Rider 1: Alyson Parker, Essex
Alyson Parker from Essex will be competing her own 14 year old, bay gelding, JJ Malone in the BE100 competition. The pair qualified at British Eventing’s Firle Place International in August last year after a successful season competing.
“JJ Malone (Joe) is a horse of a lifetime, he is very honest and consistent and I really enjoy riding him. I have owned him since he was four years old so I know him inside out,” commented Alyson.
At 58 years old, Alyson, who is book keeper for her husband’s business, has competed in the Mitsubishi Motors Cup several times and finished in the top 20 in last year’s BE100 competition out of over 80 riders.
“I am very lucky to have Joe at home with me, along with my other horses. My family is very supportive and my son Steven and his girlfriend Emma will be coming with me to Badminton in May. Cross country is my favourite phase; we also compete at Advanced Medium level dressage so Joe is very consistent in his dressage as he moves well.”
Joe and Alyson had a fantastic start to their season with a third at Isleham BE100 and they have just won the BE100 at Poplar Park.
Do you have a secret superstition before a competition?
I always say I’m not superstitious because then it feels like you lose control of things a bit but actually I do have little things and one of them is quite funny. I always plait the night before a competition and put a hood on the horse to prevent too many wood chips in the plaits.
There are usually one or two at the top by the morning. So when I get on at an event before dressage if I see a wood chip that I hadn’t seen from the ground (Joe’s 17.1 remember) the less time it takes me to flick it out the better my dressage score will be. Completely non-sensical and random but I always think it… ha ha!
What do you never leave home without?
Apart from the obvious horse, tack etc … I never leave for an event without a copious amount of fruit and supplies to eat on the journey. I’m on a never ending diet so have boxes of grapes, chopped apples etc.
Which is your favourite discipline?
I love all three disciplines and they all have their challenges, my favourite probably has to be cross country because there is nothing better than riding a horse who is enjoying it as much as you and the feeling of speed, suppleness and agility at the questions on course and to come through the finish before my watch starts counting up again!
Who inspires you?
I’m quite inspired by my friend Claire Fielding from Stansted who produces eventers of all shapes and sizes for a living. She rides more than twice the number of horses a day than me (I have four) and has worked so hard at developing her style and is brilliant with young and difficult horses.
She’s very good at fitting it all in to her day and I’ve copied that mantra so that all mine get done to the best I can every day. If I ever think I can’t be bothered I remember how many Claire has to ride and get on with it.