This week I’m chatting with another international dressage rider from Thailand, Patty Vuntanadit. Patty is Pam Suphakamol Vunhadit’s sister who I interviewed last week. Based in Belgium, Patty was recently selected as one of only six riders to benefit from CHIO Aachen Campus ‘Programme of Excellence and looks set for a very bright future indeed. Read on to discover more about Patty, her ambitions, and top tips for success
Tell us about you and your horses
Hi, my name is Patty and I am a dressage rider from Thailand. I am currently twenty one years old and have just freshly graduated from my Undergraduate degree in London. I am now pursuing a Master’s degree at University College London. I have my Chestnuts and I consider my sister’s horses as my own horses as well.
How did your horses come into your life?
Actually, I would say, that it was luck that brought my horses into my life. With my first horse Antonio, my parents never planned to buy me a horse because I was barely eleven years old then. We went to Germany to look for a horse for my sister, but I was so excited and I wanted to try all the horses she tried as well for the experience. Ultimately, once I got on Antonio after my sister, I completely fell in love with him. I really had to beg my parents for him and promised that I would be responsible and take the best care of him. It has been 10 great years now with Antonio. It’s a similar story to my other horses as well. I guess it’s true when they say the best things come when you least expect them.
How long have you been riding? How did you start riding?
We are not from a traditional ‘horsey’ family, so we had to learn everything about horses from scratch. My father occasionally rode for leisure when he was younger, and my mother is afraid of horses. I had the opportunity to sit on a horse for the first time when I was three. Then, when I was around four years old, I would always patiently sit through my sister’s riding lessons at a local club. After she was done, I would be allowed to sit on her pony and have someone hand walk me a couple of times around the stables. I haven’t stopped riding since.
When and where do you ride?
My horses are based at the world-class facilities, De Begijnhoeve in Belgium, and you can always find me doing something in the stables (even during my university seminars, whoops)!
What you and your horses currently working on?
I was recently accepted to take part in the CHIO Aachen Campus ‘Programme of Excellence’. This prestigious programme selects six youth riders to develop into professional riders under the guidance of Isabell Werth. Using what I’ve learned so far, I am currently working on small details such as how to make my horse feel relaxed, confident, and secure with my riding. Ultimately, I aim to use all the skills gained from this experience in my pursuit to represent my country in the Asian Games next year.
What do you love about riding?
I consider every horse I have ever ridden in my life as my professor, whether it’d be ponies from the local riding club or simply a horse I tried while looking to purchase a horse. So, every horse I ride can teach me something new, which is very humbling. I also love being able to spend time with my horses and to understand them a little bit better every day. Each horse has their own personality and character, and it really shines when you start to trust one another, so having the opportunity to work with horses is already quite special.
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
Although it is still quite a long way to go for me, I would love to be on the same team as my sister for the Olympics.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
Hahahaha yes, all the time. I don’t think the nerves ever truly go away. But I’d have to say, the nerves I get from competing can never beat the nerves I get when my sister watches me ride. I can already feel her disapproval… yikes.
How do you deal with them?
There are many techniques I have experimented with to deal with any nervousness or insecurities I might have, especially before a show. The most important would be to run through the test a hundred times in my head. And against popular opinion, I find that visualising everything that can go wrong in a test but then also how to deal with it makes me more confident that I will be able to handle any situation that arises in a test. In the end, I think it’s more about learning to trust your horse, your training at home, and most importantly, yourself. But if all the above fails, the method that works best for me is to listen to Britney Spears right before I get on my horse. Works every time.
Your Top Tip
Aside from the riding aspect of the sport, I always prioritise my horses’ welfare. As an athlete, horse-owner, and the mother of my horses, I would say it’s important to always seek knowledge on every matter regarding your horses’ health and be able to develop a strong partnership with your horse to the extent that you can tell how your horse is feeling from a glance. I believe that prioritising my horses’ welfare is the only way to develop your partnership further and truly excel in the sport. We work very closely with our team of vets, osteopath, farrier, nutritionist, dentist, bridle-fitter, saddle-fitter, and our partnered brands. I would advise everyone to do the same because ultimately, a happy and healthy horse makes a happy rider!
Down the Centre Line
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
I wake up every day wanting to ride the horses I currently have so I guess they are my dream horses for now (at least until one of them throws me off).
Who is your equestrian hero?
When I was younger, I saw a video of Dr. Reiner Klimke’s 1984 Olympic victory lap with Alherich and their effortless tempi changes and it was life-changing. After that, I would watch all of his dressage training videos after school religiously.
If you could have 5 people to dinner who would they be?
Spending all my time with my horses means my social life is quite limited… so can I say that I would LOVE it if my horses could have a Cinderella moment and have a fairy Godmother turn them into my prince charming? Can’t wait to hear what they’d say…
Favourite colour horse?
Anything Chestnut! Actually, all my horses so far are Chestnuts with a white blaze and socks, so I clearly have a type.
Favourite horse event?
The magical CHIO Aachen. I had the opportunity to ride Antonio in the 2018 opening ceremony, Pferde and Symfonie, in front of 6000 spectators. Getting the opportunity to ride my heart horse under the spotlights with a live orchestra is a memory I will cherish forever.
I would have to say authentic Thai food. To me, it’s my comfort food and reminds me of home.
Favourite way to relax?
Listening to Ella Fitzgerald while grooming my horses (but not during winter, all that winter-coat stresses me out).
I’d have to say every rider’s favourite series, the Saddle Club! Although I have yet to see any stables in real-life with such exciting drama…
If you enjoyed meeting Patty you might like to view more dressage rider “chatting with” interviews here You can keep up with Patty’s progress and check out her instagram page here