Event rider and freelance journalist Arabella Clegg chats with Zimbabwean eventer Camilla Kruger to find out how this years event season has been.
1. How has your event season been?
“It hasn’t gone quite to plan, with my top horse Sam being off with injury since stumbling on the cross country at Luhmulen. Although the young horses have had their time instead, we’ve had fun and they have showed promise, which is exciting for next year”.
2. How do you keep your horses fit and healthy to compete?
“A lot of turn out, it’s very important they graze plenty. I’m a very chilled rider, so I like to keep my horses that way too. I don’t like to rush them, if they need time off they get it frequently. As well as time, the young horses won’t compete properly until they are six, as four and five year olds they will just be educated. The horses feeding regime is important, I always used to be very anxious about the hay I was getting from farmers, if it was too dry and dusty. Since using the haygain steamers I don’t have to worry about the hay anywhere near as much as I know it will get soaked for every feed. As well as when we are abroad if we have to use different hay I am happy to do so as we take the portable steamer with us.
It’s part of our daily routine, when we are mucking out at each end of the day the steamer is going”.
3. Your favourite event of calendar year?
“I love competing on the continent, there always relaxed. In particular Luhmulen is one that stands out. In the UK it would be South of England, it’s local to me and so well run”.
4. What has been your biggest challenge in the last year?
“This year is has been psychological. Something I have never struggled with before. This has stemmed since riding at the Rio Olympics, although this was a lifelong ambition it has put me right at the fore front of the public eye and I feel I have more to prove since. It’s been hard to overcome and I’ve had some not so great runs due to nerves. I’m working on ways to overcome this and looking forward to gaining the qualification for the World Games”.
5. What got you in to Eventing?
“I have been in England for twenty years and it wasn’t long after we got here that I fell for eventing through the cross country phase. You aren’t a professional cross country rider, it takes years of practice and ups and downs, and you never stop learning, but I love the sport. The British eventing community is so welcoming and helpful which makes it very positive. We had ex racehorses on the farm at home when I was younger, so horses have always been a passion of mine”.
6. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
“My moto in life is, ‘I can and I will, watch me’, I’ve lived by this as for years it always felt like people were looking at me thinking who are you and what are you going to achieve in this sport. I’ve always had a goal, and a dream to ride at the Olympics, so I feel if you set your heart on something and focus hard enough you can do it”.
7. How do you keep yourself fit as rider?
“I’m hands on on the yard, so I muck out and then ride daily. In the evenings I will go for a run”.
8. Do you have time for anything else?
“I have moved yards in the last year and downsized to just five horses, this has given me a lot more time for myself. I found myself exhausted at the end of every day and without time for anything else. This has given me more of a work life balance this way and therefore I can ‘have a life’ which is so important. I socialise outside of horses, spending time on my partners’ farm, teaching and having down time.
9. What is top of your Christmas list?
“I’d love to have a horse at two star level, it would fill the gap I currently have and take the pressure off my top horse”.
To follow Camilla's progress like her Facebook page.
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