In the world of equestrian sports, every rider’s journey is unique, shaped by experiences, mentors, and a profound connection with their equine partners. To kick off our first Rider Of The Month segment we interview Kirsty Brimacombe.
In this blog, we delve into Kirsty’s unwavering commitment to the well-being of her horses and the incredible journey she has embarked upon in her riding career. Join us as we explore Kirsty’s dedication to her equine companions and the remarkable experiences that have shaped her journey.
1. What inspired you to pursue this Show Jumping as a discipline?
I was initially drawn to horses through my first pony, who was a versatile all-rounder. However, my journey into show jumping was guided by my first coach, who specialized in this discipline. Over time, I found myself naturally gravitating towards the thrill and precision of show jumping, ultimately solidifying my passion for the sport.
2. Can you share a memorable moment or achievement in your show jumping career that stands out to you?
One of the most memorable moments in my show jumping journey took place at Stokkiesdraai during a particularly demanding round. The course presented formidable obstacles, including a wall that tested our skills. Despite my initial apprehension, my horse, Avatar, displayed remarkable confidence and eagerness. Together, we navigated the course with synchronicity that made the experience truly unforgettable.
3. What qualities do you look for in a successful show jumping horse, and how do you develop a strong partnership?
When it comes to choosing a successful show jumping horse, I’ve found that each of my horses has brought unique qualities to the table, ranging from calm and composed to spirited and unpredictable. Personally, I’m drawn to horses with expressive personalities, ones that openly display their emotions without hesitation. In terms of building a strong partnership, I believe it’s about spending meaningful time together and genuinely understanding your horse. By investing in this relationship, you learn how they respond to different situations, what motivates them, and how to bring out their best performance. It’s a journey of mutual trust and understanding, where both horse and rider learn and grow together.
4. How do you prepare both mentally and physically before a competition, and do you have any specific rituals or routines?
I don’t have any set rituals before a competition. I walk the course with my coach, Ian, to get some helpful tips. Then, I focus on giving my horse a good warm-up before we start.
5. In the fast-paced environment of show jumping, how do you handle pressure and stay focused in the ring?
In the fast-paced world of showjumping, I stay focused by reminding myself why I show jump in the first place because I enjoy the feeling and love the connection that we form with the horse. I try not to stress my horse out and remember there will always be another chance and another show if things don’t go perfectly. My dad always said to me before my round is to go into the ring, try my best and have fun and anything else is a bonus. That mindset helps me handle the pressure and stay focused in the ring.
6. What advice would you give to aspiring show jumping riders who are looking to excel in the sport?
Are there specific training techniques or exercises that you find particularly effective in improving your performance as a show jumper? In my training regimen, I prioritize keeping my horses engaged and happy. This means incorporating a variety of activities, including track work and flatwork sessions to maintain their fitness and agility. Once a week, we focus on jumping with my coach Ian, whether it's practicing specific exercises or navigating full courses. Additionally, I make sure to have hack days to allow my horses to unwind, stretch their legs, and enjoy a change of scenery. And of course, I ensure they have a well-deserved off day. By offering a balanced mix of training exercises and downtime, I aim to keep my horses physically and mentally happy and comfortable.
7. What advice would you give to aspiring show jumping riders who are looking to excel in the sport?
My advice to aspiring show jumping riders is to find their source of motivation. While there will be exhilarating highs, there will also be challenging lows. It’s during these tough moments that your motivation becomes crucial. For me, it’s the love I have for my horses that keeps me going. So, find what truly inspires and drives you, and let that passion propel you forward, even when the going gets tough.
8. Who is the rider you admire the most and look up to?
The rider I admire the most is my late coach, Ronnie Lawrence. He was incredibly calm and skilled, and watching him ride was truly inspiring. He gave me so much confidence, and I learned a lot from him. The strongest of horses seemed to just melt become butter in his hands and he seemed to just know exactly what the horse was thinking and what the horse was about to do.
9. How do you approach course analysis, and what factors do you consider when strategising your ride in a competition?
When analyzing a course, my coach and I consider both my horse’s abilities and my own, identifying our strengths and weaknesses to plan our approach. I also factor in the course’s time limit, length, and complexities to strategize the most effective lines and approaches for a successful ride.
10. As a show jumper, how do you balance the competitive nature of the sport with the well-being and care of your horses?
I prioritize the well-being of my horses above all else, ensuring their care comes before any competition. I firmly believe there will always be another opportunity to compete, but the health and happiness of my horses are paramount and non-negotiable.
11. What is your favourite Equine Culture product?
My favorite Equine Culture product has to be the Kintex breeches. They’re not only incredibly comfortable and lightweight but also come in a fantastic array of colors, adding a touch of style to my riding wardrobe.
We like to thank Kirsty for taking the time to be part of this segment. To follow her jouney see the list below-