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Eventing Star Presenter Tim Price Q&A

We sat down with Tim Price, our Greg Grant Saddlery Full Flight Thursday Star Presenter… and safe to say we had a ball. We are SO excited to see and hear the wealth of knowledge Tim will be bringing to EQUITANA Melbourne this year.

Here’s how it went…

  • What inspired you to pursue eventing, and how did you get started in the sport?

I was showjumping at World Cup level but decided the bulk of my horses were better suited to eventing so made the switch. Plus it was apparent that Kiwis were excelling at eventing – many a night was spent up watching the greats like Todd, Tait and Nicholson winning at the Olympic Games, Badminton Burghley etc. It was very inspirational 

  • As an Olympic eventer, what does a typical training day look like for you and your horses?

Busy! Key to our operation is our team who keep everything ticking over. We have a big team of horses, each of whom need something different when it comes to management , training and competition. During the season we are away most weeks at events, so that all has to be considered with lorries going in all directions, depending on what each horse requires.

 

 

  • How do you prepare physically and mentally for the high-pressure competitions?

I just try to keep myself in good physical shape with a bit of running and stretching. Riding 10+ horses a day goes a long way towards me being physically prepared also. Mentally, nothing beats good old fashioned confidence! I like to put in good preparation with all the horses leading up to a big event, so that at the competition I can relax, enjoy and be confident. This I find is the best way to great performance. 

  • Can you tell us about your most memorable partnership with a horse throughout your career?

It’s probably somewhere between Wesko and Ringwood Sky Boy. I had my first 5* win aboard Wesko which was a real lightbulb moment for me, and highlighted I could actually foot it with the ‘big guys’. Skyboy was such a great horse because he tried very hard every time and actually holds the world record for the amount of 5* completions – 18 completions out of 22 attempts.  

  • What do you enjoy most about participating in events like EQUITANA Melbourne, and what can attendees expect from your presence?

I hear it’s warm out there! I like that. I hope I can give people an insight into the way I do things and the diversity that is eventing in terms of types of horses and getting the very best out of such a range.

  • What’s the quirkiest habit or personality trait of one of your horses that never fails to make you smile?

Their characters – they all have their own personalities and little quirks. Wesko’s ability to convince anyone to give him food is pretty impressive! 

  • If your horses could talk, what would they say about you as a rider?

He’s a good guy 😀

  • What’s your go-to guilty pleasure snack or treat after a long day training or competing?

Coffee – I am all about a good coffee, a couple of beers, good red wine and meat on the bbq 🙂

  • If you could create a themed cross-country course based on any movie or TV show, what would it be and why?  

Drive to Survive – I think there’s a lot of similarities between F1 and XC.

  • What’s the most unusual or unexpected item you always make sure to pack when travelling to competitions? 

Frisbee. On a still evening after everyone’s done it’s surprising who might join in on a bit of frisbee in the truck park!

  • We know you’ve had a number of CCI5* winners, Ascona, Ringwood Skyboy and Wesko and are currently competing Falco, Coup De Coeur Dudevin, Jarillo and Happy Boy. These horses have played a significant role in your career. What makes them memorable or special? 

The one thing they all have in common is athleticism and a desire to give all they have to give. The rest is the rest.  

  • Can you recall a particularly challenging competition or event and the lessons you learned from it? 

(Without wanting to bring the tone down) It has to be when friends are seriously hurt or worse in the sport. It makes me think and reevaluate what it’s all about, why we do this incredible sport when in some extremely rare moments the cost can be so high. Moments like these make me take stock of how much I’m enjoying my sport, think about what horses I am riding and if I’m comfortable riding them – of course an accident can happen on any horse, but it must be better if it’s from a horse you love to ride no? And lastly to remember what an incredible community we have in eventing with so many great people, all looking out for each other. 

  • What measures do you take to ensure your horses’ physical and mental health are balanced during an event season?

 Treat horses as horses is all I can say. Let them go out to the field in groups, expect them to go to work for you for the one hour a day and let them be a horse for the other 23. Obviously feed, nutrition, fitness, good event planning and not trying to win every single competition is also part of it, but ultimately to remember that it’s the riders who possess the drive and ambition.  Understand that they need to be a horse first and the rest second. This will lead to happy healthy horses in my view.

  • What advice do you have for aspiring equestrians looking to succeed in eventing?

There is no fast-track option to come from Australia or New Zealand and into the UK scene. You have to really want it because it is hard going sometimes. It helps if you have some backing but I think the whole process is kind of important too. It makes you think about what you are fighting for and what it does in terms of your ambition, your cause and your robustness. This is a sport that knocks you physically, mentally and financially. You have to come to the UK and be that open friendly face. You have to get yourself established both with the sport and the people that surround the sport – the grooms, owners, officials and volunteers, among others. So much is about relationships and how you look after people – communication with people, how you run your business and how you deliver what you say you are going to deliver with people’s precious horses.

And my favourite quote is from Micheal Jordan – “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

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