Horsemart's exclusive interview with Olympic event rider, Gemma Tattersall
2016 has been a year that most event riders can only dream of, for Gemma Tattersall. From being the highest placed British rider at Badminton Horse Trials, to her Rio selection with Quicklook V. We caught up with Olympic event rider, at her West Sussex base.
You've been riding since a very young age, but what was the moment when you knew you wanted to be a professional event rider?
I was very lucky as I grew up with a very horsey parent. My mother owned a riding school, so as soon as I could walk I was riding. I absolutely loved it and by the time I was 8 had won the Riding Club Junior (U17) Dressage Championship and my first one day event. When I realised it was a career option, I knew it was the only thing that I wanted to do.
It's every professional rider's dream to be selected for the Olympics- where were you when you got the call to say you were on the team?
I was in my lorry almost home from the final selection training. It was pouring with rain, I was with my Mum and we both shed a tear or two! i'd had a superb start to 2016, but it was such a dream come true to get that call. It made all our hard work so worthwhile. It's been a long road to get to this point and to be selected to represent my country was an honour.
What’s the one moment in Rio that will stick with you forever?
That’s a tricky one as I will cherish the whole experience forever. I think one moment which I will never forget is riding into the main arena to do my dressage test. Everything I'd been working for had suddenly arrived. It was a superb moment and I was so proud to be representing Team GB, with the horse I'd produced.
Tell us a bit about your horses, who is your favourite?
I am not really allowed to have a favourite although secretly it is Chico Bella, she is a complete darling and so wonderful to ride. Arctic Soul is the most incredible machine across country, he has so much power and makes it feel so easy. Quicklook has the biggest character and makes us all laugh. I love them all!
Who is your next top ride (any young horses waiting in the wings, for example)?
I am lucky to have a few. Santiago Bay is very exciting and has been successful at 3 star this season. Chilli's Gem and Billy Senora are also showing serious potential and they are both only 7yo- I'm very excited about what the future holds for these two.
What is your secret weapon?
My team – I couldn’t do it without them. I am blessed to work with some amazing people, but especially my Mum. She drives the truck, and sings very loudly and occasionally (but not often!) in tune. She cooks, cleans and washes. She LOVES being mistaken for my sister, which happens an awful lot ( I am not quite so keen when that happens!) She helps with the horses at events and walks courses with me. On top of all that, she runs a livery yard and does breakers for The Billy Stud. She has always been my number one fan, and is my chief advisor, my best friend, and I love her to bits. She is quite frankly a legend!
What does the future hold for Team Tattersall?
The plan is to keep working hard and hopefully continue representing GB at Championships. I'm going to develop my string of horses over winter, in preparation for the 2017 season. I want to win medals, so this will always be in my mind and what the whole team is working towards.