This week I’m delighted to be chatting with British dressage rider and trainer Sara Malpass. Based on her own yard outside Basingstoke, Sara rides and trains every day. Read on to discover more about this very talented and determined lady, her horses and her top tips for success.
Tell us about you and your horses
I’m Sara a 29 year-old dressage rider and trainer based in Hampshire, I am very fortunate to have my own training yard based just outside Basingstoke.
I have two main horses- Zeus and Pingo
Pingo is a 13yr old Spanish Gelding, I brought him as a 5-year-old and have trained up the levels from prelim to inter 1 with him with the aim of fingers crossed training him up to grand prix. He’s such a funny character, we call him King Ping, he very much rules the yard.
Zeus is an 11-year-old British Warmblood gelding, I also brought him as a 5 year old. Unfortunately, two months after I brought him he ended up being operated on then turned away for nine months. It’s been a bit of a rocky road with him as he has a very impressive rear on him but we are now competing at advanced medium. He’s got such a lovely character, he’s a bit like a Labrador, I’m sure he would sit on my lap if he could.
How did your horses come into your life?
Both Pingo and Zeus were on Livery at a yard I was working at (Two different yards), Pingo became a little cheeky so I took the ride on him and eventually brought him and Zeus was on livery to be sold.
How long have you been riding?
I started riding as a 6-year-old at a riding school, I didn’t get my first horse until I was eighteen when I could fully look after him myself. I convinced my parents to buy him for me to sell on… 11 years later he’s still here.
When and where do you ride?
I’m very fortunate to have my own yard just outside Basingstoke in Hampshire, which has brilliant facilities which enables me to train the horses/riders all year round.
How did you start riding?
I started riding in a riding school and carried on in a riding school until I was sixteen when I started sharing some Highland ponies close to where we lived. When I was 18 I managed to convince my parents to buy a pony I had been to see for someone else with the intention of selling him…safe to say I still own him now.
What you and your horses currently working on?
Pingo- we are working towards our one time changes- I can currently get six, and working towards the Piaffe
Zeus- we are working towards PSG, would love to be in my tailcoat by the end of the year with him but with him but he has to be so secure in his work before we take it into the white boards so I think more likely next year.
What do you love about riding?
I love that you are always learning that every horse is different and will teach you something different. The more you listen the more you learn.
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
Would love to be competing at grand prix on my own self-produced horse. To keep building up my teaching and being able to help others on their journeys with their horses
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
My main nerve I have had to deal with has actually been riding in a warmup again with Zeus, we had an accident in a warmup in November 19 where he panicked and fell on me. Since then, we have gradually been building up his confidence around other horses and we are now back in the warmup but still very aware of where other horses are.
How do you deal with them?
Gradually build it up for both of us, I’m pretty lucky that I am able to put my thoughts/ feelings aside and not allow them to go through to the horse.
Your Top Tip
You will learn something from everyone, whether that be how you wouldn’t do something or how you would. You will take something away from everything, every situation, every person or horse you come into contact with. Open your mind to everything and everyone.
The Final Furlong
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
My own horse that I have a bond and connection with that I have training. Boring I know but there is nothing better than riding a horse who you have the connection and bond with.
Who is your equestrian hero?
Wouldn’t say I have one person in particular, people who work hard, share their story, honesty, and through and through horsewomen/men. Who you can see their passion and put their horses first.
Favourite colour horse?
I love a Black horse, not too much cleaning and they look so majestic
Favourite horse event
Has to be Badminton, we go every year and enjoy a bit of shopping, food, drinks and some of the best horses and riders.
This is a hard one, probably any form of pasta.
Favourite way to relax
Chilling with friends
Has to be Harry Potter, my go to film.
If you enjoyed meeting Sara you might like to view more chatting with interviews here You can keep up with Sara’s progress and check out her instagram page here