Each week I interview the people behind some of the most interesting and popular equestrian accounts on Instagram. This week I’m thrilled to be chatting with the lovely Alex Baker, Irish International Grand Prix Dressage rider who work for Anna Ross at her yard in Devon. Read on to learn more about the very talented lady behind the brilliant @alexbaker.dressage Instagram account.
Tell us a little about you and your horse
Hi, I’m a 24 year old Irish International Grand Prix rider. I work for Anna Ross at Elite Dressage and love my job backing and training horses there. I have one horse of my own, Dutchman (Jack). He is a 12 year old KWPN and we are learning together. This year we have started competing at International Grand Prix. We have done 3 now and recently scored an international personal best at Keysoe a few weeks ago. I have also been lucky enough to compete horses at Elite Dressage from young horses classes to Regional and National Championships. I am very lucky to have some great sponsors, Divine Equestrian and Custom Saddlery as well as an amazing team around me.
How did your horses come into your life?
I was given a toy horse when I was about 3 years old and since then I’ve been hooked!
How long have you been riding?
Since I was 6 years old
When and where do you ride?
I am very lucky that riding is my job. I spend most days riding and training horses of all ages and levels at Elite Dressage in Devon.
How did you start riding?
At a riding school in Jersey. I never liked the Dressage lessons, that’s changed a lot now!
What are you and your horses currently working on?
Dutchman and I are working on gaining experience at Grand Prix and trying to put more power and expression into our tests. Hopefully our scores will keep creeping up too.
Thanks to Anna I have the opportunity to take out some of the young horses at Elite Dressage.
What do you love about riding?
It makes me so happy to see horses progress and train. Especially young horses when you work with them and make them sensible and confident ready to go out into the world. It is so satisfying and never gets boring! Jack is my first Grand Prix horse. He gives me everything and more, I don’t know where else I’d find that feeling. We don’t deserve them.
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
My dream is to compete at the Olympics. I would also love to back a horse and train it all the way to Grand Prix.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
I get a little nervous sometimes, I love competing so it’s not normally then but sometimes when I’m backing horses I have to control my nerves.
How do you deal with them?
I make sure to keep breathing, I sigh, roll my shoulders and lift my legs away from the saddle to stop my thighs and knees from gripping and keep them loose. When I’m backing horses, if I really have to overcome my nerves when my body wants to tighten I focus on a point on the horse’s mane, focus on my breathing and trust the person who’s on the ground!
Your Top Tip
When you hit a rough patch, think about how proud you’ll be when you’ve made it through.
The Final Furlong
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
Franklin, he’s gorgeous and I’ve loved his offspring that I’ve worked with so far
Who is your equestrian hero?
I watched Henri Ruoste at Le Mans this February and loved his riding, so him at the moment
If you could have 5 people to dinner who would they be?
The Elite Dressage team!
Favourite colour horse?
I love a Dun or Palomino
Favourite horse event
Oliva Nova, in 2016 I went there twice. For an international and again for the young rider Europeans. You can’t beat competing in Spain and riding on the beach!