad horses were. And there are some days that I think nothing has gone right today. What's going on, like, are all the forces just determined to put me in a mood? Um, and, and, you know, sometimes it's completely not their fault. Um, things might be going on and they're all just a bit distracted and you just find it frustrating. And then other days, um, every horse is, is the best they can be at that point in time. And then you're really like, Oh, I am awesome. And then, you know, a few days passes and one of them made sure they ground you again, reminds you that you, you know, you've still gotta, still gotta put in the work and keep getting better.

Natasha (00:51:02):

And I think it's really important for people that are listening. I think what most people do is they see the professionals, they see the success, they see the results and they go, Oh, it's just, they never have a bad day. It must always go brilliantly. And it must always go well. And I think it's really important. We remind everyone, you have horrible days. You have days where you go, Oh my God, can I ride a horse at all? And going through them all, you always get back to the other side of, yeah, I can ride really good. And then as the journey unfolds, and you said it at the very start of this podcast, like the more you learn in your dressage journey, the more you realize you don't know. And I think everyone else listening to this Losa would be resonating with that because I thought I was close to the Olympics when I was in grade five pony club. Like

Jayden (00:51:52):

Yeah. I've seen them do it in the paddock. Yeah.

Natasha (00:51:58):

And as you unfollowed from grade five pony club, you realize, Oh shit.

Jayden (00:52:03):

Yeah. Yeah. That's it. And then, um, sometimes as well, you training your horses and then you have those moments where you think like, it might not be going that well, but this horse is actually doing the best they can do at this point in time, you know, with the muscles that they have on their body, that's as good as they can be right now. And it doesn't mean they'll always, it doesn't mean that'll always be the limit, but ultimately the goal is that we are making them stronger and physically more conditioned for the job we're asking. Um, say, you know, we, we want them to find it easier over time, but sometimes you do just have to sit back and go, well, actually it might not be that good yet, but it's still better than it was. And it's, um, you know, we're still the horses trying his hardest.

Natasha (00:52:56):

And I think that's the advantage yet when you ride 10 horses, it's very rare for a prolonged period of time that all 10 of your horses are going through stuff. So if you've got one or two that are having a plateau or having a challenge with a particular thing, or just not growing their physicality as you'd expect them to, that's fine because you've got eight others that are reminding you that it's okay. But when you ride one horse and it's in the ship for a while you think this is the world, this is reality. And yeah. So I think that's the advantage professional Rodan is that right? A lot of horses get to put that the problems and the wings a bit more in perspective, because there's a big pool of experience.

Jayden (00:53:40):

Yeah. And I know that like with certain horses, if I judged my training ability on one particular horse, I would think that I am the best in the world at doing flying changes and the worst in the world at doing. Yeah. If I judged a completely on a different horse, I would be the best in the world, but yeah, that's the worst in the world flying changes. So having multiple goals is, does help you balance it out and be like, okay, well, you know, maybe it's not purely 100% on me that I'm not getting that, you know, it just isn't happening yet, but, um, but it will in time. And it's probably that kind of problem solving aspect to dressage that I quite like is, um, you know, it doesn't always happen the first go and, and you know, sometimes it does. And you're lucky if, if that that happens, but, um, sometimes you have to uncover some know, uncover a few things and, and deal with problems that are, that are kind of getting in your way rather than, um, smoothing over them and pretending they're not there.

Natasha (00:54:51):

I think also a lot of listeners is still on the eight, just trying to [inaudible] to do that. So, um, and every horse, every journey completely unique, you can't go measuring whether or not you're a good writer, whether or not you should keep writing or not based on what others are doing. And I used to be like that in pony club. Well, you know what she doing, or she must be better than me and why, why don't, I'm, I'm going to need an off the tracks, our bread, whatever it was at that time. So, um, yeah, I think that's great that you really distinguishing does this mean some horses that have made you look like an absolute rock star and the smartest writer and trying to ruin the world and there's other horses that completely remind you, you weren't nowhere near where you need to be.

Jayden (00:55:36):

Yeah. And I think the horse is a, a good at, um, you know, bringing it back to reality. Um, you know, Quincy, for example, Hey, is a whole time, I swear from the, from the day I first asked him for a flying James, um, he was, he was quite young and he just did it first go, like he was like, he was born to do it, but then most days it takes me 10 minutes to trot one lap of the arena without shying it a lettuce. Well, well, some things are much easier with that kind of horse. You still spend the time working on issues somewhere. Um, yeah, it's just that there's no shortcut, you know, you just, just, you spend your time in different places on different horses.

Natasha (00:56:31):

Sorry. So true. Yep. So who would you say your biggest mentors or the biggest, um, heads that you go to when you get stuck on some help?

Jayden (00:56:43):

Um, I would definitely probably the most, most consistent, um, consistent person that I talked to about training would be Jenny. Um, I trained with FM many years as a young rider, and then I trained with other people, um, on and off in between. And, and, um, since I've been here at Willow, I know we've sort of, um, started back with a more formal training relationship again, but in the years in between, we would always, um, find each other up. And so I've got this problem or I've got that problem, or can you come and ride this horse? Or can you watch this? Um, it just wouldn't be formal lessons. Um, and for me, the biggest thing that you need in a trainer is, um, some of the trust if you're cantering, if I'm cantering around and she tells me sit to the left, I don't think about it. I know if, if someone's, if, if she's saying it it's because she's saying, if she's not saying it, she won't say it. Um, I, I don't respond well to trainers that say something for the sake of, um, just for the sake of saying it, um, you know, because there might be people watching that, um, they feel like they have to keep talking or else it's not a, you know, value for money. I'm completely okay with, with filings because

Natasha (00:58:11):

It's freaking awesome.

Jayden (00:58:13):

And sometimes it just means that the corrections that you're doing, you know, the correction that needed to be made and, and they're working, um, but then if it doesn't work, then you've got someone there that's the, that didn't quite work. Um, and, and certainly, and for me, it's having someone that I can, um, I'll, I'll, I'll try almost anything when it comes to fixing an issue, but there have been plenty of times where I've said, Oh, no, I'm never doing that again, because it, it hasn't delivered the result that we thought it was. And, and if you've got a good coach, they are, they want it to get better just as much as you do. So if you do try something and it totally doesn't work, you both get, okay, well, let's figure something else out because that one didn't work. It worked on nine other horses, but it doesn't work on that one, so we need to fit, you know, and, um, and that, that works well for me.

Jayden (00:59:11):

And, um, and then I've, I've got, uh, a few other people, um, kind of around the world that, um, I've trained with a little bit and I, I sort of respect their, their knowledge and their experience and, and, um, and what they have to offer. But, um, for me, in terms of a day to day coach it's, um, it's more about that, that sort of working relationship than, than anything else, because it's, um, yeah, if, um, if they're going to be the one standing by the side of the arena, or at a big important event, you don't want someone that pushes all your buttons and, you know, um, annoys you at the wrong time you, cause you know, that's not productive and yeah. So it's, uh, yeah. Just having, having someone that you kind of trust their advice. Yeah,

Natasha (01:00:06):

Absolutely. So, um, uh, do you have any advice for riders that, um, are thinking of going professional or thinking of, um, making this their career? What advice would you have?

