OLIVIA OAKELEY and her top horse Donna Summer (Rio) rode a striking test in the team championships despite a couple of mistakes and achieved a pleasing 15th out of 63 riders with 67.5%.

However, the pressure proved too much for Donna Summer and he was not at his best for the Individual Championships and the pairing did not make it through to the Dressage to Music stage.

“It can be hugely stressful, especially when the selectors are watching,” said Olivia.

“Sadly, Rio decided he didn't feel like performing as well as he had done on the Team Test.”

The GB team finished fifth overall to achieve the same placing as last year; notably, all the individual scores were higher showing that the standard of international dressage is improving year on year.

“The standard of competition this year was really high, and it keeps getting better,” said Olivia.

“In international competitions it can be hard to prepare mentally. You just have to ensure that you are happy in your horse and you have a clear game plan, otherwise it can get really stressful.”

The young GB team were lucky to have their own superstar fly out and offer advice, as well as a support network of nervous parents and conscientious grooms.

“British Dressage pays for grooms and I was lucky to have someone I knew and she was a huge confidence giver,” said Olivia.

“Carl Hester came out to help Sam (Thruman-Baker) and I despite a very early start as I was the first rider to go at 7.30am on the Thursday.”

Olivia has previously ridden with Carl as a working pupil at his yard near Newent.

“I’ve been back with Carl for three weeks and I am going to stay until September when I am heading to Hartpury to do my A-Levels,” said Olivia.

“I will be taking Rio with me and going back to Carl in the holidays.”

Olivia and some of her other team-mates will progress into Young Rider teams next year. She is already looking to the future.

“Hopefully, we will get through the Addington qualifier for the National Championships in two weeks’ time.

“Winter will be a nice break before Young Riders next year as I will be taking part in the Prix St Georges which is much harder.”