Ten minutes in the tack room with… Alex Hua Tian

Bolesworth International is playing host to the Ride-away Express Eventing Challenge on Friday 19 June. We have been catching up with the riders who will be taking part.

Keep checking the blog or follow us on Twitter @Rideawayonline for more updates on this year’s Express Eventers!

Next up, Alex Hua Tian:

1. How old were you when you started riding, who introduced you to riding and which was the horse?
I had a very typical upbringing with horses but just the other side of the world, in China. My mum’s British and grew up with horses herself and so had horses in Beijing when she and my dad lived there when I was born. I learnt to ride at one of the first modern riding schools in the outskirts of Beijing ran by the then national champion showjumper, Hadatie. When I was seven we moved to Hong Kong and I became a very active member of the Hong Kong Pony Club!

2. Which other equestrian discipline do you most like to watch?
Sarah, my girlfriend, is a dressage rider and so I enjoy watching her. We had the good fortune to have been invited to the freestyle at WEG last year and to Olympia a few times which were pretty extraordinary to watch live. I particularly enjoy watching the big international jumping on H&C TV (which Sarah doesn’t!).

3. How do you choose the music for your Express Eventing performances?
The music I use has been the same since my first EE in 2008. I really wanted something that had a strong and recognisable Chinese identity. The music is a mixture of famous and traditional Chinese folk and Chinese film music from Hero.

4. Do you think horses enjoy music? How can you tell?
I think it definitely has an influence on them and certainly adds to the atmosphere of a competition or performance. Some horses enjoy and thrive on the atmosphere, others don’t!

5. Which of your horses is your current favourite and why?
I don’t have a favourite but my current top horses are Don Geniro, who will be competing at EE at Bolesworth, and Harbour Pilot C who is busy concentrating on qualification for next year’s Olympics.

6. Do you reward your horses for a good performance and, if so, how?
They get a big pat and a fuss at the time so that they know that I am particularly happy and pleased. At the end of the season they get a well-deserved and relaxing holiday (which they get whether or not they have been good)!

7. What has been the highlight of your career to date and why?
The highlight was probably the Beijing Olympics as the horses, funding, press, PR attention and the experience of the whole process is why I am here.

However I am most proud of my results last year completing an unbelievably tough WEG on Harbour Pilot C, super results with Don Geniro at 7yo national and world championships and most importantly individual silver medal at the Asian Games with Temujin.

8. What was your favourite subject at school and why?
I was quite good at sciences and maths and too lazy for any of the arts/essay subjects!

9. If you weren’t a professional rider what would you like to do?
F1 driver!

10. What would you most like to win that you haven’t already?

11. Where would you go and what would you do for your perfect weekend?

12. Name a young rider and/or horse to watch for in the future. What makes them special?
Ecroyd (18) was based at Pinfold Stables with Sarah, and Darcey Wilkinson (14) who is currently based with us now. With complete combinations of extraordinary talent, cool and composed temperaments, dedication, horses and support from their parents, I cannot see anyone with as much chance of success, for as long as they want to do it!

13. Which horse would you most like to have had the opportunity to compete on and why?
I first saw Elaine Pen and Vira at a 3* at Dos Hermanos in Spain in 2012. I have not seen an event horse that moves like a dressage horse, jumps like a showjumper and still makes the time on XC quite like her! A real superstar and an integral part of the Dutch bronze team medal at WEG last year.

14. Do you have any pets at home? If so, what?
We have Bodger, a pedigree mongrel, who is unashamedly the apple of Sarah and my eye!

15. Do you have any lucky charms or superstitions? If so what?
My superstition is to have no superstitions!

16. What’s your favourite city in the world and why?
Beijing, London and Hong Kong because they are all so different!

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