PONY asked top eventer Piggy French some questions about her life with horses.
Q: Who was your first pony?
A: He was a 12.2hh called Sunny who was grey and fluffy! He was also known as Bunions! We did all Pony Club activities together. He was in our famiy for about six years.
Q: When did you first wear the Union Jack in competiton, and what was it like?
A: In 2001 at the Young Rider Europeans – it was a very proud moment!
Q: What has been your biggest disappointment or mistake?
A: Missing out on the London 2012 Olympics was a big disappointment – I’m not sure I’ve got over it even now!
Q: Of all the horses you’ve ridden, who are you most proud of and why?
A: Jakata. We bought him as a nice horse but never expected him to be as good as he was.
Q: What is the best piece of horsey advice you’ve ever received?
A: “Sit down on your bum and make it happen!”
Q: What phase at a three day event do you find most difficult, or like the least?
A: I don’t mind any phase, so it would depend on the horse I’m riding.
Q: How do you prepare mentally before riding a tough cross-country track?
A: I like to watch a rider I respect go round if I have the chance, but ultimately if you don’t have confidence in yourself and your horse you shouldn’t be there.
Q: If you weren’t an eventer, what other career would you have had?
A: No idea. I can’t do anything apart from horses!
Q: What makes a good event horse?
A: You need a light, balanced and athletic horse to make a good eventer. However, their brain is the most important thing because they don’t need to be fantastically talented in any one phase to excel in eventing, but they must be trainable.
Q: The saying goes ‘a good horse is never a bad colour’, but if you could pick any colour horse, which would it be?
A: I’m boring and like a good plain bay.