SPONSORED RIDER UPDATE! Sophie Christiansen

Here is a lovely update from Sophie Christiansen, we look forward to hearing how she and Harry get on whilst competing in France and wish them luck!

Next week I will be taking Harry to his first international Para competition CPEDI3* in Deauville, France. This forms part of the selection trials for the GB squad going to the World Equestrian Games in the USA in September.

Last year I took myself out of contention for GB selection for the Europeans and went about changing everything as I was deeply unhappy behind-the-scenes in 2016. After Rio I had two choices: I could either retire from sport and do my other job as a Tech analyst at Goldman Sachs full time, or leave the yard where I had been based for 15 years and start again. I decided that I would miss the sport too much and regret not at least trying. So I went about changing my home, yard, coach and horse.

Deauville will be about testing my new team in a slightly more pressurised environment. Harry is still learning that he only walks in the white boards. He still hasn’t truly relaxed in a competition, and without relaxation it is difficult to build on anything else. This affects his suppleness and balance. But I love this part of training a new horse – continually improving, learning and getting to know one another.  Only last week we had a “lightbulb moment” where I found how to bring him back with my seat to regain his balance in training. Deauville will be about putting this into practice in competition.

But I don’t need to post a gold-medal winning performance until final selection trials in July and then again at WEG in September. For now, it’s about identifying areas to improve in order to hit that target at the right time.

My decision to choose happiness with Harry has come with an increased price tag, so I am extremely grateful to my sponsors Weatherbeeta for lightening the load and supplying Harry with a durable and fashionable wardrobe! Selection for WEG will definitely not be easy, with the standard of British riders getting better and better all the time, even since Rio. This is fantastic for the sport though and makes this season a lot more interesting! See how we get on, with Weatherbeeta's support, by following me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube @SophieChristiansencbe