Bombers ambassador, eventer Bubby Upton, is fresh from her debut at Badminton Horse Trials (pictured left and right) – where after a sterling performance, one of her top rides Cola III put in a foot-perfect XC round before an unlucky run-out at the very last fence – and is now looking ahead to Lumuhlen and Bramham, with her exciting string of top-class rides.
We asked her to share her latest news:
What are your plans for the year, Bubby?
“For me at the start of each season, the biggest priority is to get a feel at the first few events of how my training is being implemented at the start of the season, by assessing how specific areas that I have focussed on over the winter have improved,” Bubby explains.
“And if the reward for this is a win at one of the imminent international events, then that is always a big bonus, and very reassuring.”
This year, I have an unbelievably exciting spring, especially as I recently headed to my first Badminton HT with Cola, which was a childhood dream fulfilled. I did feel that I let him down with that run-out, but it is onward and upward,” she muses.
“And then my other horse Cannavaro will be heading to Lumuhlen for the 5*, while 3 other rides will be aimed at Bramham for the 4*, where one horse is definitely going to compete in the U25 Championships,” Bubby adds. “Of course, I will try and defend the championship!” says the current U25 Champion, with her famous level-headed determination.
After the recent equestrian scheduling changes due to Covid, is Bubby excited to have the big horse trials events scheduled in again? “Yes; the traditional British 5*’s are the pinnacle of our sport; so it is truly fantastic to have Badminton and Burghley back in the calendar,” Bubby tells us.
“It is also so lovely to be back training with my home coaches; but very quickly we have all slipped back into normality, and it feels strange looking back at the fairly recent time where this wasn’t possible,” she adds.
A simple exercise to improve hind leg engagement: “Transitions are one of the most highly integrated exercises into my training. I do so many of them on all my horses, whatever level they are at, as if they are done well, transitions can achieve so much. For example, they get your horse off your leg, they engage the hind leg and help teach your horse to listen to a waiting aid,” Bubby advises.
We asked Bubby what her favourite Bombers bit is – but there are too many effective bits in her tackroom to choose from. “It is very difficult to pinpoint just one mouthpiece and cheek piece from Bombers…”
“I love a variety of them from the Bombers range, and I have very specific combinations that i use depending on my horse,” Bubby explains.
“So I will list a few of may favourites! My favourite jumping cheek piece is definitely the 2.5 ring, these bits give you a lovely ‘happy medium’ of control – more than a snaffle but less than a gag.”
“But my ‘go to’ mouthpieces are a lock up for horse who backs off a contact, a ported barrel for a horse with a good contact, and then a titanium happy tongue (above) for a horse who is susceptible to bit rubbing; it gives them a lovely amount of space in their mouth,” Bubby concludes.
Pics by Adam Fanthorpe Photography.