Yvette Morrissey caught up with Julie Brougham at her biggest show to date- the World Equestrian Festival at CHIO, Aachen. Julie’s next focus is the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janerio. Here she chats about her performance at CHIO, and why we need to get more New Zealand riders competing on the European circuit.
How did you feel your first test went?
To be honest I was really happy with the test. I thought his piaffe and passage was very good. I was also pleased with his half passes in the trot, and we also got all our changes. The halts cost us some points, and I made a mistake in the canter zig-zag, which was entirely my fault. I felt I was unlucky with the judging- five judges marked me really well, but the other two didn’t mark me so well which pulled my score down. I hoped even with the errors I would get a higher score, around 68-69%. It was great make the cut into the next round and to perform the freestyle which that gave me another chance to improve things.
Were you happier with your second performance?
We showed that Steiny’s power in the passage is improving. His canter pirouettes weren’t as good as usual. I played it safe and probably made them a bit big, but I know next time around they’ll be better. I was at a bit of a disadvantage because I didn’t have anywhere to practice my Grand Prix Kur, so I was winging it.
You did a great job for just winging it!
Steiny was a lot more settled in that test. Our warm up wasn’t so great for the first test because it was raining very hard so we elected to do a very short warm up. Had we ridden during the day when the weather was clear, I think we would have added another 2-3% to our score. Fortunately the weather improved for the second test, so we were in a much better mind-set going into it in spite of being number one to go.
How many competitions have you entered in Europe?
CHIO was my sixth event. There’s nothing quite like competition to make you accountable for your training. Coming from New Zealand the judges in general do not know who you are unless you have been here for a while. Therefore, one of the many reasons for coming to Europe after Horse of the Year was to present myself and Steiny to the judges. Their opinions are important and they are taken into account when we are training.
What have been some of the harder aspects of competing on the European circuit?
Being isolated and not having a car or a truck to take Steiny out. In New Zealand I make use of Tielcey Park quite a bit, but I didn’t know anyone here to ask if I could ride Steiny in their arena. Because Steiny is the type of horse to react
to different environments he does need to be exposed to different atmospheres. I was at a bit of a disadvantage not being a part of a team at CHIO. It would be great to see a New Zealand team here in the near future.
I agree. What do you think needs to be done to make that happen?
The riders have to say ‘I want to go’ and they have to do everything they can to make it happen. Once they do this, that is when people will get behind them. At the end of the day, we have to push our own barrow. Rider’s have got to show they have the drive and determination to do it. Most of the time you’re knocked down and you have to keep getting up again and again.
The next stop for you is Rio. How has Steiny coped with traveling so far?
He is amazing. He is the most phenomenal traveller!
What’s your goal for Rio?
To do a clean test and one that myself and my fellow New Zealanders are proud of. I’m not going to aim for a certain percentage because that’s in the judges hands. Sure I’d love to do a 70 per cent plus test and get into the next round, but I have to look at what I can control which is our preparation to get in that arena.