As the eventing season kicks off, we spent 15 minutes with elite squad member Izzy Taylor who will be a regular contributor to Derby House Post over the coming months.
Selection for the Europeans this year is a major goal and I’m also aiming for good results at Badminton and Burghley. I hope all the younger horses have an educational season and grow in confidence and knowledge to become the stars we hope they are. I’m also always looking to discover more future stars!
I haven’t been skiing or on a sun kissed beach holiday. I thought it best to steer away from the slopes. There’s just too much at stake to end up being injured and I can’t sit still for long enough to enjoy a beach holiday. So it’s been all about the horses.
I believe in the old fashioned method of plenty of hacking, roadwork and early season fitness work. KBIS Briarlands Matilda, KBIS Starburst, It’s Chico, Thistledown Poposki and not forgetting Allercoombe Ellie returned to me from their holidays with their owners and are all back in full work.
If hunting three times a week, mucking out, riding and general yard duties weren’t enough to keep me fit, thanks to Yogi [Briesner, team GB coach], I have discovered the benefits of an “Equicizer”, which is widely used by the racing fraternity. If you Google it you’ll understand why no-one is allowed to witness me riding it! But if there was ever a way to gain core strength, stability and technique it is this. I can recommend it whole heartedly but not for the faint hearted. I could only manage a minute to begin with!!
As part of the Elite Squad with World Class funded by UK Sport & the Lottery, since November last year I have been attending regular training sessions, meetings and one to ones with our performance coaches. I am also fortunate that some of my horses are on British Eventing “Equine Pathway” so I also attend their regular training sessions at Aston Le Walls. Our last XC Performance riders schooling session was last week when I rode 17 horses. I’m pretty sure we are more than ready for Eventing 2015 to begin at Isleham this weekend – lets hope all the training has paid off!
This season I have five advanced horses to campaign; Allercombe Ellie, Dax Van Ternieuwbeke, KBIS Briarlands Matilda, KBIS Starchaser and Thistledown Poposki.
I also have a number of intermediate rides who will be looking to move up a level including Briarlands Birdsong, Call Me Maggie May, It’s Chico, KBIS Starburst and Little Maestro.
Bugbrooke, Calibro, Extreme II, KL Omar, Van Dyke II and new horse, Mythical Lark, make up the Novice eventers for this coming season.
We also have some exciting new youngsters on the yard including two Equestrian Direct Surfaces horses, six-year-old Direct Cavalier and five-year-old Direct Casino, as well as four other five-year-olds Allercoombe Flora, Constance O Cool, Otmoor Prince and Serfina who will be starting their eventing careers.
I train with Yogi Breisner as part of the Elite World Class Performance Squad, Charlotte Dujardin helps with dressage and Sarah Ward visits the yard once a fortnight to assist me on developing the horses’ flatwork.
When the season gets busy I have over 21 horses to compete so I couldn’t manage without my amazing support team, which includes my mother, Nicola, sister AB, and partner Charlie, who all help out with different aspects of my business. I also have a great team of grooms, overseen by my yard manager Phillipa Ariss who keep things on track, and Anna Mildner comes to all the events and looks after the horses and myself.
Becky Rowland BVSc MRCVs is our team vet, Bob Livock is our equine dentist and Charlie Sands, who is also my partner, is our farrier, keeping all the horses feet in top condition. Ellen Stanwell is our Chiropractor and Rachel Greetham provides physiotherapy for the horses.
But I couldn’t do any of it without my super owners and sponsors who all put their faith in me with their horses. They’re the reason I’ve been able to make it to the top of the sport.