H&H meets Scotland-based Jill Grant, who made the 16-hour round trip to Gloucestershire to ride at the NAF Five Star British Dressage Winter Championships
Name: Jill Grant
Based: Kilmarnock, Ayrshire
Horse at Hartpury: Dizzy Heights (Dizzy) – Voltaire x Goodwill
Can you tell us a bit about Dizzy?
She’s a seven-year-old but we’ve taken it slowly as she’s so big. We haven’t measured her, but everyone likes to take a guess! She’s quite sensitive and a bit of a worrier, despite her size. She was bred here in Britain by her owner Alan Tremlett, and I also rode her mother Northern Mareska.
What has she done up until now?
Last year she came to the Hartpury Festival of Dressage and won the Shearwater six-year-old finals, but the big atmosphere in the prize-giving completely overwhelmed her and we had to take her out of there. You don’t want to be up there when she gets upset – she’s enormous.
How did you feel coming back to Hartpury?
These championships were a big aim; after she got so upset last year, I just wanted to give her a nice time, so I nursed her round and everything was a bit underpowered – it’s nice to still get good marks as I just want to lay foundations for the future.
These championships have been great for Dizzy, as the prize-givings are low-key and the arena walk has kept her settled.
How did you choose your freestyle music?
It’s music that I rode to years ago on Solitaire [a mare Jill rode at small tour]. We tried lots of music for Dizzy but kept coming back to this one – it’s old show tunes like “Singing in the Rain” and “Any Dream Will Do”. It suits her down to the ground.
What are your aims with Dizzy?
She could be my horse of a lifetime – I want her to still be doing grand prix at 16 so I’m not in a rush. I think you have to aim as high as you can with every horse.
Have you ever scored a 10?
Northern Mareska regularly scored 10s for her walk, and so does Dizzy’s half-brother by Jazz. We haven’t got there yet, but she has had a 9.5 so we’re getting there.
You’re the resident trainer at Morris EC – what’s your training philosophy?
I always say: “it’s not a race”. Horses and riders can only progress and learn in their own time, and at their own speed.
What’s your secret weapon?
Bribes! I always have polos, and the horses know it.