Teenage dressage rider Josh Hill was reserve national champion in the Spillers medium mestricted freestyle class at the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships. We caught up with him to find out more about his life and his top ride 'Barney'
Name: Josh Hill
Based: East Grinstead, Surrey
Horse at Hartpury: Bewunder (Barney)
What are your rituals before a test?
I have a lucky belt that I wear, and I always listen to music just before I start warming up – usually prefer rap music, Eminem in particular – not that it’s very relevant to dressage!
What’s your favourite event?
The Dressage Masters at Hickstead is our local event, and probably the biggest one we have in the south. It’s a really nice show and the weather is usually good.
Do you have a training mantra?
I try not to get stuck with one idea, so that I’m always able to change my ways. Now that I’m training with Emile Faurie, I’m building on the foundations laid with my long-time trainer Sharon Edwards.
Have you ever scored a 10?
Yes, on my FEI pony Seren Benfro when I was 11, during a Pony Club test, for my entrance down the centre line. Sadly the rest of the test didn’t match!
What do you think about as you go up the centre line?
Which way I’m meant to be turning! I haven’t gone the wrong way for a while, but at the Merrist Wood regionals I trotted down the centre line instead of cantering. My mum Nicky was in a panic thinking I’d learnt the wrong test. Luckily we still came fourth and qualified on a wildcard. My mum is really supportive and I couldn’t do it without her.
What does a normal day look like for you?
All I do is ride! We’ve just moved the horses home as my trainer Sharon though I was ready to go it alone. I’ve got some clients’ horses in and several youngsters of my own, including a full brother to Bewunder – a rising 4-year-old called Briesenberg.
What’s Barney like at home?
He’s really chilled, and he knows he’s top dog. He’s first to be fed, first to go to the field – everything works around him.