Unlikely Eventer Shares Top 5 Tips from Tina Cook

Hannah and Sid

Hannah Craft and her trusty steed Sid are on a mission to make it in the world of eventing.   Hannah shares the honest and often hilarious thrills and spills of their Big Adventure! 

This time, Hannah shares the tales of her pre-season lesson with British Olympic eventer Tina Cook and distills it into 5 top tips, nay pearls of wisdom, that every wannabe eventer would do well to remember!


British three-day eventing rider. She is the 2008 Olympic individual bronze medallist and 2009 European Champion. A three-time Olympic medallist, she won individual and team bronze in 2008 and team silver in 2012.


I felt the same way about my upcoming lesson with Olympian and international eventer Tina Cook as I imagine a wannabe chef feels about a cookery course with Gordon Ramsey – that is to say, I was TERRIFIED!!
However she was, of course, superamazingfantastic and had so many great tips that it was hard choosing only 5 to write about! I have picked the best of the bunch to share with you guys…you’re very welcome!
1. Your shoulders MUST stay back at all times. As Tina explained, you may well be coming up to an inviting roll-top in a beautiful canter and your horse could be very experienced, comfortable at the height and relaxed on course, but all it takes is for a fence judge to slam a car door or a dog to bark and your horse could suddenly decide that it’s not, after all, quite so sure about the obstacle it is heading towards at speed. If your horse hesitates and your shoulders are tipping forward, guess what…..you are heading for an unscheduled crash landing.
2. Turn with an open rein rather than pulling back. This allows your horse to travel forwards and round the turn rather than creating tension in their neck and interfering with their balance and rhythm. I guess it’s pretty logical – although it does mean you need to plan your turns early!! I sailed past a jump a few times practising this! All you need to do is take either your left or right hand and move it away from your horse’s neck and towards your horse’s ears rather than pulling backwards towards your body to turn. Simples!
3. Never disrespect a skinny fence. It can be very expensive if you fail to set your horse up properly and at the last-minute they sneak out of the side door: that’s 20 penalties to add to your score. Skinny fences never seem as daunting as the big, bold, wide tables and brush fences but you really do need to harness and channel the energy into a very accurate line.
4. There should be a real difference between your “round the course gallop” and your “coming into a fence canter”. Tina told us that it’s not so much about ruining the rhythm but about changing seamlessly from open and relaxed to closed and active – your horse should be listening and looking for the obstacle and not rushing or fighting the reins.
5. And finally, don’t fall off. At least, that’s what Tina told me as I dusted the mud off my breeches and ran to get back onto my horse after we had both taken too close a look at the ditch underneath the trakhener. Oops!
Keep an eye out for our first event report – less than 3 weeks to go!
In the meantime, I have some exciting news! Forelock and Fringe Equestrian, the newest subscription box filled with treats for both your horse and you, has chosen Sid and I to be their brand ambassadors. We are so grateful for such an amazing opportunity. To find out more about Forelock and Fringe, click [here].

Click here to read the rest of their adventures! You can also follow Hannah and Sid on social media at :

Instagram: @hannahcraft2711 or @sidgoeseventing
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hannah.stiles.58

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