Three-times Olympic gold medal-winning Dutch dressage rider Anky van Grunsven has been named as reserve in the Dutch reining team for the World Equestrian Games (WEG) this September. And British Olympic dressage rider Emma Hindle has recently taken up reining, too.
Anky was named as team reserve after finishing reserve champion at her first FEI event, the CRI* Swedish National Championships in Bökeberg in April. “I'm very happy to be reserve for the reining team, but I'm not expecting to go to WEG,” Anky told H&H. “Reining's quite similar to dressage, especially the speed control. Of course the exercises are different, mainly because you're not allowed to have any contact with the reins. But I really enjoy it and it helps make me a better rider.”
But Emma Hindle has no plans to compete — yet. “We had Andrea Gembe's European champion Big Time Rooster collecting at Brookhouse Stud and she asked me if I wanted to have a go. I really enjoyed it. But it's something fun for now — I wouldn't compete until I'm at a standard where I could do well,” she said.
Anky has been reining for about 10 years, but, when she was given a western saddle after the 2008 Olympics, she became more competitive. The 42-year-old originally rode a horse called Hilda, but has since been riding Whizashiningwalla BB, who, she says, is a “better match” for her.
In June, Anky decided to opt out of the WEG dressage selection process after her Olympic horse Salinero injured his withers and she did not want to rush his recovery. She is now riding the horse once more. “I don't really have a plan for Salinero yet as he is the only one who can say when he is ready to compete, but I would like to do more shows with him soon,” said Anky.
And, after mixed results with her other top horse Painted Black, she decided he would not be a top-five contender so would not aim him at WEG either.