Top tips for young riders: Piggy French

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

    Follow your dreams. If you want it enough, you’ll get there in the end.

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

    At that age, I was already dedicated to the sport and was fortunate in having my mother [a former advanced event rider] to supervise my training. I had already worked out that a rider never stops learning and that self-discipline plays an important role too.

    What was the best thing you did then?

    One of the best things I did was to spend six weeks training with Sharn Wordley, a New Zealand showjumper. I owe a lot of my success to him.

    Any regrets from that time?

    There are always going to be times when you make a mistake, whether it’s missing out a jump, going the wrong way or forgetting your dressage test. At the time, it may seem devastating, but you need to dust yourself down, consider what you may have done wrong, learn from it and move on.

    What dietary regime do you follow as a rider?

    When training and competing I find it difficult to digest a substantial breakfast so usually have something light and nutritious, such as scrambled eggs and wholemeal toast. I take copious amounts of fluids on board throughout the day, particularly during the summer, and find Lucozade Sport particularly beneficial.

    When travelling, I always have a good supply of fresh fruit on the lorry, bananas being my favourite due to their slow-energy release properties.

    At competitions, particularly three-day events, anxiety or apprehension tends to dull my appetite, but experience has taught me that ‘you are what you eat’ and diet now plays a critical part in my regime.

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

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