‘Act like you’re going to win anyway’: Meet RIHS winner Martina Genusso

  • Name: Martina Gennuso
    Age: 17
    Horse: Kilpatrick Kestrel (Alfie)
    Breed: Connemara
    Won: The Ponies (UK) Young Riders M&M Large Breeds Championship

    When did you win your first sash?
    I didn’t win my first sash until I was nine, at the Ponies (UK) Championships.

    When was your first visit to the Royal International?
    In 2008, on my first-ridden pony.

    What’s Alfie like at home?
    He’s so docile, a three-year-old can lead him in from the field – he’s the quietest pony on the yard.

    Has he got any weird habits?
    He sweats out of his eyes!

    What are your aims for this year?
    To qualify to get to HOYS, as well as the Royal International.

    Who do you train with?
    He’s home-produced, so my mum’s best friend gives me lessons and helps us out all the time.

    What’s your training philosophy?
    You have to have a partnership with the pony, a bond – you can’t just get on.

    What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
    I’ve been told to “act like you’re going to win anyway!”

    What piece of kit could you not live without?
    A tail bag – very important for grey tails!

    What’s your favourite show to compete at?
    Here at the Royal International.

    If you could ride any show horse, who would it be?
    I love, love, love Walstead Pageboy, [who went on to stand M&M Champion].

    Have you had any embarrassing moments in the ring?
    Not really, but I lost my stirrup as I was doing my gallop in this class!

    If you had to do another discipline, what would it be?
    I’d like to do workers if I had to, or maybe side-saddle.

    How long does it take you to plait a mane?
    It takes me a while, I’ve got absolutely no skill.

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