RIDER OF THE DAY: Shari Butchart - 19 September 2011

Essex-based Shari is a former Grade A show jumper and has previously competed at Horse of the Year Show. She also represented Great Britain in that discipline on both the Junior and Young Rider teams. This is her third season of eventing after making the switch. She competed in the Express Eventing Qualifiers at the Bolesworth Castle Showjumping Classic, the Lincolnshire Show and the Festival of British Eventing.





1. How old were you when you started riding, who introduced you to riding and which was your first horse?
I was 6 when I first started riding at a local riding school. At the age of 10 I got my first pony Becki who was a total speed merchant so used to bomb round all the 1'6" classes at our local shows!

2. How did you choose the music for the dressage to music phase?
I'm still working on my music at present as trying to make it completely different to that I used in the qualifiers so you'll have to wait and see!

3. Do you think horses enjoy the music, and do you feel it makes a difference to their/your performance?
Ollie (Olympic) I think loves the music. It tends to get him more focussed and helps me ride to a better rhythm as I am thinking about staying in time to it.

4. How much practice did the dressage to music phase take?
I have been practising as much as I can for my new music as want to make a big improvement from my qualifiers! Just hope I can pull it off on the day!

5. What has been your most memorable moment of the Express Eventing 2011 Series so far?
I really enjoyed riding in front of a crowd in the dressage phase at the Gatcombe qualifier. I've jumped with crowds before but never had that many people watching a dressage test which made it more exciting. The best moment in all the qualifiers is definitely the Cross Country though!

6. Who would be in your dream multi-national Olympic eventing team?
William Fox-Pitt, Andrew Nicolson, Mary King and Oliver Townend. (and me as reserve!!)

7. Do you reward your horses for a good performance and, if so, how?
Whenever I leave the ring (good or bad) Ollie is looking straight for my dad who usually rewards him with a polo. He likes to know he has been a good boy and tends to relax him after leaving the ring. Obviously a good day in the field after is always appreciated as well!

8. What has been the highlight of your career to date and why?
Representing GB in the Young Riders team in Veerden, Holland when I was 21.

9. What was your favourite subject at school and why?
Definitely PE. I'm quite competitive and loved all sports at school being in every team I could.

10. If you weren’t a professional event rider what would you like to do?
I love to teach so would continue to work at our family run centre, Woodredon Equestrian Centre in Epping Forest.

11. What would you most like to win that you haven’t already?
Like most people I would love to win at a big event like Badminton or Burghley or even the Express Eventing final at HOYS!

12. What is your favourite holiday destination?
Definitely a ski destination. Skiing is my second passion to horse riding. I try to go every season as I love the thrill and speed of it as well as the lively apres ski atmosphere!

13. Which horse would you most like to have had the opportunity to compete on and why?
I think Lenamore is amazing, and although a show-jumper I love Albert Zoers OkiDoki. I love his jumping technique. I just wish he could event!

14. When did you last fall off?
Last week off my youngster. He is quite unpredictable so tends to catch me out quite alot. I'm hoping he will have grown up a bit by the time I start eventing him next season as he's very talented.

15. Do you have any pets at home?
I have a miniature schnauzer called Reg who comes everywhere with me and a cat called Dennis who Reg gets very jealous of.

16. What’s your favourite meal – and can you cook it?
Anything with fish in it! Something like Seabass or Trout is my favourite. And yes I cook it quite a lot!

17. Do you have any lucky charms or superstitions?
I'm not superstitious but I have to have my dad with me at my competitions. He gives me that boost and every bit of help I need.

18. What’s your favourite one-day event?
I really enjoyed Longleat as competing in the grounds of the safari park with the sealions next to us in the dressage was great! Although when we arrived first thing in the morning when it was the wolves and lions feeding time, Ollie looked a bit nervous with the noise that surrounded us!

19. What are you most looking forward to at the Final at the Horse of the Year Show?
Excited about the first time I ride into the arena with everyone there and then the whole experience especially the Cross Country section.

20. Who are you tipping to win the Final at the Horse of the Year Show?
I watched Sam Griffiths at the Festival of British Eventing, Gatcombe, and thought he and his horse were great so think he is in with a good chance.




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