Stephanie DeWitt chats with Gemma Tattersall
By Stephanie DeWitt Photos by julian Portch
Now that Badminton has been cancelled, what are your thoughts on the Olympics in Japan going ahead?
I honestly don't know. It's a very difficult decision to have to make. Japan has already put in a lot of money preparing the venues. It would be a seriously big deal to cancel the Games at this late stage. It would have to be the right thing to do. Athletes from all disciplines are currently struggling to keep up their training programmes. At the moment we have to keep on working on the little things, to try and turn things into a positive and just do that.
Which horses had you planned to run at Badminton?
Arctic Soul, my main man, and Santiago Bay. I was aiming to have Santiago Bay selected to compete at the Olympics. She's a 12 year-old 16.1hh bay Irish Sport Horse. She's in her prime, has won twice at 4* and finished 7th at Burghley last year.
What have you been doing in preparation for the Olympics?
Up till now my main focus has been on Badminton to try and get my best possible result to back up the Burghley result. My ultimate goal, of course, is to be selected for the Olympics.
How do you keep fitness levels and training up?
For the next 8 - 10 weeks I will concentrate on fitness, both for myself and my horses. I've got an amazing, huge back-up team and my own personal programme to follow. Ian Woodhead has been helping with dressage, Chris Bartle and Richard Waygood with the jumping.
Now that all riders are on lockdown, what are you doing at home?
I had been using this spare time to give lessons, but that has had to stop. So now I'm catching up on all the stuff I never get around to doing - tidying the yard, painting poles, housework, gardening....!
I've backed off the horses a bit, just keeping them ticking over. I only work them four or five days a week instead of six.
How many horses do you have in work at the moment?
I have twenty-six at present, ranging from 4 year-olds just starting out up to my Olympic level horses, with six girl grooms to help me. Some of the horses are eventers, some just jump.
What advice would you give to other riders during this strange period?
Catch up on your homework! Use the time to train yourself and your horse/pony at home. Try to improve yourself, turn this into something positive.
You can also follow me on Facebook and watch my training videos. I know Laura Collett is doing something similar.
If you could take yourself away, where in the world would you go to?
A month in the Maldives would be wonderful! Or Hamilton Island in Australia - we've already been there and it's fabulous!