‘Squat to exhaustion’: meet Alice Oppenheimer

Dressage videos 28 Videos Amy Woodhead: how to ride a canter half pass to wow the judges 02:58 Amy Woodhead: how working for Carl Hester has set her up for success 06:14 Watch Carl Hester at home: 'I can't wait to get out of bed and train horses towards grand prix' 02:31 Tales from Hartpury: the nine-year-old rising star with an Olympic dream 02:35 Winter Dressage Championships day four: one-two for Dujardin 03:43 Sophie Wells' rising star impresses on prix st georges gala night 01:22 Winter Dressage Championships day three: former runaway horse shows what she's made of for championship first-timer 03:30 Tales from Hartpury: the event horse making waves in her new career 01:56 Tales from Hartpury: Five horses and 13 tests — but did this rider remember where to go? 01:04 Tales from Hartpury: the horse with a rare skin condition that travelled in first gear for six miles 02:02 Winter Dressage Championships day two: Dujardin wants her rising star's foal for Easter 03:35 Tales from Hartpury: meet the family pony rubbing shoulders with dressage's big guns 01:08 Winter Dressage Championships day one: a shock victory and a horse defies the odds to do a double 04:43 H&H dressage editor’s Area Festival video diary: Disbelieving the results of my small and fairly average horse 05:03 Watch Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro's European freestyle dressage test 07:13 Watch Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro wow the crowds at Hartpury 09:37 What is 'breath energy' and could it help your riding? 03:48 Watch Charlotte Dujardin riding Valegro's freestyle on a catch ride 06:38 Ruth Edge: How to ride the perfect 10m circle 01:18 Exclusive: watch Valegro work out on a water treadmill 02:46 'Squat to exhaustion': meet Alice Oppenheimer 02:43 Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin: A bit of banter 03:15 Maria Eilberg: How to improve your horse's walk 02:03 Maria Eilberg: how to improve your horse’s trot 01:21 Michael Eilberg: How to ride a square halt 03:35 Michael Eilberg: introducing collection in canter 05:01 Michael Eilberg: teaching your horse to rein back 05:03 Watch Farouche's winning test at the BD nationals 05:44

  • If you’ve been paying any attention to the dressage scene in the past year, Alice Oppenheimer’s name has been one you can’t have missed. Taking two titles at the winter championships in April, picking up a win at Windsor in May, and following that up with a thumping prix st georges (PSG) victory at the British Dressage national championships on Thursday, Alice has dominated across the board this year with the eight-year-old Tantoni Sir Soccrates (Sir Donnerhall x White Magic).

    How has 2015 been for you?

    ‘Soccs’ has exceeded all expectations, humungously, this year – he took to the prix st georges work like a duck to water. He came out of his first PSG and it was like he was thinking “why haven’t we been doing this forever?”. But if someone had said to me at the beginning of the year that I’d win the PSG at the nationals, I would have told them not to be ridiculous – it’s such an achievement against all these long-established, well thought-of riders – it’s crazy that we’re holding our own.

    Tell us about your fitness regime

    I’ve got 10 horses in work at the moment so we are busy, but I try to have either a personal training session or do an Insanity workout five times a week – I’ve been doing it since May and I’m really enjoying it, but now I need to keep it up through the winter. I feel a lot stronger, and I can help the horses more now that I’m more stable – some of them give my core a really good workout! During a World Class assessment once, I was asked to squat to exhaustion – after 71 squats, I was still going.

    What are your aims for this year?

    With Bracken, I’m aiming her at grand prix – she feels the best at this stage that she ever has. Soccs will build over the winter, and confirm the grand prix work at home – he’s only eight so he may stay at small tour next year, we’ll see how he goes.

    With Del [Headmore Delegate, who was withdrawn from the grand prix at the nationals with pus in the foot], I’ll crack on and aim for a team spot at Rio. It’s not that I expect to go, but it’s nice to feel confident that if things go my way I could be there. In my last lesson on him with Charlotte [Dujardin, Alice’s trainer] she gave me 72-73% for the grand prix test – and she didn’t make me do anything again! It’s disappointing he couldn’t be here at the nationals, but there’s always another day.

    What’s next for you?

    I’ll take Soccs to HOYS in October, but it’s a big ask as he is better outdoors – he was more nervous at the winter championships, but it will be good to expose him – I went the first year they ran it with Del and loved it, the atmosphere was amazing, and it worked well to lift him.

    What else have you got coming through the ranks?

    I have a big six-year-old that really moves (Dimaggio x Rubinstein), and I also have his full sister – but they are chalk and cheese, as different as it’s possible for two siblings to be. The five-year-old has been tricky to back, but she’s a brave mare – safe when you’re on, but the six-year-old is scared of his own shadow. I also have a five-year-old buckskin Dimaggio – everyone’s going to be surprised when I come out on a yellow one. Bracken is already a grandmother, and we have two embryo transfer foals by Florencio. I’ll keep the filly, as she reminds me so much of Bracken – she’s as similar as she could be. Our horses are members of the family; I’ve always said you have to love a horse to ride it well.

    You may like...