Meet the newest addition to the H&H blogging team, 17-year-old bright young showjumping talent, Olli Fletcher. Son of showjumping parents Graham and Tina Fletcher, Olli has already notched a number of top international results, and here he will be taking us through his time training with current FEI world number one showjumper, Steve Guerdat, in Switzerland
When I text Steve Guerdat [2012 individual Olympic showjumping champion, 2015, 2016 and 2019 World champion and current World number one] during lockdown, I thought I was highly unlikely to get a response, let alone the opportunity to go and train with three of my own horses. It is now three weeks since I’ve been in Elgg (Switzerland) and I have loved every minute of it. I have learnt so much in such a short space of time, from different philosophies to how hard you must work to get to the top.
I would always say I’m a hard worker — at home I’m the first one out and last one in, alongside with my brother Will. But Steve takes it to a new level! He got back from Gorla Minore (Italy) at 3am last Monday morning after winning the grand prix there, and he was out riding one of his top horses, Bianca, before 6am and was cutting his precious grass jumping arena at 7.30pm — he is someone anyone in the world should look up to, for far more than just his phenomenal riding ability.
Just over a week ago I went to my first show with Steve. It was a two-star at Gorla Minore. It was a great show considering it was my first competition since Vilamoura in March. Lady Harris’ and Lady Kirkham’s Hello William came on leaps and bounds that show, going double clear in the 1.40m grand prix to finish sixth and then took a massive step up to jump his first 1.45m two-star grand prix, going clear and finishing 10th as an eight-year-old, among the very best in the world.
Hello Disckoboy also jumped really well to be placed in the speed class the last day. Alison Walton’s IV Willem jumped super all week in the seven-year-old classes (pictured top) getting placed two or three times, including a fourth the second day.
I feel like my horses are all going very well and the rideability has improved dramatically. I would also like to say a massive thank you to Izzy Corke who is helping me out here and doing a great job.
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At the yard it is very rare to see someone riding on a surface. Steve has one outdoor arena and is in the middle of building another one, plus one indoor and four grass arenas to ride in. Steve is a strong believer in riding on the grass and hacking in the woods as he believes it is good for the horses’ heads, and being the incredible horseman he is, I would 100% have to agree with him. He also jumps a lot of natural and cross-county fences as he believes it makes horses braver and it is fun for both the horse and rider. He is the most patient and persistent man I’ve ever met on a horse; he is so sympathetic when riding and will never give up, no matter how awkward the horse is being. He obviously loves the sport and he obviously loves to win, but I genuinely believe that the main reason he showjumps is because he truly loves his horses.
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