Have a back up plan — and other things top riders wish they had known as a teenager

  • Ask a top rider what they wish they'd know at the age of 15, and their answers range from the profound ('follow your dream'), to the more pragmatic ('don't go to the pub so much')...

    Jock Paget, eventer (pictured, above)

    “I would do what I’ve done all over again, I have no regrets. But if I was giving advice to someone else I’d say ‘do what you want to do, work hard at it and you can achieve it’.”

    Willa Newton, eventer

    “Always have a back up plan. I was always trying to avoid university but I am so glad that I didn’t and that I now have a degree in business management.”

    Joe Clee, showjumper

    “Don’t go to the pub so much.”

    Kasey Perry-Glass, dressage rider

    “Follow your dreams and believe in yourself. I’ve always been determined and dedicated to horses but I have worked hard on building confidence and believing I am worth it! You have to love yourself and believe in yourself to make things happen.”

    Nigel Hollings, showing judge

    “Follow your own dreams and not those of your parents.”

    Richard Johnson, jockey

    “You’ve still got a lot to learn. I was very lucky with my career, but you never stop learning, even today. With horses, every day is a school day — they constantly surprise you.”

    Ben Way, eventer

    “Give up race riding sooner. I tried to do it at the same time as eventing when I was younger. It didn’t work.”

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    Michael Eilberg, dressage rider

    “Learn German. I was doing German at school and dad spoke it at home, but I couldn’t be bothered and now I wish I was bilingual.”

    Gemma Tattersall, eventer

    “I would say ‘there’s always another day’. You have to think like that. They are horses, we are human and mistakes happen. I used to get so worked up, thinking it was my only chance, but now I’m more mature and positive, and the results have started to come.”

    Billy Twomey, showjumper

    “Follow your dream, however ambitious. I wouldn’t say it’s been easy, but with help and support, I’ve managed to follow mine — even if it did seem over the top at the time.”

    Dennis Lynch, showjumper

    “Even back then I would never give up. I’ve had plenty of ups and downs in life, when I’ve been suspended, had a bad grand prix or been dropped from the team, but it just motivates me more. I love riding in the arena.”

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