We catch up with Mitsubushi Motors Cup ; Badminton Bound Dan Titterton
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We catch up with Team Titterton and find out how Dan is feeling about the Mitsubishi Motors Cup Championships at Badminton and how preparations are going…..
So you had a great run at badminton 2017 with Larriston Red Bailey this must fill you with confidence ?
Yes being there in 2017 was amazing & Bailey did us proud finishing just 4 marks outside the top 10. It was a great experience & one which I think will stand us in good stead in 2019.
Your record with Vision B shows that he always seems to be in the placings. How confident are you for him at badminton? How do you think he will cope with the atmosphere?
Billy’s record is fantastic really. He’s won 5 out of 9 completions and has only been out of the top 5 once. That record in itself for any horse is pretty awesome but for a horse that has only competed at dressage for over 12 years to then turn their hand to eventing I think is pretty remarkable!! I always go to competition with a positive mind-set so yes, at the moment I’m confident of a bold showing with both horses. Although Bailey has been there and done it & the atmosphere doesn’t affect him Billy can get quite hot with crowds so my aim really is to keep him focussed with particular attention at the lake where im not entirely sure how he will react to the huge amount of water along with all of the marquees!
Will you be training with anyone in preparation for Badminton 2019?
I would imagine I will be keeping things the same really. I’m lucky to have my wife Jo working with me on the flat & also we live locally to Jeanette Breakwell who has helped me enormously with my show jumping on Bailey. He’s a huge horse and has often found it difficult through combinations and training with Jeanette has improved this so much.
What challenges do you expect Badminton will present this year?
I’d imagine for the #MMCup19 it will be of similar difficulty as it always is – lots of tricky combinations, maximum height/width fences, undulating terrain and of course it’s a much longer course than you would normally get.
Who will you be walking the course with?
I’ll walk the course at least a three of times, once on my own & then in a couple of the group walks Badminton put on with various riders/trainers. In 2017 I found the course walk with Yogi Breisner in particular very interesting.
Do you set yourself targets to aim for during an event? Such as dressage score or a mark for a particular movement?
My aim is always to do our best in each phase. If we do that then I can’t complain. I try not to set targets for dressage scores as what one judge marks a 7, another will give it a 5 so as an experienced rider you tend to know if you’ve done a decent test or not and that’s all I can ask for.
Is it possible to feel relaxed whilst you are competing at this prestigious event ? Do you watch other competitors to assess marking, ground or jumping lines?
I’m not really a rider than get especially nervous although I think some nerves is always good. Again I think the fact that we have been there before and also we have two horses competing will mean there’s less time waiting around to let the nerves take hold of you. I would sooner be riding 5 horses at a competition and keeping busy rather than waiting around thinking about what might happen. With regards to watching competitors I will try and watch a couple of horses in the show jumping of a similar type to the one I’m riding just to see how the distances ride but other than that I tend to concentrate on what I’ve walked and stick to that. I think it sometimes watching others too much can cloud your own judgement.
What are your indispensable pieces of kit?
Lucozade & wine gums!! They keep me going through a long days competing.
What are your tips for Rider and Horse recovery after an event?
For me the horses always come first & my main tip is to get their body temperature back down. 2018 was a difficult year in that it always seemed to be incredibly warm and so the horses was very hot after the XC. We get them untacked and covered on cool water straight away and keep them walking until their heart rate is back to normal. At that point as the rider I will make sure im well hydrated before preparing for the next horse.
What will be your aim after Badminton?
Baileys aim is to go straight to his first Novice at either Chatsworth or Llanymynech which is exciting & I would imagine it may be Billys last event at Badminton and he will go back to the white boards. We may pick and choose and let him run in the odd event to freshen him up because he absolutely loves it, but we will wait and see.
Tell us how it came about : dressage horse to event horse?
Billy has competed dressage right from a 4yo (hes now 17) and although he had always jumped at home, other than competing in the BD Combined training champs for which hes one twice, come second in the other & qualified for the final again last week he had only ever gone to venues to do dressage and he was getting a little stale and bored of it I think. So after trying to twist Jo’s arm (along with many Facebook followers doing the same!) she allowed me to take him XC schooling to freshen him up. We took him to Eland Lodge to school around and although he had no idea how to gallop he loved it & so we decided to enter him for the forthcoming event there as hes schooled around there, the SJ is on a surface so let him have some fun – he won it with a 19 double clear by 5 marks!! It was pretty hard not to go again with him after that so we did and he won again by wide margins at Llanymynech & Weston Park in 2017. So over winter we thought wouldn’t it be amazing if we could get the old boy to Badminton before he retires. We thought we would try but with a very limited campaign in 2018 just to try and achieve the qualification. He had his prep run at Stafford and duly won again by a wide margin but he then was awful at his first regional final and I withdrew him after SJ. He came home lame and he had a very deep bruise in his sole which took 5 weeks before he was sound again so we had basically given up hope of the dream materialising as the season was drawing to a close . We took him on the long trek to Little Downham and although he jumped a double clear he was way off the pace after dressage which was so unlike him but we had our last entry at Weston Park a week later, a place where he had won before and to our relief he was back on song for another win to book his place. He really is the horse of lifetime and its so satisfying as we have had him since a just broken 4yo many years ago. Jo jokes that she loves him more than me but I’m not too sure it’s a joke! So although I love competing him as he’s so special, I do feel a huge amount of pressure to make sure he returns home safe and sound!
What does competing at Badminton Horse Trials mean to you?
A great deal. Not just for myself but for the whole team & of course the owners. Although Billy is owned by us, Bailey is owned by Christine Turner who put faith in me to take him from a 7yo that had done nothing to an event horse. He came to me after Chris sadly suffered a serious illness which has meant she is unable to ride anymore. Originally Bailey was to be sold but we’ve become great friends and she’s able to continue to enjoy being involved with horses through bailey being with us so he’s very much one of the gang here to stay! It would mean so much to us all if he could do well for her
What events will you be aiming to get to and complete as a build up to badminton?
Bailey & Billy are quite different and will be taking different routes to Badminton. Bailey is naturally a good-doer and takes a huge amount of work to get fit so he will be using events before Badminton to help him get fitter and also to get the freshness out of him as he can be quite strong. My plan will be take in three events before the big day with it more than likely being Stafford, Norton Disney & Kelsall Hill with the latter being just 10 days before the event that fits in nicely for him. Billy can also be a little barrel of a horse but he tends to go best when fresh so he will have just the single run I think at Norton Disney so we have 3 weeks after that to freshen him up again. He will also be continuing his dressage career with Jo in the run up- competing at the BD regional finals at Advanced Medium in February. They are currently competing at Advanced and Prix St George’s. This does put the pressure on me a bit to nail the dressage although it’s a big drop in what he’s used to do – the hardest thing for me is keeping my legs still enough to do a whole test with no additional fancy moves!
Dan is part of MCF Equestrian Team Titterton and is sponsored by :
Article sponsored by Le Jabot & Stock Company
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