Mexican Grand Prix dressage rider Carolina Cordoba is one of Mexico’s top dressage riders and has represented her country at the Panam games. Having recently moved to Germany she is now competing in Europe and has hopes of representing Mexico in the Olympic Games in the future. Read on to learn more about the Carolina, her ambitions and top tips for success.
Tell us about you and your horse
My name is Carolina Córdoba. I am twenty-six years old and am a Mexican Dressage Rider. I started riding in Mexico when I was four years old; when I was six years old, I moved to another club and wanted to show jump, but my teacher told me that I first had to learn dressage, and in the end, I liked it a lot. Since then, I have never stopped riding. I got my first horse when I turned eighteen; before that, my teacher would lend me horses, or I would rent them. My horse’s name is Baikal. With him, I learned a lot, reached Grand Prix level, and now he is retired in Mexico.
How did horses come into your life?
This is a funny story… Horses were not in the family (now they are)
When I was 3 years old, my mom used to take me to swimming classes, and next to the swimming pool, there was a small equestrian club. Every time we left the pool, I wanted to go and see the horses. One day, they let me “ride” one, and I was invited to a one-week summer course to spend time with the horses. A month after that course, when I turned four, I started riding, and I’ve been doing it ever since.
When and where do you ride?
I moved to Germany 3 months ago (I lived in Mexico), to continue and improve my professional career as a rider. I ride every day, from Tuesday to Sunday, and although at the moment I only ride four horses, I love to be in the stable the whole day.
How did you start riding?
As I mentioned before, I started at the age of four in a small club near my house. Later on, I moved to a children’s riding school, where I spent many years and started competing in national competitions in Mexico, learning a lot in the process. After finishing preparatory school, I went to Germany for 6 months to work and ride for a dealing stable. A year later, I went to Florida to work with an Olympic rider, where I continued to learn a great deal.
I returned to Mexico to continue riding and competing nationally with my horse and other horses from various clients. Eventually, I completed university (I have a bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering).
Since 2022, with the support of one of my clients, I began traveling to Germany to ride with Borja Carrascosa for 10 days every 6 weeks. I had the opportunity to start competing at the international level in Europe, and finally, in August 2023, I moved to Germany.
What are you and your horses currently working on?
The horses I have at the moment are of different ages. Each one has a personalised plan. I tailor my training sessions to what each one needs, and it also depends a bit on whether a competition is coming up. But mostly, I try to work a lot on the basics and also include hacks/lunging sessions or something fun 1-2 times a week to keep them and me motivated.
What do you love about riding?
All of it. The connection with the horses, everything around them, and what they make me feel when riding, feeding, or just being around them. My work is my passion; I love what I do.
What would you like to be doing in the future, and do you have any goals?
In the future, I would like to continue riding, always striving to become a better rider. As an athlete my goal is the Olympic Games representing Mexico. For now, I will continue living in Germany and seize every opportunity to compete in Europe and learn from each experience.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
Any competition is a challenge, and that always makes you nervous. Still, particularly when I compete with a new horse or when I’m not familiar with the venue, things get interesting, but I focus on our daily work and trust in my horses.
How do you deal with them?
I try to concentrate and not worry about what could happen but rather feel what is happening at the moment. I do listen to music and spend time with the horse before competitions.
Do you have any rituals before competing?
I don’t have any rituals; I try to do everything as we do at home, but I do like to spend a few minutes completely alone with my horse before getting on.
Your Top Tip
Enjoy and learn from every ride.
What is the best piece of advice that you have ever been given?
Trust the process
We, as competitive riders, sometimes think too much about winning and competitions. It’s all right to be a perfectionist but allow yourself and your horse to make mistakes so you can grow as a team and fight against every unforeseen event.
The goal is not the fun part but everything you put into it to make it happen.
Down the Centre Line
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
Who is your equestrian hero?
Charlotte Dujardin and my current trainer, Borja Carascosa
If you could have 5 people to dinner, who would they be?
Carl Hester, Reiner Klimke, Anne van Olst, Kyra Kyrklund, Mariette Withages
Favourite colour horse?
Favourite horse event?
Events in general Aachen, events in which I have participated, Falsterbo.
Favourite way to relax?
Go for a hack with my horse
I don’t have a favourite film. I‘m too bad at watching TV, I always fell asleep
If you enjoyed meeting Carolina you might like to view more dressage rider “chatting with” interviews here . You can keep up with Carolina’s progress and check out her instagram page here