This week I’m chatting with the very talented Australian para-dressage rider Abigail Vidler. Based in Australia, Abigail is hoping to represent her country in the 2028 Paralympics Games. Read on to discover more about Abigail, her ambitions, and top tips for success.
Tell us about you and your horse
Hi my name is Abigail, I’m eighteen years old based in Victoria in Australia and I was born without my forearms. I’m currently in between horses looking for me next para-dressage horse.
How did horses come into your life?
Horses came into my life through the RDA (riding for the disabled) and I’m forever grateful for my start in a wonderful program.
How long have you been riding?
I started riding at the age of two so I have been riding for sixteen years.
When and where do you ride?
I ride three times a week at my assignment with a few of the younger horses and then once a month I ride with Equine Pathways Australia as a grade 5 para-athlete which is the same as a PSG rider.
How did you start riding?
As a para rider my riding journey started with RDA at two years old, it was mainly for confidence and building my core muscles. Now it’s my sport and I can’t believe just how far I have come, I’m very lucky to be a part of this community.
What you and your horses currently working on?
With the younger horses it’s understanding everything slowly and bringing them along as a happy as they can be.
For me I have spent two years in lockdown and in my final years of schooling, so I’m building my riding fitness back. I’m also working the connecting my seat to my rein aids.
What do you love about riding?
I think this goes across the community when I say it’s the little moments with the horses and being able to achieve something that you never thought possible.
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
In terms of riding, I would love to be out doing FEI and working towards the 2028 Paralympics Games. I would also love to have a team of OTTBs that I’m able to take out and compete.
For my non-riding goal I would continue my path with Public relations and would love to work with an equestrian team.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
I think everyone has to deal with nerves it’s a way of showing how much we care for the sport.
How do you deal with them?
I always take time out and place on my music and groom my horse. I make sure that I say my test out loud to my coach or to my family, this just helps me keep in mind that I do know my test.
Your Top Tip
If your horse is having a off day, remember that they have their own minds and emotions. If we expect them to be athletes we as riders should also treat ourselves like athletes.
Down the Centre Line
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
A horse that loves to work and loves to play, definitely a big (16.3hh+) chestnuts with four white socks and a big blaze
Who is your equestrian hero?
If you could have 5 people to dinner who would they be?
An odd mixture but a table of wisdom
Favourite colour horse?
Got to love a Chestnut.
Favourite horse event?
I love watching the dressage festivals.
I love a Chicken Parma from a pub.
Favourite way to relax?
I love to read a good book or watch YouTube (especially Tina Wallace, Meg Elphick, Emily Dunstan and Lucy Robinson).
I also love to bake and listening to music.
Ooo that’s a hard choice, I love Top Gun but Red Dog is one of the Aussie classics
If you enjoyed meeting Abigail you might like to view more dressage rider “chatting with” interviews here You can keep up with Abigail’s progress and check out her instagram page here