The latest Harry Hall Yard Visit took us to the training yard of modern pentathlete and Olympic silver medallist Samantha Murray. Modern pentathlon combines the five disciplines of riding, swimming, running, fencing and shooting in one day! Sam has been part of the Harry Hall Riding team for a few years and we’re proud to support such a hard-working athlete who’s unfaltering discipline and motivation has won her an Olympic medal. She’s a massive fan of the soft leather Caldene Casoria Riding Boots and wears them when competing internationally.

An enthusiastic group of young tetrathlon and pentathlon competitors were lucky enough to win tickets, and learnt a lot from Sam and the team at Jabeena Maslin Equestrian.

1) Jabeena and her team predominantly breed and compete Show Jumpers. She also trains pentathletes and pentathlon horses which are supplied for big competitions in the UK. Most of the horses used are Show Jumpers that didn't quite make the grade.

2) A pentathlon horse must have a good, even, straight canter and not be reliant on a rider to set them up coming to a fence. Ideally then need to be able to go with very little contact, to canter and jump from a good even rhythm. The horses at Jabeena’s have other jobs too, including dressage and hunting.

3) Most pentathletes ride once a week, and sometimes will have as little as 3 months training! On top of riding once a week, Sam’s weekly training schedule as a full time athlete involves 4 swim and running sessions, 2 gym sessions, 4 sets of shooting practice and 3 fencing sessions. You really do have to be a jack of all trades! On top of this Sam crams in physio and sports phycology sessions. 

3) Did you know…that in competition, pentathletes have a mere 20 minutes and only 4 practice jumps to get to know their horses before completing their Show Jumping round. And astonishingly in the Olympics the show jumps are 1m20. Sam has a riding background which helps her when approaching the larger jumps but there are many who have not ridden previously so this phase can be particularly challenging. It’s essential to ride different horses in training to get used to figuring out how they tick in a short space of time.

4) Every effort is made to make the 20-minute warm up session productive, a video technician records and analyses the test rounds of each horse and reports back to Jabeena once the draw has been made. She then passes on advice to every rider based on what she has seen.

5) To deal with nerves, Sam will write herself notes of tips and powerful quotes to remind herself of keys the things that help her focus when it matters. 

Our next yard visit will be announced shortly, please like and follow us on Facebook at Harry Hall Riding to learn about this free series of visits to top competition yards around the UK or sign up to our newsletter here.