This week, I’m thrilled to be chatting with under 25 Grand Prix dressage rider Georgie West. This hugley talented young lady is based and trains at Emile Fauries yard, Heath Farm in the Cotswolds where she rides her own string of talented horses. Read on to discover more about Georgie, her life to date and her hopes for the future as well as her top riding tips.
Tell us a little about you and your horses
I am a 25-year-old dressage rider based in the Cotswolds. I graduated from University College London with a first-class degree in Biochemistry and I am now focusing on horses full time.
I have three horses in full time training with me and five yearlings coming through, with two being backed next year.
My mother has owned my main horse Skyla for over 6 years (San Amour x King Arthur), and she is 12 competing at U25 Grand Prix. I also own a 9-year-old mare BKS Fantasia (Real Ruby x Furstenball) who is training at Intermediate I and my mother recently purchased an amazing 5-year-old mare Die’ Diva (Stutbuck 1 Diva x Top Gear) who is in training to compete in the 6-year-old classes next year and hopefully qualify for the FEI World Breeding Championships for Young Horses.
How did horses come into your life?
My mother has always loved and owned horses since she was bought her first pony. Although she only got into owning dressage horses 10 years ago. I remember the first day I watched Skyla in training I knew what I wanted to do.
How long have you been riding?
I have been riding since I could walk and ever since I have been obsessed with horses.
When and where do you ride?
I am currently based at Emile Faurie’s yard Heath Farm, and I have been here for 2 years and cannot imagine being anywhere else. I train everyday with Emile and the horses, and I love it here.
Before that I was lucky enough to train at Aubenhausen in Germany with Benjamin and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl. I loved being able to experience living in a new country and being able to do so with my three horses was even better. It truly was an unforgettable experience; the yard was breathtakingly beautiful, and the training was amazing. I learnt so from being there and I loved how they form such special bonds with each of their horses.
What you and your horses currently working on?
Each horse is at different stages of their training, and I like to make sure they all have a variety in their daily schedules.
Skyla has now learnt all the movements for the GP, so we are working on perfecting them, but we also spend a lot of time on the basics and making sure she is supple and fit. She also enjoys working on the canter track and we try to keep her work varied so she stays fresh.
Fantasia is working on the movements for intermediate I and she is really excelling in the step up.
Die’ Diva works less than the other two and loves her morning turn out. She is working on the movements for the 6-year-old classes next year where she will be campaigning with Tom Goode. She is really a future star.
What do you love about riding?
I love building a special bond of trust with my horses and seeing their progression over the years. As cheesy as it sounds Skyla has been my rock for so many years now through some really hard times and I don’t think I have ever finished a ride on her and not be instantly relieved from any stress of the day.
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
I would love to be successfully training and competing my horses to the top of the sport. I’m so excited for my string of young horses coming through and I can’t wait for the road to Grand Prix with all of them.
My goal for the next few years would be to represent my country and compete Skyla internationally at Grand Prix.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
I do experience a certain amount of nerves when competing but I have learnt how to cope with them and use them as positive energy for the test.
How do you deal with them?
For me I think it’s all about making sure you have trust in your team and being fully prepared on the day of the competition. I like to know that I have a set schedule of timings to fit to and I always go through my test visualising each movement. If I know I am prepared and organised and everything is running smoothly I am instantly calmer.
I also like to think of my nerves more so as excitement and harness them as drive for me to ride a good test.
Your Top Tip
Always remain focused on your own journey with your horses and don’t compare yourself to others. In Germany I learnt how important it was to make sure you build a bond with your horses outside the saddle to really gain their love and trust, especially with mares. Once this bond is built then I believe a mare will fight for you in that ring.
I also think it is so important to find a trainer that you can trust and supports both you and your horses.
Finally, make sure you always have short term and long-term goals to work towards with each of your horses, this way you keep motivated each day knowing you are working towards something.
The Final Furlong
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
TSF Dalera BB or Totilas.
Who is your equestrian hero?
So many to choose from! I love the bond Jessica von Bredow-Werndl has with her horses. She makes every test look effortless and always has a smile on her face.
If you could have five people to dinner, who would they be?
Sir David Attenborough, Michael McIntyre, Frankie Dettori, Jack Whitehall, and his father.
Favourite colour horse?
I love a black horse.
Favourite horse event
I’m such a foody but if I had to choose, I love Sushi.
Favourite way to relax
Spending time with my boyfriend, my friends, and my family.
I love so many films so it’s really hard to choose one, but I love the Holiday and Mamma Mia. I find both films really can lift my mood.
If you enjoyed meeting Georgie you might like to see more chatting with interviews here You can keep up with Georgie’s progress and check out her instagram page here