Lorette chatted to Caroline Malan after her win at Stokkiesdraai in the 1.50m Grand Prix and here’s what she had to say.

1. Who owns Casper and how did you come to be riding him?

Bryan Meyer who owns Casper is writing final year accounting and auditing exams and he asked me if I would step in and help him during this busy time.

2. Can you tell us a bit about Casper?

He is by Carolus & turns 12 this year. He is a lovely horse. Very easy to work with but can be quite mischievous at times too. He is brave, scopey, competitive and careful.

3. When did you last jump a 1.50 round?

I won the 1.45m/1.50m Grand Prix with Caspar at the RnR World Cup show in April.

4. Your start to last year wasn’t great in terms of your health. Can you tell us a bit about that?

I was diagnosed with Epstein Barr virus in the first half of 2017 and really wasn’t very well at all, but I rode through it, then during June/July I suffered 7 falls over 6 weeks and was finally put on medical rest the first week in August 2017. It was at this time that I went to see a concussion specialist and had a series of MRI’s and in-depth concussion tests. After the results from these I was not allowed to ride or do anything too strenuous for 3 months. Thereafter I worked with a bio in the gym relearning to cross my midline. Concussion is no joke!

5. How did you overcome the frustration of not being able to ride in the big classes during this time?

I just thought “my time will come again”and I was quite chilled about not having a World Cup horse and just enjoyed reestablishing my string of horses, as I have some exciting young horses now…. and now look, I have the ride on a World Cup horse, thanks to the Meyer family. I rode my first World Cup qualifier on Sunday in a year! It was such fun! I only had one down and placed 11th.

6. How have you worked to get your nerves back?

Miraculously I haven’t had nerves starting up again this year. If anything I’m on the best form I have been in many years. I feel like I felt in my 20s – very brave and competitive.  I do have a different outlook now though. I’m a lot more focused and appreciate my horses – I am chilled with the horses and where they are at, and I am absolutely enjoying every moment of my riding and competing again.

7. How did you and Casper prepare for this show?

Again I took the pressure off myself – I started on day 1 in the 1.40m and had 1 down. My agreement with myself and the Meyers was that I would give him off for class 2 in preparation for the Friday GP and then if I went well in the GP I would ride the World Cup qualifier on Sunday.

8. What now for the two of you? Is this just a short term ride?

It is a short term ride – Bryan has his final big exam over the Shongweni World Cup so I will ride him at that show and then Super C, as I call him, will be back with his owner thereafter.

9. Which of your horses do you believe we will next see in the 1.50m classes?

Callaho’s Sampras, but that will only be next year …

10. And finally, for those suffering from low self confidence due to falls: what advice do you have?

Start slowly – it isn’t a race or a competition, it is our sport and we are supposed to enjoy it. And if you are feeling nervous – stay in a grade that you feel comfortable in, until your confidence has built again. Confidence does come back – sometimes quickly and sometimes it takes longer … but don’t rush it! As I said it isn’t a race …