Best of my fun... Event rider

The event rider on cheese, The Bea­tles and hav­ing mind blanks in the dres­sage

Horse & Hound - - On The Cover -

Hazel Tow­ers

My se­cret weapon...

A neck strap — I ride most horses in one. It’s not just the young horses, the ad­vanced ones can leave the ground on the way back from the dres­sage and you need to be able to hang on.

Best tip for the warm-up...

Just stay re­laxed and don’t look at any­one else. Con­cen­trate and stay in the bub­ble of just you and your horse.

My first pony...

He came from a rid­ing school and was hot, naughty and spotty — we called him Yt­tops (Spotty spelt back­wards) and I used to ride him in the field in just a head­col­lar.

Worst trait...

I some­times have com­plete mind blanks in the dres­sage, even though I know the test, and come down the cen­tre line think­ing is it track left or right?

Watch­ing...

I’ve loved watch­ing the Event Rider Masters on­line this year. On TV, it would be Game of Thrones.

Set­tling down with...

It has to be H&H. I’m not a big reader but if I need a book on holiday, I’ll take a Jilly Cooper.

Get­ting away from it all...

I like a beach and an all-in­clu­sive holiday, prefer­ably Thai­land.

Re­mem­ber­ing when...

The elas­tic on my girth broke two fences from home in my first two-star at Bel­ton. The girth was around my horse’s sti­fle and I was hug­ging her neck, but was de­ter­mined to fin­ish — which I did, but it prob­a­bly wasn’t ad­vis­able.

Fun­ni­est ad­vice...

It came from a showjumper, who will not be named. They said: “Strides are like men. Don’t go for the first one you see.”

My big­gest in­dul­gence...

Cheese, any type. We take a huge cheese­board away with us when we’re com­pet­ing.

Lis­ten­ing to...

The Bea­tles. We have all sorts of mu­sic on in the lorry, but The Bea­tles has to be the favourite.

Com­pet­ing at...

Bramham — it’s just the best. It’s my lo­cal event, and ap­par­ently when I was five I said I wanted to ride there, which I’ve done. The es­tate is beau­ti­ful and it has true York­shire spirit about it. The party is also the best be­cause, as it’s lo­cal, all my friends are there.

What I’d tell my 15-year-old self...

It’s OK not to win, and you learn by your mis­takes. You have to see mis­takes as op­por­tu­ni­ties to im­prove.

Most mem­o­rable win...

Blair CCI3* this year — at my first at­tempt at the level.

Eat­ing out...

I tend not to eat out a lot as I fin­ish late, and turn­ing up in smelly jodh­purs is a no-no. But I did en­joy York­shire ta­pas in Har­ro­gate re­cently and if I were go­ing out as a treat, I’d prob­a­bly go into Leeds to Gau­chos, an Ar­gen­tinian place which does the best steaks. Hav­ing said that, I hate cities. I’m a coun­try bump­kin at heart.

Most em­bar­rass­ing mo­ment...

Call­ing Sim­ply Smart an Ir­ish bog pony in the heat of the mo­ment when be­ing in­ter­viewed by H&H’s Pippa Roome at Blair. The breeder texted me next day to say she’d got good breed­ing on her dam side!

Big­gest mis­take I’ve learnt from...

Get­ting on some­thing un­ride­able just to prove you can. I’ve learnt to say no to rid­ing horses who clearly do not want you on board. H&H

‘A showjumper once ad­vised me that strides are like men — don’t go for the first one you see’

York­shire spirit: hazel heads for a top-20 fin­ish at her lo­cal event, Bramham CIC3*, on Sim­ply Smart

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