Jayden (01:00:22):

Um, that's a good one. I'm trying to think of what I wish somebody had told me at the beginning and I've had, um, I've had, you know, people say things like just don't do it or things like that. And my thing, you know, that's not practical, but, um, some, sometimes what I notice among other professionals is, um, is at times I think like, do you, do you actually enjoy your job? Um, the way they talk, the way they talk about their horses or the way they talk about, um, clients or those sorts of things. And, and for me, I think if I felt like that I wouldn't be doing it as a job. So I think, um, I don't know if it's just a habit people get into even just the habit of whingeing about things. But, um, I would certainly just

Natasha (01:01:20):

To go if I wake up one day and I'm like, no, not this. I don't like it. It's not like, have you given yourself permission to

Jayden (01:01:29):

Yeah. Yeah. And that's, um, sort of, there was a period where I wasn't enjoying the horses at all. And, and that sort of, when I came back, um, came back to, uh, well, I came back to apply for the visa. Um, and I, I said at the time, like, I'm really not enjoying this. So either the options are I stop or I change something, whether it's changed the environment, I'm in change, the people that are around me, uh, you know, I didn't know what that change was going to be at the time. But, um, you know, I just knew that if I kept doing the same thing, I would not enjoy it. And if you're not enjoying the horses, then what's the point of doing it as a job, because there are plenty of other jobs that are much less taxing on your body than riding. So I think, uh, I guess my advice would be, um, just don't let the fact that it's your job suck out your passion for the horses, because if that's happening, then it's, it's, um, it's not for you. Yeah, yeah.

Jayden (01:02:47):

Yeah. And I think sometimes people might feel like if they are particularly talented writer that, you know, well, I have, I have to be a professional health person because I'm, I'm good at it. But if, if you'd prefer to be, um, you know, have another job and ride your own horses for fun, then that's the right option for you kind of thing. Um, and, uh, yeah, I would, I would definitely say if, if, if you're, if you get to a point where you're not enjoying it, then think of, of, of whether it's the right career for you. And, and, um, and because there are lots of people that do horses for a very long time and love it just as much after 30 years as they did when they started. And then if, if that's, um, if that's the way it goes, then, then it's the right job for you.

Jayden (01:03:37):

But if it, if it does start taking away your enjoyment for the horses, then I would, uh, encourage making a change. Um, and like, I didn't get out of horses. I just changed the environment that was in. And now, um, I like like training horses just as much as I did at the beginning. So it was the right, uh, the right change. But, um, and certainly I didn't want to stop training offers. That would have been a last, last resort, but I did definitely think that, um, there has to be enjoyment in it otherwise, otherwise it's, uh, there's no point

Natasha (01:04:16):

We only get one loss fricking enjoy it. Awesome. Hi, sorry. Um, who was the sponsors that help you out at the moment that you'd like to mention?

Jayden (01:04:26):

Um, I work quite a lot with, um, right as XO up in, um, up in Brisbane. So they, uh, they, they often remind me that I'm a little bit modest with the halls, but, uh, there is lots of bling for all the, all the, uh, all the blank lovers, but, um, so I get a lot of my, uh, my boots and my helmet and, uh, tech for the horses from them and, um, and hospital in Purium down in Victoria, um, helped me with, um, just finding the right courses really. Yeah. And we have, we have lots of good, good chats about, you know, what might work for one horse and not for another. And, and, um, and I, I tend to like to keep things fairly simple, but, um, but it is always good to get a, uh, to have a second opinion on why, um, you know, why certain horses have certain reactions to different, different bits and, and, um, and yeah, so it can help just to find fine tune things. And they're the main major companies I, I work with

Natasha (01:05:43):

Super awesome. And if people want to follow you, are you on social media?

Jayden (01:05:47):

Hmm. Yes. I'm on Facebook and Instagram, um, would be a very, I don't actually know what I had to lose. I think of Jayden Brown dressage but, um, yeah, so actually, and, um, uh, Matty and really who, who grew up for the horses here at Willinga, they, um, they have stable chats, which is on Instagram as well. And, uh, so that's it, people want to see a bit of the behind the scenes of, of what the horses are doing when nobody's watching. Um, that's a good place to see them playing with the toys and getting dirty.

Natasha (01:06:28):

I love it. Beautiful. Is there anything else you want to share before we go?

Jayden (01:06:33):

Um, well I think that covers just about everything.

Natasha (01:06:37):

Fabulous. Thank you so much for your time today. No worries. To stay up to date with the latest content. Don't forget to hit subscribe to this podcast. Go on, hit subscribe. I'd love. If you would love to leave us a review to help us how we could do better or make this even more amazing for you. And remember to follow us on Instagram at your riding success and Natasha.Althoff.

Podcast Episode 29: Kelly Layne | Learning From Experiences

Today Natasha shares with you one of her favourite topics - goal setting! Even in 2020, when all of our goals from the start of the year don't look like they will happen, it's still important to keep moving forwards, set those goals and taking action!

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00:00):

Welcome to this Your Riding Success episode with the amazing Kelly Lake. Kelly is a professional Dressage Rider and Trainer competing internationally for Australia. She was exposed to dressage at a young age with the influence of her mother and a former grand Prix rider and FEI judge Kelly has acted as a consultant finding horses for her clients in Japan since 2001. One of which went to represent Japan at the Olympics. Kelly has had many nautical achievements and has had the pleasure of training with some of the world's best. We are super excited to bring you this guest with such a successful and died. First,

Natasha (00:00:33):

Welcome to the Your Riding Success podcast. My name is Natasha and I'm a grand prix dressage rider from Australia. Author of three books and a leading online trainer of riders all around the world, wanting to take their riding to the next level. I'm also a chocoholic mother of two amazing children and obsessed with helping writers to be all they can be each week. I'm going to bring in new stories of inspiration, ideas, and strategies of how to make real progress in your writing and give you actionable advice on overcoming riding fear and anxiety. So you can take your riding to the next level and be the rider you dream to be. So let's get into today's episode.

Natasha (00:01:09):

Yeah. For those of everyone who might not know you, what is your story? What is your, I mean, I, I remember you have no idea how old I was. So let's just say we were both really young and, um, always we continue to be always young. Um, but I remember, I think you had a horse, a moose shy. Is that how you say it? Oh, share. Yes. Yeah. And I just go, Oh my God, that was an amazing horse. And I just, I just have you linked in my head that must've been when you were in Australia and now you've gone on to do so many exciting things. So, um, he was definitely the holist that like, um, inspired me to really want to do this sport. Like when you come across a horse like that, and I wish I had another one like him to this day, you know, I think I am spoild for getting a horse that good when I was so young, you know, and you think to yourself Oh, if I had it to do all over again and, uh, but he really put me on a whole new path.

Kelly  (00:02:15):

That me more, yeah. It wasn't like having huge, huge ambitions. Um, but when you are gifted with an animal like that, it's like, here is your opportunity. This is what you've actually been working towards. And now it's landed in your lap. What are you gonna do with it? So, yeah, I packed him up and I took him to Germany and I trained with all the cells Gaber over there. And in less than one year, she turned him into a ground free horse. It was unbelievable experience for me and has absolutely set me also on path for the rest of my life. I'm learning how to train a horse all the way through to Brian free and boarding back to Australia and showed and competed in there, up and down the East coast, Sydney, Melbourne, all the CDI for a good couple of years. And then we were selected to go to the wedding and, uh, back to Europe again.

Kelly  (00:03:24):

And after that I spent another year and let's talk about what happened at the wag, because that was a disaster. Um, and we just became very overwhelmed. He was already a highly strong horse and yeah, you know, it had to do it all over again. Again, you have so many regrets and just to do it all again, how differently I would have done it. Um, and then after that, I stayed in Germany for about another year and that's when my husband and I decided to have a major change and moved to the United States. So that's really what led me here. So that's yeah. And twice back and forward from Europe and this for me was too hard. This was good. I know other people do it. And I tried to do the same and I realized that this was a, it seemed like a huge waste of time, effort and money. You're just like, no, I'm not doing that again. So, yeah. And he was incredible. He was highly strong. He had so much talent and yeah. So yes, he's the one that led me here.

Natasha (00:04:47):

Okay. So let's just back up for a sec. When you, um, you obviously started riding at a young age. Um, did you always know you, when you grew up, you were going to be a dressage rider or were you going to be a secretary? How did, what was the thinking at the start?

