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What advice would you give to a young rider hoping to make it?

My advice to any young rider in any discipline is to find someone you trust, who has a proven track record — and listen to them unfailingly. You are not allowed to have opinions of your own until you’re at least 30!

Don’t take short cuts — they never work. Don’t get too excited when you are doing well, nor too despondent when things go badly.

What do you wish you’d known when you were 18?

That I was going to be a dressage rider, so I could have got started a bit sooner. I’d had riding lessons and I was doing my British Horse Society (BHS) stages, but I didn’t know anything about dressage.

What was the best thing you did back then?

When I was 21, I went to Talland to train with Pammy Hutton and Adam Kemp. Going there was pivotal for me and opened my eyes to the world of competitive dressage. I remember watching Pammy riding in the indoor school and being gobsmacked by it all.

Anything you’d have done differently?

No — though I did struggle with the jumping aspect of my BHS stage exams. I managed to pass my stage four, crying and holding on to the mane, as I was a useless jump jockey. I did enough jumping to know that I wasn’t very good at it.

What exercise regime do you follow as a rider?

I go to the gym three times a week minimum and have a personal trainer there who shouts ‘Come on Anna, that’s one Wispa bar you’ve just burnt off’ to encourage me.

The other reason I go to the gym, apart from to look vaguely respectable in my white breeches, is to keep me symmetrically strong as I’m quite right-handed, so I do exercises with free weights to level me up.

If I’m away at a show and can’t get to the gym, I go running.

This extract is taken from the young rider special issue of Horse & Hound (29 April, ’10)

Enter our competition to win a young rider bursary courtesy of H&H and Dodson & Horrell