THE BLOG

All Systems Go! It's Longines FEI World Cup Finals Time!

18/04/2014 18:27 BST | Updated 18/06/2014 10:59 BST

I've been competing since 1976 and have been lucky enough to travel the world with my sport, but there's always a real buzz around the World Cup Finals. It really is the best of the best with riders from all over the world flying in to go head to head in front of a passionate crowd. There are 40 riders from 20 countries taking part so it's tough.

This year we're in Lyon, France, and it's a country I always enjoy competing in. I've been coming here since I was 16 and I'm in my 50s now so I've spent a lot of time here.

It's one of the biggest show jumping countries in the world, the fans are very knowledgeable and enthusiastic so it's a great place to compete.

We landed late on Tuesday and got settled in. I'm here with two horses, Amai and Viking, and we trotted them up on Wednesday. In the morning we have a warm-up in the ring when the event is taking place and then in the afternoon I ride both horses.

On Thursday I'll jump both horses and make any last minute adjustments so we're ready to go when the real action starts on Friday night.

You prepare for a long, long time for an event like this but you know pretty quickly how it's going to go.

We start on Friday evening with a one round speed class, then we have a one round and a jump-off on Saturday and finish on Monday with two rounds over the big course - you carry your score with you so everything counts.

By Friday night you often know how things are going to go. You train the horses to the minute as you don't want to bring a tired horse to a top competition like this but you never actually know for sure until you get out there and compete.

That's one of the reasons why you still get nervous. I've been doing this for a long time but if you're not nervous you're not trying.

You've got to focus on yourself and don't think about what other riders are doing. Of course there's rivalry but it's a friendly rivalry between the riders.

We compete against each other all over the world and it's important to try and relax between competitions as it's a tough week.

I can't wait to get started. Bring it on!