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"As well as training the horses, they all hack, do poles, jump and all get turned out. I think its really important for them to have varied work to keep them fresh and happy."- Interview with Dressage rider Lucinda Elliott

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Today we're talking to 23 year old Dressage rider Lucinda Elliott. Lucinda rides at Hawtins Stud and was part of the BEF Excel Talent programme 2015-17!
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Image above: Mount St. John Furstin Fugger nationals 2015
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1.) Tell us about your riding background. Are there other equestrian's in your family? When did you start riding etc?
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I grew up doing a bit of everything! From Pony club, Hunting, workers and riding show ponies. My mum has always had horses and I’ve been around them for as long as I can remember, I’ve always been horse crazy. 
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Image above: Supreme pony at the royal international horse show with Dance all Night 2012
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Before getting into dressage I did a lot of showing with my own horses as well as riding for show pony producer Jerome Harforth, whom I later worked for after finishing school. I was fortunate to have wins at shows such as HOYS and Royal International. 
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Image above: Dance all night supreme BSPS summer champs 2012
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In October 2014 I joined Mount St John as the resident rider. I spent 5 months in Germany with Nadine Plaster learning the basics and riding young horses before returning back in the UK. Later that year I was fortunate enough to win my first Nationals title and got accepted on to the BEF excel talent programme. 

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2.) What made you go down the dressage path? Are there any other disciplines you are drawn towards? 
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Image above: Mount St. John Furstin Fugger
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I was about to do my pony club A test and I needed to learn more about dressage, so I went and watched Annie Marie Perry ride at Mount st John for about a year and I was lucky enough to compete in a 4 year old young horse class with 'Best of All'. After that I caught the bug and started riding for Emma Blundell (Mount st John) at the end of my show season and it went from there.
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3.) How many horses do you ride? Do you have your own or do you only ride for owners? Can you tell us a little about the horses you ride and their personalities? 
 
I work and ride for Hawtins Stud, where I ride anywhere from 6-9 horses a day, everything from babies to the older horses. This year I was lucky enough to compete a number of young horses, some of my main ones are 'Hawtins Lirica' who is now the 4 year old National Champion! I love her, she’s just the best, she takes everything in and loves to show off. And then 'Hawtins Bellegra' who I competed medium this year qualifying for the Nationals, she has such a great temperament and loves to work. 
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Image above: Hawtins Bellegra at nationals 2018
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4.) What does a typical day or week in your life look like? Do you ride every day? 
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I work 5 and half days a week, but I’ll ride whenever I can. When I go home I usually ride out with Sami my sister or go and watch her compete.
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5.) What do the last few weeks up to a competition look like in terms of training and prepping? 
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We try to keep their training varied. As well as training the horses, they all hack, do poles, jump and all get turned out. I think its really important for them to have varied work to keep them fresh and happy, especially in the middle of the season when it can get busy with shows. 
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Image above: Hawtins Lirica
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6.) What do you like most and least about competing? 
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I love seeing the horses I ride develop and when you’ve done a good test and feel it all coming together it’s a very rewarding feeling, there’s not much I don’t like about competing, probably the early mornings if anything. 
7.) What have been the best wins/moments/memories of your dressage life so far?
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Winning the Nationals with Mount St John 'Best of All' in my first year of dressage at the summer nationals was definitely a very special moment.
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Also being 4 year old National champion with 'Hawtins Lirica' this year, I think she’s such a special mare and was a star in each round. 
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Image above: MSJ Top Secret reserve 5 year old national champion 2016
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8.) What do you think helps you perform best at a show? 
I find it very important to be organised and give myself plenty of time so hopefully nothing ends up a rush. Also getting to sleep in plenty of time is definitely important, we make sure our horses are fit and healthy and I think we should also give ourselves the best chance too. After all, it is a partnership, it’s not all down to the horse. 
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9.) Is there any tips or tricks you have learned through your dressage journey so far that you'd like to share with the riders reading?  
Stay calm, don’t get too stressed. 
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Image above: Mount St. John Best of All at the AOS presentation in Germany
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10.) What is your ambition? Where do you want to see yourself? Do you have a top goal you are reaching for? 
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I’d love to ride at Grand Prix, but I love training and bringing on young horses, I find it so rewarding, I think it’s a very important time of their career. 
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Image above: Hawtins Lirica winning 4year old national champion
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11.) What would you say to anyone wanting to get into dressage but feeling like they don't know where to start? 
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Definitely attend clinics and take in everything you can, and have lessons. Go watch riders at shows too, you can learn so much from just watching and being around them.
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Image above: Best of All
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Thank you so much for talking to us Lucinda! And the best of luck for the future! 
If you would like to follow Lucinda's journey, you can follow her Instagram account here.