Dressage lessons at 6am, schooling on grass and drilling over Vicarage Vee lookalikes: working rider Libby Seed on preparing for her Badminton debut

  • Libby Seed is fulfilling a lifetime’s dream by competing at Badminton Horse Trials, presented by Mars Equestrian. The 24-year-old has been visiting as a spectator since she was a child. On the second day of dressage, she made her debut to score 33.4 on her parents’ and her own grey mare Heartbreaker Star Quality, which puts her mid-division.

    “My aim was to get below 35,” said Libby, who works five days a week in the medical devices industry. “She’s built for galloping and jumping not dressage, so to get that score I’m really pleased. I don’t have an arena, so I do all my schooling on grass – I think the mare thought, ‘oh, someone’s put some white boards in my field’; she was so calm.”

    Libby is a former pony team gold medallist and has already competed at five-star, at Pau when she was only 20, but she now values the “perspective” that working full-time alongside a top-flight eventing career affords.

    “I love balancing it because I think it keeps you like fresh and if I have a rubbish day at work, I can go out and ride the ponies,” she said. “And if you have a rubbish time [eventing], it’s not my entire life. So it keeps me really focused and driven to do well with my horses.”

    Libby credits her mum – who was a master with the Avon Vale hunt — for all her help with the nine horses she keeps at home.

    “Four days a week I’m in theatres and hospitals, supporting doctors,” she says. “I am based at home and travel around the south-west and Wales, so I ride before or after work. Lucinda Fredericks helps me and is amazingly flexible. If I have to have a dressage lesson at 6am that’s how it rolls.”

    Libby Seed: ‘It’s not in my nature not to be competitive’

    Libby is not suffering from beginners’ nerves ahead of Saturday’s cross-country.

    “I’m actually really excited about the course, which probably most first-timers don’t say,” she said. “I’m looking forward to having a crack with her as she’s an amazing cross-country horse.

    “It’s not in my nature not to try to be competitive, but she’s a first timer and she’s only 11. So early on I might be more respectful and take a moment, but as soon as she gets into her stride and we start to enjoy ourselves, hopefully we can have a bit of a gallop and some fun.”

    Libby cites the Mars Equestrian Footbridge (fence 15) as causing her the most concern – “I’m good at being gung-ho, but I think that’s one where I’ve got to tame it and be very accurate. Lucinda has been drilling me over Vicarage Vee lookalikes for two weeks!”

    Read our full Badminton form guide in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound (issue on sale 5 May 2022). Our bumper 20-page Badminton report will be in our 12 May issue and keep fully up-to-date with all the action during Badminton week via horseandhound.co.uk, where a host of features and reports will be published.

    You might also be interested in:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...