Congratulations on your success at Bramham International Horse Trials! After such a busy weekend becoming the champion of the u25’s CCI3*, what are your plans for the next few days?
I have 6 competitive horses at the moment so will be cracking on with them. We left for Bramham last Tuesday so as we are out competing this weekend, it’s straight back to work with trips to the beach – with the horses! XC schooling and galloping.
During the cross-country phase, you experienced a ‘sticky’ moment at the water, what were your thoughts at that time?
We were both locked onto the final element, the Duck, so it was just a question of sitting tight and making it happen. Sometimes it’s not all about looking pretty but being effective. Collien ‘Tinks’ dug deep, found a 5th leg from somewhere and off we went.
It must have been a nerve-racking weekend, especially overnight going into the show jumping. Do you have anything special that you wear or do for good luck before you ride?
I’m not a nervous rider but obviously being in the lead at your first CCI3* is a pretty big deal but I had a great support team at Bramham and we managed to keep to our normal routine. Tinks came out very fresh and flew through the Trot Up which is always a big relief.
I’m quite superstitious and will always touch each top pole on the jumps as I walk the course, once we start warming up I am able to block everything else out.
What is Collien P 2’s favourite phase? Is it also your favourite?
We both love Cross Country. Being a perfectionist I do really enjoy schooling and working the horses on the flat but nothing beats the adrenaline rush you experience galloping around the most amazing parkland.
We know that this is a relatively new relationship. When you first met Collien P 2 about a year ago, was there an instant bond?
I had only had her 2 weeks before we competed at Houghton CCI1* in 2016, so we had very limited time to get to know each other. In fact, the Cross Country warm up at Houghton was only the second time we’d jumped rustic fences. She instantly felt brave and bold. She has a fairly unique jumping technic but an amazing brain and always tries her hardest, so rather than change her, I’ve adapted my style slightly to work with her and it seems to be going in the right direction.
Has she got any interesting quirks and what is her stable name?
She’s called Tinkabell or Tinks at home as she’s sweet but also very sassy! She’s not overly keen on you putting rugs on but for everything else she’s as good as gold.
Is there any particular support that Tinks needs nutritionally?
Which Feedmark supplements do you feed to Tinks, and how do they benefit her?
She loves food but as a fit competition horse we give her support with ExtraFlex HA with Rosehips to help with the vergers of competing and the associated fitness that goes with it.
She can also get a little anxious particularly in the dressage if there’s a lot of atmosphere – like at Bramham. So she is routinely on Precision and Focus to provide her with all the necessary proteins, minerals and vitamins without creating too much ‘jollyness’!
What are your best moments as a combination, presumably this weekend may be one of those top moments!?
I would say winning the U25 at Bramham is my biggest achievement and certainly our best moment, just ahead of my Individual and Team Gold at the Young Rider Europeans on Livingstone in 2015. I’ve not ridden a 4* horse but after riding around Ian Starks Course at Bramham I feel Tinks could just be the one!
Together, you look like the perfect partnership, what does the future hold for you as a combination?
Tinks will have a few weeks enjoying the grass but we’ll start planning her autumn campaign, hopefully to include another CCI3* that would see us 4* qualified for 2018. After doing the Badminton Guinea Pig test this year; it would be really amazing to go back to do the real thing in the near future.