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British international dressage rider Gracie Catling has represented team GB at Junior and Young Rider level and has enjoyed success at Olympia and Royal Windsor . Based in Buckinghamshire, The incredibly hardworking Gracie combines riding with studying at Loughborough University and is enjoying a very busy time with riding up to 8 horses at home each day alongside her studies. We are sure she will continue to enjoy great success both on and off her horses.


Tell us about you and your horses

Gracie and Tsjebe winning the Inter 1 Area Festival Championships 2023
Hi, I’m Gracie Catling, I’m twenty years old and studying sport psychology at Loughborough University whilst also training and competing my horses. My biggest achievements to date are being selected to compete for GB as a junior and young rider, winning at Olympia and Royal Windsor in showing, winning 10 regional titles and numerous national titles, and I am the current university Show Jumping national champion. Altogether we currently have 8 horses ranging from 1 year old to 25.

My four main competition horses are:   Tsjebe: 18-year-old Friesian who we have owned since he was 4. He is currently competing at Inter 1 and is training at grand prix.

Dalyhill Rocker: 16-year-old Connemara who we co-own with Julie Mott. We have owned him for the last seven years and he has competed up to advanced medium and pony FEI.
Gracie Catling and her horse Qwinton
Gracie and Qwinton at the Summer Nationals 2023
Qwinton: 16-year-old warmblood owned by Anke Hoeffler. I have ridden him for the last two and a half years after I brought him back into work after some time out due to laminitis and feet abscess’. He is competing at PSG.

Fraithwen’s Wytske Fan Ter Lune: 9-year-old Friesian mare owned by Fraithwen Friesians. I have ridden her for the last eight months where she had never done a BD test to coming second at the winter championships.  

How did horses come into your life? 

  I have ridden horses for as long as I can remember as they have been at home well before I was born. Both my parents rode, but now just mum and I do after dad gave up eventing around when I was born. Mum has done lots of BD and is a judge which is how I got into dressage after jumping throughout my childhood mainly.


When and where do you ride? 

  I ride every day and the horses are at our home in Buckinghamshire. The horses have their days off when I am at university.  

Who do you train with?

Gracie and Tsjebe winning the Inter 1 Area Festival Championships 2023
I mainly just train on my own and with mum when I need her who is my eyes on the ground, which is especially helpful as she has done a lot of dressage and is a judge. When time allows I have a few lessons with Adam Kemp.


What are you and your horses currently working on? 

  Having just competed at the winter nationals we always use this time to just regroup and reflect on how the horses have performed. Now is usually the time when they step up a level for the summer season, so at the minute it’s just quietly working away and planning competitions for the summer.


What do you love about riding? 

  The main thing I love about riding is just being around the animals I love. The best part is spending time with them and only concentrating on what is happening underneath me. I like the satisfaction about teaching them something new and looking back at their progress.  

What would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals? 

Gracie Catling dressage rider
Gracie and Dalyhill Rocker looking good during a test
My main goal is to train a horse and compete at Grand Prix. I love training the Friesians so we will see where that takes me.

It takes a team to do dressage, who is in your support team? 

  My biggest support is my mum, who is also mum to all the animals at home. I think we’d be a bit of a lost cause on our own. Then of course our owners and everyone who keeps the horses on the road; our farrier Jason Evans, Hampden Vets, and our sponsors.

Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?

  I think I am very lucky in that I don’t really suffer from nerves when I compete and if I do I use them in a positive way. I think because I have ridden all my life it is just part of what I do. I see competing as more of a challenge than something to be nervous about, but I think I am quite chilled in that sense in general too.  

How do you do you deal with them? 

Gracie Catling and Silvano KR winning at Olympia in 2019
Gracie and Silvano KR winning at Olympia in 2019
I visualise my tests in my head to make sure I know the test and prepare myself. As seriously as we take the sport, we try and keep it light hearted.


Do you have any rituals before competing? 

  I can’t remember the last time I competed without wearing my bumble bee socks, it’s been years! I don’t even think they are lucky as I have definitely had bad days wearing them but for some reason, I just won’t compete without them. Also, you wouldn’t believe the amount of magpies that have been saluted whilst in the lorry. Ritual wise I always plait and get my horses ready on my own. I am a bit of a perfectionist and like to be in control when getting them ready, tacking up and riding.

Your Top Tip

  I think get to know your horse inside out. When you compete there is nothing more helpful than knowing your horse and how to deal with them when it goes wrong, especially in the ring. Getting to know them on the ground very well helps with this. I think another is to not overtrain/prepare. Try not to change too much in the run up to a big show, the horse doesn’t know what’s coming up, all they feel is a slightly tense rider.  

What is the best piece of advice that you have ever been given?

  Comparison is the thief of joy. Try your best to stay on your own journey and not compare yourself to other people, as hard as that is! Paddle your own canoe and take the rough with the smooth.  



Down the Centre Line


Who would be your dream horse to ride? 

  I think Valegro is a classic, Totilas or Dalera.


Who is your equestrian hero? 

  I think Jessica Von Bredow-Werndl is inspiring because of the harmony she has with her horses.  

If you could have five people to dinner, who would they be? 

  The Queen, Jack Whitehall, Ricky Gervais, Taylor Swift and Michael McIntyre. Not sure how the queen would react, but I like a laugh.  

Favourite colour horse? 

  Black, with all the Friesians


Favourite horse event? 

  I think it has to be The London International Horse Show. I was lucky enough to win there when it was Olympia, in West Kensington, I don’t think that can be topped.  

Favourite food? 

  Tony’s Chocolate and Roast Dinners – specifically roast potatoes.


Favourite way to relax? 

  I feel like I can only properly relax when I haven’t got any university coursework or exams, but in the evenings, I can’t help a scroll on TikTok or watch something light hearted next to my Chihuahuas


Favourite film? 

  Mamma Mia is definitely a favourite. I quite like the mission impossible’s too but mainly light hearted films like Bridget Jones.

Want More?

If you enjoyed meeting Gracie you might like to view more dressage rider “chatting with” interviews here .  You can keep up with Gracie’s progress and check out her instagram page here

Sharon Howe

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