Dressage rider Izzy Chaplin, from Kent, is on the 2013-2014 Junior Riders Potential squad with her top ride, Taijdora. She recently qualified for April’s Petplan Equine Area Festival Championship at Medium Open level with the same horse.
“I have always been involved with horses. My mum always had horses, so I was always around them, but I didn’t start having lessons until I was seven; I then got a pony on loan aged 12. I love being around horses, as they are such amazing animals! I also love the social side of competing and setting myself challenges when training and competing. I like to set myself targets to push myself. I enjoy challenges and I’m always determined to meet them!”
“My most influential mentors are my trainers, Sarah Millis and Darryl Thickett, who teach me how to ride and improve movements in a fun and interesting way. My parents have been really influential, especially my mum, who ensured that I got to have a go at every discipline.”
“If I could wave a magic wand and change one thing about my discipline, it would probably the cost of competing! I think that if the entry costs were lower, it would encourage more people to go to dressage competitions and affiliate.”
“The most common negative aspect I see in horses’ flatwork is not going forward – this is an issue that I see a lot, when out competing. If the horse is going forward, the movements are so much easier! I think this lack of impulsion is normally down to the rider; mainly tension and the nerves that arise from competing.”
“If I could change one thing about equestrianism, it would be the cold weather, definitely. I’m not a big fan of riding in torrential rain and gale force winds. And also when it’s so cold, the sand school freezes!”
“If I could select a horse that I would love to ride, although there are so many I would like to have the ride on, I’d choose both Germany’s Damon Hill ridden by Helen Langehanenberg, and Britain’s Uthopia, ridden by Carl Hester. These are my favourite dressage horses. Uthopia is more my size, and has an amazing extended trot!”
“If I was asked to describe the key things that make a successful sports horse, I’d say temperament, conformation and paces, in that order. I think a good temperament is essential, as you want a horse that is willing to train and nice to handle; it makes life a whole lot easier! In dressage, horses find flatwork movements a lot easier and score higher marks if they have good conformation and paces.”
I couldn’t live without…
“My WOW saddle. This the only saddle to offer a longitudinally rigid, but laterally flexible carbon fibre tree, which subtly flexes with the horse, enabling greater shoulder freedom and more expressive movement. I find it allows my horse Dora to move with so much more freedom, and this has vastly improved our performance.”
WOW Saddles can be fully customised to the rider’s personal preferences, from specific seat styles, flap position and knee rolls, to personalised coloured leather, ‘blingy’ appliquéd crystals and bespoke stitching.