International Grand Prix rider HWG shares her top tips on test riding, training through the levels and her favourite Trendy products.
TE: Hi Hayley, thank you for taking the time to talk to us. We love watching Rubin’s Night, particularly in his Freestyles which he seems to love. Do you have many shows planned for him in the up and coming months?
Hayley: Our Next outing will be the British Dressage National Championships in September, (which we won in 2017), following that I'm aiming to do the World Cup Series this winter, Lyon, Stuttgart and Olympia CDIW will be on the cards.
Hector my up and coming 7yo, will be out competing at a few local events and hopefully debut at Prix St George by the end of this year.
TE: At what age did you start riding and when did you realise you wanted to have a career as a professional rider?
Hayley: When I was about 3 years old, I remember going to riding schools after School for lessons. I’ve always been very ambitious and determined, if I do something, I like to be the best at it.
I originally wanted to have a career in eventing and jump around badminton, I moved to Dressage as a pony rider. After I had come back from travelling with my now-husband, I decided I wanted to get back into Horses and turn my hobby into my career, which luckily I have done!
TE: What type of temperament do you look for when you buy a horse?
Hayley: I buy all of my horses unbacked so I look for a horse that is interested in me, ‘a people pony’ I call it. I like them to interact with me, not worrying about what their friends are doing. I also find it important that when they are loose schooled, once they have finished, they come over to you, not look to run at the gate and ‘get out of there!'
TE: What’s your routine at home for the horses?
Hayley: They are mostly ridden 5/6 days a week, this will be a mix of stretching, cardio, training/schooling, pole work and hacking days depending on their competition plans. I like to mix it up for them so they are keen to work.
They go out in the field every day, come rain or shine, they need to be horses!
TE: What is your favourite exercise for creating suppleness when schooling?
Hayley: Flexion exercises and leg yield. A horse can’t be straight if its not supple between both reins, so for me being able to ride a straight line on the centreline and bending the horse in the neck in to one side and trying to keep the body straight, without the horse going into shoulder in or quarters out, repeating on the other side aswell to create suppleness in the neck. Leg yield is my all time favourite, it gets the horse responsive to your inside leg /outside rein contact, also using leg yield as a training tool encourage flexibility and suppleness through his whole body.
TE: How would you describe your style when dressing yourself and your horses?
Hayley: I like to be smart and colour co-ordinated along with my horses, a bit of subtle and tasteful bling is always good.
TE: Do you prefer competing or training?
Hayley: I like to do both! The Horses enjoy going out, if the lorry comes out, they all want to get on it!
TE: Do you have any particular routines or rituals that you do when you get to a competition?
Hayley: I always plait, I like to have that time with my horses. While im getting ready I will sit for 10 mins and visualize my test, how I’m going to prepare and ride each movement.
TE: How do you keep cool and collected at big shows?
Hayley: It’s the same test just a different arena, I'm lucky I don’t get nervous, once I'm onboard I completely focus on me and my horse.
TE: Thank you very much for giving us an insight into your world!