15 minutes with… Alice Oppenheimer

Dressage rider Alice Oppenheimer, 25, hit the international headlines last week with wins at the two-week international show in Vidauban in the South of France.

With Tantoni Sir Soccrates, an eight-year-old British-bred gelding by Sir Donnerhall owned by Tantoni Warmbloods, she won four small tour classes; two prix st georges and two intermediaire I for 7-9 year-old horses and with the homebred Headmore Delegate, a 12-year-old by Dimaggio, won a second in the grand prix.The pair was fifth in last year’s National Championship.

Alice is from Four Marks, Hampshire where she and her mother Sarah, a former rider in the show ring, run a breeding and training yard.

When did you first compete?

I was taught to ride by Suzanne Davies (now Lavandera) and then joined the Pony Club. I was put off jumping by a naughty pony and I don’t think I was any good at it anyway, so I got more into flatwork. Our PC trainer was (dressage rider) Sarah Dwyer-Coles and my aim was to get into the PC team. I got to the PC championships two years in a row and into the ride-off.

What has been your greatest achievement so far?

Up until the past couple of weeks it would have been competing in the European Young Rider Championships as part of the British team in 2009 with Wurlitzer and that same year winning three titles at the Winter Championships – one with Wurlitzer and two with Headmore Delegate. Winning three in one year is a bit special. However the last two weeks have been amazing with Sir Soccrates winning four classes and Delegate coming second in a grand prix which is probably my biggest and best yet. It is fabulous doing well at home but getting good results internationally is really special.

Do you have foals expected this year?

Yes we have three mares to foal this year including our great mare Rubinsteena (formerly with Half Moon stud and the dam of Half Moon Frizzante). She is in foal to the young stallion Flawless. Two of her foals have already won national titles and her two older offspring, Headmore Wrubinstar and Headmore Wimaweh are going to this year’s winter Championships. She’s a really good mare and we will probably do embryo transfer with her this year.

What do you do on a day off?

I’m not that good at days off and as we tend to be full on with horses if there is time for some time off I simply tend to have a day relaxing and chilling out or reading a book. I don’t really have time for anything outside horses.

What is your greatest strength?

Some might see it otherwise but my stubbornness – I never give up and keep going till I get there

Which is your favourite event?

The National Championships simply because it is the National Championships. It’s the aim every year to get there and it is always special.

What’s your ambition?

To be the best I can and hopefully one day make it onto the British senior team.

Who do you admire?

That would have to be Charlotte (Dujardin) who I have known since before she was famous. It has been inspiring to watch her progress to become the international medal winning rider and celebrity she now is.

What would be your perfect day?

A day on the yard spending time with the horses, when it all goes right and none of them have any problems or issues and you can feel it’s a job well done.

What next?

The next big competition will be the NAF Five Star Winter Championships at Hartpury (15-19 April) for which I have three qualified and then back to France for the Saumur CDI.


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