At 19, I was going to Dave Matthews Band concerts, thinking I was cool. At 19, Emily Moffitt actually is cool. Emily competes in CSI5* Grand Prix, flying over 5″3′ obstacles, looking fab and representing Great Britain. Her Great Britain teammates include olympic gold medalist (and her trainer), Ben Maher, and Olympic gold medalist, and number 1 ranked rider in the world, Kent Farrington. She currently owns 20 horses, including her first pony (aww), but her main string includes: Galip, Tommy, Maddie, Tipsy, Quinny, Riri, Ziggy, Tink and Love. It makes sense that Emily’s riding goal is pretty straightforward: 2020 Olympics. I mean really, what else is there?
Andrea: If you could run into the barn and give only one of your horses a treat and kiss, which one would it be and why?
Emily: This is a hard question for me because I love all my horses to death. Of course, if one horse is performing better than others I’m a little biased to love them more than the others at that time! My main man has always been Ziggy. He was my first proper horse so he holds a special place in my heart.
Andrea: When trying a potential new horse, what is one thing that is a must-have and what is one thing that is an automatic no?
Emily: When I try horses it’s very important to me that they have a good personality and heart. All of my horses have big personalities and are quite sassy! I always find when a horse has sass and extra personality it has extra fight for you once you have a relationship and connection with them. An absolute no for me would be stopping. I want my horse to try it’s heart out for me. I am “all in”, so I expect my horse to be too. To me, a horse that stops doesn’t love jumping and a horse that loves jumping is a winner.
Andrea: What is a typical day like for you at Poden Farms?
Emily: I don’t get to be at home very often. I’m at shows almost every week, but even when I am home there’s not really a typical day for me. Every day changes. If all the horses are home then I’ll ride 5 a day. Sometimes the horses are at shows so there aren’t many to ride. I always try to jump them when I get a chance since I’m always away.
Andrea: Many of your interviews talk about how great your relationship is with your trainer, Ben Maher. Any tips for riders when searching for a trainer?
Emily: When my family and I were looking into a new trainer I had an option between a few and my parents asked, “If you could have anyone who would it be?” To this day I couldn’t explain why, but I just had a feeling Ben would be the perfect match. We met with him and talked about how it would work and it’s been great ever since! I don’t think it’s very common to have such a good relationship with your trainer, but I also think it’s why I have done so well since. We really help each other out. If he needs horses, I lend him mine. Then when they come back to me they feel even better than before. I would say the most important thing when looking for a trainer is that your personalities don’t clash. Someone could be the best trainer in the world, but that doesn’t mean they will be the best for you. It’s important to go with your gut feeling.
Andrea: I love when you talk about your experience in 2014 at the Chantilly GCT Grand Prix and how it was the defining moment in your decision to do this big time. You mention that your parents were immediately supportive and the next day your father was taking steps to make your dream a reality. Can you share what that was?
Emily: When I told my dad that I wanted to do this as my career he immediately set out to find out what had to be done to make this happen. My dad and I have very all or nothing personalities. Very soon after I had told him this was my dream we had amazing facilities being built on our property. I think if I left things to my dad I would have about 100 horses. My mom is also very supportive but just in a different way. She isn’t as involved with the horses as my dad is, which is nice to have both sides.
Andrea: You say your riding style is bold and that you love the Jump Off. When you are walking the course, what is your Jump Off strategy?
Emily: When I walk the course I try to think of all the possible problems or changes that could occur. Okay, sure you could come up with an exact plan that you need to execute with your horse, but at the end of the day it’s very unlikely everything will go perfectly. Ben and I will always come up with an original plan but before I go into the ring he makes a point to remind me to just ride and have fun. I think I like jump offs so much because I have to trust myself and my riding ability to figure out whatever happens in the ring. Ben and I are probably some of the most competitive people you will meet. We are a little deadly when one of us is in the jump off!
Andrea: Do you ever gallop up to one of those CSI5* fences and think “holy crap, this is huge?” Do you have any fear?
Emily: I have walked the course and thought this is really big or I have been watching and seen people crash repeatedly and think “this must be hard if people are struggling so much.” Usually this makes me ride better. I always do better under pressure. I never feel scared or nervous. I only really get anxious to win or do well. Once I get on my horse everything goes away and I just do what I can to go clear.
Andrea: If you could tell your horse one thing before you enter the show arena, what would it be?
Emily: I actually do tell my horse one thing every time before I go into the ring. Right before we walk in I always give them a pat and say, “Let’s do this.” My horses and I are a team. It’s important to me that they trust me in and out of the ring, so I always say a little something to them before we jump.
Andrea: What is your riding must-have? Something you think everyone should own?
Emily: I definitely HAVE to have my OnTyte magnetic stirrups and boots with me at all times when I’m showing. I have 5 pairs of boots with OnTyte magnets in them just to make sure I’m never without them. I feel so much safer and secure in the saddle than with regular stirrups. It gives me an extra sense of security knowing I won’t lose my stirrup half way around the arena.
Thank you so much, Emily, for chatting with me! Looking forward to chatting again before you leave for 2020 Tokyo!