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Read our exclusive Q & A with our top riders as they prepare for the World Equestrian Games

We are very proud to have a truly international line up of sponsored riders competing at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy – 10 riders representing 5 nations all using Equilibrium products.

William Fox-Pitt GB EventingTina Cook GB EventingSam Griffiths AUS EventingShane Rose AUS EventingJock Paget NZ EventingBuck Davidson USA Eventing Kim Severson USA EventingHawley Bennett CAN Eventing

Sophie Christiansen GB ParadressageRicky Balshaw GB Paradressage

For some it’s their first time representing their country at the games, for other veterans of the sport such as William Fox – Pitt and Kim Severson it’s their fourth time. We had the opportunity to quiz the riders in the build up to WEG about what is their most precious item, who they find most influential and who they would steal from another to company to compete on their team if they could!

Read on to find out who always listens to their wife, who is most looking forward to seeing the sites in France and how many riders would steal Michael Jung from Germany if they had the chance.

The Questions

  1. Is this your first time to compete at the World Equestrian Games? How many times have you previously competed at WEG?

William Fox – Pitt – This year will be my 4th time representing Great Britain at WEG. I have been lucky enough to compete in 2010 in Kentucky, 2006 in Aachen and 2002 in Jerez.

Sam Griffiths – This is the second time I have been lucky enough to compete at the World Equestrian Games. The first time was in 2010 in Kentucky, USA.

Shane Rose – This will be my third World Equestrian Games, I competed for Australia at the 1998 Rome Games and the 2006 Aachen Games.

Jock Paget – No this is my 2nd WEG, my first was in 2010 in Kentucky.

Buck Davidson – No this is not my first time competing at WEG. I have competed in one WEG in Kentucky.

Kim Severson – No,this is my 4th time at WEG, I competed in 2010 in Kentucky, in 2006 in Aaachen and 2002 in Jerez

Hawley Bennett-Awad – I was lucky enough to compete at the 2010 WEG in Kentucky!!!!!

Sophie Christiansen – I also competed at WEG in Kentucky in 2010, where I won 2 golds and a silver. My dad comes from Michigan so some of my American family who had never even seen me ride before came to watch.

Ricky Balshaw – This is my second time to compete at the World Equestrian Games. The first time was in Kentucky in 2010 which was actually the first year that the Para Dressage was included in the competition.

  1. Who would be the most influential person in helping you prepare yourself and your horses in the run up to the games?

William Fox – Pitt – Jackie Potts, my head groom who has now been with me for 20 years.

Sam Griffiths – That’s a tricky one because there is a whole team behind me. My wife Lucy is a huge support and so is my head girl and travelling groom, Imogen Mercer. The Equestrian Federation of Australia (EFA) head coach Prue Barrett is a big influence as well as Gareth Hughes our team dressage trainer.

Shane Rose – There is not one person but a whole team of support personnel, I am fortunate to be supported by a great group of coaches, managers, vets, sponsors, owners, family and friends. Equestrian Australia provides support in many areas that assist in the preparation for these games.

Jock Paget – Erik Duvander, our high performance director for Team New Zealand

Buck Davidson – Carl and Cassie Segal, without them there would be no Reggie. They have been the best friends/owners anyone could ask for.

Kim Severson – Being that I have experience going to WEG, it’s a matter of sustaining all the prep work that’s been done. Having said that, I couldn’t have done that without all the help from my sponsors providing what was needed. The most influential people would be Pan and Nina Ligon because without them I would not have a horse to ride.

Hawley Bennett-Awad – It takes a village!!! I have a super groom (Sarah Braun), vet (Dr Huth), Farrier (Tim Shannon), coaches (Robyn Fisher and Buck Davidson), AMAZING husband (Gamal), friend, family, and owners. I don’t think you can just narrow it down to one 🙂

Sophie Christiansen – Definitely my trainer Clive Milkins. After 13 years of coaching me, he is emigrating to Hong Kong in November so I would like to win another 3 gold medals to make Rio triple Paralympic, European and World champion as a leaving present!

Ricky Balshaw – Michel Assouline, our team coach has been a great influence. My horse LJT Enggaards Solitaire aka Sid has been based with him since April this year and we have worked closely together to get him ready for this competition.

  1. What are you most looking forward to or most excited about this year’s World Equestrian Games?

William Fox – Pitt – Being at the Haras le Pin in France, a beautiful venue and it will be very exciting to show jump in the stadium in Caen.

Sam Griffiths – I am excited to be representing my country and competing in a title championship against the best riders in the world and I know not many people get the chance to say that.

Shane Rose – I am really looking forward to these games as I am confident that if CP Qualified and myself can perform to the best of our ability that we will be very competitive.

Jock Paget – The competition itself.

Buck Davidson – Riding the best horse I have ever ridden!

Kim Severson – The hardest part of the worlds for me is the month leading up to WEG. Therefore I look forward most to the start!

Hawley Bennett-Awad – I love competing as a team. we have a super group of people, that totally support one another. I am also really excited to do some sight seeing around Normandy!! I have always wanted to go!!!

Ricky Balshaw – I am a big show off and I love competing in front of big crowds – the more the merrier. I have heard that the competition is a sell out this year. I get a huge amount of support from the crowd – it’s what I’m most excited about.

  1. Is there one essential item you wouldn’t leave home without?

William Fox – Pitt – When competing at a World Championship there is obviously a long list of essential items but I would certainly make sure I didn’t leave home with my Tri-Zone competition boots!

Sam Griffiths – There is a huge list of essential items that I have to take with me but I always make sure that I have a good book to read as it helps me to relax at the end of a night before the competition.

Shane Rose – My horse!

Jock Paget – There is a long list of essential items I can’t leave home without!

Buck Davidson – My saddle!

Kim Severson – My groom

Hawley Bennett-Awad – Chapstick and my good luck Moose and Beaver…. They have been to EVERY CCI *,**,***,****!!! I got them as a present in 2001 from Chelan Kozak!

Sophie Christiansen – My looped reins – my disability means that I cannot maintain my grip for very long.

Ricky Balshaw – Yes, my horse!!

  1. If you were allowed to add one more team member from another country – who would it be and why?

William Fox – Pitt – Sandra Auffarth from Germany. She would be a big threat individually and is a huge asset to Team Germany. We could do with stealing her!

Sam Griffiths – Well, I would have to say Michael Jung of Germany. He is just so consistent and hard to beat. If I could have anyone else too I would say Andrew Nicholson and William Fox Pitt for similar reasons.

Shane Rose – I feel that Australia has a very strong team and I would not change the team I am currently involved with.

Jock Paget – Michael Jung and Le Biosthetique Sam because its Michael Jung and Le Biosthetique Sam.

Buck Davidson – We have a great team and we won’t need anyone else!

Kim Severson – Andrew Nicholson, because he fights to the end

Hawley Bennett-Awad – That’s a good one….. I would pick William Fox Pitt because he seems like a total team player that would support you, and I would love to learn some of his secrets!!!

Sophie Christiansen – I would add Pepo Puch to the team as he is current Paralympic and European champion for Austria in grade 1B, getting consistently high scores.

Ricky Balshaw – I would have to say Line Kongensgaard. Line is a Danish Grade 1V Para-Dressage rider who also happens to be my girlfriend!