A dressage rider is celebrating after she qualified for two regional music finals in one week — while seven months pregnant.
Freelance dressage coach Tasha Wakely secured tickets in both the novice and elementary silver, pulling out personal bests with a score of 75% in both tests.
Tasha, who is expecting her second child, rode her 11-year-old Andalusian gelding Elegido to the wins at Bury Farm and Keysoe.
“When I had my four-year-old daughter I stopped riding at five months as the stallion I had at that time was sharp, so I had to be sensible about it. While you can’t ever say any horse is 100% reliable, Gido is as trustworthy as they come,” said Tasha, who bought the horse from a client in Guernsey a year ago.
“I’d qualified for the area festivals but I had to let those and the MCI Europeans, which I’ve done for the past three years, pass me by this time because I am due in October, so I was adamant I was going to get the music qualifiers under my belt so I had a focus.
“The music regionals are early next year and as I am sure a lot of horsey mums understand, having a goal helps you to get back into it and to get through those miserable winter months when you have something to look forward to,” she said.
Tasha said that surprisingly her seven-month bump didn’t seem to have had too much of an impact on her riding.
“Sitting trot stopped at maybe four or five months, but it’s been quite bizarre — when I was riding clients’ horses, they said I didn’t look any different,” she said.
“Something that has been invaluable though is a pregnancy support band — I can’t ride without it. It is a piece of elastic that goes around your bump and back and is absolutely brilliant.”
She added that during both her pregnancies, the midwives were happy to support her decision to carry on riding.
“Their advice is don’t start up anything you haven’t done before — be sensible, but continue to do what your body knows how to do,” Tasha said. “They said they wouldn’t encourage me to take up running, but with riding there was no reason not to carry on.”
H&H tackles a thorny issue by asking whether riding and competing during pregnancy is an ill-advised trend
One of Britain’s top eventers returned to the competition circuit yesterday (8 August)
If you want to keep up with the latest from the equestrian world without leaving home, grab a H&H subscription
Although Tasha is still working teaching her clients, she said she will now “ease off a bit” and then plans to have six weeks off once the baby is born.
“When you’re self employed you do have to cram in as much as you can,” she said. “I already have my next schooling livery booked in for the end of the year!”
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday