14-16 August 2014
- 14-16 August 2014
A man on a mission: World No1 Scott Brash is riding high
Release date: 01/01/1970
(Photo: Stefano Grasso/LGCT)
With the London event now less than eight weeks away, how important is it for you to have the likes of London on the circuit and how big a part will the Tour play in your outdoor season?
"It’s a big part of my programme - even at this stage in the year I know which shows my two top horses will do through the year up until Christmas. I make a programme that far in advance and I like to know what the horses are doing, and what shows they’re doing so the preparation is right. London is in my plan, I would like to go well. It’s a fantastic venue and it’s going to be a great leg of the tour in my home country."
Is winning the title again this year in your plans?
"I will be doing a lot of the LGCT events this year, so there is a chance, and I would love to be crowned Champion again but it’s a tough competition. A lot of things have to go right and your horses have to jump well through the whole year."
You are known to be very good under pressure, do you feel pressure?
"Put it this way, I find it far easier to ride in front of millions of people than to stand up and talk to a room of twenty people. So I guess it’s what you’re comfortable doing. I enjoy riding rounds that are high pressure, that really count. When it means a lot to you and to a lot of other people, it’s a great feeling when something comes off well."
You mentioned that it’s hard for you to speak in front of a room of people, are you a naturally shy person?
"I would say I am a lot more shy than people think. Before the Olympics, I had to go and speak to a room of twenty kids, and I found that ten times harder than riding at the Olympics! I guess it’s what you’re comfortable doing."
Going into the final round in Doha last year, with three of you jumping off - yourself, Ludger Beerbaum and Marcus Ehning - do you just get more focused or do you finally let a few little nerves creep in?
"I needed to produce a really good round, then before the jump-off it was announced that I had won the whole series and I was delighted, and everyone was coming up and shaking my hand, but I still had to get organised to try to win the class. I was up against two of my biggest idols ever and two of the best show jumpers of all time. I really tried to get back focused and I was desperate to win the class. For me, it adds to my sharpness. I feel it does anyway. I feel that the bigger the occasion, the better I perform, everyone is different. I am lucky in that sense."
Going up against a four-time Olympic Gold medallist like Ludger Beerbaum, does that affect you?
"I think it just makes you really want it. You really want to win and you really want to beat them, and it brings out the best in you. You are really trying 100% to do your best. It was a great feeling after winning the class in Doha, and my owners were there so they witnessed it all. Everything worked out on the day and it was one of those really special days."
You have already won an Olympic Team Gold medal, and a European Team Gold and Individual Bronze medal. How has that changed the way you handle a big occasion?
"I think because I have been in that scenario before now and it’s all worked, I guess that gives you confidence that you can do it. You know that you can beat the best in the sport and that on the day, if you’re doing everything right and your horse is going his best, you can do it. I guess it gives you more confidence."
With you, is it all about self-belief or do you just calmly prepare?
"Yes, you have to believe in yourself, and deep down I believe. Even going into the Olympics I believed. Listen, more than anything you’ve got to beat the track and you’ve got to beat the course builder. Walking the course at the Olympics, I knew that if I rode right and my horse was jumping well I could jump clear, and you have got to get yourself into that kind of mindset. Forget about everything else and just focus on your job and do the best you can, and get the best out of your horse."
Do you tend to take the approach, a bit like a golfer, that you’re out there to take on the course and just forget what the rest of the riders do?
"You have to be aware of what other people are doing in the jump-off and who is coming behind you to see if you have to go faster than the one in the lead. But ultimately, you have to beat the course and you have to be able to do what your horse is capable of doing. Sometimes, in a jump-off, your horse is not capable of doing what needs to be done to win and that can be very hard to get your head around - it’s been hard for me to get my head around. I think experience has progressed me in that sense. You go into a jump-off and do what your horse is capable of doing, and hopefully that is enough to win."
All the success you have had, Olympic Gold, European Gold, the Longines Global Champions Tour title, World No1 - does that level of success ever sink in?
"It’s great to have a moment to think that you’re World Number One - it’s a great feeling. You still get on with your job and do the best you can with your horses, and look to the future, because I want to have a long career like Marcus or Ludger - it would be great to be known as a legend in the sport one day. That doesn’t happen with a two year high spot in your life, you have to be consistently on top of your game and that’s very hard to do, but that’s what I aim to do."
What do you think the Tour has done to change the sport?
"Jan has done a fantastic job with the Tour and I have heard of future plans, which sound fantastic. I think he has made a massive difference to the sport and it’s all credit to him. I hope he can continue to do that and I hope other people get interested in the sport and keep promoting the sport, and one day we can get paid like tennis players or football players! That would be great."
Get your tickets for the Longines Global Champions Tour of London here.