To say that I’ve had an amazing week is an understatement. First, my top horse, Wonder Why, gave me my first Nations Cup double clear as part of the British team in Dublin.
I felt like I was on top of the world – so you can imagine my reaction when I got a phone call to tell me that I’d also been selected for the World Equestrian Games. Next month (September) we’ll be off to Normandy, alongside Scott Brash, Joe Clee, Ben Maher and Michael Whitaker.
I’ve got the reputation of being so laid back I’m horizontal, but the pressure is definitely on. It started when Ben (Maher) had an unlucky fence down in the first round, which meant I had to jump clear.
When the same thing happened in the second round, the pressure was even greater. But Disney, as we call Wonder Why at home, was a star and chose just the right time to shine.
I’ve always believed that he had what it takes to reach the top, even when he was a handful as a youngster. He had so much talent, but he also had so much attitude. In the beginning, I had to ride him twice a day.
He’ll never be easy, but horses who are really special never are. Talent often comes with a bit of attitude and as a rider, you have to get to know your horse and learn how to get him on your side. It isn’t a case of telling him what I want him to do, more of persuading him that it was his idea in the first place!
Until now, the only thing he’s lacked has been consistency. Now – and I’ve got my fingers crossed as I write this – he’s found it. In fact, everything’s coming together brilliantly. I’ve got high hopes for Ballando II and Chaccomo Agostini – both eight-year-olds, which makes them youngsters in competition terms – who are jumping clears and looking great.
So many people have helped us get this far: my family; Andrew Saywell and William Funnell, who gave me jobs at the start of my career and taught me so much; the trainers and experts on the World Class development programme and team manager Rob Hoekstra.
If someone had told me at the beginning of my career that this would happen, I wouldn’t have believed it. I’m still pinching myself, but I promise we’ll do our best.