Kelly  (00:05:05):

All I really knew was that I wanted to ride horses and my mom, gosh, I was a showy. Like my mom had encouraged that I always had nice ponies. Um, when I was 17, I finished school and went to wide forbids Colby because that's all I wanted to do. Um, and it broke for him for like two years. And, but going back a little bit when I was 15, my mom took me to the wagon Stockholm and for real dressage for the first time. And it really did change me from being a diehard showy to thinking maybe I might want to dumb down, but really having no idea what I was getting through. Right. Like, it all seems very glamorous, like

Natasha (00:05:54):

Skipping, tread on the spot. I remember going, Oh, I could do that

Kelly  (00:05:58):

In two years. I'll be at the Olympics. That's it? Yeah. So, um, yeah, to see that at such a young age to be like, wow, you know, whereas now I would love to have something that would help me relieve that because you become so immune to it actually now, you know, with the internet and, you know, we can just be like foam bonded and what she's videos over and over and over and yeah, the will changed a lot. Absolutely. Okay. So that's ignited this, this curiosity and this interest for you. Um, and, and you said it really changed when you got, um, I'm going to discuss, I work. I'm a shy. It's not a shy. Yes. Good. Okay. Um, so that, that meant you said it, um, it made me think, okay, I've got this great horse now I'm going to make it happen. So were you scared?

Natasha (00:06:58):

Were you, what was your living situation at the time? Were you like, Oh, should I shouldn't I, was there a decision or was it like Sinjar I'm off? Yeah, it was kind of crazy though, because I just got married and also in Australia, yes. When husband is 10, but he had been living in Australia for like 14 years and he was just super supportive. It was like, I don't think an opportunity comes by like this. And I know I'm still like really young in terms of dressage riding and, and uh, I think I want to go train with this person and I just did, but that's, that's, that's, it's not more complicated than that. I want, I do. It's when we put all the labels and society's expectations and all this other crap over for it, it's like, no, it is that simple. Or like, I can't even imagine that I did that. Like, that's what being naive is like a godsend in some way.

Kelly  (00:08:06):

I hope we always hang on to that. Absolutely. I lot bang. Okay. So you're doing this and your understanding what an amazing horse you have. Um, and yeah. Why don't you then fast forward as to where? Cause I think a lot of writers that are listening to this, understand what it's like to ride. He was a hot horse, wasn't he? Yes, yes. And I remember watching you going, Oh, how is she even doing that? And it seems like it wasn't like, so for me, I'm like, I just hope I get 15 ones. You were so far beyond that. It was like, if I can keep him calm, the test is fine. But it was, that was what you were working on. Yeah, that's right. Yeah. The horse, like the dressage pot was easy. Yeah. It was, you know, I still don't think I've ever sat on a horse that can do the cactus zigzag like this.

Kelly  (00:09:00):

And yeah, he had beautiful cat, a beautiful changes in this be off and massage that just wasn't normal. And from God he had, for sure, he was very tense, very electric, very reactive, you know? So you could imagine how this has sculpted and changed me where all my, like do ground work, they're all desensitized on the show grounds with perfect manner. Like it changed me forever. That was of, you know, like I will never allow what happened to happen again, you know, like there was so many other ways to handle that, but I just didn't have the knowledge or experience at the time.

Natasha (00:09:44):

At the time. I can't imagine how stressed you must've been in, like, you knew what you had, but there was no one that could help or no one that could give you that guidance.

Kelly  (00:09:54):

No, it's true. And uh, but you know, I think in some ways, like for somebody like me, I had to find my own way on it. No, it wasn't like a specific person that I think, you know, maybe if this was my trainer at the time, or maybe if I had this person helping me, no, I think you have to gather more knowledge and more experience. And that's an, I hopefully that's what I bring to the horses I have now that can go into a big stadium and I know they're going to perform for me in front of a couple of thousands of people and you know, and I can go in with total confidence on that. Yeah. That's a big thing for me in my journey.

Natasha (00:10:38):

Yeah. Yeah. That makes perfect sense. And we don't know where your journey is going and I can just see somewhere in that future, that's going to be that moment where you're just going to like, Oh, I totally get all those little things that led us to this point. Cause I had everything I needed. Yeah

Kelly  (00:10:53):

They do. They do. Absolutely. And along the way, I, my next, really the horse that put me back on the international show scene again, was UDL. And uh, he was, uh, well, he, I still haven't, he is a gigantic 18 hand Dutch like hot harness horse, something, this pole has had like a heart that just like, I never felt almost like him in the ring. Like he, he was with you. So, um, Oh how can I say it? He just read you, you don't, you didn't even have less AIDS when you got into the ring. It was like, you know, and that was like pretty cool experience for me because he was almost, it was actually difficult in the warming off and really like other, you don't like if trainers are standing beside the ring or have a whip or somebody smack the horse with a whip, but when he and I got alone in the ring together, it's like, there wasn't another person there. So yeah. So that would be brain Bullis. And that was the one that we took to, to Europe. Um, in 2016, after having, you know, he hit the 70 Mark in the ground free a couple of times here and in Wellington and we thought, yeah, okay, we'll take him there and, and see how he goes in Europe and we can make her a spot on the team and yeah. And that's kind of where it all fell apart again.

Natasha (00:12:34):

Do you mind sharing with us, but I think we will get to the fricking awesome bits, but for everyone listening, they go through the shitty times and the bad times too. And I think we see everyone on the top stage going, I just wish I could be them. They haven't always the good and always the fun it's like everyone has the bad. Yeah.

Kelly  (00:12:56):

Yeah. Well, I would say it was a very tricky host to shoot and you know, he was one, he's a highlighter, so he's got one hot foot higher than the other. And in the writing, this never affected him because he could always elevate his forehand. And this was, you know, he could use his body in such a way that it was never a problem, but he was kind of towards the end of the shooting in the job. He could go like this walk side to side. Right. And so they spinned me in the jog and I'm like, Oh, my first one. And of course everybody's, Oh my God. Oh my God. And I'm like, man, and I jumped, this was a million times now and now I can take him through my policy and they like compete the next day and I get a good score.

Kelly  (00:13:45):

I think he was 67 something. And, and then the next day arrived in this special and he got a 69 and I was third place behind like Andrea 70 Severo. And then of course, then all the eyes are on us saying, okay, what's going on with that horse? Like, why does it do that? What about a place between you in the jog and radio? So I was like, okay, I know what's wrong with my horse, but right. It's not a lameness issue. And I will prove that I work and spent probably more than 10,000 euros. I did an MRI body, bone scans. I didn't work on the horse. Right.

Kelly  (00:14:29):

There's the loss neck. They must be as Nick. Oh, it must be his left timed. It must be his right Flon. I'm like, nobody could tell me anything. Right. I'm like, I know what's going on here. The interesting thing that happened when they have to pull the shoes for the MRI. Um, after that we, uh, the next day we chopped him barefoot and he looked like, perfect. I'm like, wow, isn't that really, really interesting. Like I never have jogged a horse barefoot in the whole five years that I'd had him. And I was like, okay, okay. So then we get farrier that doesn't know my horse. Cause I'm in Europe, she was my loss. And now I have a Pasadena that's fucking like a Daisy cutter.

Kelly  (00:15:24):

And I like, Oh my God, what have I just done? Yeah. Yeah. Ran out of time. I'm like, no, I, I, you know, he needed at least one more showing and I think he would be back to himself, but they just got the feet, you know, they tried to change the feet and like, don't change face. Like that's how he is done perfectly like this, his whole life, you know, he's old. And now I have like 20, like a little riding pony and I'm like, Oh, and in the end I just went up one more showing on there. You know, maybe, you know, one more week later, I think he would have been fine. And when I got back to Wilson, which was two weeks later, he was away. We went again, you know, and he never missed another competition or a job the next whole season.

