Saying that Dutch rider Merel Blom has a considerable work ethic is a massive understatement. Eventers are not known for taking life easy, and Blom is no exception.
She manages to study financial law at university in Rotterdam while riding up to a dozen horses — a gruelling combination that would tire most people out just by thinking about it, let alone doing it.
However, Dutch success at last year’s World Equestrian Games in Normandy — a bronze medal represented their first podium finish at major championship level — has made her life enormously easier.
“It has helped hugely with sponsorship, which means that we can concentrate on our riding more,” Blom said.
“And the fact that we are qualified for Rio 2016 means we can focus on doing our best at Blair Castle as preparation for the Games next year.”
Blom scored 47.4 in the the dressage at the Longines FEI European Eventing Championships at Blair Castle aboard Rumour Has It, which she bought from Germany’s 2008 Olympic champion Heinrik Romeike at a high-performance horse sale.
“This is my best score at a championships, so it’s a good position to start with. But he is a cross-country machine, so I will just have to run a bit faster to move the team up.”
And while Blom’s hopes of making the Olympics are high, she is also about to embark on a master’s degree: “I think it will have to take three years as I will have to interrupt it for the Olympics.”