With Badminton under her belt and Rio within sight, Musto ambassador and Olympic medalist Zara Tindall gives us her top tips for taking on the cross country phase of a three-day event.
From managing nerves to finding your line, find out how to perform at your best on the day, whatever your level.
1. It’s easier to be riding fit when you’re riding all the time, but you want to be everything fit. I regularly swim and bike, and try to build a strong core.
2. I aim to walk a cross country course around three times, especially at high level events.
3. When it comes to the event, don’t try to do anything too different. You’ve got yourself there under your own merits and know your horse better than anyone else.
4. To be able to have layers that will keep you warm when waiting around but cool when you’re riding is important. My Musto cross country top is brilliant for this; it’s just easy to ride in.
5. Always look for places to make up time. The gallops are a good place to catch up few seconds. But there’s also lots of technical turns where you can’t just cruise. You’ve got to respect the fences.
6. You are your horses eyes, so you really want to find your line early and ride positive into fences.
7. When approaching difficult obstacles, collect the horse to make sure it is underneath you and really firing. You want to stay upright and maintain punchy strides, especially when the horse starts getting tired.
8. I think you’d be crazy if you weren’t nervous before the cross country. But you’ve just got to channel that energy into good energy, make it work for you.
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