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An Interview with Harry Meade
You recently commentated for the BBC, is this something that you’d like to do more of in the future?
I’m a real enthusiast when it comes to discussing cross country riding so being part of the BBC commentary team is a really fun experience. I don’t like hot air or ‘fluff’ during commentary so I try to be as honest as I can in pointing out the differences between the well ridden and poorly executed rounds. I’ve been involved with the BBC commentary for the past 18 months and whilst riding and competing obviously comes first I’m looking forward to continuing with the commentary when I can. A fun commentary team is the best ingredient to success as dialogue and humour make it come to life.
What has been your highlight of the season so far?
There is a moment in a horse’s career when they go from the junior ranks to being a fully fledged advanced horse. With young horses we try to give them every chance to have the best grounding for future success at top level. I had a very memorable ride at Bramham on Away Cruising and having produced him since he was a youngster over the previous five seasons he felt the real deal around a tough CCI*** course and is now ready for Badminton, Burghley and beyond.
Who do you see as ‘one to watch’ in Rio 2016?
The Germans, and in particular Michel Jung, are hot favourites as reigning Olympic, World and European Champions. The Aussies and the Kiwis are well established contenders and the French have been going well all year with a strong team of young all-male riders. The British squad of horses is relatively inexperienced with 4 out of 5 of the horses traveling to Rio being championship debutantes, but so much of success is about rising to the big occasion and with a strong team of riders in William, Kitty, Gemma and Izzy I have every confidence that they will come up with the goods.
What are your ambitions for the future?
Success in eventing is about being able to perform under pressure in competition but 09 also to produce horses through the grades so that you have a strong team on the starting line. It takes years to produce horses to Advanced level so my focus over the past couple of seasons has been to build as strong a team as possible with the next Olympics and World Championships as the primary focus.
You have two young children – do you hope that they will follow in the footsteps of you and your father, triple Olympic Gold medallist, Richard Meade?
Eventing is a wonderful sport which takes you to beautiful places and introduces you to great people so it would be nice if the third generation carry the baton on. Horses are great levellers, so you learn humility, hard work and how to overcome challenges. My children both ride and one has the same overwhelming bug for horses that my father and I had from the start, so it will be interesting to see if that continues. My father was conscious not to teach us but to allow us to develop a feel through a relatively noncompetitive childhood spent in the saddle having fun. Whatever happens, our children will have lots of fun through pony club and the friendships that come with it.
For a first time equestrian property owner, what advice would you give them?
I would advise anyone looking for an equestrian property to think about the things that can’t just be changed or built on site, for example; old pasture and good draining land, acreage required for turnout, scope for sufficient development (manege, horse walker, staff accommodation, vehicle space) and access to hacking, hills and gallops. Buying the right property is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make so surround yourself by the best people and use their experience.
For more information about Harry visit www.harrymeade.com