“I was advised not to, but my arrogant self thought I should anyway!” Find out how a chance text led to the an incredible opportunity for a talented British young rider...
Showjumper Olli Fletcher is heading off on the opportunity of a lifetime, all thanks to a chance text message to the world number one rider, Steve Guerdat.
The 17-year-old junior team and individual silver medal-winning rider has long admired the Swiss champion and decided to put the wheels in motion earlier this year.
“I’ve always wanted to train with him because I really admire his way of riding,” Olli told H&H. “Not every goal is a winning post for him – he has his targets and he achieves them.
“None of his horses are particularly easy to ride but he manages to go in their way. He looks like he’s not doing very much in the saddle but in disguise he is doing a monumental amount. I love that way of riding.
“I decided to message Steve at the start of lockdown,” explained Olli, son of Tina and Graham Fletcher. “My parents and brother advised me not to because they thought it was rude, but my arrogant self thought I should anyway!
“I asked him if I could please come and work for a month or two — I offered just to do anything in return for riding one or two horses. He rang me up the next day and said ‘I can do better than that — bring three horses and yourself’.”
Olli heads to the 2012 Olympic champion’s base near Zurich in Switzerland this weekend (12 July) with his top ride Hello Disckoboy and the eight-year-old Hello William, both of whom are owned by the Harrises and Kirkhams, plus an exciting new seven-year-old.
“I just can’t wait to get out there now and see what there is to learn because he’s got a lot to show,” said Olli, who is planning to go for a month but says nothing has been decided in terms of dates.
“I’m taking two more inexperienced horses, which are fairly difficult to ride so I thought he’d be the master at helping me with them, and then Disckoboy to hopefully jump the bigger classes and see what ideas he has to offer there.
“He’s been so nice and I’m so grateful for what Steve’s offered. He said I could ride a couple of his horses and I’m going to a couple of shows with him so it’s a dream come true, I just can’t wait.”
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