I’ve recovered from my vomiting bug and I’m feeling at my best again, which is good because on Tuesday and Wednesday I had World Class training at the Unicorn Centre in Gloucestershire.
Olympic judge and trainer Francis Verbeek was instructing, and I took my grand prix ride, Ollie. He wasn’t at his best as I hadn’t been able to ride him properly the week before, being ill. I could have opted to ride the intermediaire, but I want as much practice with the grand prix as possible, so went for that.
Francis and Nick Burton were judging and afterwards we did video analysis of the test. It’s so useful watching your test with judges, they pointed out exactly where I needed to kick on more, or needed the horse more uphill.
There are about 10 of us in World Class start and potential squads and we all watch each other’s video analysis — it’s handy to see what other people are having trouble with, too.
We had sessions with the World Class psychologist, as well as physio Andy Thomas. I have a slight problem with my left shoulder where I chipped a bone skiing. I’m more effective with my right side and Andy monitors my left to make sure my reactions don’t slow down on that side.
Human physio’s something not a lot of riders think about, but it’s so beneficial. I always have to work on keeping my pelvis loose — a lot of riders do, especially male riders. I have various stretches I have to do before I ride and they make me more aware of how I’m sitting on the horse.
Human physio can help identify why your horse has a problem with something, too. If, say, your horse pulls more on one rein, and you’ve tried all you can to soften him, you should look at your own position. Over time with physio my body’s become more symmetrical and it’s the riders responsibility to make sure they are straight on their horse.
Competing at Abbey
I went to a competition at Abbey in Gloucestershire on Saturday. My sister Pippa rode Belmondo in the advanced medium and got 69%, which is great as I’ve been riding the horse so it’s good he’s now going well for Pippa.
I did the prix st georges on Merlin Nemorensis and he was fantastic — there were slight discrepancies in the two judge’s scores, they had different opinions, but I was really happy with the horse.
I went back on Sunday with Zep and did two novices. He’s the five-year-old who was a bit wobbly at his last show, but this time he was much more consistent. It was blowing a gale but he still really concentrated on me, so it’s onwards and upwards with him.