Sunday 1st of August 2021
Rose Hugh Smith

Rose Hugh Smith: Future Star Part 6

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A lot has happened since my last blog in March! I’m sorry I have kept you out the loop for so long but it has been a hectic few months especially due to my first year of A level exams! Not only this but Flo and I have been strutting our stuff both at home and abroad. Now the next problem is… where to start?

Lets start with something exciting; such as Excel training! It may not sound all that excitable but through this programme I have gained access to some of the most experienced and talented people (not only in the dressage world but the sporting world as well). This time around the main focus was placed on the training and fitness of both horse and rider. Flo was an absolute superstar and gave all he could be being trained by Gareth Hughes, as he is progressing we have decided to move him up to PSG meaning we focused mainly on canter traver and engagement to make sure he was sitting enough behind and was ready to start canter pirouettes. Next on the list for me was the nutritionist and physio, both were very helpful and gave me a lot of homework to improve my stability and diet! (Boarding school doesn’t offer itself to a very healthy lifestyle :p) It was clear to see my previous hard work paid off, as the personal trainer was very pleased with my strength and flexibility.

A quick few days pit stop before we headed off to Talland for a GB Squad day. I had a fabulous training session with David Hunt (the team trainer) Flo was soon doing four and three time changes and I am pleased to announce that the selectors were very pleased with how much his canter had improved. Every outing on Flo is truly an enjoyable experience as he gives his all with everything I ask of him. Due to the fact I was heading to the Nationals the next day we decided to stay the night and I had a very fun dinner with Tom, Olivia and Pippa!

This was my third Nationals in a row for Flo and all fingers were crossed after our regional win at Addington. The wonderful David Trott helped me work in for the test and despite some mistakes we managed a solid test to place 6th in a very hot class! I was thrilled with Flo as I’m sad to say that the mistakes were the jockeys fault… however we did get highest owner/rider. So all in all it was a fab few days jumping from juniors to Nationals, suffice to say that Flo got many carrots after we arrived home as he was an absolute angle throughout and took everything we threw at him.

Following on from the Nationals Flo had a few days off and both my boys had a visit from Christine Hopley our Physio who comes every month to keep them in tip top condition. Because Flo has been working so hard and we had an International coming up l attended AASE on foot which was a great chance to watch the training and then test judge along side Nick Burton one of the mentors on AASE and an International judge.

After a calm, enjoyable AASE without a horse we loaded up the lorry and headed to Keysoe CDI. Unfortunately Keysoe started off slowly to say the least, Flo was uncharacteristically tense and we made one too many mistakes in our team test, however despite that we still managed a respectable 8th place. We defiantly redeemed ourselves by halving our places every day finishing 4th in the Individual (with a new personal best) and 2nd in the kur with over 70%! It was altogether a fantastic experience with some amazing people and both Flo and l learnt a lot. Easter was very hectic but incredibly fun, I was reluctant to swap saddles for books but I think Heathfield wanted me back to study for my exams!

I was ecstatic to receive the news that Flo and I were in the CDIO Nations cup team in Saumur! Every milestone with this horse is such an amazing experience as I trained him myself and we have an incredibly strong bond; it is an indescribable feeling to be told that you are in the team alongside the best partner a girl could have.  

Saumur is one of my favourite shows and l have been lucky enough to compete there for four years running! Firstly on the wonderful pony Wisch then on the fantastic Flo. Last year it was like riding in a constant monsoon as the weather showed no sign of calming down. This meant that everyone and everything was covered in sand and drenched to the core… which believe me is not how you want to spend a whole week! Luckily enough the sun was shining and Flo was an absolute superstar throughout. We managed a personal best in the team test and Team GB put in a strong performance to finish 4th in the Nations cup.

After Saumur it was straight back to school for more revision and exams. It is tough trying to balance school and riding and l’m often beyond tired but l have such a huge support team behind me and due to my very competitive nature l always strive to do my best.

As l write this l have two more exams to go then the final selection trial for the Junior European team. Flo and l have been long listed so keeping my fingers crossed for a good performance at Wellington.

I am so ecstatic to add on the fact that Flo and I have made the short list for the Junior European team in Valencia, Spain! I am so incredibly proud of this horse and how we have grown together. It is such an honour to be able to ride him, he really gives his heart every time we enter the ring! Such a special boy.

Until next time,

Rose X

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