International grand prix rider Lara Butler was British team reserve for both the 2016 Rio Olympics and the 2017 Gothenburg Europeans with the Bechtolsheimers' Rubin Al Asad. H&H headed to Gloucestershire to meet her

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1. Her father was in the King’s Troop

“The army was never a consideration for me — it’s far too disciplined,” laughs Lara. “My dad has taught me some of the tricks of the trade though, such as how to clean my boots really well and properly shining them. I was complimented on them at Olympia.”

2. Her competition essentials include Jelly Babies

“I have to have four or five Jelly Babies just before I compete, every time,” explains Lara. “I used to struggle with counting in the changes and so I stuff Jelly Babies in my mouth just before I go in the arena to help with my energy and concentration levels. They help me stay mentally sharp.

3. She has a healthy appetite

“I like to eat a lot — I eat a lot more than people think. My husband Billy and I take it in turns to cook each evening — we try to have a proper dinner every day.”

4. Her lurcher, Monty, was a wedding present from Laura Tomlinson, but was stolen just seven months later

“We had a phone call one afternoon from a guy who said he had our dog, pretending to be a vet. We ended up having to pay to get him back, but we’re so glad we were able to,” says Lara.

5. She’s able to switch off from horses when she wants to

“One of the benefits of this job [stable rider for the Bechtolsheimers] is that, unless there’s a show, we always get our day off, which is Saturday afternoon and Sunday,” explains Lara. “I like to get away and spend the time away from horses — and I don’t miss it if I’m away for a week. I enjoy the break.”

6. Her husband Billy is also super sporty

He won the 125-mile Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race in 2017.

“Billy isn’t horsey but he’s very supportive and comes to almost every show with me. He can even take off bandages now,” says Lara.

7. She temporarily gave up horses as a child

“I was about six or seven, and for some reason I decided that I just didn’t want to ride anymore,” recalls Lara. “Then when I changed my mind, my mum made me go to a riding school all through the winter, and ride regularly in the cold and rain, to prove that I was committed this time.”

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8. Her international ride Rubin Al Asad (Rufus) has beaten the odds

“Rufus got cast in his stable and tore a back muscle just before I started at the Bechtolsheimers, so it’s actually a miracle that we’ve got him to where he is,” explains Lara. “No one thought he would ever even get to grand prix, let alone be doing what he is. It’s taken a long time and lots of patience to get here.”

Don’t miss the full interview with Lara Butler in today’s issue of Horse & Hound magazine (25 January 2018)