What is your training or competing priority now we’re at the start of the season in 2022?
“My priority at the moment is building up my string of young horses at home. I have some very exciting new owners and supporters on board,” Hannah says. “I have been working very hard on my mental and physical strength, so I can be the best I can be in 2022 and beyond. My top ride Dutch Harbour H is aiming at Small Tour this year, and hopefully getting out to some Premier League and Championships shows this year,” she continues.
“I have some young horses in the stables who will need their competitive careers starting carefully, and gaining valuable experience. I really do have such a great team of supporters around me; when my beloved ride ‘Freeman’ recently passed, Dinah Shaftesbury offered me a lifeline in the form of the ride on the St Giles mare ‘Cheeky’, by Foundation x Sandro Hit. (Pictured top right with Dinah). She’s awaiting a show name currently!” Hannah adds. (Freeman is pictured in all his glory, bedecked in ribbons, below.)
Now the industry is returning to new-normal and more events are back in the calendar, was there anything you missed about training and competing in the early days of the pandemic that you have regained, now?
“I did adapt to enjoying the extra time with the horses during the early days of the pandemic. I enjoyed reconnecting with my childhood loves, hopes and dreams, and they kept me going through the hard times,” Hannah says.
“Now we’ve been allowed back out and I’ve ridden back between the white boards, I definitely realised how much I missed competing! The thrill of the challenge, the bond between rider and horse and of course I do love winning,” she tells us.
Can you share a simple training exercise or tip?
“I’ve recently been working on perfecting my canter to halt transitions as we head back into the competition arena,” Hannah begins. “As that’s the first thing the judge sees, it’s always good to make that good impression down the centre line. I ride collected canter and find a good balance, then really allow the forward step into the walk, and keep walking a few small steps into the halt,” she continues.
“Some horses lose their balance down through their shoulders, and get ’stuck’ in the halt. By practicing moving little steps forward into the halt, you make sure you ride forwards from the legs, balance from the seat and allow with the hands,” Hannah adds. “That’s always a good thing to remember when trying to ride a good entry down the centre line.”
What’s your favourite Bombers mouthpiece and cheekpiece combo and why?
“I’m currently using the Forward Port Weymouth (pictured) and the Elliptical Bradoon with Dutch, as he starts his more advanced career in a double bridle,” Hanna states.
“I also really love the Bombers Happy Tongue swivel bit for some of my clients. It helps create a much more relaxed contact if the rider is struggling to keep their hands still or if the horse needs to build confidence in the contact,” she concludes.
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