Natasha (00:16:21):

So these are the things that happen. And you live in LA. Yeah. Sorry. I was gonna say, do you go that far? Like sometimes I, I hear these stories and they stressed out drugs like a little bit and you're like, surely it'll be fine. But the more I'm talking to all these riders and hearing, Oh, the dentist or the farrier. And it's always this person while I was in Europe or I was somewhere else and I didn't have my person. And you're like, this is getting worse by the day, the flying out the arm. Yeah. But you know what, again, I say, live in lung because, uh, I do not have another high level horse in my bond and we'll never buy one ever again, but it's like just, it's not worth it. It's too tricky, you know, to shoot those horses and keep them really, really perfect for top level competition. Yeah, yeah.

Kelly  (00:17:19):

Yeah. Like on the saddle, the horse could compensate for this. No problem. But yeah. So interesting problem to have. So how did you, did you bounce back quite quickly? Like now we're talking about it. We're in 2020 now. So it's like, Oh, well it was just one of those things we live and learn. We're very philosophical about it right now, but where you devastated thinking of giving up, thinking of quitting, what, what was your, what was running through your mind? No, I I'm an optimist and it will never change about me. And I always believe things happen for a reason. And actually, while I was that time that I was in Germany, I met some amazing people and I've already made a decision in my life that I needed better quality horses. And I didn't realize how I was going to go about getting better quality horses, but this was, you know, what I realized was getting 67 to 70 was not going to cut it for and having basically other than one or two riders, the rest of us going for a team spot all and the exact same score being according to the percent between that one and that one.

Kelly  (00:18:41):

And I was like, yeah, you know what? The thing is, I need to be sitting on one of those forces and not just a beautifully trained horse, but also one of these super moving losses as well. I actually met, uh, all sorts of people that actually started sending me since I love it. Cause I was kind of going around riding horses on board, you know, you're there with one horse willing to do. So I started going and riding horses for the, to off of the cat Valor and I stopped. And he introduces me to another lady who threw the breeder in the area and I stopped riding some of her young horses. They liked the job I did. Oh, we're going to send them to you in Wellington for you to try it. Awesome. Yeah. So here I am today. And also I took the difficult ones, right. That had the town,

Natasha (00:19:38):

I love it. And this wouldn't have happened if it was because of that time in Germany, because you were doing those, making those decisions. That's still paying off today.

Kelly  (00:19:48):

Yeah. Yeah. And here I am today, you know, where I started with five or six young Roy Gish horses coming nine, 10, 11 year old grand Prix horses. And you're like, wow. Now I have like an arsenal of top horses coming along. Yeah, yeah. But it was my goal. Yeah. And it still is actually like, I, I'm still looking always on how to, and I want to start with the young ones, for sure. I think it's easier in the long term relationship then buying horses that already have been trained by somebody else, you know, have I've learned to defend themselves against the rider. And then, you know, one of the big things that I'm all about is working out a way to have the horse let you in, you know, they trust you and you know, there's so many pieces of learn to defend themselves.

Kelly  (00:21:02):

And this is difficult, especially in competition, you know, because most is they they've been spoiled on like the pirouettes and the PR and they back the rider off at those moments like, Oh, you know, and they kind of get their own back in the ring and in the test and, and, uh, trying to get a horse to really trust you and be with you in the test. This is I think a big challenge. Um, and somebody that I think I'm quite good at, but I do show a lot. And, uh, that is partly because of my location to the showgrounds in Wellington Disneyland for horse riders. I live eight minutes from the warmup arena on the big dressage show grounds here in Wellington. But that's again by design, you weren't born there.

Kelly  (00:21:58):

And last season we, and it was cut short our season, you know, because in time, but we, my team, we wrote 115 tests on the showgrounds. Yep. I worked 47 tests myself. And when I actually look at my records, since I've lived in the United States, I'm 30 rides on 30 tests off of 500. I, Oh, I love it. So everyone is listening. Is that Kelly lied. She's just so successful. I don't know how she does it. 500 tests later. And you know, we didn't really keep a good record, but I lived in Australia. Like we didn't really keep records and you didn't really have like the internet. And yeah. So round from my husband started keeping score from the time I was about 25. And I think I was already up around 300 and something tests by the time I left the, uh, Australia in 2006.

Natasha (00:23:04):

Sorry. Yeah. Okay. Let's unpack it. Cause I love your idea of this concept. Cause like I do, I think every writer may hopefully have felt this, this concept of letting the horse in and opening up to you. There's no, there's no logic. It's just a feeling, isn't it? It's not like you can go, Oh yes, that has happened. Or that hasn't happened. It is a feeling. And you've said, I'm with you. Yes. Horses can sometimes do better in the ring or do worse in the ring. As you said, they get their own back going, what are you going to do now? You can't carry a whip into it and international dressage tests. So is there any actual strategies or physical

Natasha (00:23:46):

Or logical things that you do to get that happen or is it all just, it's a fee, like you've said doing a lot of tests and the feeling, would you ever like abandon a test and go, I have to tell this horse not to back off or just unpack that a bit more.

Kelly  (00:24:01):

Yeah, no, I definitely don't have that theater. Like I don't have that idea at all. And I think that, yeah,

Natasha (00:24:08):


Kelly  (00:24:09):

Opposite idea that when I want to ride with stronger aides, I just tell myself no, do not end game here. And what I found is if you just try to give the horse a good experience, competition, my competition, they starts to let you in more because they don't bad happen. And um, I'm also just a believer in light aides. Now that doesn't mean that the correction is not, uh, you know, just stronger, but I will never put two stronger AIDS to get something done. And I think this pays off, especially like in flying changes. Like you must find her aide at the big, the first change to the last change of the sequence and what I see all day, every day. Um, strange thoughts with a nice one. And by the last gender, right, his AIDS get stronger and stronger. The horse picks up more and more speed and then the mistakes come, you know? And

Natasha (00:25:12):

Have you seen me ride, like, that's my story.

Kelly  (00:25:16):

And, and definitely when you're riding, um, you know, at the highest level, like I'm literally thinking thrush my leg, rush my like take the chance it doesn't work. Like, do I want it to work from a strong rate or do I want it to work, follow that aid? And if it doesn't work, it doesn't work. Right. But in my experience, I just say to myself and I say to my students, believe it.

Natasha (00:25:42):

Yeah. Yeah. And the less is more things like

Kelly  (00:25:48):

Then when you stop pushing hot or making more pressure, they don't understand this. And this is more about the person and not yeah. Like don't right.

Natasha (00:26:03):

Yeah. No, absolutely. So was this something cultivated? Um, because it's obviously a lot of patients and a lot of discipline, um, to things that are not genetically programmed into me. I have to learn them where you gifted with like your, your dislike this naturally, or I love it so it can retract learned. Yes,

Kelly  (00:26:25):

No, I have everything. I think that I had a natural ability. I'm naturally very good balance. I'm going to say that. Yeah. For my health, I have very good balance. Get out of my horses way. I don't really need be super connected to horse. Like can be pretty much myself. He can be himself and I can apply my eyes quite independently. And I think it's definitely a skill that I've developed over time, but the psychology is all learned. Yes. Yep. It was your biggest mentor on that discipline and patience, pace. Um, lots of people. Um, yeah, definitely. I mean, I can't even name them all, but most recently, Stephanie Peters, somebody who was a true believer in the light eights and in that, and yes, the correction can be more Swift and quick and, and uh, really more of an attention together, like pay attention to my boy. And you know, he really is somebody that makes you a believer, but I have to say the horses make you into a believer. And I definitely won't work.

