Back in January, if you’d asked Amanda Ross to ascribe a colour to the year ahead, gold would no doubt have been her choice. However, as the Covid-19 cloud rolled in and cast unwelcome shade on all plans, Amanda discovered that the highlight of her year wouldn’t be a gold medal – instead, the surprise arrival of a custom blue Bates Artiste dressage saddle would be the event that made 2020 memorable.
Living on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, Amanda is currently unable to compete as the area is subject to Stage 4 Covid-19 restrictions and all events are cancelled for the foreseeable future; as such, the saddle is yet to make a public appearance. However, being able to use her prized possession on a daily basis as she continues to train her horses at home is keeping a smile on Amanda’s face through these challenging and uncertain times.
As upbeat and positive as ever, Amanda is working on things she can control, such as her health and fitness, and her horses’ training structure in order to keep moving forward during lockdown. Before providing EQ Life with a sneak peak of her new Bates Artiste saddle, Amanda shared the strategies that have helped her stay focused so far in 2020.
“I think it’s really important to have a structure. We’re so used to having a structure and the minute that the structure is gone, I feel very lost. We don’t know if Tokyo is going to be on in 2021 or off, and we won’t know for a little while now. So the only thing that we can do is assume that it’s on, because if we’re prepared and it’s not on, that’s not ideal, but if we’re not prepared and it is on, well that would be awful!” Amanda explains.
“We have to reinvent how to manage the eventing horse, I’ve had to reinvent what my weekly program looks like. I don’t have any experience in the ‘Corona-five-months-keep-the-horse-in-work- but-don’t-do-too-much-of-it… but don’t do too little of it!’ program, so it’s been hard! However, there’s a famous saying by George Morris: that you are either training or de-training, and that’s very, very true – as I found out when I didn’t do flying changes on one of them for three or four weeks, then I went to do them and nearly got flung from here to next week!
“There are certain things that you need to keep doing and other things that will create wear and tear, like fitness work and jumping big fences, that just have to go by the wayside. But then, if you’re not jumping big enough, they probably don’t jump well enough. So I’m just going to start ramping it up again now and start jumping some bigger fences. Then once that’s good, I’ll give them a little break as there are no events, then go through this cycle again.”