Each week I interview the people behind some of the most interesting and popular equestrian accounts on Instagram. This week I’m excited to be chatting with the amazing Lara Butler, International Grand Prix Dressage rider based at Mrs Ursula Bechtolsheimer yard in Gloucestershire Read on to learn more about the very talented lady behind the brilliant @larabutlerdressage Instagram account.
Tell us a little about you and your horse
I am an International Grand Prix Dressage rider. I have been travelling reserve for Rio Olympic Games 2016, Reserve for European Championships 2017 and World Equestrian Games. I am currently based at Mrs Ursula Bechtolsheimer yard in Gloucestershire. I have been here for 10 years working as their stable jockey. I have 3 main competition horses are Kristjan and Rubin Al Asad (Rufus) and Amiek C (Ampy), then I ride other horses for Laura. Kristjan and Rufus are both owned by the Bechtolsheimers and are competing at Grand Prix level. Ampy is owned by myself and Anne Hutton and is at Small Tour level (PSG & Inter 1). And I am a mum to Jack who is 1 1/2 yr old.
How did your horses come into your life?
My parents were involved in horses and ran a livery yard. My mum show jumped as well as being show secretary of Royal Windsor Horse Show (back in the day) and my dad was in the Kings Troop.
How long have you been riding?
I started riding when I was two years old.
When and where do you ride?
All day at the Bechtolsheimer yard in cirencester!
How did you start riding?
I naturally fell into riding because as I previously said my parents had horses so of course I wanted to have a go! I did however give up riding for a little bit when I was about 5 or 6 and when I decided I wanted to ride again my mum made me go to a riding school through the winter to really prove I was serious!
What you and your horses currently working on?
With Rufus he knows exactly what he’s doing being 18 years old and in his 5th season of Grand Prix so with him I just tick him over with suppling work and hacking to keep him a happy athlete. Kristjan is just starting out at the top level so I do a few more days of training movements as well as suppling work with him. Ampy is the baby of the pack and has much to learn. I have done a few competitions at Small tour level with him so I had been focused on a lot of test riding but now over the winter I will focus on training him up towards Grand Prix and building his strength in that work.
What do you love about riding?
I love the bond that you make with your horse and the trust that they put in you, especially for me when entering into an arena and dancing their hearts out. It has also definitely helped me prepare for parenthood, teaching me a lot about patience and deep breathing in moments of stress!
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
I would love to still be doing what I am doing now as I am very lucky and very happy! My goals would be to continue my training as I feel my horses and I are really on a good upward trend and then of course finally get my team spot on that Olympic team as well as the other senior teams!
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
Oh yes. I used to suffer from nerves a lot especially when I was in Young Riders.
How do you deal with them?
I have used sports psychologists a lot throughout my career and they have all given me different skills which I continually use now to help combat any nerves. One of which was always needing to ask myself if I’m ever worried about anything, doesn’t it really matter and what is the worst that could go wrong and usually even if its not a great outcome you will probably get over it and move on so get on with it and give it a go and see!
Your Top Tip
Kick on! (Mary King once signed an autograph for me when I was a kid and this is what she said) I believe this is true in everything in life, everything happens for a reason and we just need to keep going on the path that we want even if it takes a long time, one day you will reach your goal!
The Final Furlong
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
Tricky one but probably Showtime FRH ridden by Dorothee Schneider
Who is your equestrian hero?
Isabel Werth. She is always at the top of her game and I’ve never known a competitor like her and you have to respect her for that!
If you could have 5 people to dinner who would they be?
Jack Whitehall & his dad, Freddie Flintoff, Romesh Ranganathan and Jimmy Carr. I would hope it would be a very funny evening!
Favourite colour horse?
Grey with dapples (when they’re clean!) or liver chestnut
Favourite horse event
To compete at it would have to be London Olympia (indoor) and Aachen (outdoor)
To be a spectator probably Windsor Horse show. They have so much to watch and the shopping is great!
I love all food but probably pasta
Favourite way to relax
Spending some time with my family and then when my son’s asleep, chilling on the sofa watching tv.
Oooo this is a very tough one, I’m not sure I can name just one. I love an action movie but with a little comedy mixed in so films like Iron Man as I love Robert Downey Jr
If you enjoyed reading this interview, with Lara Butler, you can read more chatting with interviews here