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"Show kit wise,ensure what you're wearing compliments the horse, so that it creates a polished overall picture." - Interview with Show Rider Rebekah Coppard

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We talk to Rebekah Coppard about all things showing!
Rebekah lives in Dorset and is a Cabin Service Supervisor (On Board Manager) at Virgin Atlantic.
She lives life like a super-woman! (as most us equestrian's do!) keen on keeping fit, excelling in her competitive riding and progressing in her flying career too!
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HOYS 2018 IMAGES
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Tell us a little about your riding background... 
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My mum has always ridden and had her own horses before she married my dad, but didn’t make me ride.
I dabbled in it when I was really young but was more interested in my performing arts and stage school.
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I eventually started riding properly at 9 years old. I used to ride at a ladies yard and help out with all the stable duties. As I got older I started helping with and giving lessons, I also got the chance to do a lot of the breakers which I believe really helped my riding develop, it’s all very rewarding.
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Image above: Hammonds Half Time (Hattie) and Rebekah back in show pony days champion show pony.
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I started showing around 12 years old but only really local/county level. I managed wins at the National Pony Society championships, and a few major county shows (New forest show, Dorset county, Royal bath and west). At 17 I qualified for HOYS at my first ever attempt on the pony I was riding. It was the first time anyone from the yard I rode at had qualified for anything like that!
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From that, I was lucky enough to ride for quite a few people, and then Mum and I decided that because of my work commitments we would get our own horse produced so that I could still compete and enjoy it without having to ride so much, as it wasn’t possible to do that anymore, especially with my recent promotion. (Congratulations!)
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Since then I feel my riding has come on huge amounts. This is all down to my lessons with my producer Adam Winbourne. I’ve managed to qualify for HOYs and competed at RIHS.
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Image above: Rebekah keeping her mum's horse Louis fit at home
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Why was it showing that you chose over any other discipline?
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I fell into it really... the lady that I rode for had showed for years and so I went along a few times and got the bug! I love it! Especially after having a year off last year due to work, coming back this year has just enhanced my passion for it even more. 
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What have been the best wins/moments/memories of your showing life so far?
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Qualifying my first pony for HOYS (Karen Knocks, Stourton Harlequin) at the Dartmoor bred show, it was a huge class of over 15, I didn’t for a second think I would qualify, amazing memory.
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Also qualifying my small intermediate show riding type Arizona Gold for HOYS earlier this year in a huge class of 17 at The Royal Three counties. We had, had Zac for less than 3 weeks and it was our first ever show together.
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Image above: Rebekah on Louis IV
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Also when I got to ride my Mum's horse of a lifetime Louis IV, (we’ve owned him since a 2 years old) at our local county show, winning the riding horses and take reserve champ in our first season together. Mum's reaction was priceless and that's what it’s all about for me.
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That same weekend I also managed to get supreme of show on the Andrews 14.2hh part bred Arab 'Beauty on the Bay'. It was an incredible weekend!
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I also always enjoyed riding Hammonds Half Time, a 14.2 show pony owned by Karen Knock, she taught me so much and is the most beautiful horse and the biggest mover I’ve ever seen!
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Image above: Rebekah's old 14.2 Part Bred Arab Litton Cerise, bought from being a brood mare re-backed and then sold to a wonderful home, she’s just won at HOYS and reserve champ this year!
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What does your riding life look like? How often do you have to be training, do a team of you work to keep your horse(s) fit, how do you work it all around work? 

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Now days with being full-time flying, I ride a lot less than I would like to. I manage a lesson around once a week with my producer Adam and when my mum's horse is home I try and ride him as much as I can to keep my riding fitness up.

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Adam and Team Winbourne have my show horses so they do all the hard work and I get to enjoy them when I’m off. They are amazing at what they do and Adam is extremely talented! Normally when I get my roster 6 weeks in advance I will sort out dates with Adam.

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When I am working towards a competition I will go up a lot more and even ride on my way home from work after working a 12 hour plus flight.

