The 2013 European Pony Champion Phoebe Peters celebrated her 16th birthday last Friday (12 June), also her final exam and school day of the year.
The previous week, with her pony SL Lucci, she won the classes at the international (CDIP) in Compiegne and the pair has now won 31 of the 53 international classes they have contested.
They are also the current National record holders for the team, individual and freestyle tests as well as holding international World records in the FEI Pony team test (80.21%) and the FEI Pony freestyle test (84.00%).
So were there big celebrations?
Well I had my school prom at the end of the week which was a bit of a party. I have done 24 exams since May so it was very exciting to be doing my last one.
Do you have a plan for when you leave school?
I am going back to do history, French and German A-Levels then I will definitely be pursuing riding. At the moment I think I would like to go abroad for a year to train then come back and set up a yard at home.
What is your aim for the rest of this year?
I shall spend the summer riding and helping out at the yard where we keep the ponies.
The next aim is to qualify Lucci for the regional finals at medium and then the Europeans in Malmo in August. I know what I’d like to do there but don’t want to say…My original aim for the year was to score 80% in all three tests which I did in the freestyle in Compiegne but I’ve now only got the Europeans left….
Then as it is my final year in ponies we will have to sell Lucci to buy a horse.
What makes Lucci so good?
He has an amazing brain – he is so trainable and loves to work. He gets a bit grumpy if he hasn’t been out for a few weeks. He also has three good paces. When we got him they were not flashy but because he is so trainable they improved so much. He also makes us laugh as he is a bit of a comedian in the stable – he is too clever for his own good.
How did you get Lucci?
We had been looking for seven months and done five trips abroad and tried 20 ponies when Peter (Storr) my trainer sent us a video of Lucci. We thought he was boring but then a bit later we saw another video and he looked different so we went to Denmark.
I fell in love with him and we bought him. We have done four seasons together and he is now 13.
What do you do outside of horses?
Horses are everything although I play hockey once a week for the local Blockley ladies team.
I also love watching films – my favourites are The Grand Budapest Hotel and Men in Black 3. Otherwise its horses all the way. I have been riding since I was four and doing dressage since I was seven – I just love dressage.
How did you get into dressage
Through Jenny Smith, who was the manager of the first yard we kept our ponies at. She did dressage and taught me on my first pony Beau, a New Forest.
Who is your dressage hero?
Anky (Van Grunsven). I started watching the ‘Thrills and Spills’ videos when I was five which is where I first saw Anky perform her Westside Story freestyle with Bonfire – I was totally gripped. I love music and how the freestyle brings out the personality of a horse and I spend a lot of time looking for freestyles on Youtube.
Has to be Compiegne. We have been there for the last four years. It is such a beautiful setting in the woodland, it has always been sunny and the people are so nice and friendly.
Who has been your biggest influence on your career so far?
My parents. My Mum (Tracey) is the nicest person you’ll ever meet and you can totally rely on her. My Dad (Andy) who works so hard to help me in my sport – I think I got my determination from and like me, he is competitive.
What are your strengths
I am self-motivated and a bit of a perfectionist and am always finding ways to improve. I have to put 100% into everything I do.
Wanting everything to be perfect. And chilli Doritos – I love them.
What has been your best moment so far?
Winning double gold at the European Championships in 2013 in Italy. We went there as underdogs and didn’t expect it. I also got a World record in the freestyle. It still seems surreal.
What do you hope to achieve?
My aim is to progress up the levels. Obviously everyone says the Olympics and that would be nice but I want to achieve the best I can and help keep British dressage in the public eye.
I would like to set up a yard and have a plan with my sister Camille who is into the breeding side and very clued up on breeding and bloodlines. I just love doing dressage – I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.