Life lessons: event rider Tina Cook *H&H Plus*

Tina Cook has won 14 Olympic, world and European championship medals, and produced nine championship horses through the levels. She was the first mother to win an individual gold medal in eventing when she became European champion in 2009.

  • The former European champion reflects on seeking improvement rather than perfection, being hungry for knowledge and letting horses be horses

    I’m lucky both my parents were highly successful in the equestrian world — my late father Josh Gifford was champion jump jockey four times and a Grand National-winning trainer, and my mother Althea was on victorious showjumping Nations Cup teams.

    Dad always said never to stop learning, and I find it fascinating talking to other riders and those who are successful in other areas of life. I’m hungry to learn. Dad also said to be patient, a quality many people lack. You need to learn when a horse is trying for you and that success isn’t instant.