Strength and Mark Todd
How does strength play a part in eventing?
As a rider you need to have good core strength, which gives you good balance and co-ordination when riding. You also need different types of strength depending on the different disciplines of Eventing. • Dressage: You need to stay very calm and concentrate. You need accuracy in your focus. • Cross Country: You need bravery for this event, as it is such an adrenalin event and taken at speed. You also need a lot of physical strength as it is 10 minutes long. It’s the most demanding on your body. • Show Jumping: You need good mental strength. As eventing is a 3-day event, you need good mental and physical strength to cope with the duration of the event. You need to be physically fit and strong. The horse also needs to be incredibly strong to compete across all of the disciplines.
How do you achieve good mental strength?
It comes quite naturally to me. I’m extremely competitive, but also have a relaxed nature. Preparation is key, and this is what gives me great mental composure – knowing that the work I’ve done has put myself in a strong position. This knowledge gives you confidence. Experience is hugely helpful with having good mental strength.
How do you manage the pressure especially at an Olympic level event?
It’s different for everyone, again experience helps. When you first go to the games you are in awe of the experience. But now having been to several events, the weight of the event no longer has as much of an affect. For some people the sense of occasion can over power performance, other people however thrive in this environment.
How does it feel knowing you are inspiring others?
I got into eventing because it was a passion. I always did it for myself, to prove to I could do it. However, knowing that my success has inspired others is very humbling. I am humbled knowing I can inspire others – and not just horse riders, but New Zealanders in general getting into sport.