Last Friday, Vardags very own equestrian competition rider Kate Greenhalgh achieved a stunning victory in West Wilts British Eventing One Day Event, riding an imposing black Oldenberg, Vardags Bucephalas. Kate has been training and riding for Vardags Equestrian for the past year, bringing on three full-on competition horses and a competition pony. We caught up with Kate to quiz her on her pre-event rituals, advice for aspiring riders and her vision for our eventers as we look to next season and beyond.
First of all, congratulations for your incredible win in Wiltshire on Friday. How was the event?
It was amazing, and West Wiltshire is just beautiful -definitely my new favourite place!
Tell us about riding Vardags Bucephalas.
Bucephalus is such a nice, friendly horse. It’s always ideal to pick a horse that suits the event; cross-country can either be very hilly or flat. West Wiltshire was flat, and that worked out well for us.
What’s your favourite part of eventing?
My favourite part of the event? I’d have to say winning. Aside from that, the cross-country is definitely what I’d call the ‘fun bit’ –it’s such an adrenaline rush when you’re on that home stretch.
How do you normally prepare on the day?
On the day, I try to stay super-chilled. I’m very much in my own zone, running through the course mentally so I’m super prepared. I have my A plan, my B plan, my C plan and so on, so no matter how the event unfolds, I know exactly what I’ve got to do. Although as a rider it’s essential that you can think quickly, and come up with a new plan on the spot if necessary.
What are your hopes and plans for our eventers moving forward?
Well, we’ve certainly finished the season on a high, and we’re already very excited for next year. We’ll be stepping up to the one star, as well as international one day and international 3 day eventing.
Perhaps we’ll progress beyond that, but let’s see where the season takes us. I’m already looking forward to donning my tailcoat on the international scene!
I imagine that the recent successes achieved by the British equestrian team at the 2016 Olympics are particularly galvanising.
Oh definitely, Team GB did amazingly well in Rio.
Any advice you’d like to give to aspiring eventer?
My advice would be simply to keep going. Try and try and try again; create back-up plans for every letter of the alphabet, right down to Z. If you persevere, something will stick. Eventing is certainly very character building. I’ve been plugging away at it for the last ten years, and there have probably been more lows than highs. But the highs make it all worthwhile.