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Lower Rectory Farm, Mill LaneGreat Brickhill Milton Keynes, Bucks MK17 9AF

Willa Newton, international eventer, shares some of her tips

   Words by RB Equestrian

   on 12/07/2018 12:16:49

Willa Newton with Moonlight Dance (c)Willa Newton is one of the most talented young riders in eventing and is working hard towards her goal of representing Great Britain in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. But she wasn't too busy to share with us some of her top tips and answer some of our questions.

1.    How do you control your nerves? Do you have nerves?!
Everybody gets nervous and I am no exception.  I think positive nerves are a good thing so I just try and stay focused on the task in hand.  If I find myself getting nervous, I just try to bring my mind back to the task- rather than losing concentration on nerves.
2.    Tips for choosing a young horse
For me, I always look for a good brain in a young horse. It is so important that they want to work with you and for you. You can teach them so much through our training that is it so important they allow you to train them! Correct conformation is also important as well as good enough movement and an athletic jump. I don't think they have to have loads of movement as a young horse, as long as they are correct and athletic. I think you can teach them a lot.

3.    Tips for riding a great dressage test
Practice! It is important to know your test very well. For the big competitions I like to practice the test a few times in an arena because you can learn so much from just feeling how a horse reacts to certain situations.  And that way, you can plan how you ride each movement to get as many marks as possible. Accuracy is always key and for me riding a clear round in the dressage is what I go for. I always feel happy if I have done everything to plan and ridden a test when I have not made a mistake. I think that is all you can do!
4.    Tips for remembering different XC routes (i.e options)
I like to write a few things down when I walk the course so that when I go through the course the night before I remember particular lines at each different fence. This is important for combinations as, at the higher levels, it’s paramount to be on the right line.

It is always good to have plan B mapped out in your brain too.  So many different situations can arise when going cross country that you need to be able to react and take a different line wherever necessary.

5.    Do you do other exercise as well as riding?
I try to, but it isn’t always easy especially when I am busy during the season. In the winter I try to go the gym and I have been spinning which I really enjoyed. And in the summer I try to keep fit by swimming and also biking where possible.

6.    What’s your pre-competition routine?
My pre-competition routine is very different for each horse.  I try to tailor a plan for each horse depending on its needs so that it feels the best it can do for the competition. For myself, I like to allow plenty of time so I can be as well prepared as possible on all counts.

7.    Are you superstitious?
Yes, very!  It is a good day for me if a black cat crosses the road in front of me and I ALWAYS salute magpies - I like to see two!

Willa Newton (c)

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