This week I’m excited to be chatting with British Under 25 Grand Prix Dressage Rider Megan Ingham. Megan switched from eventing to dressage just six years ago and has gone from strength to strength ever since. Read on to discover more about this hugely talented young lady, her horses and her top tip for success.
Tell us a little about you and your horsesI am a 23 year old, Grand Prix Dressage rider based in the South East. I was actually an event rider until 17 years old before making the switch to dressage! I am learning in the footsteps of my mother Coral Ingham who competed up to Grand Prix with several horses and is an owner with Carl Hester. Wanadoo has been my top horse for the last 4 years taking me through Young Riders, U25s and Senior Grand Prix, he is now 21 years old and we have owned him since he was six so part of the family! My second Grand Prix horse Piemonte K, (Pie to us!) is 12 years old and this will be my third year with him. Pie completed his first year of competing in 2021 doing Inter IIs and U25s and will hopefully continue that this year, as well as competing at Senior Grand Prix.
How did horses come into your life?My whole family was horsey, so horses were a part of my everyday life growing up! My sister’s & I did Pony Club Dressage & Eventing while my mother was a professional Dressage rider. Wanadoo was my mother’s Grand Prix horse that she purchased from Holland at the age of six, definitely not the calm schoolmaster he is today! He then went to Carl Hester at the age of fourteen for almost 3 years. Pie was discovered through Carl Hester, who introduced him to me at his yard. I was looking for my next superstar and Carl and I believed in him even though he had no competition experience and was still very green!
How long have you been riding?Ever since I can remember! Not only was my mum a fantastic Grand Prix Dressage Rider but my two sisters rode as well. I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by horses from a very young age. I evented from twelve until 17 years old doing Pony Club & British Eventing, before I wanted to pursue Dressage.
When and where do you ride?I am lucky enough to keep my horses at home with me in Berkshire at mine and my mother’s yard, where I am blessed with fantastic facilities to train and teach every day! I like the yard to be small and structured, the horses have a routine because I believe that benefits them. I want the horses’ home to be as peaceful and relaxed as possible as being a competition horse, performing, travelling, staying away can put a big toll on them.
How did you start riding?I had weekly riding lessons at our local venue Wellington Riding. It’s amazing to see the outstanding venue it has become today and have such wonderful memories there, sometimes I even recognise the ponies I used to ride!
What you and your horses currently working on?Wanadoo is taking a small step back while my focus is primarily on Pie. I would like Pie to compete at U25s as I am still only 23 years old, while gaining more experience in the Senior Grand Prix as well. Wanadoo knows the ropes, and he is ready to jump in whenever I need him!
What do you love about riding?Difficult question…it’s a strange sport but I love it! I find it truly fascinating and there is nothing like watching a test and getting butterflies and goosebumps from seeing a horse and rider performing in perfect harmony.
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?I would like to be doing what I am doing now but on a grander scale, riding, training and competing all around the world. I want to be the best I can possibly be for my horses, Olympics, Europeans, Worlds, medals, records will always be the dream!
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?Not particularly, of course I do get nervous sometimes and I want it to go well but nerves are not going to help.
How do you deal with them?I like to keep busy, no point in sitting around working yourself up; the likelihood is your horse isn’t nervous so why should you be!
Your Top TipDo the best for you and your horse, which can be many different things! Making sure my horses are happy is key to them being successful and same with the rider, I will do everything I can so I don’t let the horses down. I like to keep myself fit so I work out/exercise even when not riding, as we do the same with our horses!
The Final Furlong
Who would be your dream horse to ride?There are a few! Definitely Lottie Fry’s Glamourdale and Charlotte Dujardin’s Pumpkin (Gio)
Who is your equestrian hero?Got to be Carl and Charlotte, both but for different reasons! Carl understands horses like no one else and Charlotte because she is unbelievably consistent and knows how to get everything and more out of a horse…if only I could ride like either of them for a day it would be a dream!
If you could have five people to dinner who would they be?
- Carl, as he is always in the mood for a laugh and has amazing stories to tell.
- Isabelle Werth as I feel I would learn a lot
- Ed Sheeran…background singing and definitely would enjoy a drink!
- David Attenborough who doesn’t love him!
- Peter Jones as I feel he could make a million or two!