RIDER OF THE DAY: Flora Harris - 20 September 2011
Oxfordshire-based Flora is a former Team GBR Young Rider, and was the winner of the Express Eventing Championhip in 2010 at the Royal Festival of the Horse. This gives her automatic qualification to the 2011 Express Eventing Final.
TWENTY QUESTIONS WITH......Flora Harris
1. How old were you when you started riding, who introduced you to riding and which was your first horse?
About 5 years old. – I rode in a riding school local to our home in Somerset. My first pony was a 12hh Dartmoor mare named Pickasticks who my mother bought as a surprise for my sister and me. She was very badly behaved and we both fell off a lot!
2. How did you choose the music for the dressage to music phase?
I chose the music (mainly Rocky Horror Show) for my test when I won in 2010 as I thought is was a bit different and suited the horse’s cheeky nature. The lyrics about jumping around also fitted in really well for my flying changes.
3. Do you think horses enjoy the music, and do you feel it makes a difference to their/your performance?
Definitely, I think the horses love the music, providing it’s the right rhythm for the horse I think they really can get into it and start to almost move with the music themselves
4. How much practice did the dressage to music phase take?
A lot more than you might think. It’s quite a challenge to get the floor plan and the music to fit together and remember it all!
5. What has been your most memorable moment of the Express Eventing 2011 Series so far?
Having not ridden in any of the qualifiers I am really looking forward to finally competing in EE 2011 at HOYS. It’s been great fun to watch at some of the qualifiers though, and I enjoyed doing the course walks at Blenheim Game Fair and Gatcombe.
6. Who would be in your dream multi-national Olympic Eventing team? –
William Fox-Pitt, Pippa Funnell, Michael Jung, Francis Wittington and Mark Todd.
7. Do you reward your horses for a good performance and, if so, how?
They will always have a polo or another treat as they come out of the ring even if things haven’t gone to plan, just to make sure every time they compete they have a nice experience. After a 3day event they always have a short holiday and every horse will have at least a day in the field after each competition.
8. What has been the highlight of your career to date and why?
Winning Express Eventing in 2010 was a massive career high; it was so exciting and has just opened up so many opportunities. Jumping clear around my first CCI**** at Badminton was also a fantastic experience.
9. What was your favourite subject at school and why?
PE; I loved playing hockey and was never all that good at sitting in a classroom.
10. If you weren’t a professional event rider what would you like to do?
I can’t imagine myself doing anything else!
11. What would you most like to win that you haven’t already?
Badminton, Rolex Grand slam, Olympic Gold…. The list goes on!!
12. What is your favorite holiday destination?
I have never been on holiday!
13. Which horse would you most like to have had the opportunity to compete on and why?
I would love to ride Lenamore, or Avebury. I think they both look like really fun rides with lots of jump and a really good brain.
14. When did you last fall off?
A couple of months ago jumping a very green youngster in the school at home.
15. Do you have any pets at home?
Two Whippets; Mavis and Willow.
16. What’s your favorite meal – and can you cook it?
Roast Beef with all the trimmings. I am a useless cook!
17. Do you have any lucky charms or superstitions?
I always have to walk through the finish when I am walking the XC course somewhere, just to make sure I get there on the horse. I’m quite superstitious about a few things. I always go Cross Country now in the top I wore at Badminton.
18. What’s your favourite one-day event?
Aston le Walls, always good ground and just down the road from my yard. I really like Belton as well.
19. What are you most looking forward to at the Final at the Horse of the Year Show?
Riding in the main arena in the NEC will be a very special opportunity and I really want to get out there and defend my title!
20. Who are you tipping to win the Final at the Horse of the Year Show?
A tricky one, but Sam Griffiths looked very strong at Gatcombe; Fiona Hobby might be pretty strong as well.
WATCH FLORA'S WINNING DRESSAGE TO MUSIC TEST AT EXPRESS EVENTING CHAMPIONSHIP 2010 BY CLICKING HERE.
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