The British showjumping team’s World Equestrian Games results weren’t the ones we hoped for, but we tried our best. It just didn’t work out the way we and our fantastic team manager, Rob Hoekstra, had planned – and sometimes, with horses, that happens.
It was still a fantastic experience for me. I was pinching myself when I got there and I’m still pinching myself to think I’ve competed at a World Games at the age of 21.
Disney (Wonder Why) was fantastic. Nothing can take away the fabulous clear round he gave me on the first day, which was basically a speed competition. If we’d managed to leave up the poles in the team competition, I’d obviously have been even happier!
It was the biggest track we’ve every jumped. I managed to stay calm, though I admit my heart was pounding as I rode into the arena. The other guys on the team were great and though everyone appreciates that you’re the one who knows your own horse, Michael (Whitaker) walked the course with me and was very helpful. It’s incredible to have that kind of support behind you.
A lot of people have asked what would have happened if all my dreams had come true and I’d got through to the final of the individual competition. The format is unique, as the final decider is for the top four riders to each ride each other’s horses as well as their own.
Disney isn’t the easiest ride, though we know each other inside out. He’s always a bit fresh and when I first got him as a youngster, we used to clear the collecting rings! As he’s grown older – he’s now 11 – he’s matured, but he’s still got that spark and sensitivity. I can’t help wondering how he and I would have performed with different partners. Maybe one day I’ll find out!
The biggest disappointment is that Britain hasn’t yet qualified a showjumping team for the 2016 Olympics and at next year’s Europeans, must finish in the top three of those not already qualified. But everyone is determined that there will be a British team in Rio.
This time, it didn’t go our way. For a start, we lost Nick Skelton and Big Star and Ben Maher and Cella.
But for me to be asked to step up to a team place at that level of competition was amazing. Nothing beats representing your country and I hope I’ll get the chance to do it again.