Each week I interview the people behind some of the most interesting and popular equestrian accounts on Instagram. This week I’m chatting with Alexandra Hellings, British international dressage rider and coach from Bakewell in Derbyshire. Read on to learn more about the very talented young lady behind the hugely popular @alexandra_hellings Instagram account.
Tell us a little about you and your horses
I have currently got two horses; Uvender V (Uvi) and Kai. Uvi is a 19 year bright bay old KWPN by Krack C competing at Grand Prix and Kai is a 5 year black KWPN by Glock’s Toto Jr competing at prelim/novice. This July, I graduated from the University of Sheffield with a first in my mathematics degree and I am now officially doing horses full time which I am loving so so much.
How did your horses come into your life?
I started off at a local riding school called Cowley Riding School, then fortunately for me we moved house to a little village where Sonia (Baines, my trainer) had a yard with her parents and we met in the local pub. The rest is history and I still train with her now.
How long have you been riding?
When and where do you ride?
All day everyday! I am based with my trainer at Dunston Park Equestrian Centre and I do a lot of riding for her now. I am self-employed but also teach and ride my own clients horses freelance. It was obviously very different when I was at school/university, but I just tried my best to fit riding into my schedule as often as possible, whether that be first thing before uni or late at night afterwards.
How did you start riding?
As I previously mentioned, I started at a local riding school as my mum wanted me to try everything, so I went to dance, swimming, riding etc… and in all honesty I loved it all, but then my mum said I had to choose one thing to do as it was unsustainable doing everything. That was when I choose to carry on riding and I stayed swimming for a little while too before that became too much as well with having horses and school too.
What you and your horses currently working on?
With Uvi, we are working hard to do another Grand Prix so we are particularly working on the one time changes and the piaffe/passage transitions. With Kai, we are working on building his strength over the back in all of his work ready for a show.
What do you love about riding?
The fact that you are constantly learning and there is always something to improve on. We’d all be lying to ourselves if we thought this was easy, but I love the constant challenge and yes, that can be extremely tough at times but my oh my the reward of when you achieve is ten times better because you know how hard you have worked.
Also the fact that horses literally do become your best friends and they are 100% non-judgmental; they always listen. I know that sounds clichéd but it really is true.
What would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
I hope that I can be a successful professional rider and trainer, and obviously my ultimate goal would be the Olympics. Who’s isn’t? But I would love to compete international GP and if I could get to a senior championship, then that would be the dream.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
Yes I used to suffer from serious nerves to the point where when I was in my test I used to hold my breath without realising and I’d almost be sick.
How do you deal with them?
I now have a sports psychologist, Helen from Rezone Coaching who has helped me a ridiculous amount to regain control and focus and now I really do feel I have a lot more confidence.
Your Top Tip
Always believe in what you know… never doubt yourself and remember why you are doing this because you love horses and love riding!
The Final Furlong
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
Mmm… there are so many horses but I think it would have to be Totilas!
Who is your equestrian hero?
If you could have 5 people to dinner who would they be?
Mmm there are just too many people to choose from… but I think I’d have to go for Eddie Jones, Gordon Ramsey, Serena Williams, Isabell Werth and Albert Einstein. That would definitely be an interesting mix of people.
Favourite colour horse?
Favourite horse event
Olympia- there’s just no show quite like it!
I am a real foodie, so love pretty much any food! But I am a sucker for a chicken nugget!
Favourite way to relax
This is slightly embarrassing because I have watched the whole thing about four times, however watching an episode of Gossip Girl seems to just chill me right out!
I am not a big film person. If I am honest I never have time to sit down for long, although I do love Harry Potter… Any of them!
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