This week I’m chatting with Spanish international dressage rider Agustin Gracia Garrido. Based in Spain where he combines studying for a business administration degree along with riding, Agustin plans to be a full time professional rider once his studies are completed . Read on to discover more about Agustin, his ambitions, and top tips for success
Tell us about you
My name is Agustin, I am twenty one years old and from Spain. I have ridden internationally for 12 years. I have been part of the national Spanish team two times, the first one in children in Vidauban in 2014 and the second one was last year in Hartpury competing in Young Riders. I love the international competition.
I am actually finishing my degree of Business Administration which is very difficult to combine with our sport, but I think is one of the best way to be a better athlete in the future because every formation you take helps you to be better in every aspect on your life.
I am currently training as a rider with Enrique Cruces, he has been training me since I was fourteen years old. For me Enrique is like my reference in dressage, he is the one who has taught me everything I know and who has been training me during these years of competition.
How did your horses come into your life?
Now I am working with Bounty and Delhi, the start forming part of my team in 2018. Bounty is a Hanoverian 9 years old gelding and Delhi is also a Hanoverian and she is a 7 years old mare. We were looking for a young horse and we went several times to Germany and Netherlands and finally we found Delhi and then Bounty at the same stable. I competed in the last European Championship with Bounty, and Delhi is my future project, I think she could be a very good mare but we have to keep training hard.
How long have you been riding?
I have been riding horses since I was seven/eight years old. However, the first years it was like a game but I started training serious for the competition very early when I was nine years old. Every time I get on a horse I try to enjoy and learn as if it was the first and last time I’m going to do it.
When and where do you ride?
I try to train every day because when I have university exams I have to give priority to the exams for a few days, but thanks to the good team I have we organize it in such a way that I can optimize most of the time I’m on the block so I can finish as soon as possible and go home to study.
In a normal week we would train on the arena five days, of which three days would be normal work and the other two would be base work and then a last day of walking around the field.
How did you start riding?
I started riding because my father has loved horses always since he was a child and thanks to him, I had contact with horses since I was a child, and it was him who got me into the competition and today everything I do is thanks to him who is always supporting me and helping me every day.
What are you and your horses currently working on?
Well, this year is going to be hard because we changed to the U25 category, and we will try to compete as soon as possible, but I don’t know when we will be ready to do the U25. The objective with Bounty is to finish the season making the U25 and now we are working hard on it and I hope at the end of the year we could make a good U25. With Delhi we are working thinking also in the U25 but we are consolidating the Prix Saint Georges.
What do you love about riding?
What I like most about riding a horse is the bond that is created with the horse because it will become a partner with whom you will share good and bad moments but who you have to understand in spite of everything.
What would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
When I finished my degree I would like to dedicate all of my time riding horse and I would like to be as a professional rider. I think everybody who rides and compete internationally have the same goal to compete in a Olympic Games, so that’s my main goal I think.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
Yes, of course, all of us who compete I believe that at some point we have had to deal with nerves and pressure. I think that knowing how to control your nerves is a very important factor to be able to advance in the competition, because if you can’t do it they will play a dirty trick on you in some important competition.
How do you deal with them?
I have always said that I had a before and after with nerves because in the first European Championships I competed I had a bad experience with them and that’s where I learned to control them. Now I consider I am a rider with a very cool head and able to manage very well the nerves and the pressure on important occasions.
Your Top Tip
Keep learning from everyone and never believe that you already know everything because in the horse world it will never be like that. Every horse is a blank book without writing and each one of them teaches you something new.
Down the Centre Line
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
Who is your equestrian hero?
My trainer Enrique Cruces
If you could have 5 people to dinner, who would they be?
Rafael Nadal, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl , Reiner Klimke, Fernando Alonso and my trainer
Favourite colour horse?
Favourite horse event?
European Championships and Young Horses world Championships
Favourite way to relax?
If you enjoyed meeting Agustin you might like to view more dressage rider “chatting with” interviews here You can keep up with Agustin’s progress and check out his instagram page here