Richard Davison is at the FEI European Dressage Championships in Aachen, Germany, to help British team member Carl Hester with his ride Nip Tuck, known as Barney.
“I help Carl warm-up and train the horse before he goes in the arena,” says Richard.
Four-time Olympian Richard’s main role is to tell Carl how movements and the horse’s way of going looks from the ground, vital information as that will be the judges’ viewpoint during the test.
Obviously a good relationship between Richard and Carl is essential for this to work.
“Carl and I have known each so long, we’ve done so many championships together,” says Richard.
In this video, Richard reveals some specific advice he has given Carl this week about riding his corners, an essential skill for all dressage riders from prelim through to grand prix.
He also talks about Carl’s mindset and the difference between warming up for the other tests and the freestyle. In the freestyle, riders design their own floorplan, which is ridden to music of their choice, rather than performing the movements in a set routine.
Once Carl has ridden Barney, he has to put on the metaphorical trainer’s hat, as he has a huge role to play in helping his protégée Charlotte Dujardin prepare for her turn in the arena on the Olympic, world and European champion Valegro.
Carl and Charlotte both contributed to Britain’s team silver medal in Aachen on Thursday. Yesterday, they then rode in the special. Carl finished fifth with 77.003% on his own and Jane de la Mare’s Nip Tuck, while Charlotte and Valegro successfully defended the special individual gold they won in 2013 in Herning, Denmark, scoring a whopping 87.577%.
The pair compete for the final time at the event this afternoon in the freestyle.
Their fellow British team rider Fiona Bigwood sadly had to withdraw from the freestyle this morning.
For a full 14-page report on all the action, drama and medals – as well as analysis and comment – see the bumper European Championships Dressage Horse & Hound magazine edition, out Thursday (20 August).