5 minutes with Andrew Nicholson who is preparing for Badminton Horse Trials.
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Whilst Andrew was up at the Masterclass demo at the Scottish National Equestrian Centre. We managed to catch up with him and as him some questions surrounding Badminton Horse Trials. Here is what he had to say…….
How are your preparations going for Badminton?
Good , we are winning everything at home.
What do you challenges do expect Badminton will bring this year?
I think it will be pretty demanding like the last two years that Eric has done it . I like what he’s done with Badminton. He makes it that you have to sit on your backside and work a bit . Its good and it’s what it should be about, to do well at Badminton you have got to be good at all three phases nowadays you can’t just be good at cross country you have to be up there with the dressage, showjumping and the have the whole works!
What do you focus on in training ? is there anything specific to the horses that you are taking?
Everything! dressage ,showjumping ,cross country and galloping. The fitness is as much focussed on as anything else.
Do you work on your own fitness as well?
I just ride a lot of horses each day. Thats pretty much all I do. I just have twelve horses now that I compete, somedays I might jump all twelve on a jumping day, on a dressage day I might be riding eight of them.
Mental fitness is quite a big part of the sport now, You touched on that tonight during the Masterclass tell me about that..
I just do the work I talked about tonight and I would like to think that people in the audience could see how riders where hitting the blank spot at about two and a half minutes – Three minutes. I think its the mind that gets tired first. It surprises me though how well the horses improve if you just keep going. The ones who go around the arena once (see the masterclass article) it doesn’t start to improve as the riders start looking for a let out and so the horses start looking for a let out, If you don’t and you just keep going then the horses know it just working working working and concentrate.
How many times do you walk the cross country course at Badminton? and do you walk it with anyone?
First I walk it by myself. I normally walk it four times. I sometimes walk it with other riders who want advice and they maybe have always worked with me or may be I am getting paid to walk with that nation!. I very much go on my first instincts.
Do you feel relaxed at these prestigious events now as you have been competing at them for some time now?
There is nothing relaxed about it. I still get the nerves, its what makes you sharp and alert. It is our biggest event in our job and if you are relaxed and casual about it you probably shouldn’t be there!
Do you watch other competitors run before you go cross country?
Yeah if I am a bit later on I will pick out a couple of riders who I know there horses I know them and I know how they operate and I would watch them. I don’t get too hung up on others. I like to find the certain ones I know.
Do you have any indispensable pieces of kit that you take with you to these events?
Like my lucky socks?! I couldn’t live with out my Butet saddles or my Veredes Boots.
Do you have any tips for recovery for after the cross country?
The horses get washed down constantly to cool them down water is put on scraped off put on scraped off then its pretty much the standard thing the horse is normally very fit so recovers well.
What does competing at Badminton mean to you? Does it still hold a special value in your heart?
Yes its the pinnacle of eventing. There is always a real buzz there, there is a lot of tension there from the moment that you arrive. It has got quite an atmosphere at Badminton.
How will your horses cope with the atmosphere in the dressage?
The one I have got ‘ Swallow Springs’ was good at Burghley which was his first one in that type of atmosphere and he coped well and he was good at Bramham before that so hopefully he will continue to keep on the doing the same!
We wish Andrew every bit of success and look forward to following them at Badminton and catching up with them to find out his thoughts on the course!Share this