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The great thing with horses is that you can constantly reinvent and refocus. There are plenty of top-level riders who have taken a U-turn. We asked some of them why they changed sport and what their advice is for others.

Bumble Thomas
Eventer-turned-showjumper
Why she switched: “I wasn’t keen on the way the sport was heading, with the short format and technical fences. A nasty fall at Tweseldown confirmed I was gradually becoming more cautious.”
Advice to others: “Ask yourself what you really enjoy doing and what might fit in with your lifestyle. I always enjoyed the technical aspect of showjumping and I thought, ‘It’s now or never’.”

Antonia Brown
Eventer-turned-dressage rider
Why she switched: “It was the day I thought I’d gone flat out around a novice course and found out I had 15 time-penalties. That’s when I realised I needed a new game.”
Advice to others: “Go to a few top competitions in other disciplines as a spectator. It really can inspire you. I remember watching the national dressage championships at Stoneleigh several years ago and thinking, ‘This is where I want to be’.”

Polly Gundry
Eventer-turned-jockey
Why she switched: “I’m a very competitive person and my lack of ability in the dressage frustrated me. I wanted to be winning.”
Advice to others: “Try as many different activities as you can. I have found myself playing a bit of polo recently — something I never imaged I’d get involved with. You need to be open-minded.”

Matt Hicks
Eventer-turned-dressage rider
Why he switched: “Once I reached three-star level, I knew I didn’t really have the guts to kick on any faster across country. The horses I was riding at the time were good on the flat and I enjoyed dressage, so I decided to give it a go.”
Advice to others: “If you’re a competitive person, focus on what you’re good at, because that will make your riding much more enjoyable.”