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Five minutes with Alana Sparrow

The day after her win in the BE100 Mitsubishi Motors Cup competition, Alana Sparrow told us all about competing with Rasshied Din’s Angels Spirit. 

How are you feeling?
It is slowly sinking in. Everything seemed to happen very quickly, so I didn’t really have much time alone to think about what happened. I’m definitely very pleased!
How did you celebrate winning the BE100 Mitsubishi Motors Cup?
We went out in the evening. I was lucky enough to win a course walk with Lucinda Green around the five star course right after my cross country. Unfortunately, I had to sneak off early to get back for the prize giving! I should think there will be more celebrations when we get back home.
How did you prepare for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup?
I made sure Angels Spirit (aka ‘Goose’) was fit enough. Luckily, we are based on a big farm, so there’s room for me to do my hill work and fast work. I simulated a lot of the fences in our big school and also went cross country schooling locally at Comphurst Farm, which has lots of similar style fences which is great. 
I’ve been training with Alex Wyatt and Ian Woodhead for dressage, Donald Kear for gridwork, and Nick Turner and Caroline Jeanne for show jumping and cross country. Caroline has been a brilliant mentor to me. Nick was kind enough to do a course walk for a few of us round the cross country and show jumping courses the night before, which was invaluable. He also warmed me up for the show jumping – he’s brilliant and keeps everything so simple. I was very lucky to have this help! 
What went differently this time?
This is my fourth time at the Cup. For the first two years I was at university in the middle of exams, which isn’t helpful – particularly as the horse I was riding was quirky! 
Last year I was with Goose. The ground was very wet and deep, which she absolutely hates, so that really didn’t help us. This time we’ve had another year together, so we’re more experienced. The conditions were perfect for her and I’ve had the time to really plan my preparation and get the right trainers to help me reach my goals.
What are your future eventing plans?
I want to jump the five star course. I’d never walked round it before Wednesday – it was brilliant! I have a few young horses to ride, who will hopefully move higher up the levels in the coming years and I’m very excited!