This week I’m excited to be chatting with international dressage rider and BD Level 2 coach Elspeth Day. Read on to discover more about Elspeth, her horses, ambitions, and top tips for success.
Tell us about you and your horses
I am a twenty seven year old dressage rider from Nottinghamshire running the family business.
I own four horses; two 2 year old Dutch Warmbloods (Pablo and Pedro), a 5 year old KWPN Mare (Pippin), and a 6 year old pony mare called Sylvia.
How did your horses come into your life?
I got a little trigger happy during lockdown! I purchased Pablo, Pedro, and Pippin from videos, with Sylvia being a recent acquisition and is part owned by Stal Brouwer Holland.
How long have you been riding?
I was very fortunate to be born into an equestrian family so I was plonked on the back of a pony before I could walk! At the age of 5 I competed in showing classes until the age of 12 when I began competing in dressage.
When and where do you ride?
I ride, train, and coach almost every day, predominantly at the family yard where we have 2 arenas. Outside of this, I try and go for a hack once or twice a week if my horses are behaving!
How did you start riding?
On a pony called Fairy who seemingly didn’t mind my determination to canter everywhere and only changing direction when my mum stopped me to change the rein.
What you and your horses currently working on?
I’ve been trying to encourage Pablo and Pedro to cross a small stream in their field where they are turned away for the summer with very little success and increasingly soggy socks.
Pippin has recently qualified for the regionals at prelim level. We are currently working on having more gears within the pace, both trot and canter.
Sylvia has recently had a foal so we’re focusing on getting her fit and strong.
What do you love about riding?
I love that my job is my passion. I love that horses are levellers and bring you back down to earth when complacency sets in. I love having access to a whip at all times.
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
I’d love to train a horse I own to Grand Prix level – I usually have to sell them well before this to pay the bills! In all seriousness, I’ve recently been given a fantastic opportunity with a new owner to compete with a very talented young stallion and her advanced level dressage horse. I’m hopeful I can fulfil the young stallion’s potential and return to the international stage in the future.
A more recent aim of mine is to gain further coaching qualifications after becoming a BD level 2 coach last year. I’m hoping this will enable me to work more closely with para-riders, Pony Club, and BD youth squads.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
I’m incredibly fortunate to not suffer with nerves and it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why. I’ve long assumed that my growing up with three siblings all doing the same thing and all being very competitive took the stress out of competitions, even at an international level. I could be completely deluded and actually be a nervous wreck and those around me are too scared to mention it, but I’ll assume it’s the former!
How do you deal with them?
Although this doesn’t relate to nerves, I still indulge in certain rituals prior to each event to ensure I’m fully prepared. I plait up, tack up, pack the lorry, and prepare all the horses myself. I accept help every now and then, but not with the basics!
Your Top Tip
The devil’s in the detail, don’t cut corners and make sure all your basics are rock solid!
Down the Centre Line
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
Who is your equestrian hero?
If you could have 5 people to dinner who would they be?
Freddie Flintoff, Arthur Kottas-Heldenberg, Miriam Margolyes, Alice Levine, Stacey Dooley
Favourite colour horse?
Chestnut, or as my boyfriend says, ginger
Favourite horse event?
Green Thai Curry
Favourite way to relax?
Eat the above!
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
If you enjoyed meeting Elspeth you might like to view more dressage rider chatting with interviews here You can keep up with Elspeth’s progress and check out her instagram page here