Victoria Pendleton, Britain’s winner of two Olympic Gold Medals and nine world titles for cycling, is about to get her first jumping ride in public in her effort to qualify for the Foxhunter Chase for Amateur Riders at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
The point to point season is about to begin and all of the horses Pendleton has been training on are entered at Cottenham, Cambridgeshire this weekend, although the jockeys are not yet declared. Pendleton gained her amateur license recently in Newmarket at the British Racing School although she has already ridden in three charity flat races and had a fall in the last one but it has not put her off. She gets to the stables where she trains at seven each morning, and tacks up and washes off her own mounts.
In an LWT Anglia news interview Pendleton said, “I thought, when I read the idea, this is crazy, absolutely ludicrous. Then I thought about it more and I have always wanted to learn to ride a horse, I love animals and so I thought a bit more, horses, racing, training regime……Suddenly it all made sense! But I am used to riding a bike that is tuned to perfection, but a horse is different. I can learn all the signals and instructions and on a bike, it does what I want but on a horse, well, sometimes the horse just ignores them! Getting used to accepting you are not 100% in control was really difficult, you hope you have a connection with a horses and it respond to the signals you are giving it, but it doesn’t have to! If I make it, if I manage to qualify, that would be fantastic to line up in Cheltenham. If I don’t, I’ve just found something that I really love in life and I’ll continue to do it. Maybe not with the same intensity but at least two or three times a week.”