Badminton call heralds breakthrough for Lissa Green and Ali G
Lissa Green is understandably very excited at the prospect of her debut Badminton run but you get the feeling this 28-year-old event rider is bubbly much of the time. When we met she had not long received the call from Badminton.
“Malin Head Clover (Ali G) and I will be able to tackle the most exciting course in the world......my excitement and goosebumps haven't stopped since I got 'that' phone call from the Badminton Office ….so special,” she says.
Despite being 12th on the waiting list such was Lissa’s optimism that she would get a place she had been working and campaigning Ali G accordingly. She is also realistic and declares she will be ecstatically happy if she can come away with a dressage score in the mid-fifties, and a clear country and show jumping round.
As a partnership their best results include a double jumping clear at Blenheim CCI3*, eighth in the CCI3* at Strzegom, Poland, last year and a very good recent run in the Advanced at Burnham Market, finishing 18th, dropping down following time penalties and some uncharacteristic show jumping faults.
“Ali is not the best shape, his hind end is too high, his back too long, and sadly time will be an issue for us but even though he has limitations, he is an amazing horse and we have such a partnership,” explains Lissa, who remarks in hindsight that perhaps 55 is poor aim but at 15 2hh, one of the smallest in the field, Ali is what he is and together they will be tackling the mecca of three-day Eventing. This is what matters as for Lissa, like all other young event riders, to compete at Badminton is the dream.
Lissa has the ultimate Eventing pedigree (the daughter of record holding Badminton winner Lucinda and Australian Olympic rider David Green, for the few of you who may not know!), and she hopes people do not judge harshly if she says it doesn’t necessarily mean everything has come easy. It was not an automatic ticket to the top, with no ready-made horses, if anything it was completely the opposite.
“When I was younger I could get jealous and dreamed of having the sort of horses that some other young riders had. I was riding the horses others didn’t want, were tricky and were not capable of winning but I know now I have learned so much from this experience.”
A recent article in Horse & Hound examined the difficulties for young riders trying to make it to the top these days, and questioned whether they were getting the right experience. In the 1980s under 21s were riding in three stars, for example, but if you make it onto a senior GB team these days in your thirties then it is pretty good going. Is it frustrating that the likes of Mark Todd, Blyth Tait and other senior riders, let’s say, dominate the sport?
“I don’t have a problem with this. I think the longevity you see in the sport now is very encouraging.You can get some of the best experience when you are young, learning from the horses that are not so good, and you know you can have a future if you work hard. Experience is everything in this sport,” explains Lissa.
And experience around her is one thing Lissa can definitely count on.
“Having Mum’s advice is fantastic and there is no one like her for walking a course. I have not looked at the Badminton course online as Mum says you need to see it first from the ground. She is teaching in the US now, and is away a lot of the time, but will be back for Badminton and we will walk the course together.”
“Dad is really good too, especially on the show jumping, and I will send videos to him in Australia and he will feedback for me.”
Captain Richard ‘Dickie’ Waygood is also “phenomenal”, Wanborough based, and is Lissa’s regular trainer. Now in her fourth year at her own rental yard near Marlborough, Lissa is proving she can be independent and innovative.
Her charming personality shines through her Facebook page, Lissa Green Eventing which she has used to launch a successful appeal for sponsors and syndicate members. Not only has Lissa started the Ali G Syndicate, she has also sought sponsorship for Corraggio Z (Snoop) this year. This support has come has come at the right time for Snoops’ as he has an exciting year ahead lining up his first International competitions as well as aiming for CIC2* by the end of the year. Ali G will compete at Burghley as well his Badminton run. This icing on the cake would be a Nations Cup team place if Lissa can manage it.
“Snoop is probably the most talented horse I have ever sat on and I can't wait to see what he produces this year, now he's that bit older and more developed.”
Lissa has a string of eight horses and she is still looking for more individuals, along with sponsors Pure Feed, Leucillin and Succeed Equine to join the party. If you would like to find out more, visit Lissa Green Eventing on Facebook, or better still try and meet her as her enthusiasm is infectious!