This week I’m chatting with the incredibly talented and determined Greek international Grand Prix dressage rider Theodora Livanos.
Based at Emile Faurie’s yard in Chipping Norton, Theodora shares her life so far, tells us about her horses and her hopes for the future. This young rider already has a string of important international wins to her name and you are sure to hear her name more and more in the coming months and years. Read on to discover more about Theodora’s story to date…
Tell us a little about you and your horse
At the moment I have three horses in training. They are Dono di Maggio, Robinvale and For Compliment. They are competing at Grand Prix.
How did horses come into your life?
My mother loved horses and always had horses. She had many lovely dressage horses as I was growing up. I used to have a little jumping pony and went to pony camps. My real passion for dressage came about when I first went to watch one of my mother’s training sessions and I got to sit on one of her trainers GP horses. Since that day I knew that it was what I wanted to do.
How long have you been riding?
Since I could walk basically. As cliché as that sounds, it is true.
When and where do you ride?
I am currently based in England at Emile Faurie’s yard and I am there pretty much all day every day. My favourite place to be!
What you and your horses currently working on?
The three boys are all GP horses and currently my main focus is on Robinvale who I am trying to qualify for the upcoming championships.
What do you love about riding?
I have to say the thing I love the most about riding is the bond that you form with the horses and how each partnership has its own unique bond. It is so special to think about the development of horses and that special feeling that you get when you enter the arena and go down that centre line, just you and your horse.
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
Doing what I am doing right now. Training horses, competing and of course like any top athlete, one of my goals is competing at the Olympics. Also, to train some young horses up through the levels. But above all, I want to keep enjoying what I do, it’s the love for the horses that is what I enjoy most.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
I have actually been very lucky in that I have never really suffered from bad nerves, mostly just excitement. I believe that every athlete needs some “good nerves”, they are what make you a strong competitor.
How do you deal with them?
I have always worked with my sports psychologist to create the best mindset possible as I believe it is a crucial part of competing at the top levels. Working on the mental side of competing has helped me to stay focused at big competitions and concentrated on my horse and nothing else.
Your Top Tip
I think I have two. Firstly, enjoy every moment and never take anything for granted. Secondly don’t compare yourself to others, focus on your own game.
The Final Furlong
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
Who is your equestrian hero?
Way too many to choose from. But Isabel Werth as I admire what a strong competitor she always is.
If you could have 5 people to dinner, who would they be?
Albert Einstein, Sir David Attenborough, Charles Darwin, Aretha Franklin and Billie Jean King.
Favourite colour horse?
I don’t mind but if I had to choose dark bay.
Favourite horse event
Favourite event I have ridden at would be the World Cup in Salzburg.