This week I’m chatting with British dressage rider and trainer Rob Barker. Based in Gloucestershire, Rob is riding, competing and developing horses from Novice to Grand Prix full time and has won regional and national titles with his string of horses. Prior to specialising in dressage, Rob was also a successful eventer and showjumper. Read on to discover more about Rob, his ambitions, and top tips for success.
Tell us about you and your horses
I’m a thirty year old dressage rider based in Gloucestershire. I’m fortunate to have around 10-12 horses in training working from novice to towards grand prix.
How did your horses come into your life?
I grew up just outside Newmarket, my grandad followed racing, so we often watched the horses work up the gallops and went racing whenever they came to stay.
When and where do you ride?
Mainly six days a week at home unless there are shows on/coming up that change my usual schedule.
How did you start riding?
My mum received three lesson vouchers at the local riding school for her 40th birthday in which she, my sister and myself, had and that’s where it all started.
What you and your horses currently working on?
Every horse that comes into the yard is treated as an individual to reach its full potential.
What do you love about riding?
Seeing the horses grow and develop.
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
I’m very fortunate and grateful for the life I have now. I would love to represent my country at championship level, with a family and loving home life alongside that.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
I think nerves and anxiety shows itself in many ways on and off horses. When I evented, I would get nervous about hurting myself, I wouldn’t have been fulfilled doing it at a lower level. Dressage I would get more anxious about performing well.
How do you deal with them?
I have worked and continue to do so with sports psychologist Debbie Hill from Ahead For Sport for coming up to five years now. Her help and tools are invaluable and I won’t be stopping going anytime soon!
Your Top Tip
Surround yourself with people who believe in you for the times you don’t believe in yourself.
Down the Centre Line
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
I have been lucky enough to sit on a few amazing horses, however Valegro has to be up there!
Who is your equestrian hero?
It would have to be in no particular order Carl Hester, Isobel Wessels, Charlotte Dujardin and Pippa Funnell. I think they each have such amazing yet different qualities.
If you could have 5 people to dinner, who would they be?
Adele, Mel B, Rebel Wilson, Melissa McCarthy and Hugh Jackman.
Favourite colour horse?
I wouldn’t say I have a favourite although if you came to the yard, you would be led to believe its chestnut!
Favourite horse event?
I loved the London Horse Show when it was at Olympia for many reasons, but Aachen is up there too alongside Badminton and Burghley!
Chicken Caesar salad
Favourite way to relax?
A dog walk with my partner
If you enjoyed meeting Rob you might like to view more dressage rider “chatting with” interviews here You can keep up with Rob’s progress and check out his instagram page here