Kelly  (00:27:45):

Like, like when I put riders on him, like my S the girls that worked for me and I put them on him and it's like, they're, that force will turn you into a believer that you just literally moved your leg foot of ones. You do not need to push or press, or there's no tricks to it. It's just sit beautifully, your leg and put a pure wet. It's just sit up, turn your head. And the horse is going to pure wit no, you do not need to be pushing with your outside leg and pushing on, you know, like all the common mistakes combination of AIDS, just that I don't even have my outside leg on. And if you're wet and to me, it's a lot to do about trust. As you said, be a believer trust that you, that you've got this. Yeah. So, and is that what the competitions are about as well, building that trust bank, building that experience?

Kelly  (00:28:48):

Yeah, absolutely. And learning from them every single time, whether they be young ones or like I'm showing it every level, like last, last weekend I rode from media level through to run free. And I did get a couple of horses in India too, you know, like, so I'm, you know, riding all sorts of horses, but yeah, you definitely, um, yeah, for instance, one of my clients let me ride his horse in the Institute and yeah. So then I could understand what was going on in the test, right? Because he's like, you're riding with the handbrake. Huh? Why are you writing him with the handbrake on? I rode the horse in the test. This is not the horse that we ride in every day. And in the Walmart, the horse gets in the test and turns into a freight train. And I was unaware of that until I wrote it myself in the test.

Kelly  (00:29:43):

And I was like, cool, this is really, really now I know why you're writing him in second year. You know, that'd be good. He's different in the test. So that was really interesting for me. And, and I think, uh, you know, and it helped gave, gave me very good feedback that I could then help the training positions and what a gift that you as a trainer is not just do this. So don't do this and good luck with it. You get on and, and not even at home, you're like, yeah, well, I'll just take it to a cop. You're amazing. That's great. Yes. That's what we, what we do. And we have like a competition stable, so we're very focused on it and, and all of us love it. So, uh, we have, and I have like adult amateurs, young writers and young professionals in our bond.

Kelly  (00:30:39):

And the nice thing is everybody does support each other. It's not all out there on hard rides. And I, I'm also a true believer that the hard rides is when you learn the most. Absolutely. You've got to enjoy the process. You've got to enjoy peeling it back and you've got to enjoy like, yeah, that was a hard ride. I hope we got to the bottom of this. I don't know if we have, and it's so difficult when they plateau or several weeks or longer you think, Nope, just going to stick, stick to our guns here. And when they got the other side, I think there's nothing more rewarding.

Natasha (00:31:27):

And it's actually gift that people focus on the training or on the competition. And you focus that you're melding both. It's so cool. Yes. Yes. But, you know, I think that's what makes the sport so rewarding is because it is so difficult and it's not that it's physically difficult. Like, that's the other thing. It's more, you know, keeping it straight in your head. What is your goal? What are you trying to achieve here? Setting your goals up for success, not setting it up for failure. I see this all the time. You know, that people are just reacting to them and never being proactive. And I'm all about proactive training time. You have to react to the fact that it's all got too low. This is too late and resort to stronger AIDS at this point. Because before that, it's like every call and I don't miss an opportunity to rebalance your loss.

Kelly  (00:32:31):

You know, whatever that might mean for that for us, like I've got what's this that are strong. I have to take them deep in the corners to try to make them rule a bit, knowing that you need to engage them in the corner. So it's what your horse needs. There's not like one rule of thumb of what cookie cutter, like yeah. It's way more dynamic than that. And yeah, that's a lot of our training is focused on trying to be civil strikes to handle the loss. And so many of these horses, they're so predictable, what they do that it's, shouldn't be difficult.

Natasha (00:33:13):

Like you plot that spot seven times, it's done the same thing, seven times away. We're smart. We can figure this out.

Kelly  (00:33:21):

And they do, you know, the tricky ones is the ones that invent new things every time. Here's the new bit. The only one that I have a couple of cars that challenged me, like really challenged me because just when you think you figured it out, they invent a new thing and you're like, Oh, where did that come from? Oh, and then now there's something dish friends. Okay. Yeah. Wow.

Natasha (00:33:51):

Every time you whack one down, something else pops up.

Kelly  (00:33:54):

Yeah. Yeah. I think just, you know, think that, breaking it down, explaining it to the horse again, like this is never the time. And I have forces, like if it gets really hot here in the summer and would spend a lot of time walking, but we're not one step is wasted like 40 minutes to one hour just in walk. And I would be as much use out of that time as you can. I've rehabbed horses. I do it myself, you know, like, and I will spend 40 minutes walking that horse on a contact. And I tell you to fix the contact in the walk. And after two, on some walking, when that thing shots on it's you have a waste that time, all the horses in layup, we don't get off them for one day, you know, they're tactical, no matter what. And they're allowed to work at a walk.

Natasha (00:35:02):

Yeah. Yeah. So tell me about your day with your team, with how many horses are going on. What's a normal day.

Kelly  (00:35:10):

Yeah. We probably start a seven 30, something like this. Uh, I'm very lucky. I have full grooms and I have this sense that helps me. Um, I tend to write a couple of my own horses in the morning, and then I start teaching around like nine and I teach through to lunch time, which is normally about a 20 minute break. It's not a two hour lunch. And then in the afternoons is where it's a little bit more relaxed in the afternoons where I will do a few more lessons and then write a few more of my own horses. And at the moment we have 14 horses in fighting. And then I do do a couple of outside lessons every now and then, but it's a big day. Um, I don't train my horses more than about four days a week. And I staggered what makes sense.

Kelly  (00:36:08):

And, you know, they probably only do two days in a row, a day off, um, three days in a row, a day off, depending on the horse. And so I never am riding like five days. And when I say a day off, we're on the horse, walking out around the track or putting in cantering around, we've got a big racetrack, three quarters of a mile. And especially the young ones that you're trotting and cantering out. There we go, we'll go in groups. You should look on my YouTube until they fund. We will take people losses and we will catch them and show them together. And it's really a way to get, like, especially what's maybe a bit nervous with all the horses we like to do that in groups, get them really used to it. Um, we also will do like in a group and then one will peel off and go off on your own where you can imagine the hell that this can cause, and you want me to go this way? Yeah. Well, if you don't trust me and it does.

Kelly  (00:37:17):

Yeah. And so I think a lot of that work is done, not arena so much. It's more creative outside. My husband likes to fly a drone and plus the drawing around our heads while we're trotting and cantering out on the track. And we have some cool video of that. And it's kind of scary, you know, like it's making a buzzing sound and he'll come quick and quite fast. And you know, you gotta be able to keep them with you, keep them on the line, keep them connected to you. We might just go on the showgrounds now. They're pretty, they're pretty broken in.

Natasha (00:37:55):

I love it. And are you doing all of that? Like, would you ride six days a week or do you have like a certain amount of days you're there and then days where you will not feel

Kelly  (00:38:06):

Sorry? No, it's pretty much seven days a week and Sundays, I try to take an easy day for not showing up and in the show season where we have 12 weeks of showing, whoever is through March and which day of the week it is. And I don't take a single day off between pretty much December and, uh, April. I don't take a single day off and have, I might take a day off here and there. And then I just do what I love, which is making videos and I love, um, so I've always need somebody filming me. So I have videos to edit a lot. I've had, cause I love doing this. I probably have all that. They're all uploaded. And I probably have like 600 uploaded on YouTube. They're not all public. This is something I really enjoy doing as a product. Like it relaxes me actually I'll do it the week before competition too though.

