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Hermione Tottman
British international dressage rider, Hermione Tottman has not only achieved success in representing team GB on the FEI pony circuit, and is currently riding at FEI young rider level, but at the age of nineteen is already Managing Director and Co-Founder of Olivers Equestrian Limited which specialises in breeding, competing and producing top quality dressage horses and acts as an agency in sourcing high level competition horses for its clients Read on to learn more about the very talented and determined Hermione, her ambitions, and top tips for success

Tell us about you and your horses

Hermione Tottman
Meet the incredibly focussed Hermione Tottman. 19-year-old British international FEI dressage young rider and managing director of
I am Hermione Tottman, a nineteen-year-old international dressage rider for Great Britain, and Co-Founder and Managing Director of Olivers Equestrian Limited.   Olivers Equestrian was founded in 2019 together with my mother and coach, Niki Tottman, and specialises in breeding, competing and producing top quality dressage horses, as well as sourcing high level competition horses for ambitious riders world-wide via our international equine agency.   Our breeding programme is still in its embryonic stages, with our first crop of foals currently in their 3yo year, and being produced at the moment for the National 4yo Young Horse Classes, with the goal of reaching the National Young Horse Championships.   We breed via embryo transfer from our Premium graded Oldenburg mare Spellbound (Revolution x Show Star).   We also compete a small team of advanced dressage horses, my top horse at the moment being Exquisite with whom I am competing at FEI Young Rider level.

I represented Great Britain on the FEI Pony circuit, including at the Hagen ‘Future Champions’ Nations Cup, before being selected as a team member for the Pony European Championships in 2019.   Since then, I have taken time to focus on my business before I began preparing for FEI Young Rider level at the end of last year.  


How did horses come into your life?

Horses were introduced into my life by my mother. I began riding at a very young age, on a Shetland pony who I fondly remember, named ‘Stormy’.   I recall my earliest memories being hacking (in hand) around the fields of a small yard close to our home in Hertfordshire, and feeling rather frustrated when walking past the arena, being told that I was not yet allowed to ride in there with the adults. I believe I was around two to three years old at the time, but since that time I have always felt a strong motivation to progress in my sport.    

When and where do you ride?

Hermione Tottman British international dressage rider
Hermione enjoyed great sucesss as an FEI pony rider and represented team GB at many competitions including at the Hagen “Future Champions” Nations Cup
  I am incredibly fortunate that my passion for my sport has now turned into my career, and I have the opportunity to train everyday and dedicate my time to becoming the best athlete I can be for my horses.   I grew up riding at our home in Hertfordshire, where we then went on to launch Olivers Equestrian.     Having very recently undergone a business expansion, the specific answer to ‘where’ is currently under lock and key – however, we have some exciting projects coming up for our launch, so keep your eyes out over the coming weeks!


How did you start riding?

  As above, ‘Stormy’ was the first pony I learnt to ride on, before I then progressed to a very cheeky showjumping mare who was with my brother before me, named Pollyanna.   A little Welsh Mountain pony named Merlin was my next ride. I began competing in dressage with him at the age of six, at Intro and Prelim level – although I am sure our scores would not meet up to my expectations now. Merlin was certainly not entertained by the idea of being on the bridle. In fact, we nicknamed him ‘Turkey’, as he used to poke his nose so far out in defence at my efforts to improve our dressage scores.   I also did my first freestyle with him, to the music from Super Mario – somehow we made it to the C&T championships where we were Junior Champions.   He took me through pony club, and more importantly my first BD Youth camp (it was still known at BYRDS at the time). This is when I really fell in love with dressage, and also when I first set my sights on riding at FEI level and representing my country internationally.   I was then fortunate to have a number of ponies that I competed at FEI level, who were sold on to new young riders in Denmark, The Netherlands and Russia in 2020.  


What you and your horses currently working on?

  My top horse Exquisite (Lord Loxley x Montecristo) and I are currently competing at Prix St Georges/FEI Young Rider level.   We are focussing on improving our scores, and achieving the international selection criteria at Premier League and High Profile shows. We have Team GB U21’s squad training coming up.   The other horse who I am competing nationally is a little pocket rocket mare, Red Hot Chilli Pepper (Negro x Belissimo M). I first met her when I went to try her for a client and fell in love with her. She is super, super hot – we actually ended up purchasing her as a project, as she is talented but needed time to be taken back to the basics and learn to relax in her work again.   She has certainly exceeded our expectations this year, having already moved up to Advanced Medium level with scores in the high 60%s. She completed her first major show at Aintree International High Profile. While she still needs time to develop more in the advanced work, and gain experience at shows, I am very excited to continue to develop her for the future.

Olivers Equestrian Ltd
Hermione’s company Olivers Equestrian Ltd includes a high quality breeding programme to produce equine dressage stars of the future
We have now backed our 3yo stallions (the first crop from our breeding programme, sired by Millenium and Franklin out of our revolution mare via embryo transfer). They are being slowly produced at home for the National 4yo circuit next year.   Our Revolution mare will begin her ridden education soon, now that we are switching the breeding programme over to 100% ET based.     We have one of our advanced horses currently with our colleagues in Germany, and the rest of our horses are enjoying growing up in their spacious fields, before their ridden careers begin.  


What do you love about riding?

  Dressage combines two of my biggest passions – horses, and high level sport.   Of course, my love for my horses precedes my ambitions in the sport. It is incredibly fulfilling to be able to work with these incredible animals everyday and to see the progression in their training. It is also very important to me that they receive the highest standard of care, and I take a very active role in understanding every aspect of their care and the support they require to be happy, healthy horses that enjoy their jobs.  