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Image above: Beauty on the Bay Supreme at Dorset County 2016 

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What do the last few weeks look like in terms of training and prepping before a show?

So I’ve been up to the yard quite a bit on the lead up to HOYS. As my horse (Zac) has to be worked and prepped by Adam, I’ve ridden him a few times but also had the chance to ride my best friends (Lizzie Smiths) school master Charlie for a lesson, he’s incredible, I was very lucky to be able to ride him. I’ve also had Mum's horse up at Adams so that I can work on myself and had some incredible lessons on him preparing for HOYS.

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Image above: Rebekah having a pre HOYS lesson on Lizzie Smiths Pendley Majestic (Charlie)

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Do you do any separate exercise/yoga/strength training to improve your riding?

I’m massively into the gym, in particular weight lifting. I train on average 5 times a week, this particularly helps with my core strength which I believe is so important with riding. I also have a strict diet and I really think this helps towards my fitness.

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Obviously in showing image is key, as well as preparing your horse, there is a lot of prep you have to do for your own image too. Have you learned any tricks or tips you could share with us for making sure you look tip top? 

In the last few years I have learnt sooooo much, my biggest tip and one I’ve really worked on myself is to remain relaxed and enjoy it, obviously you need to ride well/ neatly and look smart but if your relaxed and enjoying it so will the horse and the overall picture will be a lot smoother and more pleasing to the eye. Show kit wise, ensure what you're wearing compliments the horse, so that it creates a polished overall picture.

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Image above: Arizona Gold (Zac) at the new forest gaining highest ride mark 49/50

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What does a typical show morning look like for you?

A lot different than it used to haha, now Mum and I travel to the shows separately and meet Adam, Dan and the rest of the team there. I then tend to ride them round and have a quick lesson before the team get them ready for the ring. 

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What are your top tips for performing your best at a show?

Treat it like any normal day, ride like you would at home, ensure you show your horse off and try to stand out, remain calm and most of all enjoy it!

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Image above: Rebekah's Large Intermediate/ Hack Chanel S at their first show together

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How have you found adult life effects your riding? Is it hard to juggle everything? How do you manage your time?

100%. I used to ride sometimes up to 6/7 days a week up to  5/6/7/8 different horses. Now, with work and other commitments, I only tend to ride once a week!  All my family and friends say I do too much, but I love it. I’m busy ALL THE TIME!

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What do you like most and least about going away for shows?

I haven’t properly been away away for shows in a few years ,we normally do it all in one day, but when we used to go away, I loved being around the horses 24/7 and seeing my friends that don’t live near us. There’s nothing I don’t like about going away for shows and I was so excited to go away for the weekend up at HOYS!

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Image above: Coco and Rebekah at their first ever show

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What is the most memorable moment of your showing career so far? (Can be good or bad)

Ummm there’s a few, one of my first funny memories was being in the line up waiting to do my show, I must have been about 12/13 riding a little Dartmoor, when she started to get down and roll, apparently I just hopped off the side like it was all very normal haha! But one of my favourite memories was riding my boy Zac at the New Forest Show earlier this year, he gave me the most incredible ride and scored 49/50 for it, you couldn’t take the smile off my face. 

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What advice would you give to riders looking to get into showing?

I would say look at all the different classes, see what you think suits you, your horse and your riding, then watch those classes. Look at what the competitors do in those classes and learn from that. 

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What do you like most and least about the showing world?

Love the social - I’ve made some of my best friends from the showing world and I also love how much people support and encourage you. I dislike it when people can't be pleased for you, but I guess that's like anything competitive isn’t it? 

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Do you have any exciting future plans?

I think we are going to start doing dressage this winter which I’m really excited to do as I’ve never done it and will be fun for the horses, a change to showing. I’m also out of the intermediates this year so next year is going to be my first proper year in just ‘Adult’ classes and I’m really excited to take the step up!

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Thank you so much for speaking to us Rebekah and all the best for your future riding plans! 

If you'd like to follow Rebekah's progress, you can find her on Instagram at @rebekahcoppard