Kelly  (00:39:16):

Like we'll film a fight a lot. And I was sit there and I'll edit the video down to my best fits and highlights video for myself to watch over and over that focusing on the difficult things makes no sense leading up to a competition. It's all about building that confidence. Yeah. Like focus on your good things, focus on the things you do. Well, never neglect those points, you know? And that's something that I've done that in my past where I got to become so focused on, Oh, I have to get this pyramid. I think that this changes to work or something like neglected the entry or neglected plus has a super extended trot or, you know, maybe you should do some of the things if you do well and make sure you do them well on the day. Yeah. I prefer focusing on the thing that you were the host flying hard at that moment in time. And I think that that's my psychology anyway, about like how I prepare myself and I do, I love watching my videos. Like I'm obsessed.

Kelly  (00:40:29):

You said, you know, you used the word believe and part of this trust process, have you found by doing that, that the bad stuff takes care of itself because the focus is off it. Have you ever had that?

Kelly  (00:40:42):

Yes. I think sometimes it has happened for sure. Like I'm able to like let that go. Like, okay. A lot of tests writing is about mathematics, right? Like I pretty much know what score I can get at that point and that horse and like one of the weaknesses. Yeah. I'm pretty close. Most of the time I'm on what the judge give me and yeah, I think, yeah, definitely. You have to leave a little bit that it will work out and it made it work out. Hey, you know, I find that the day after the competition, suddenly now we can do 15 ones, but why could Devon and miss two and do seven more? And now I have 15. Okay. Don't stress about it. Yeah, that's fine.

Kelly  (00:41:48):

So now I have, um, a really nice horse. So I have 2021 goals, fingers crossed. It happens to be that person ever that we have extra time because I think I have a horse that is a combination of the talent of amateur share, but also with a super good brain. And, and he just started his career. He just turned 11. And by the last CDI in, uh, in launch, we did a 69 in the ground free, special. Um, the host can get nines, it can get mini eight, five is pretty fancy, uh, called San heaters. And it's a cert Donna Hall. So they're tricky and

Natasha (00:42:44):

That's all right.

Kelly  (00:42:46):

But I clicked with him. Um, wow. Because he is sensitive, you know, he's, he's one of those horses that acts a little bit behind the leg, you know, and you think, Ooh, it's a big doll, but then if you, uh, wake it up too much, it's really exciting. You know, like there's kind of knowing between, it's like, now it's on fire. You better know what to do with it. Yeah. And here's a really, really cool horse actually. So I'm very happy to have the ride on him and I've loved him. I've known about him for years. I've tried to buy him over and over and try to, every time people come to Wellington's white horses, I'm like that one and keep up with me and I want this one and it never really happened. And then two years later, the horse is still for sale and I do have somebody to buy him and it's like, it worked out. I don't even know how the stars aligned on that situation. You can keep him and finish him off to the ground free and, uh, and, and safe where you can take him again with this one German one, six years ago with the 2016. No, it's actually not this one.

Natasha (00:44:11):

Got it. Great. Full circle. And that's all right. We'll pretend that how to beautiful, but this is another one. Um, yeah. Okay.

Kelly  (00:44:19):

Yeah. Yeah. So,

Natasha (00:44:21):

So have you read it him as a young horse or is he

Kelly  (00:44:24):

Like small tools and then you got, I've known him since he was six. So I've known his a little bit and uh, and his trainer was a friend of mine, so we're, you know, and I loved this horse always if he went to the world championship, the United States in the young horses. And, but then he never really did anything after that. You know, they try and get him off a bed and, you know, and he was kind of for sale for sale, for sale and really high price on him. And then eventually I was able to get him. So, yeah.

Natasha (00:45:00):

Congratulations. I'm super excited, boy. And you see, you mentioned this arsenal, so if something happens, um, what else have we got? Have we got backup and a second backup and a third backup?

Kelly  (00:45:12):

I don't know if I'm quite there yet, but yeah. Yes. And I definitely have one that I want or two that I think will be the Paris loss, you know? Yeah. You know, I have an eight year old doing, uh, an eight year old and a nine year old doing Institute. And I think really, really special. And, um, one is huge. Well, they both huge. I don't even know why I love these huge horses. Love it. And I'm a little, like, I'm not, I'm five seven. And I weigh like 115 pounds, which I think is 53 kilos, you know, like much. And, and I do eat a lot of food. Believe it or not, like I need, I need lots of protein, people interested to hear things like that, but I don't need a lot of protein. Um, I do try to be super healthy, lots of vegetables you do

Natasha (00:46:21):

Running, or just riding all those horses and being yeah, exactly. Seven days doing that would definitely be enough, I think.

Kelly  (00:46:28):

And like, I'm not the trainer that like sits down. I'm not, I'm not one of these people. I find it so difficult. I'm standing, I'm walking, I'm standing. I want to be in it when I have to sit still, I find it hard. I've learned to sit still, but, um, yeah, I'm, I'm out there. I want to be a part of it. And so I'm walking in top boots all day long, you know, from seven 30 in the morning til five 30 in the afternoon, that's a leg workout right there.

Natasha (00:47:04):

No, yeah, yeah.

Kelly  (00:47:06):

Work as well. I do live in handwork Brown walk. Um, so it's not just riding that keeps fit. And you know, I, I'm big believer in the groundwater, big believer in teaching almost as P off in hand, and I'll do the long running and, you know, helping the horses, get a better mouth, get a better top line, get more self, we'll, get all through. Um, you know, if you can achieve as much as you can off their backs, I think it does make the job easier when you get on, you know,

Natasha (00:47:43):

And you're such a good horse woman. Like these are skills that, you know, you're not a good dresser driver. You're a great horse woman, which I think as you said, that that pays off in an Olympic atmosphere when the chips are down and, and, and the, you know, something's gone wrong and you just need that extra bit of the horse going. I've got you and I'm going to fight for you. And that's done in years before.

Kelly  (00:48:10):

So when I was younger, I was like a believer in Versace. And that's the correct way, you know, dressage will prevail in the end. You can solve all the problems through dressage, actually, you can't.

Natasha (00:48:23):


Kelly  (00:48:27):

Yeah, yeah, you do. And you know, all my horses get lead in rope. Halters they all know the right Poulter they all have very good ground manners. If I walk forward though, of Florida, if I stop those toppings stepped back, they're going to step back. Like, I want this relationship with my horses as well, you know, on the ground. I'm not going to get on a horse that has no respect for me on the ground to the horse, that boys stand at the mounting block.

Natasha (00:48:59):

Yeah. Huge. And for everyone that's like, Oh, well, you know, I, I'm not a grand Prairie dressage rider. And, and it's like, well, you can start, you can start doing some groundwork, like wherever you're at in your writing journey, these are the bits you can notice. So start with, isn't it.

Kelly  (00:49:14):

I absolutely, it's a, it's a big part of it. Seven year old, six year old math, um, that she was three and she knocked her hip down. So she didn't get finished work in it. So I get her and you can't get on and you cannot get off safely, like getting off with scarier than getting on for training like this. And you're like, Hm. You know, he had to get sacked out with the flag, you know, every day and get on and off and on and off. And I mean, stop trying to get into any type of massage. And so she understood all of the groundwork and then it was like I got on. And it was like, she was already trying to year and I'd spend like maybe four to six weeks, a little of that. And then it's like, you can go over Paul on the ground and jumped six foot in the air.

Natasha (00:50:16):

No, I love it. Awesome. All right. What's your fight. We talked a little bit about Rio and all this, um, stuff. Tell

Kelly  (00:50:28):

Me some good stuff. What is your favorite competition memory that you have? Oh, wow. That's a good one. Um, I think, you know, I do, I'm a little bit of a performer, so I love doing the freestyles and yeah, I definitely, um, this is something that I do put a lot of time and effort into. And I think that there's something about lighting a freestyle that you've designed yourself with your hos and performing that in front of a lot of people. And like, I think that is something, and maybe you've heard of dressage or Devin, but this is unfortunately going ahead this year, but this was a stadium to go into and write your freestyle there in front of everybody. That was just wonderful. And I did that for a few years. We would go up to Devin and, and ride the competition up there to get that bigger atmosphere feel. And, uh, like, cause even when we went to Europe, unless you go to the really big shows, most of the shows are really small.

