Q&A with Team SmartPak Rider Silva Martin: Preparing for Dressage at Devon
Team SmartPak rider Silva Martin has had much success in her career. Her accolades include being a member of the 2014 Gold Medal Team at the CDIO Wellington Nations Cup. Recently, Silva competed at the 2017 Dressage at Devon, coming home with some big wins. But, what does it take to get to a show like Dressage at Devon? We asked, and Silva answered!
How do you prepare for a show like Dressage at Devon?
“We prepare all year long for a show like this. My plan going into this year was to bring my horse Rosa Cha for her Grand Prix debut. I had been practicing our freestyle as much as I could up until the show. Unfortunately, she came down with Potomac Horse Fever right before the event and we had to make a quick change in plans.
I ended up still showing three nice younger horses that I also had going – Jada W (5-year-old), Electric (6-year-old), and Hannah Lu W (8-year-old). I trained and prepared them the same way I did my grand prix horse – consistently practicing the tests for their appropriate levels. You do these tests throughout the year to qualify for the final show.
Regardless of the level, when you’re showing a horse at a show like Devon, the most important thing is making sure the horses are healthy and that they look good. All my horses have a nice shiny coat and I like when they are “round”. I love using SmartPaks to feed my horses their supplements because they help keep them looking their best.”
You had great success at this show – tell us about the horses you brought?
“Jada W is a 6-year old homebred mare that loves to compete and she understands competition. I competed her in the Fourth Level Test, which we won with a score of 69%. It’s impressive for a young horse to win at 4th level, and we had a great competition overall. Jada also won the FEI Young Horse Test for 6 Year Old’s with a score of 80.60%. Having competed this mare under the lights, she really turned it up and shined.
Electric is a 5-year-old German bred horse that was born in Canada. He’s a very large and tall horse. I competed him in the CDI for 5-year-olds in Florida and then gave him some time off to rest because he had a lot going on competition wise. I brought him back a month before Devon after his break, and he came back feeling better than ever. He’s still a little green in places, which is to be expected, but he placed 2nd both days, and in the FEI Young Horse Test for 5 Year old’s, so overall, I was very pleased with him.
Hannah Lu W is the 8-year old. She’s also a homebred horse and is the daughter of my grand prix horse Rosa Cha, so Hannah Lu is very special to me. She’s a more difficult ride, and has taken longer to develop, but she also won in a 4th level class.”
Which supplements do you give them to help power their success at home and at shows?
“Rosa Cha gets her daily SmartPak with SmartShine Ultra, SmartFlex Ultimate, Vitamin E Pellets by SmartPak, and SmartLytes Pellets.
What was your favorite moment at the show?
“Overall, my favorite moment of the show was just the experience I gain from being there with all of the young horses. I love riding the young horses, and I also love the atmosphere of Dressage at Devon because there are so many other people that I know here. It’s exciting to do well in front of a home crowd. Having the homebred horses do so well was a big highlight because that means I’m doing things right.”
Do you have any advice for riders who want to make it to a show like Dressage at Devon?
“My best advice for someone who is looking to go to a show at Dressage at Devon, and succeed, is to understand that consistent training is important. Riders need to stick with what works for them. It’s important to understand that with training any horse, there will be ups and downs, and you won’t always have a good lesson. Don’t let that bother you too much, and don’t feel the need to make sudden moves. People move around way too much and it gets in the way of the consistency. There are lots of ways to get to a show like this, and it all depends on what works best for the horse.”