Fly-on-the-wall at GB squad training sessions

Horse Hero is fortunate to have filmed behind the scenes at a number of British squad training sessions. Being a fly-on-the-wall at such privileged gatherings is a real eye-opener into what is takes to be in contention for international team selection and what is expected of both horse and rider. It's also great to know how our top athletes are supported. We filmed a variety of disciplines including dressage and eventing at World Class training sessions, the 2* team championships (eventing) team, para dressage squad training (which was moving to say the least) and the pre-WEG endurance training camp! Videos include a mix of interviews and ridden sessions, plus feedback from selectors and trainers. You'll find plenty here to inspire you, whatever your chosen horse sport!

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Fly-on-the wall at 'World Class Squad' dressage training
Unique footage of World Class Squad dressage training (supported by UK Sport & Lottery) starts with Amy Stovold and MacBrian riding their Inter I under the scrunity of Francis Verbeek. After 5 years of trying, Amy's finally on the squad! She talks about MacBrian's 'hot brain' and Emile Faurie's advice. We meet 'strength and conditioning' coach Carys Jackson to find out what she does. Then team vet and horse physio' John McEwen and Vicky Spalding, talk about the squad's holistic approach. Finally, we see Anne-Marie Perry and the fabulous Aristo working in with Emile before her test. Certainly a combination for the future! Presented by Fiona Price.

More insight into 'World Class Squad' dressage
Team physio' Andy Thomas talks to Fiona Price about how he and the other squad professionals help athletes to get in touch with their physical weaknesses and imbalances, and then fix them. "All riders have weaknesses, it's just that the top guys are better at masking them", he says! Andy also explains the particular challenges men and women face as regards their 'conformation' and performance and how human problems are detrimental to horses! Caroline Griffiths, co-ordinator for dressage, talks about the aims of lottery funded 'World Class' and we watch Nicky Crisp ride an Inter' I on Pasoa, for judge Francis Verbeek.

Gemma Green & Showtime at 'World Class Squad' training
A privileged insight into UK Sport & Lottery funded World Class training with Gemma Green and Showtime. Gemma works the fabulous, loose-moving Showtime before performing her Inter II test under the scrutiny of Olympic judge Francis Verbeek and squad trainer Nick Burton. Poor Gemma has been unwell and is suffering slightly. As a result, she manages to miscount the tempi changes! Though still learning the three P's (Piaffe, Passage and Pirouettes) Showtime demonstrates why he and Gemma have been marked as stars for the future. Gemma talks to Horse Hero's Fiona Price about the World Class experience '09.

Privileged insight into eventers' World Class Squad Training

This is a privileged insight into World Class Squad training for prospective senior GB eventing team members. Working on the show jumping phase, trainers Gill Watson (past Burghley winner) and Peter Murphy talk to Fiona Price about the session and what it is designed to do. Fiona then speaks to precocious Young Rider Georgie Spence who has already completed Badminton and Burghley 5 times and 'golden girl' Laura Collett, who has won 5 European Champs' gold medals at juniors and Young Riders. We watch them jump their rounds and find out from Peter Murphy what they need to work on before the start of the coming season.


More eventers' World Class Squad training

European Champs' Young Rider gold medallist Emily Llewellyn talks to Fiona Price. Emily, who was best first timer at Badminton '09, talks about her ambition and her main challenge in moving up to seniors. She jumps a round on Pardon Me under the watchful eye of trainer Peter Murphy and Fiona asks Peter about the differences in style between Emily and Laura Collett (fellow European Champs' gold medallist featured in the previous video). Tim Rogers, the youngest member of the World Class Squad, who has recently moved up from ponies, talks to Fiona about training with the Funnells and his plans for Badminton.


The mighty Lee Pearson, Para hero!

Lee is completely awesome. Ranked number one in the world, he has won 21 gold medals at Championships since the Sydney Olympics and has been honoured many times including an MBE. Lee tells Fiona Price in '09 about his philosophy on producing horses, his main challenge and why he's so effective in the saddle. Lee has produced a horse to Grand Prix and won in Prix St Georges at the National Champs', the only para rider to have ever done this. We find out how Lee prepares mentally at big events and why his current star Gentleman is a real 'girl'. Lee tells us about his new horse Zeon, his penchant for fast cars and his recent engagement!


