The secret weapon who helps dressage World Championships silver medallist Richard Davison…

  • Richard Davison, who was a member of the British silver medal-winning team at the dressage World Championships in Herning in August, has a secret weapon in his travelling groom, Heidi Troniseck.

    In an interview on this week’s episode of The Horse & Hound Podcast, Richard reveals that Heidi not only cares for his home-bred ride Bubblingh, but also has a crucial role in supporting his training and development of the horse.

    “She will walk Bubblingh out several times a day at a show, obviously on a head collar, but not just to give him grass and get the sunshine – which is what everybody should do with their horses when they’re stabled at shows – but to help his training so that he learns to stand still,” explains Richard.

    “He’s got a very big flight instinct, so when you’re walking him around on a big showground with lots of people and noise, that flight instinct can be triggered. When the flight instinct is triggered, horses move their legs very fast, so she trains him to deal with what would be a trigger of flight – the flapping flags or the noise or the loud music – but actually to keep his legs still.

    “That groundwork is very important, very helpful and critical to his performance at shows.”

    Richard Davison goes on to explain that his groom Heidi Troniseck will sometimes be alongside Bubblingh in the main arena at an event.

    He says: “If the organisers let me, she will come into a prize giving with the horse or at least the beginning of the prize giving. That isn’t because I need the horse held because I might fall off – touch wood – but because there’s a mental association for the horse that with her alongside and on the ground [he should stand still], because she’s done so much groundwork with the horse. A big prize giving can be very scary, especially indoor ones, for horses, because of the noise from the people, the applause, the spotlight.

    “Likewise sometimes when we’re allowed to train in the main arena, she will lead Bubblingh around the arena rather than me riding. So she’s putting him in that atmosphere, but there’s the association with her on the ground.

    “It’s a very holistic job developing a competition horse – it’s all about what’s going on inside the horse’s mind.”

    Hear more about grooms’ role in Richard’s team, his experiences at the World Championships and his next plans for Bubblingh by tuning into episode 125 of The Horse & Hound Podcast here or search “The Horse & Hound Podcast” in your favourite podcast app.

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