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

  As an athlete, my ultimate ambition is of course the Olympic Games, and with that my greatest dream of a medal – a long road with a lot of hard work ahead, but the end goal is always in my mind.   In the short term, in Young Riders and U25 Grand Prix the European Championships are the main goals.   It has also been a long term ambition of mine to compete at the World Breeding Championships for Young Horses, hopefully one day with horses from our own breeding programme. I have always been totally obsessed with bloodlines, and have watched the world championships for many years now. It was an amazing experience to attend in 2018 and watch Revolution be crowned 5yo World Champion, especially as we owned one of his first crop of foals (Spellbound).   On the business side, I would like to continue to scale our business – expanding our breeding and sales programme and our agency.   I am incredibly ambitious in my business ventures, and have goals in mind for this outside of the equestrian industry.   For now, I am aiming to persist in building and balancing my business and sport career, which will continue to be a challenge I am keen to take on. Only time will tell what the future has in store, and in which direction I chose to dedicate my time and focus, should that decision become necessary.  


Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?

  I believe nerves are something that everyone deals with at some point, especially in high level sport.   For me, it is all about confidence and routine.   I am very aware that, following my break from competing after 2019, I was under the impression that I would be able to step back into high level competition as I was before.     During my time competing internationally on ponies, I felt very comfortable under high pressure, in fact, I welcomed it and performed best when under it. It would drive me up the wall when people said to me ‘no pressure’, or ‘don’t put pressure on yourself’, because high pressure was exactly what I needed to perform well.   Following my break, I was taken aback when I realised that my nerves of the ‘old days’ had come back. I had to work to put myself back in the competition headspace, but through the routine of competing and the confidence I gained as I improved and began to settle into my job again, the nerves subsided and I feel recently that I am welcoming the high pressure moments again.

Do you have any rituals before competing?

  I’m really not superstitious – at the moment I like to watch some tennis before I get on, I find it puts me in a focussed headspace.   I also watch tests from previous live streams of events, so for example if I am about to compete the FEI PSG test I will watch playbacks of riders who have achieved top scores in that test, and also run through what I need to focus on in each moment with my own horse.


Your Top Tip

  Focus on yourself.   I know this is something that has been said time and time again, and it is far easier said than done.   It is very important to be polite and professional to everyone, but;   I truly believe that you have to take your focus to the ultimate extreme in order to achieve big goals. Block out people who do not benefit you, or distract you from the end goal. It’s not anti-social, it’s necessary.   This includes on social media – I have a rule with myself that I only follow accounts that either educate or inspire me. There is no benefit in following anyone whose content doesn’t allow you to grow in some way.   This also includes not worrying about others’ opinions on you – we are all on our own journey, on our own timeline, and all of us have slightly different goals from each other. Keep in mind as well that other individuals likely know very little about your life or circumstances.   Which brings me on to a secondary tip – never assume that you know the truth of someone else’s life. Some people experience extreme hardships that others know nothing of – no matter how their life may look from the outside.   So; put your blinkers on, and dedicate yourself to your own progress without distractions.  


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

  ‘The No.1 purpose of life is to better oneself’.   Not a piece of advice given directly to me – but something I heard on a podcast with David Goggins that really stuck with me, and re-centres me when I feel overwhelmed with projects and goals in my sport and business.   I will write below the quote from the podcast to expand on this a little more:   ‘If you are performing without purpose, you won’t be ready when the time comes.   It’s this magical thing, purpose, that we’re all searching for. But what’s funny about it all is that we need these things to perform – but we don’t take a second to realise that the purpose is always there, the purpose never leaves us, because the very purpose is you. You are always the purpose.   There may be another purpose, like becoming a SEAL, or going to college, but the main purpose in life is you. The No.1 purpose of life is to better oneself’   A piece of advice I would give anyone looking for some material on mindset development would be to read Tim Grover’s two books: Relentless and Winning. Not for the faint hearted, but personally my favourite books I have ever read on high level athlete/business mentality.  


Down the Centre Line


Who would be your dream horse to ride?

  Blue Hors Zepter  


Who is your equestrian hero?

  Patrik Kittel is a rider I really admire – the self carriage he achieves in his horses and his way of training them inspires me a lot.  


If you could have 5 people to dinner, who would they be?

  Novak Djokovic, Michael Jordan, Max Verstappen, Tim Grover and Rafael Nadal.  


Favourite colour horse?

  Liver Chestnut, with four white stockings and a white face.


Favourite horse event?

  I loved competing at Compiegne CDI (France) and Hagen CDIO (Germany) – but the two events I would most like to compete at are Aachen CHIO and the London International Horse show.  


Favourite food?

  Caesar salad  


Favourite way to relax?

  I would say watching tennis or F1, but being a hardcore fan I truly think this expends far more energy than it recoups (except for this F1 season, which has been incredibly boring).   I’ll go with running/working out – which I do to improve my riding, but it also has a huge effect on my mood and productivity, and therefore relaxation levels.  


Favourite film?

  Secretariat or The Devil Wears Prada  


Do you have any rituals before competing?

  I’m really not superstitious – at the moment I like to watch some tennis before I get on, I find it puts me in a focussed headspace.   I also watch tests from previous live streams of events, so for example if I am about to compete the FEI PSG test I will watch playbacks of riders who have achieved top scores in that test, and also run through what I need to focus on in each moment with my own horse.

Want More?

If you enjoyed meeting Hermione you might like to view more dressage rider “chatting with” interviews here .  You can keep up with Hermione’s progress and check out her instagram page here   If you would like to know more about Olivers Equestrian Ltd. you can visit their instagram account here

Sharon Howe

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