Is a big win a reason to crack open the champagne? Or is it straight back to schooling? We ask top riders how they celebrate after a competition
1. Hannah Biggs, dressage rider
Once the horses are all safely back in their stables and tucked up in bed, I write down my thoughts and analyse the performance, whether it was good or tricky. I do make sure I celebrate every achievement, big or small. With horses you never know when the next win will be. Never take for granted any step in the right direction! I usually celebrate the big wins with my friends and family back at home. Luckily my husband works for a champagne house, so that helps with the celebrations. There have definitely been a few memorable parties, but I’m not sure how much I can reveal!
I do remember one evening at Aachen, when a certain showjumper wrote his name in marker pen on the famous winners’ wall in the main stadium. He wrote his name as the winner of the jumping grand prix — riding Totilas! Luckily, he did go on to win the grand prix the next day, riding his own horse at least.
2. Gareth Hughes, dressage rider
Unfortunately we don’t get to celebrate too much after a competition as we are usually on the road straight after we finish. Even at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy last year, we were all on the road two hours after the freestyle had finished!
3. Oliver Townend, eventer
Sadly, there is not much downtime — after an event it is straight back to the yard to work on the other horses and prepare for the next competition.
4. Piggy French, eventer
There is never much time for celebration or relaxation during the seasons because the horses I’ve left behind need preparing for their targets when I get home.
5. Anna Edwards, showjumper
I am quite a stickler for detail so I’m almost embarrassed to admit that even after a big win, I’m straight back and watching the video of the round to see what went right or wrong and what could be improved upon. After that I can relax and enjoy the moment, often heading out for dinner wherever we might be and raise a toast to the horse that jumped so well.
Post-event party wise, I can’t speak highly enough of Bolesworth. The 2014 show was amazing and set the standard for other shows to live up to. I was front row at the Blue concert one evening, living the dream of my teenage self. We also shared a drink with Bobby Davro and Calum Best after a great charity auction. The whole show, from the facilities to the level of competition, has raised everybody’s expectations for UK shows.
6. Tina Fletcher, showjumper
If we are abroad as a team, we try and make sure we always go for dinner. Obviously, after an event it depends on the outcome how much we celebrate!
Don’t miss this week’s special show issue of Horse & Hound magazine (26 February 2015), which includes details for over 8,000 events