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Australian international Grand Prix dressage rider William Matthew headed to Europe for an equestrian gap year at age seventeen. Thirteen years later, William is based in Germany, training with Isabell Werth and has two horses at Grand Prix level.  He is hoping to be selected as part of the Australian dressage team for the Paris Olympics later this summer and we wish him every success.


Tell us about you and your horses

William Matthews and Mysterious Star competing at Aachen
William and Mysterious Star competing at Aachen in 2023. image courtesy of Libby Law photography
    My name is William Matthew, I am from Perth, Western Australia and thirty years old. I have been riding most of my life and when I was seventeen I moved to Europe to follow a career in horses, and haven’t looked back since.   I have two Grand Prix horses at the moment both 11-year-old gelding’s named Mysterious Star and Freischutz, the goal this year is for a spot on the team for the Paris Olympics, so that is our main focus at the moment.


How did horses come into your life?

  My mum was a rider, my dad always says she brain washed me by riding around me while I sat in the pram in the middle of the arena. She took me for riding lessons at a riding school when I was around six and I was hooked from that point on.  

When and where do you ride?

  I’m riding every day, in the mornings I ride for Isabell Werth and in the afternoons for my own business in Dinslaken, Germany


Who do you train with?

William Matthews dressage
William and Freischutz winning the Louisdor-Preis qualifier in Hagen. image courtesy of LL Foto
I’m riding every day in the same arena as Isabell, she always has an eye on me and will directly let me know if something is not looking good. I have been with Isabell for three and a half years it’s very inspirational and she helps me whenever I need it.  


What are you and your horses currently working on?

  I have many horses all at different levels and ages, my biggest focus is just to keep building them up and improving each horse. I have a goal with each horse, some are for selling some are for competition, and I just try to build them up the best way possible for that goal.


What do you love about riding?

  First of all, the animal itself, I think we all start this job because of the love and obsession for the horses. It’s also never boring, there’s so many aspects to riding, the health of the horse, keeping them happy and then working out how to solve each of their individual problems. Every horse must be trained and built up slightly differently and working that out is what makes it so interesting.  

What would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?

  I just want to keep improving my riding, to build my own business that financially I can begin to have more of my own horses and afford to keep them for a longer time. At the moment I must sell the good horses to afford to stay in the sport and my dream would be to be in a situation where I can keep the horses longer and be able to stay in the top sport.  


It takes a team to do dressage, who is in your support team?

  I’m very lucky I have so many people, Isabell and her team, the Hödl family where I live and have my horses, there like family they always are there for me. Of course, my family and friends are always there for the mental support.    

Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?  

  Definitely, but I think that shows you care.  

How do you deal with them?

  Normally once I’m sitting on the horse and focused the nerves go away and knowing that, I don’t worry too much if I’m nervous in the morning before the test.

Do you have any rituals for good luck before competing?

  Not really, I love to watch the warm-up if there’s time to get some inspiration.  

Your Top Tip

  Enjoy the journey, it’s long and with many ups and downs, learn from the down points and celebrate the wins also the small ones  


What is the best piece of advice that you have ever been given?

  Not really a piece of advice I’ve been given, but the way Isabell deals with a problem, she doesn’t get stuck on a problem she only looks for the next solution. That’s how you must think in this sport just keep moving forward to the next solution.  


Down the Centre Line 


Who would be your dream horse to ride?


Who is your equestrian hero?

  Isabell Werth, Carl Hester, Edward Gal I grew up watching them and getting inspired by them  


If you could have 5 people to dinner, who would they be?

  My mum, dad, two sisters, and Nanna, since moving to Europe I don’t see them so much so cherish any time I have with them.  


Favourite colour horse?

  Liver chestnut  


Favourite horse event?

  There are so many good ones, I think Chio Aachen had to be the most impressive  


Favourite food?

  Australian Meat Pie


Favourite way to relax?

  BBQ and some beers with friends  


Favourite film?

  Lock stock and two smoking barrels  




Want More?

If you enjoyed meeting William you might like to view more dressage rider “chatting with” interviews here .  You can keep up with William’s progress and check out his instagram page here

Sharon Howe

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Hi! I am Sharon Howe

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Hello My name is Sharon Howe and I am horse mad. This site is my place to scribble away my…


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