Ahead of the London leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour, we caught up with Ben Maher, the World No.2, British Olympic Team Gold medallist in 2012 and winner of the 2013 LGCT London Grand Prix with his horse Cella.
Hi Ben, can you tell us a little about competitive show jumping?
This is a hard question… It’s life on the road with drama and excitement.
Tell us about a typical day during the Longines Global Champions Tour
Get up early and ride the horses. Professional classes tend to be in the evening, so we have time to rest during the day and see some of the city, and come back in the evening and try and win the competition. The Eiffel Tower in Paris has been the best site so far!
How did you get started in show jumping and how did you get to where you are now?
My mum rode at a low level as a hobby and I started riding a Shetland pony when I was seven.
Are there any downsides?
No. We are very lucky to enjoy the job and the sport we do. We have a great lifestyle travelling. The pressure can be quite tough sometimes.
What’s been the highlight of your career?
A gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics for the team and achieving World Number One for a period last year.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a professional show jumper?
Work hard and be prepared to start at the bottom and work your way up. Everybody gets chances or you can make your own chances and your own luck.
Are there any riders on this tour that you’re not looking forward to going up against?
There are many, many good riders. Everyone on the Tour is capable of winning the big grand prix in London. But at the moment Scott Brash is one of my biggest rivals and on home turf I would say myself, Scott Brash and Nick Skelton will all be doing our best to get a home win.
Who do you think is favourite to win the overall Championship this year?
At the minute it looks like Edwina Tops-Alexander. She has a bunch of good horses and she does every LGCT leg, so I would say her or possibly Ludger Beerbaum.
The London leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour take place on 14-16 August at the Horse Guard Parade, London – tickets are available here.