10 Questions with Blenheim-Bound Kate Chadderton

Kate Chadderton's weekly training tips have been extremely popular here on EN, so we caught up with her to get more details on her plans for the rest of the 2015 season, which include a trip to England to compete at the Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials with Patrick McCuan's VS McCuan Civil Liberty.

Kate Chadderton and VS McCuan Civil Liberty. Photo by Leslie Wylie. Kate Chadderton and VS McCuan Civil Liberty. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

After a trip to the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event with with Rege Dvorsky’s Collection Pass in April and another trip up to Bromont CCI with her string of off-track Thoroughbreds at the beginning of June, Maryland-based Aussie Kate Chadderton’s season is well underway.

Kate will now have a few closer stops on her eventing agenda before crossing the Atlantic Ocean with Patrick McCuan’s VS McCuan Civil Liberty (who EN talent spotted back in 2012) on her way to compete at the Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials, and we got a great opportunity to chat with Kate at her beautiful home base in Woodbine, Maryland, before she kicks into high gear.

EN: What prompted your move from Australia to the United States?

Kate: “Boyd (Martin) was integral in the process. He had strongly encouraged me to come over and check out the scene. I had a gap in my competition season, so I decided to come over here and check it out while Rolex was going on. Both Boyd and Heath Ryan, my old trainer from Australia, were competing that year, and it seemed like a good time to check it out.

“I came over without a strong plan to move, but within an hour of landing in Kentucky, I had decided to sell everything then and make the move.”

EN: What is the biggest difference between U.S. eventing and eventing in Australia?

Kate: “There are many differences, but this might sum them all up. In Australia, the horses run at 45-second intervals, so read into that how you like. There is a lot more riding on farms and not barns. Most people keep their horses on their own farms and not in a boarding situation.

“There is a lot more traveling in Australia as well. For example, to get to Adelaide it takes a couple days of travel compared to here, where it’s rare to travel more than a day’s time to get to an event. Also, there are more events here; during the season you can event every week if you wanted to.”

Kate Chadderton and Buckharo. Photo by Jenni Autry.

EN: What events are on your competition bucket list?

Kate: “I want to say the big four-stars, but I would really like to do Aachen, the greatest horse show on earth. I’d like to do Badminton and Burghley, which I see me checking those off my list in the not too distant future, maybe with Liberty.

“I’d love to compete at Luhmühlen and Blenheim, which will get checked off shortly. Really I would like to compete in every country that hosts a three-day. It’s a global thing for me, not just United States or Australia.”

EN: If you could give advice to an aspiring upper-level eventer, what would it be?

Kate: “Go to college and get a business degree. Then find a rider that believes in you and train with them until they will no longer have you around. You need a cheerleader, and you need to learn how to market yourself and how to use money when you get it.”

EN: What was the name of your first horse?

Kate: “Bluey — she was a white Welsh Mountain Pony. Mum got her when I was about 4, and I wasn’t allowed to ride her off the lunge rein until I was about 7 because she would run away. Come to think of it, I would still ride her on occasion until I was about 15, and she would still run away. I never did learn how to stop that horse.”

Kate Chadderton and VS McCuan Civil Liberty. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Kate Chadderton and VS McCuan Civil Liberty. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

EN: What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

Kate: “Never, never, never give up.” Sometimes this sport is easy, sometimes it’s hard, sometimes things go your way and other times they don’t. There is no such thing as luck because you make your own luck, but be sure that when things get hard you just put one foot in front of the other and never give up. Before you know it, you will find success.”

EN: If you could take a spin on any horse, past or present, who would it be?

Kate: “I love little horses, so I would have to say Mark Todd’s Charisma. He was very popular when I was a kid, so I had him on my school books. I’d watch videos of him, and I saw him carry the torch into the arena of the Commonwealth Games in Auckland in 1990.

“To me he was the most famous horse or, for that matter, the most famous living thing, and he was my hero. I also had heard he was quite grumpy. I would also like another chance with my first three-star horse, Danny, as a 6-year-old. I think he was one of the best horses I will ever ride.”

EN: Do you have any superstitions or good luck charms?

Kate: “Every single day, I put my left shoe on first. I also have a little saying that I repeat to myself before leaving the start box on every horse regardless of the level.” (She would not tell me the saying no matter how hard I tried to convince her!)

Kate Chadderton and Collection Pass. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Kate Chadderton and Collection Pass. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

EN: If you didn’t have to worry about running your business for six months, who would you go train with?

Kate: “I love show jumping; it’s a passion of mine. So I would love to go spend the time with Olympic gold medalist Scott Brash. Even this morning I watched his winning Grand Prix jump round from the Global Champions Tour maybe five or six times.”

EN: With your intention to travel to Blenheim this September, how will you and Liberty prepare? Will any of Liberty’s owners or your friends travel to Woodstock to cheer you on?

Kate: “We are going to Millbrook first at Advanced, then Richland for the three-star, and then Five Points right before we leave.

“I am hoping to be joined by one of Liberty’s owners, but she is competing at Dressage at Devon that same week. I’m hoping the ride times work out so that she will be able to join me.

“One of my best friends lives in London. I’m beyond excited to see her and for her to be able to come watch Liberty and I ride at Blenheim. Kylie and I went through Pony Club together, went to our first event together, and she still follows closely on all the things I do.”