This week, I’m chatting with Spanish Grand Prix dressage rider Cristina Molina. The hugely talented Cristina gave up a successful career in banking to ride and develop her horses on a full-time basis. Read on to discover more about Cristina, her life and family, and her hopes for the future as well as her top riding tips.
Tell us a little about you and your horses
My name is Cristina Molina and I am a 38 year-old, dressage rider and currently the dressage vocal in the Extremadua Horse Riding Federation. I studied Business Administration and Management at CUNEF and a Master in Stock Exchanges and Financial Markets at IEB. I worked for Santander Bank for 11 years, and from a mature position I decided to turn my passion into my job, which is to ride my dressage horses every day.
Now I have five horses in my stables, (four of those are PSL (Pura Sangre Lusitano) and the other one is a PRE (Pura Raza Español). Everyday I ride four of my horses as the fifth is a one-year old foal. They are:
Dedalo, my white bird stallion Dédalo a 13 year old PSL (100 % Veiga) with whom I doing Dressage Grand Prix Level.
Julieta, Dédalos girlfriend, she is 7 year old and she is a PSL (she comes from the PSL Nervo and is 100 % Veiga as well). She will become the replacement of Dedalo.
Quimera, she is 1 year old, the baby. She is a PSL as well, with excellent origins. She is the nicest of Julieta.
Herodes, wow he is PSL and he is my husbands horse, he is 9 yrs old.
Riojana JF, she is 7 year old and is a PRE (Pura Raza Español). Her origins are Escalera Stud, one of the oldest and most functional of the Spanish purebred
How did your horses come into your life?
Wow! My horses came into my life thanks to my husband, Manuel de Villegas y Muguiro. He always wanted to me to fullfill my dream. Dédalo was one of my wedding gifts from him.
How long have you been riding?
I’ve been riding since I was 3 years old. My mother took me for a stroll in the cart when I was a baby to the country club (Club de Campo Villa de Madrid) and she wanted me to learn to ride a horse.
When and where do you ride?
I ride my horses every day, we live on a farm owned by my mother in law in Extremadura, very close to the border with Portugal.
How did you start riding?
I started riding because my mother wanted me to learn.
My parents always wanted us to be athletic children and athletes (not dedicate ourselves professionally to it), but they considered that if we learned the maximum of sports when we were young, when we were older we could practice them more easily than if we started with 30 years per example.
What you and your horses currently working on?
It may seem like a lie to you, but on a daily basis I work with my horses basic exercises, rectitude, that gain strength in the hindquarters, balance, and lateral movements. Additional with Dedalo I usually work on Piaffe- Passage transitions, flying changes every two steps and then to one, but not too much as he loves it and once starts he does not finish, he likes the most flying changes every one step!
What do you love about riding?
I love being with them, taking care of them, pampering them, feeling what they tell me haha !!
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
Life goes very fast, I just hope that Dedalo continues many more years by my side. Now I am preparing his girlfriend Julieta, who will be competing at the time of Dédalo´s retirement.
We have many future projects on the farm such as making two more dressage arenas, (one of them will be covered), as most people think in Extremadura it does not rain much. The reality is not like that, and I have calculated that approximately 3 to 4 months per year which is 190 days I can not ride on my current arena as Its raining.
Also, we would like to do dressage competitions in Arenosas, and continue with the clinics that we have with Dani Martin Dockx the Spanish Olympic Rider, and with any other Top Riders which could help dressage riders.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
Of course! Who does not!
How do you deal with them?
Doing breathing exercises and concentrating, thinking that if I am capable, that I want to, I can and have the aptitude to do it
Your Top Tip
Always Always although the word is fashionable, empathize with others
The Final Furlong
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
The question It is not who would be my dream horse to ride as I think I have found it, its my stallion Dédalo. I feel a very strong connection with him, it is a dream come true!
Who is your equestrian hero?
Let me think… I do not have a rider hero, what I have is people that I love how they ride and I follow them, such as Charlotte Dujardin (the most), Severo Jurado, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, Catherine Dufour.
If you could have 5 people to dinner who would they be?
I guess like everyone else, with my family and my friends. If I have to have a a dinner to meet someone I would say …. Years ago I learned that everyone can contribute something to you no matter how insignificant it may seem so I am open to meeting and dining with anyone!
Favourite colour horse?
I like Black the most.
Favourite horse event
Chio Aachen and Olympic Games!
All the spoon dishes I particularly love the Madrid stew. Of course the olives!!
Favourite way to relax
Ha Ha Ha ..Being with horses….
Don´t really think I have a favourite film, what I like is to see Action Movies