Kathryn Robinson, who makes her debut at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials next week (5-8 May), grew up in a non-horsey family, but was a keen member of the Woodland Pytchley branch of the Pony Club as a teenager.
It wasn’t until she spent some time with family friend and eventer Sam Albert that she decided eventing was the career for her. Eleven years on the 30-year-old is preparing for her first Badminton with her ride of six years, Let It Bee.
Competing at Badminton is something that Kathryn has always dreamed about. However, she didn’t envisage it would be on Let It Bee when she first purchased him.
“I bought him from Germany as a young horse and he had done a few local shows,” she says. “He was purchased as a horse to enjoy and to do some BE100s and novices on but he just kept going up the levels.”
Their career together has been full of ups, downs, twists and turns. They were eliminated at their first four-star in 2013 at Pau, but returned the next year to finish seventh.
Kathryn represents Canada because her mother Gayle is Canadian, although she was born in this country.
In 2014 she and Let It Bee received their first call-up for a championship, at the World Equestrian Games, but they were unable to compete due to the required paper work being submitted after the deadline.
Then last year they went to the Pan-Am Games, but after a great dressage, a fall at the second fence across country put an end to their competition.
‘He likes to be in charge’
Let It Bee is a very easy, trainable horse but his showjumping has needed the most work.
“He is more like a pet, very cuddly and curious,” says Kathryn. “He is easy to train and likes a routine.
“He is a big long horse, who loves his jumping, although he is not very careful and jumps with straight front legs. He can get keen jumping and likes to be in charge so I have to try and find a happy medium between that and me having control.”
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This happy medium was disrupted due to a bitting change at their last run pre-Badminton at Belton.
“I fell off at Belton — we changed bit and it didn’t work,” admits Kathryn. “It was completely my fault and we are both absolutely fine. I’m just happy that it happened there and not at Badminton.
“I have tried not to look too much at the course previews as I will just get more and more worried about it. I would rather just get there and see the course for myself.”
However, Kathryn does admit that she has watched the Badminton preview course walk video a couple of times.
“The big bank looks large,” she says. “It will also be the first time both of us would have seen large crowds and I’m looking forward to seeing how he will cope. I am nervous and excited, but I am really going to try and enjoy it.”