Kelly  (00:51:36):

And um, you know, like even when we showed in Odessa, there was like nothing there. It was like, you know, talk and blockchain. Okay. And if I wanted to look back even further than that, um, was sure winning the Sydney CVI with, uh, AMA share and kind of being like really an underdog, like somebody that nobody would have expected would mean that actually. But I mean, mumbles was really good that day. And it was so funny because when I was coming back into the bond and somebody said to me, Oh, who won the grand Prix? And I went, Oh, I did. I know seriously he's fun. Or was, it was so funny. But yeah, that was a great memory because, um, you know, uh, that horse had had a lot of ups and downs and that was really a big moment. So like really high school is that day in three, five star judges.

Kelly  (00:52:55):

And they all had me with the highest scores they thought, yeah, this is okay. This was, yeah. Yeah. I love it. Awesome. So, um, do you have any advice for writers that are starting out in their dressage journey? Um, what, what should they be focusing on thinking about working on? Yeah, I think this takes a lot longer than anybody. Thanks. That's going to take that. And that doesn't mean that you're going slow, that you might have to take two steps back to go one step forward again, and that, and you have to be okay with that and reach a, um, a road block, understanding why breaking it apart. And that you're never going to bulldoze through that point. You can try, you might cause other problems. I hate trading one problem for another that's, you know, I don't want to have, uh, you know, like I'm going to bulldoze all stirred this problem, but then ended up that it is, you know, now has a problem with something else.

Kelly  (00:54:14):

You know, it's definitely going to take peel the onion back again and I'll rebuild it from the ground up again. That will start with my book transitions and my positions. And it's not how big a reaction it's, wasn't an appropriate reaction for an appropriate aid. You know, if I gave all I do that, I'm happy with a small reaction from the horse. Um, I'm I, I want like this, the quickness of the reaction, like not how big a reaction, but the speed at which the horse responded to age. Like that's the more important piece that I try to stay focused on. I don't need it exploding in the air. I need a quick reaction from it. Um, 99%, the time you don't get a quick reaction. Cause water is in the horse's way. I always like, are you saying yes or no at the same time?

Kelly  (00:55:13):

And I know you talk about not a lot and it's a really common problem, but you have to go back, you have to pull it apart and make sure like leg yield draws do turn on the forehand. Does your horse rang back? Can you turn it left and right. You know, ringing back. Can you walk straight forward again? Can you walk straight at the mirror and Holton walk straight on again? Nice things don't seem important, but I think they're really, really important. No wrong. No, not within your Olsen's around four Oh circle in that corner until it feels right. Don't turn on the diagonal until your horse is square with the long side and then turn it to the diagonal. You see so many people just whipping the corner. It's like coming through your corner. When you watch this parallel with the long side, now you can take him onto the diagonal and you will have a straight horse instead of people that was around the corner. And then they're on the diagonal when they straighten them up. Yeah, no, that's not necessary.

Natasha (00:56:21):

I just want to repeat it. Cause it was so good, but yeah, it's not the bigness of the reaction and it's the speed of the reaction that is gold right there. Sorry. Yes, no, absolutely. And I learned a lot of back from the, you know, like not what you do, but how you do it from Udo. Elena also was a major influence on me and I have to mention him and he is a genius on a loss, like 73 years old. We'd get on my horses and ride them. And I would just say, wow, I still have a really long way.

Kelly  (00:56:58):

Oh, I can get those. You know, I mean, you could just ride a flying change that just covered so much ground. And it was so accurate and so straight and not like any shorter than mine in the stirrups and a, I mean that guy's trained 2000 horses to grow free and he was so such a stickler, all these little details, like how you took the color, um, you know, the reaction to the ice. Yeah. It was like he, and being quicker, just myself, I lie reaction time quicker to get the horse quicker and hopping strong and not ever resorting to strongly. He was right.

Kelly  (00:57:47):

You know, like not necessary, never necessary, you know, their hands down, they never back. You know what I mean? It's like you right onto the bed. When you put your hand down the horse, you come up again, the horses you're riding onto the hand again, you know, it was just very, very simple. I would say most people is riding with the handbrakes on, I I'm guilty of, you know, like, especially when you have a hot one, that's going back instead of riding going forward all and the relaxation creates in your horse by going with it and not against it.

Kelly  (00:58:35):

It's so much, he did that every day. Like I teach this all day every day and I actually started recording myself because each of her culture lessons and, and always inventing new ways to explain the same thing. Yeah. Yeah. Because you'd never know what's going to click with that person for me. That's really important. And, and I, I think I I'm, it becomes clearer to me as well. Like having to verbalize, having to as well as not just doing it myself, having some little thing that's peculiar to my, my own writing. That's really solid that you can teach to another person. And I know I love it when I put like my assistant on and I can tell her exactly how much blood loss. Yeah. And we do to make sure it really is that good. I didn't like the a levels and it works beautifully. And you know, you just see the smile from me, like, yes. Then I know it's good. Not making it too complicated.

Natasha (01:00:02):

Yeah. Oh, that is the pace. Isn't it? It is simple. Yeah.

Kelly  (01:00:08):

I did not know what I, what I did. Like I knew what I, I, I had a sense of what I was doing, but could I actually explain what I was doing? No way. Yeah. I did this and that, but very, very clear, clear and deliberate. And it works.

Natasha (01:00:32):

Absolutely. So do you have any sponsors that help you, that you would love to shout out and mention right now?

Kelly  (01:00:38):

Oh, yes. Um, uh, my big, big sponsor is into saddles, which maybe you guys have never heard all over there. Um, and they've, I've been with that company now, like five years. And I would say, I would say about five years ago, I felt myself starting to break a little bit. Wow. Right. I think my hip started getting sold. Um, and I realized I needed, you know, when you ride that many horses a day and I was riding all different styles, I was one of those people when I was younger. It's like, I'm here with the size loads itself. It's the loss. Yeah. Yeah. Now I've been older. It's like, no. Now I, these saddles, since I've been riding in them, no hip pain, my back, well back or shoulders, everything is better. Um, my horses feel fantastic. And, um, so yes, put into saddlery, look them up. I sent a couple over to Australia and if you like the custom saddles you'll love.

Natasha (01:01:51):

So I will definitely check that out and reach it out. If I need it,

Kelly  (01:01:55):

The styles, they have a few different styles. There's three different styles that, and cause your loss has changed a lot and changing the saddles on the horses. And, uh, yeah, they might, my main sponsor is a fantastic, um, I was one of the first people that was with the company where they still were just like demoing saddles and 16 five, and no other cell company would make me a 16, five and a 17 afterwards broken indicates 17 five. I basically became an 18 and I'm living my five was a little snug, but once it broke in, it was perfect. So yeah, when you see my youngest is 16 five out there, but it looks perfect. I think for me and my horse, um, yeah. And I said, what if you can make me a 16 five, and you can change the needles to be a little bit more like this or that.

Kelly  (01:02:53):

And they did it and great a great company. Look them up a line out salary over here. And Greg was from Rams from England and being self filling his entire life. Um, and they used to live in California and now I'm so happy that he moved to Wellington. So now I have the saddle fits all the time. And my other key that I have to give is the big company for a long day, which is really famous in the jumping world. And um, how they got me out of critics. I will never know because I wrote in that my entire life, I tried, never liked them. My show groups were the really expensive Cancun's and they gave me a pair of these prolonged days, met custom made. They made me a pair. I'm like, I want like these, they've got this like jumping grip on me and side, like it's on the inside, but it's this grippy thing that all the jumpers love.

