Getting to know Sponsored Rider Suzanna Hext

What can you not live without in your daily routine?

  • “I find that having a certain amount of structure is the key to getting the most out of my day. Of course this also comes with having to be able to adapt and change your plans. However, I found that when I left the vets I didn’t have enough structure to my days and ended up not eating enough and doing way too much in one day!
  • My daily routine always involves exercise! Whether that may be riding the horses, Strength and conditioning at Bath University, swimming and physio. This has always been a huge part of my life.
  • The whole team at Talland School of Equitation and my friend, trainer and owner Pammy Hutton are a huge part of my daily routine. They look after the horses with the upmost care and I wouldn’t be where I am today without Pammy’s belief in me and support.
  • Without a doubt the FMBs Activo-Med rug has also become a massive part of not only the horse’s daily routine, but also their routine when they are away at shows. The rug has a wide variety of settings to help improve overall suppleness, body tone and overall condition, helping the horses to ultimately optimise their performance.”

How about when at stay away shows?

  • “I cannot live without my support team when I go away to competitions. Emily and Gemma have been part of my solid competition team for a while now. They keep the horses in tip top condition and Gemma also makes sure I don’t face plant the floor too regularly!
  • I also couldn’t be without the support from the Lottery Funded World Class staff at International competitions and squad training. The valuable help we receive is second to none and helps us to produce our personal bests in the arena.”

Do you use an equine therapist? (physio/osteo for example) What does this therapist recommend you do in between treatments?

  • “Yes, I use an Equine Physio (Eloisa Townsend) and also we have a team Osteo who works on the horses at training and competitions.
  • The horses have various exercises that they do in between treatments, and Sid also does pole work once a week as part of his routine.
  • They also hugely advocate using the FMBs Activo-Med rug between treatments as part of the horses daily routine.”

What’s your favourite exercise to improve both horse suppleness? From the floor and from the saddle?

  • “On the floor I would definitely say simple ‘carrot stretches’. It’s an extremely useful exercise that anyone can do, and it helps improve their overall suppleness.
  • In the saddle I will always incorporate leg yield into my session. It’s a great exercise as there’s a variety of ways you use it in all three paces. Even from the beginning when I am in walk I start to use it. Leg yielding helps the horses to listen to the rider and become more flexible through the shoulders, back, hips and develops the connection throughout the horse’s body.”

How about rider suppleness? Do you do any exercises that help you feel more flexible in the saddle?

  • “I work extremely hard on my overall strength, fitness and suppleness to help me to obtain my optimum performance in the saddle. I go to Oaksey House (Home of the Injured Jockey’s Fund) for physio twice a week, and I couldn’t be without their support.
  • I have both a strength (physio) programme and a programme based around helping my overall suppleness. I complete the programme surrounding mobility/ suppleness daily and the strength programme I perform 5 times a week.
  • My mobility exercises are include pelvic rocks (on a physio ball), spine twists, cat stretches, arm openings and hip twists.”

Do you have any secret weapons in your arsenal??

  • “My exceptional Home support team both for me and the horses.
  • Fantastic horses that mean the world to me.”

What’s the best piece of advice anyone has given you?

  • “Stay true to your ‘core values’ in life- family, friends and doing exactly what you’re passionate about. Believe in your ability, and never give up.
  • And one of my favourite quotes is ‘The past is your lesson. The present is your gift. The future is your motivation’…”