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Olympic Silver Medallist Tina Cook Visits Hadlow College

Posted on 28th March 2013 in Equine Management, HE News, Higher Education


As always our lecture demonstrations prove very popular and this one delivered by Tina Cook, despite a bitterly cold evening once again drew in the crowds.  Tina Cook is on the British Eventing team and has been eventing full-time since she was sixteen.   She won bronze medals in both the individual and team eventing at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and won silver in the team eventing at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Tina brought along 4 horses, all working at different levels.  The first was an ex racehorse called Oscar (Oscar Papa).  Tina demonstrated riding the horse over a pole on the floor at trot and then in canter.  This was a fairly simple exercise, however, as this horse had a racing background she wanted to show how she would work with a horse whilst asking it to do unfamiliar work.  She explained that he may be worried and that she would persevere and repeat the exercise giving him a chance to improve, she would also give him a break if he asked, allowing him to stretch and relax to avoid him getting more worried so that hopefully they could both enjoy the whole experience.

The second horse was a 6 year old homebred called Spider (De Novo Weld), it was his first public outing and he was a naturally spooky horse.  Tina admitted that she had her finger tucked under his neckstrap for extra security in the saddle, just in case he suddenly spooked!  After a short schooling routine to settle Spider, she took him over a combination of two jumps, slowly raising the poles, then demonstrated how she would introduce a filler (show jump fillers are great for filling space in a showjump and are often covered in colourful graphics). 

Odini was the third horse, a 10 year old intermediate event horse, who was finding it all quite exciting!  Tina had set up a small combination of jumps, which the horse was very capable of doing, however she needed to make exceptions for his nerves and excitement and she explained that by simplifying the course and asking the horse to jump each jump separately and confidently first, she would not worry him any further or give him any surprises.  One element of one of the combinations was a piece of blue plastic resembling a crash mat (used when practicing water jumps).  Tina placed the blue mat on the floor, approached the mat in trot and asked the horse to jump over it, she explained that it would not look pretty and indeed he sprung over it as if he had been imitating Bambi which made the crowd laugh!  But sure enough, after a few attempts was jumping it very nicely.   Tina went onto complete the course and then have fun over a jump she had made from an old blue barrel and 2 poles, proving that you don’t need lots of fancy jumps to be able to practice at home.

Finally we were introduced to ‘Hermi’ (De Novo News) who Tina has entered for Badminton this year.  After demonstrating a typical warm up routine, she closed the demonstration by having what she called ‘a little bit of a jolly’ over the jumps which was lovely to watch.

Tina had brought her Olympic medals and invited the crowd into the ring to see them, which was a lovely touch.

A raffle was also held in aid of the Kent Air Ambulance Trust.

The event was very successfully organised and run by the Hadlow College BSc Equine Management Year 2 Events Team.  With special thanks to the generous sponsors Investec, The Brompton Club, K B Equine Photography, Honnington Equestrian, The Eilberg Family, E.C.H. Therapies and Park Farm Stables.

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