European Para Champion, Sophie Wells & Noki

Horse Hero meet Sophie at Para Squad training before the European Champs' '09. We observe her warm up with trainer Angela, and watch Sophie ride a medium test in front of an international para judge, who offers feedback afterwards. Sophie talks to Fiona Price about her extraordinary year so far, the challenges of riding the enormous Noki and why she competes in able-bodied dressage where she is successful up to Prix St Georges, and the first para rider to be on an able-bodied young rider squad. Sophie also talks about her aspirations for the European Champs'. She goes on to excel herself a few weeks later, taking triple gold!


Para superstar Sophie Christiansen, at Squad Training
Sophie Christiansen is an amazing athlete. Cerebral Palsy makes it difficult for her to control her muscles and it affects her speech but she is fiercely competitive. Before riding, Sophie competed in wheelchair half marathons. As a member of the GB Para squad, she's been a prolific medal winner at two Olympics and numerous Championships. Sophie is studying maths at university so she "can get a decent job" she tells Fiona Price. In 2009 (age 21) Sophie was awarded an MBE. We watch Sophie's test and feedback, and find out about the challenges of competing in walk. Sophie entertains Fiona and Lambrusco in her interview afterwards ('09).

Para gold medallist Simon Laurens, at squad training
Simon won double gold medals at the World Champs '07 and team gold at the Olympics '08 with Ocean Diamond (Derek). Derek is his main man, he says, and riding him is like putting on a comfortable pair of Jimmy Choo's! Fiona Price meets Simon at squad training before the European Champs' '09, where he and Derek won a further team gold and two individual bronze medals. Simon started as an able bodied show-jumper. He became interested in dressage when working for Gemma Green. He talks about dealing with MS and falling victim to the financial slump! We watch Simon warm up, do his test and listen to the feedback.

Endurance Squad Training WEG 2010: Part 1
A privileged insight into the final GB squad training prior to WEG 2010. The day begins with vet, farrier and physio' examining the horses. Flat work follows, which may seem odd, but balance and self-carriage are recognised as a performance edge in the sport! The squad heads off to the gallops to put horses and crews through their paces, and simulate vet gates that punctuate a 100 mile race. Fiona Price meets the support team, and squad member Chris Yeoman tells her about horse fitness. Team mate Ros Clap, who remarkably had a baby a few weeks ago, talks about her return to fitness. Find out what this extreme sport takes!

Endurance Squad Training WEG 2010: Part 2
In Part 2, chef d'equipe Liz Finney provides a insight into the vetting and care of the horses during the 100 mile race. We also meet the rest of the team. Janice Cockley-Adams, who has made a speedy recovery since breaking her collar bone 6 weeks before final training, tells Fiona Price how she combines a high powered job with riding. David Yeoman has enjoyed meteoric success, making the squad in just 5 years since taking up the sport; he talks about his big-hearted English Arab, Haszar and the logistics of getting him to WEG. Beccy Broughton-Booker explains endurance psychology and tells Java's story. So, can they bring home a medal?

2* Champs' team dressage training with Richard Waygood
What an unusual eventing competition! Designed for a team of six there are two dressage tests (in addition to the jumping), an individual one and a team test in which all six riders perform together. This is the penultimate training session before the '09 Championships for which the riders will earn a GB flag. The team test requires synchronised moves. Richard analyses the test they performed at Windsor Horse Show, then he prepares the squad for a run-through in training. Boy is it difficult! Richard provides a fascinating commentary, explaining what mark he would award for each movement and why, throughout the test.

2* Champs' team gets a show jumping grilling!
Trainer Richard Waygood and assistant Jonathan Chapman (also a team member) put the Squad through their show jumping paces and they're not taking any hostages! The course is tricky, twisty and testing encouraging gymnastic jumping from the horses and quick thinking from the riders. Richard explains how to ride a related distance perfectly and Jonathan insists horses are allowed to do their job. Fiona Price finds out about Jonathan's horrific accident and the development of the 2* squad over the last few years. She also interviews Jodie Amos about her extraordinary horse Altairs Luck who doesn't just stand out for his jumping ('09)!

2* Champs' team learns competition essentials

After training in the team dressage test and show jumping phases of the Two Star Championships eventing competition, the squad are given invaluable advice on competition etiquette including how to make the most of the trot up and the art of 'aggressive cooling'. Chef d'Equipe Richard Waygood presents current research on cooling techniques which dispels a few myths! He also predicts where most accidents will happen at the '09 event and it's not where you'd think! Team member and co-trainer Jonathan Chapman presides over the mock trot up and vet Roz Jennings explains the essentials of hydration to Fiona Price. All fascinating!

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