Olivia's Guest Blog
Originally, I never had the intention of become a dressage rider, let alone riding for Italy. My love for equestrianism all started when I got an extremely competitive 13h thoroughbred pony who (at the time) was too much for me as an 8 year old rider to handle in a jumping arena, so I turned to dressage and I’ve never looked back.
With Jack (Gemswood Morning Son), I won many championships and was selected to be on the BYRDS southern team as a Fledgling. So I think reverting to dressage was a very good idea to say the least. One day, in 2011, my mother looked in the Horse and Hound magazine to find my now best friend and superstar Master Alexander. When I went to view Rikki (stable name), my first few minutes of riding him (stable name) showed me how special he was.
Ever since then, our partnership has grown greatly. Within a few weeks of owning him, we competed in the BYRDS inter-regionals and slowly generated more and more confidence. We did many local affiliated dressage competitions starting at Novice level where we progressed to Advanced Medium level.
In the winter of 2012, we got selected to be on GB national training which involved a weekend away every month in Birmingham for training. This opened many doors as I met so many lovely people who helped Rikki and I improve with our international tests at pony FEI level as well as being very lucky to train with someone of the top trainers. In 2013, we got reselected to be on national training which led to the opportunity to attend GB squad selection at the start of 2014
In 2014, I was chosen to represent Southern BYRDS England in the Home Internations. We travelled to Wales to compete and Rikki definitely rose to the occasion. Possibly my greatest moment was created here. The crowd was packed next to the arenas after my successful first test where I came 2nd, the crowd clapped and Rikki started to show off by passaging that made him feel like a 17h horse! This was my greatest achievement then, though there was a lot more to come .
Due to my dual nationality (father is Italian), I was given the opportunity to represent Italy at pony FEI level. I got my two qualifying score sheets to represent Italy and this begin my international journey. In March 2015, I got chosen to represent Italy in my first CDI which was at Addington Manor, Buckinghamshire. The feeling was priceless. Being surrounded and having the opportunity to competing against the best ponies and riders in Europe was amazing. It was all a dream come true. I competed against riders from Germany, Great Britain and the Netherlands who dominate the dressage podiums. An unforgettable week that was worth all the hours and dedication that makes it all happen.
2015 was sadly my last year doing pony FEI level due to my age, but I have been recently given the incredible opportunity to have the ride on Worldly Wise as my junior horse. With Will, we have the aim to reach the European Championships and to hit the international stage strong this year.
All of this comes with hard work and much determination to push myself that enabled me to reach the dizzy heights so far. My training resume involves every day after college riding both Rikki and Will (Worldly wise). If I have a competition coming up, I will be focusing on movements from the up and coming test as a part of my preparation. Between training, hacking out is a great way to relax the horses. I have a lesson every week with my trainers as well as trying to go running and do circuit core training as often as I can to keep up my physical fitness.
This year, my competition schedule consists of the aim of making my junior debut for Italy with Will and to try and get points to reach the regionals and national championships with both Will at PSG level and Rikki at Advance Medium level. Rikki and I have progressed into an amazing partnership that will last a lifetime and hopefully this will occur once again with Will.
However, what I didn’t appreciate until I reached international level was how many people contribute to my success. Firstly my family are super supportive and have helped me greatly with achieving my aims physically and emotionally and without them I wouldn’t be wearing the Italian flag on my jacket. On top of this, my trainers have helped me progress through the levels with their dedication and belief in my ability.
I would like to thank eGlove for not only supplying me with great products but for all their support. I would thoroughly recommend eGlove’s to all riders as they provide comfort and practicality when training, competing and during exercise. A massive thank you as without all this support behind me, my dreams would be much harder to reach.