byNina Fedrizzi| Feb 8, 2018
You don't get to be #3 in the world just by being lucky, and Great Britain's Gemma Tattersall is proof of that fact. During the 2017 eventing year, Tattersall earned a remarkable number of top-10 placings at the three- and four-star level, doing so not just on her top mount, Arctic Soul, but various members of her extensive, West Sussex-based string.
In addition to her 7th-place 2017 Badminton finish and career-best 3rd-place Burghley finish with the 15-year-old gelding Arctic Soul, Tattersall also claimed the second annual Event Rider Masters series ahead of the competition's final leg at Blenheim Palace in September (she placed fourth with Chico Bella P there as well!). But Gemma, herself, is the first to admit that maintaining consistent results at the top-tier of eventing sport takes a lot of legwork—and a lot of time on the road.
[Packing] only takes us 10-15 minutes, and that’s what it needs to be when you’re going three days in a row with four or five horses each day.
"Pretty much every single weekend [we’re on the road]," Tattersall says. "I might have one or two weekends throughout the whole season that I don’t compete. [This season], I’ve basically got eight horses who are two-star and above, and then another six to eight horses that are younger and coming through. I’ve got six 5-year-olds, but some of those won’t do too much next year. And then I’ve got two 6-year-olds and two 7-year-olds—so yeah, it certainly keeps me busy!"
One tool that Gemma has found invaluable when it comes to maintaining her busy yard: organization, and lots of it. "We don’t necessarily do multiple trunks by discipline, but we would pack all the saddle clothes in one, all the cross-country boots in another, show jumping boots and rugs in another—so we sort of have multiples of everything because we have so many horses. It’s just a case of keeping everything in order.
"We’ve gotten very, very good and very quick at packing," Tattersall continues. "It only takes us 10-15 minutes, and that’s what it needs to be when you’re going three days in a row with four or five horses each day. You have to be super quick to be able to turn the lorry around and not spend hours doing it."
So just what sort of products and equipment make Gemma's essential tack trolley packing list? NF Style caught up with Great Britain's top eventer during a busy day at the yard to find out.
-Photography by Jon Stroud.
#1: Tack Trolley
"We use a Stable & Barn Tack Trolley, which they gave to us at Badminton last year, and we love that for the three-day events," Gemma explains. "It just carries absolutely everything—from medical kits to shampoos and brushes to [sewing kits]."
"I use Childéric Saddles, which I absolutely love. They’re literally made for me and fit me so beautifully. I have various types of widths and the way they’re made to fit specific horses. For example, Quicklook has [a Childéric saddle] that’s specially made for her because she’s quite a strange shape. They fit the horses beautifully and they also fit me."
"I’ve got obviously my dressage [Childéric] saddles and the jumping saddles, [and] I’ve got two, very, very lightweight saddles which I use if I’m doing three-day events or if I want to go super fast! [laughs]"
#3: Warm-Up Boots
"I like using Weatherbeeta boots—the nice, fluffy ones for warming up for dressage are really nice."
#4: Tendon Boots
"For cross-country, it varies, really, but I like Veredus tendon boots for the front [and hind]."
#5: Saddle Pads
"A lot of my sponsors have their saddle pads with logos [on them] that they send to me. But I do really like the new Weatherbeeta [saddle pads]—they’re super comfy for the horses and very breathable."
#6: Ear Bonnet
"Arctic Soul wears a slightly thicker [ear bonnet] to help with the [atmosphere] because he hates loud noises. He uses the Schockemöhle Silent Ear Bonnet."
#7: Grooming Supplies
"My mom [is] a little bit obsessed with choosing grooming stuff. My girls will just go along with whatever she asks because they’re really nice!" Gemma says. "She’ll always have a big, long, flicky brush; a body brush; and a shining mitten thing. And then we have a specific brush that we use for their quarter markings. [We don't have a] specific brand—we just choose things we like!"
"[Arctic Soul] finds the crowds and things very difficult, so he always has some of the NAF Magic Calming to help him," Tattersall explains. "He certainly takes a little bit of managing and we always make sure he comes out of the box a lot and trots out on the lunge, even if he’s just jogging about...We just try to get him so he’s concentrating on me and not that crowds."
"I use Neue Schule bits a lot. I like the way they fit in the horses’ mouths. I have various different thicknesses of Neue Schule lozenge snaffles—some of them are loose-ring, some of them are D-ring, but literally, pretty much my whole yard goes in some Neue Schule, lozenge-type bit."
"Obviously, for jumping, sometimes I use two-ring gags or a pelham or whatever we think they are best to go in. And I like to use [the Neue Schule] Running Gag Nelson if the horses are too strong—that’s just something I like going in that seems to work."
"All my horses love the NAF Minty Treats," Gemma says. "We have a treat box at home and I go around the whole yard with the box in hand quite often!"