RIDER OF THE DAY: Alex Hua Tian - 02 October 2011

Hampshire-based Alex has competed in an Express Eventing competition every year so far, the only rider to have done so. He was runner-up at the Express Eventing Championship 2010. Alex was the first ever rider to represent China at the Olympic Games when he competed in Beijing 2008. He just missed out on the Young Rider qualification at the Bolesworth Showjumping Classic qualifier, but took it at the CLA Game Fair where he was placed 2nd.



1. How old were you when you started riding, who introduced you to riding and which was your first horse?
I had a very typical childhood growing up with horses starting at roughly four riding a pony at the yard my mum kept her horse at. Only difference was that it was in China at a yard just outside of Beijing run by the national SJ champion Ha DaTie and his wife Liu Yen. I rode a dreadfully naughty little grey pony called Xiao HuLu which means little gourd.

2. How did you choose the music for the dressage to music phase?
I’ve always gone for very stirring Chinese film music as it seemed appropriate. This time I’ve decided to go for something a bit different, we’ll see whether it works!

3. Do you think horses enjoy the music, and do you feel it makes a difference to their/your performance?
Grafenstolz loves the music! Anything that adds to the atmosphere and any attention he gets he laps up! Personally I think it makes an interesting challenge. I normally have enough to think about with where I’m going and how the horse is going; so adding trying to keep in time to the music proves testing!

4. How much practice did the dressage to music phase take?
I put the music together so actually it didn’t take too long. I’ve had a lot of help from Liz Diegutis, who used to ride Graff up to PSG.

5. What has been your most memorable moment of the Express Eventing 2011 Series so far?
We had a very tense moment during the SJ phase at the Games Fair qualifier where Graff and I were in second place going into the SJ. Matt had to have one down for us to win! Unfortunately he jumped a lovely round….

6. Who would be in your dream multi-national Olympic eventing team?
Myself (just for the ride)
Michael Jung – Biosteque Sam
William Fox-Pitt – Parklane Hawk
Clayton Fredericks - Bendigo

7. Do you reward your horses for a good performance and, if so, how?
Pat and depending on how hard they’ve had to work a bit of a holiday out in the field!

8. What has been the highlight of your career to date and why?
Qualifying and competing at the 2008 Olympics. Being able to compete at any Olympics is phenomenal. Having the opportunity to represent your country at your home Olympics is beyond anything you could possibly think.

9. What was your favourite subject at school and why?
Sciences as it was the building next to my house! Sleep later and walk less!

10. If you weren’t a professional event rider what would you like to do?
Formula 1 driver!

11. What would you most like to win that you haven’t already?
Olympic Gold is the pinnacle. For me Team Gold would be very incredible. For China to have a team one day would be amazing!

12. What is your favourite holiday destination?
I haven’t actually been on a proper holiday for four years! When I was younger we went on a family holiday to Thailand which I’ll never forget.

13. Which horse would you most like to have had the opportunity to compete on and why?
In Hong Kong, during the Olympics, Chico was stabled opposite a Belgian Jumping stallion called Cumano. Big, Grey and stunning. I don’t think any other horse has ever caught my eye like that one!

14. When did you last fall off?
I had a proper dumping at Houghton Hall in the one star last year. Luckily the horse went one way and I went the other. I was still very sore!

15. Do you have any pets at home?
My groom Mark has two little dogs. As soon as the season’s over and we’ve got the yard move out the way I’ve set my heart on a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy.

16. What’s your favourite meal – and can you cook it?
I have a repertoire of three dishes… Bangers and Mash, Spaghetti Bolognaise and Lasagna. Brief but all delicious!

17. Do you have any lucky charms or superstitions?
I don’t believe in any of that!

18. What’s your favourite one-day event?
I have to admit I don’t particularly enjoy one day events… Three day events are much more atmospheric, entertaining and in a funny way relaxing. You have much more time to concentrate on each horse’s performance, you have time to sit down and relax and see people on the circuit that you don’t have time to talk to normally!

19. What are you most looking forward to at the Final at the Horse of the Year Show?
Us eventers are used to the big spaces of Stately Home parkland so I’m really looking forward to the close atmosphere at the NEC. Hopefully the spectators and crowds will feel a lot more involved with what they’re watching and I think us riders and horses will definitely feel the intimacy of the surroundings.

20. Who are you tipping to win the Final at the Horse of the Year Show?




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