byNina Fedrizzi| Feb 13, 2017
Amateur rider Alicia Store calls herself a bit of a “late-starter” when it comes to the world of show jumping. But if her progress in the last three years is any indication, she’s certainly making up for lost time.
Under the guidance of trainer Scott Brash, Alicia has spent the last year and a half competing internationally for the UK at the one- and two-star level, earning wins at major shows including Valkenswaard and Madrid. She currently has five competition mounts, among them her top horse, Uriko, a 13-year-old Belgian warmblood. “He has taught me huge amounts and has the biggest character, so he is a great horse to head up my team,” she says.
Alicia balances her competition schedule during the spring and summer with winters off, when she gives her horses some down time to concentrate on her full-time job running a Superyacht management company with her husband, David.
“Horses are my hobby and show jumping is my passion, but our company is my day to day job, so balancing that can sometimes be challenging!” Alicia says. “Training with Scott was an amazing experience where I learned a huge amount, practically, with the horses, but also about the sport. I am not necessarily a ‘natural’ rider, so have to work hard to get the results I do. Scott taught me to stay focused on myself and believe in my ability.”
From confidence-building to keeping her cool, here are ten things Alicia has learned from Scott Brash.
1. The importance of patience.
I have never in my life met someone with such patience. Whether it be riding a young horse while training at home or a grand prix horse in the warm up paddock, Scott gives the horses as much time as they need and never ever gets frustrated or loses his temper.
Smooth and consistent are words that Scott would use every time we trained or warmed up at a show. Ride smoothly around the course and be consistent to your fence so you give your horse the best chance to jump cleanly.
3. Trusting your eye.
As an amateur rider, I sometimes feel I lack experience around a more technical course. Scott always told me to trust my eye and relax and my distance would be there if I did.
4. Warming up.
Scott would always say the warm up is for doing just that—warming up. Not testing the horse, not changing things, but just getting yourself and the horse ready for the course ahead. The other work should have already been done at home.
5. Canter, canter, canter.
Whether in training, in the warm up, or in the ring, Scott would hammer home the importance of a good active canter with the horse in front of your leg. If they are not quick off your leg, then they are not 100 percent focused and listening to you, which can be the difference between winning or having a fence down. Getting my horses quick off my leg would be a regular part of my warm up and training.
6. Making a plan (and sticking to it).
When walking the course, we would make a specific plan including strides and turns for each of the horses at the show depending on what was suited to them and how they ride. In Scott’s eyes, that plan is the only plan and I should always try my hardest to stick to it.
7. Determination and competitiveness.
Scott always taught me to be determined when you go in the ring, that I was not there to make up the numbers and if I had done the right preparation leading up to the show, I was there to try and win.
8. Learning from every round.
Even after classes that have been successful, Scott would always have advice on how to improve the round. Things to take home and work on further to increase rideability for the next time in the ring.
9. Keeping your cool.
“Don’t crumble if things don’t go 100 percent to plan,” is something Scott will say regularly to me. As a perfectionist, I want everything to go a certain way at all times. With horses though, that is not always possible. To be a good rider, you have to be able deal with the less-than-perfect moments and adapt to keep going.
10. Gratitude and loyalty.
Realizing that the two minutes you are in the ring wouldn’t be possible without all the team behind you is something I have learned from training and watching Scott. He is grateful, proud, and loyal to his team, as they are to him—whether it be his long-term owners, his home rider, his grooms, his vet or his farrier, he holds them all in high regard.
-All images courtesy of Alicia Store.
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