Tina Busse-Irwin is one of the Canadian riders competing in Florida this winter with the aim of being selected to the Canadian dressage team for the World Equestrian Games, in Tryon NC, this September. I spoke to Tina, at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, after she finished her ride in the National show Grand Prix (BTW…she won with a 74%). I have asked all the riders the same seven questions. Here are Tina’s answers
What age were you when you started riding? I started riding at four years old. My Mum was a rider so we were always riding and we always rode together. She said; “I’ve got a pony for you and you’re going to ride!”
When did you decide that you wanted to be a professional rider? When I was in high school. I think I was 16 and I did the Young Riders for the first time.
What big Championships or competitions have you ridden in? I rode for Canada in the Pan American Games in 2011 in Mexico. Last year at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival Nations Cup I was on the Canadian team and we won the gold medal. That was a first for Canada! In the Freestyle, with my horse Laurencio, I got 78.8% which was a world record score for the small tour ( Prix St. George and Intermediare 1). As far as I know the record still holds. Laurencio was awarded the Equestrian Canada Horse of the Year Award for 2017.
Tell me about the horse you are competing with. Laurencio is an 11 year old Oldenburg horse. We got him when he was 4. He came over with Donegal ( her husband Jaimey Irwin’s horse). They are really BFFs. We did the Pas de Deux ( two horses ‘dancing’ together to music)at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto . When we arrived at the Royal we were prepared to do the Pas de Deux in the evening but we were asked if we could do it in the afternoon, as well, to fill in for someone who had to drop out. Laurencio went into the stadium (a large indoor stadium that seats several thousand people) he had no chance to see it before the performance and he just said: “Let’s go!” I own him with Jaimey. He is gentle and very sweet. My four year old daughter can lead him around and groom him. He is very sensitive to ride but also very rideable and level headed.
What is the most difficult thing about a competition season like this one here in Florida? Juggling everything. Training, teaching, making a living, raising two young children, taking them to dance class, Montessori school, trying to keep things normal, trying to reach our own goals…..there is a lot of pressure and stress.
If you had not become a professional rider what other career might you have chosen? I would like to be a journalist.
If you could ride any horse, of any discipline, who would it be? I would like to ride Valegro (British rider Charlotte Dujardin’s double gold medal winning Olympic horse in 2012 and 2016)
Best of luck to Tina and Laurencio going forward. This is another great combination of horse and rider for Canada.