5 minutes with: Dressage rider Anna Ross *H&H Plus*

  • Anna Ross is an international grand prix dressage rider, who has represented Britain on numerous occasions. She has been a member of British teams at European Championships and Nations Cups. She currently runs Elite Dressage in Devon, training and producing both horses and riders, with the aim of bringing together buyers and British-bred horses.

    Give us the lowdown on your current top horse
    Delgado is the king of the stable. He has just got to grand prix, and is my much-loved pet. He’s so friendly and has been easy to train because he has a totally relaxed persona. Then there’s the queen of the yard, Habouche (Holly), who is totally different. I rode her at Myerscough Premier League recently and we did a nice, tidy prix st georges on the first day. The next day, I decided to put my foot down a bit, and realised once you up the power you can’t go back.

    What was the last book you read?
    I recently finished Michelle Obama’s Becoming, and also started reading Outer Order Inner Calm, which is about decluttering your home – but I gave up on that by page four.

    If you weren’t a rider, you would be…
    A pub landlord.

    What’s your most annoying habit?
    I think it’s always repeating myself, but my rider, Alex Baker, tells me that it’s taking off bridles without undoing anything. I admit to being guilty of that.

    Do you speak any other languages?
    It depends whom you ask. I can understand Portuguese, but my Brazilian partner, Marcelo Tosi, says I speak Portuguese like Tarzan. I can also understand German well enough not to get ripped off when I’m buying horses.

    What are your favourite tunes for a road-trip?
    I have no choice in this; Beth Bainbridge, my head rider, insists the only thing that keeps her awake on long lorry trips is Whitney Houston. When she starts to feel tired, she sings, so we do everything to prevent her getting tired.

    Do you have other animals?
    I have two dogs: Benjy, a West Highland terrier, and a rescue greyhound called Bodge, whom I’ve had for about 10 years. He turned up on Sarah Bullimore’s lawn one day when I was teaching there and somehow I ended up taking him home.

    What got you into the most trouble as a child?
    I have never hated anything so passionately as school and I would refuse to go. I left with no qualifications except my cycling proficiency badge, though I think I cheated to get that. It’s not that I was lazy, I just always wanted to ride, and I’m not good with enforced discipline.

    How are you and your horses coping during the coronavirus crisis?
    My team and I plan to stay motivated by organising lots of things, such as our online international grand prix class, setting goals and trying some new workouts. Beth has bought me a kettlebell!

    What’s your favourite thing to cook?
    Probably steak with my home-made coriander and peanut pesto, although I cook quite a lot of things.

    Your favourite tipple?
    Champagne – everyone knows that. My favourite is Bollinger – happy to pass on my address to anybody who’d like to send me a bottle!

    If you could have any horse in the world, which would you want?
    Blue Hors Matine – I remember being in Aachen in 2006 and thinking that her freestyle with Andreas Helgstrand was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. I had no idea then that I’d be riding in that arena a year later, although my test with Liebling II did not look like that…

    Ref Horse & Hound; 23 April 2020