I’ll be competing in The SA Derby presented by black, on my horse Blueturtle Atmore. I’ll also have Blueturtle Catweasle in the 1.35m classes.
Will you dress up in line with the theme “Spring in the Hamptons”?
I will if I don’t qualify, but hopefully I’ll be in riding Atmore and so will come through after that!
Tell us about your top horse Atmore?
He’s a Namibian Warmblood. He’s still new at the top level but he is very careful and wants to leave the jumps up. I’m excited to see how he performs in the Derby this year.
Explain his work routine to us eg walker, flatwork, track, outrides, jumping etc – how often do you do each one per week and why does that work for the horse?
He goes on the walker every morning for an hour and then he works 6 times a week, either lunging, riding, lessons, dressage lessons, hacking or fitness. It gets mixed up to keep him excited and wanting to work.
What has always been the biggest challenge for you personally in Derby?
I really love Derby, especially Derby day! But if there is something I have to work on it is keeping calm and not wasting energy on the hype of the day!
How do you ‘get into the zone’ before the big class?
You don’t have to try too hard to get in the zone for a class like The SA Derby! It’s our biggest class, biggest money, biggest crowd – that should be enough to get you in the zone!
In your opinion, what are the biggest errors made by riders jumping the Derby course?
Rushing the course and letting the hype of the Derby get in the way of the rounds: after all it is just another show! My mum always says “go and have fun, there’s always another show if you don’t do well here!”
For those training for the Derby, what should they focus on most?
Fitness as well as Derby-type fences. The horses are generally in good form this time of the year!
What’s the best Derby round you’ve ever witnessed?
Oh there are too many to mention. In my opinion, all rounds are good for different reasons!
Who are your favourites for this year’s Derby? You’d have to go with the usual suspects – Nicole Horwood, Team Nissan Captain Barry Taylor and Ronnie Lawrence. But I’m also going to back myself: I have a good feeling!
How does the crowd impact the riding in the area?
The bigger the crowd the better I am. I’m not sure about other people but it takes my riding to another level.
Explain your best ever Derby round to us?
I’ve been lucky enough to jump in three different Derbys: The SA Derby; Hickstead Derby in the UK and Hamburg Derby in Germany. I have been placed in all of them: I have been placed 3rd in the SA Derby, 2nd in the Hickstead Derby and 5th in Hamburg Derby so they have all been special but Hickstead was probably my best and favourite on Carlow Cruiser in 2013!