Kelly  (01:04:00):

And, and they made me these boots and I'm like, after like one ride, I was going, Oh my God. Wow. And they're light. They're not heavy. You're walking around all day around. Like, they're like really lie to my legs. And, and so I, I absolutely love my prolonged tapers and you can look them up, but I don't think you can get them in Australia. I do. They have colors. Oh my God. Everything. Yes. I'm a crazy color person. Yes. I black blue, Brown, red, like red is like, like in thing right now is I love red boots. So everything, I even wear it with pain because everyone thinks it looks great.

Kelly  (01:04:54):

I think that's why the company liked me as well, because I'm not boring on it. They're like, yeah. Yeah, you need fancy. Like, that's the only way people are going to stop you and say what fits to those Kelly? You know? So yes. I'm not afraid of wearing. I am pretty nice, lower like positions so I can get, um, and then I am sponsored by an Australian company called dr. Shaw and maybe you have to show and they send their wonderful products over here. Um, they starting up a United States company right now, um, with COVID it kind of slow down. We've been working on it for a couple of years trying to get them up and running over here, but great company, great products, um, no chemicals, um, all the essential oils from Australia native thing. Yes. And people like ask me, like, how can we almost is tales is so good. How come you're so good? Okay. We do brush them a lot and there's a lot of grudging that goes on everybody.

Kelly  (01:06:04):

Um, and it definitely helps. It definitely helps, you know, we use the Apple protect and shine on their coats and you know, a lot of promise, fungus and humidity, you know, we don't get such a purchase. The above, we get humid like Singapore image. Oh yeah. Um, I will say that they act as a great barrier for the fungus. You know, we put it on the legs before we put the horses out on the products and, and yeah. I mean, we Sandy soil here. So one of things live in that, not that nice in Australia, I think they call it like, they get really bad greasy heel here. So which I dealt with my whole life living in Queensland.

Natasha (01:06:59):

Not that much. That's how you can handle Florida ever. You would blatantly. Yeah.

Kelly  (01:07:03):

Yeah. Cause people say, Oh, how do you live there year round? And I've lived here 10 years, year round. And I, it does get harder as you get all of them. Uh, I'm lacking. We have this amazing facility that really is set up for a summer. And like we have 300 souls where I am like 50 acre property. We have, I rent, uh, 18 stalls there and covered a big covered arena for dressage rings, jumping rings, pony Hunter, Jennifer rings. Um, like we, it's really a great setup. Um, I love the space. I need space.

Kelly  (01:07:49):

Um, you know, we've got a really big lunging area where you can lunge like four horses with a big high fence. And we do all that in hand work and some wild ones where we need a high fence. So readiness here, it's all covered arenas and you better know how to stay up like your horses. And when horses come over from Germany, I'm shocked that they don't up in a, you know, four walls in an indoor arena. And then you get here and it's like, Whoa, they don't steer later turn without a rail. They don't know what an outside rain is. Wow. Yeah. Um, so yes, we that's. Yeah. This fabulous facility where I am that we can walk to the showgrounds safely across the street. That's like a challenge in itself.

Natasha (01:08:53):

Well, it's, it's the biggest challenge that compared to 15 ones

Kelly  (01:09:00):

Across the street. And not that, I mean, my grooms will lead us across, you know, I don't want to end up in something, you know, like a few times I'm sure.

Natasha (01:09:13):

Oh, wow. Okay. Any other sponsors we need to meet?

Kelly  (01:09:16):

Well, I think that's all there. My main three. Yeah. I kind of keep it small so that I can do a good job to, you know, like, yeah. Yes, of course. There's a lot of products that I love and endorse and I could go on for hours about what bridles I love, but yes.

Natasha (01:09:37):

Okay. And you mentioned you've got all these videos on YouTube. So if you want to mention new social media channels, we'll also put it in the show notes, but just for the people that are listening.

Kelly  (01:09:46):

Yes. Just Kelly Lang, I think it's just Kelly Lane, Instagram, and I'm trying to do Instagram. I'm kind of slow on Facebook right now and go through phases on Facebook. But I love Instagram. I'm trying to do a good job at least posting once or twice a week. I don't do your story. Right. So I don't do anything like that.

Natasha (01:10:17):

Yeah, no, I'm with you. You're not on tick tock.

Kelly  (01:10:23):

Bring it to be like an influencer or something like this. It's just, if people want to know who I am and they want to follow me twice, you know? Yeah. I love it. Awesome.

Natasha (01:10:33):

Oh, thank you so much for your time. Is there anything else you'd like to say is your parting words?

Kelly  (01:10:39):

Hmm. I can't think of anything. I think we covered everything.

Natasha (01:10:45):

I think, so much inspiration is going to come from your story and from your lows and your amazing highs and um, for your ultimate, like, I love your discipline. I love your philosophy. And I love, um,

Natasha (01:10:57):

Excited for 21 and 24. Thank you. We should do this again.

Natasha (01:11:03):

Absolutely. Sounds good. Alright.

Kelly  (01:11:05):

Thank you. Bye.

Natasha (01:11:06):

You enjoy today's episode and you want more information, including the transcription, head over to your writing backslash podcast. There you'll find all our other podcasts. Lots of cool manuals there for you. Lots of cool. The transcriptions heaps of free resources there for you go to your writing backslash podcasts to get that all and make sure you hit the subscribe button. So you never miss an episode.

Podcast Episode 28: Robert Harrison Schmerglatt | The Ambitions Of A Coach

On today's podcast, we speak with Robert Harrisson Schmerglatt. Robert is a highly regarded equestrienne and coaches some of the best Australia's best dressage talent. Robert grew up in a horse orientated family and at a young age moved to Germany to pursue what would be a very successful career in Dressage. To keep up with his journey, you can follow Robert on Instagram @rob_harrisson_s.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00):

Yeah. Thank you so much for joining me. Robert super pumped to have this conversation today.

Robert (00:06):

Okay. Very welcome. I don't think it anything that much special about me, but I'm very honored.

Natasha (00:13):

Well, I have been doing a lot of podcasts recently with Australian top grand prix riders And when I talk about coaching, I'll talk about who helps you? Your name comes up a lot.

Robert (00:25):

Okay. Well, I'm very, very proud of that.

Natasha (00:28):

And in a good way. Not in all this, this guy in a really good, fabulous way. So it's so good.

Robert (00:35):

Well, I am a bit crazy. Okay. Like if you have a gimme giving a lesson, I am a bit on the crazy side. So like, there's actually, there are many moments where I've take a step back and I like reflect upon myself in guard Robert. You're weird. You're insane.

Natasha (00:51):

Oh my God. I think I love, I think, I think we are going to be best friends. This sounds perfectly normal in my world. So now I want to listen to you. You have a lesson. All right. So let's start with, how does it all start? Your mom and dad were riders? You obviously grew up with horses. Tell me, tell me in those early years, what you were thinking and what was really important to you when you're riding back then?

Robert (01:14):

Well, what a lot of people don't know I was actually born in the U S um, never been back there. And so like, since it was for, cause my, my, my dad's a showjumping rider. Um, but retired now, he doesn't ride anymore. His is his gun. His bones have had it, I'm afraid. And, um, he's been a very, very happy, a very, very hard worker. Actually. I have to say my father and, um, my mother's, my mother is actually from Geelong last year, she was born but lives in Queensland. And, um, she's of course, a dressage rider as, as many or many people are. And, um, so I was born in the U S where they got divorced from his four, moved to Australia. Did not want to have anything to do with horses at all. Um, I was sick of them because like my sister rode, my dad rode, my mom rode. I had to pickup poo all the time, like in no way. And, um, so I'd have I had phases where I'd ride on and off and whatever. An