Rider Interview – Lara Dyson
A former member of the British Young Riders’ dressage scheme, Lara Dyson joined the senior ranks in 2009. Holder of 10 British Dressage regional titles and two national titles, Lara secured her Team GB flag in 2015 after being selected to ride in Le Mans, France on her KWPN-approved stallion, Cyden Bodyguard Moorland.
Q – You are expecting your first child in June, how are you planning on working your career around your new bundle of joy?
A – I am very lucky to be well supported by family, my husband and also the girls on the yard as well as having a very supportive boss/brother. So, I am hoping to still be able to do my day job – selling off finished properties with the bundle of joy with me. I am not taking maternity leave as such – just working from home when not out in the houses.
Q – Following giving birth (and lots of cuddles, cooing and sleepless nights) what kind of exercise routine will you employ to get back to being riding fit?
A – I intend to start back with my personal trainer as soon as I am able to, depending on how the birth goes! This, I think, is the only thing I will feel will hold me back from not being able to compete at the regionals. As I continued to ride up to 36/37 weeks, I am hoping my fitness hasn’t suffered too much but I do need to lose the baby weight at the front of me!
Q – You already seem incredibly busy, combining your job as a Quality Manager at Cyden Homes, Cyden Stallions, and Cyden Dressage as well as coaching, what do you do to unwind?
A – For me Cyden Dressage and Cyden Stallions all form part of my unwinding, as I really enjoy training horses from those just backed through the levels. For me the pleasure is in the training and competing, not in buying something that can already do it. Other than horses, I do like odd weekends away at our friends in North Yorkshire or even the Isle of Wight but I have to say these aren’t very often.
Q – How have you found breeding has changed over the last decade?
A – As I have only really been involved myself with breeding for the last four to five years, I can’t really comment. However, one thing that does really wind me up is that we have top quality, approved stallions standing in the UK, but still people prefer to import semen from Germany or Holland.
It is as though they do not believe that quality stallions can stand in the UK. Also I know that some UK breeders generally like to follow ‘trendy’ stallions, so what’s in one year won’t necessarily be their cup of tea the following.
I am just lucky I have a few good quality breeders using top mares that seem to like my stallions and now use them yearly.
Q – Can you tell us a little about your support team?
A – I have three full-time members of staff on the yard at home looking after all our stallions, horses and ponies. My brother and his family are also based at the yard and very into hunting and Pony Club so there is never a dull moment with nephews and nieces galloping around!
I am also very lucky to be supported by Laura and Tracey Milner, of South Grange Stud, who now do all our foaling and inseminating, using top vet, James Crabtree. Between us we are now working in partnership breeding, producing and selling top quality offspring.
Q – Apart from competing the stallions, what other horses do you have under your wing that you feel are ‘ones to watch’ for the future?
A – Felix – aka Jazzed Up (by Jazz x Ferro), owned by Laura and Tracey Milner and myself, is a serious horse for the future. Bred by the Milners, he was a little tricky to start but has progressed so well with me during the last 15 months, including winning three regional titles in February at the Northern Regionals. Despite only properly being under saddle or in work since I have had the ride on him, he is already training and working at home at Prix St Georges level, and finds the work so easy. He is exceptionally talented and trainable. I love riding him, just a bit gutted he is currently on holiday, given I really wasn’t able to do much apart from walk and canter during the last few weeks of my pregnancy.
Q – You are a very experienced handler and rider of stallions, what would be your main piece of advice for readers who may be considering owning one?
A – Don’t take the idea lightly. Think about whether you are set up at home to cope with a stallion and whether you are competent enough to deal with stallion-like behaviour. Although I have been exceptionally lucky, I understand they are not all like mine.
As good as mine are, you still have to be one step ahead of them and competing/staying away can always be a little more challenging, especially if venues aren’t really clued up for stabling stallions and mares separately. You would be surprised how many ‘top’ venues really do not understand putting a mare or gelding next to a breeding stallion is not fair on the stallion, especially when in most cases they can touch noses either over the door or through the bars.
Q – You made the move from eventing to dressage, do you ever miss jumping or do you prefer to give just one discipline all your focus?
A – I do still love jumping. I often hack out with my brother and he is known for the words “just follow me, I’m just going to pop this”, normally a six-foot ditch or something similar. So yes, I do love jumping all of mine, including the stallions, as it’s just something different for them and keeps them loose over their backs, but also keeps their minds active.
Q – How many hours on average do you spend in the saddle a week (when not pregnant)?
A – I would say I spend on average three to four hours every day in the saddle or long reining. I don’t really have a day off as such, as I prefer to spread the horse’s days off on different days, allowing me to get into the office for ten.
Q – What exercise(s) would you best recommend for a lazy horse?
A – Hacking always improves any lazy or behind the leg horse, especially when hacking out with another horse. But in the arena I would always encourage lots of transitions for a lazy horse, as very often they are bored more that they are lazy or lacking motivation.
Q – How would you describe working in the equine industry compared to a Monday – Friday, 9-5pm job?
A – It is 24/7, but I wouldn’t give it up for anything. Every day is different and presents you with different opportunities and sometimes challenges, but it is how you overcome them and move forward that makes you more clued up and ready for the next one. I think if you like to work a 9-5 job, horses can play no part in your life, as horses don’t understand 9-5 they need you there 24/7.
Q – What is your favourite sport next to equestrianism?
A – Sadly I guess I would say the gym (or maybe rugby). I do enjoy the gym and how I can workout to help my strength and reactions when riding so it compliments what I do every day. However I will say I don’t quite get as excited about a new piece of equipment in the gym as I would a new horse or a new Fur Feather Meds outfit!
Q – What item couldn’t you do without?
A – My trainer Rhett Bird – we have a really good working relationship and he has helped me develop and train from start to finish (well nearly there, we are working on Grand Prix movements with Bodyguard at the moment).
Next up from Lara, Top 5 Stallion Factors ….
Frozen semen is available all year round from Cyden Bodyguard Moorland, Cyden Oostings Amigo and Cyden Cadans M.
For further information contact Lara Dyson on 07920 452739, visit www.cydendressage.com or ‘Like’ the Cyden Dressage Facebook page for news of all three Cyden Stallions and other horses and ponies for sale.