Chat Transcript - Eventer Bobby Costello

Here's the transcript of our chat September 18 with Olympic Three-Day Event rider Bobby Costello, who recently returned from a top 20 finish at Burghley.
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Here's the transcript of our chat September 18 with Olympic Three-Day Event rider Bobby Costello, who recently returned from a top 20 finish at Burghley.

EquisearchADM: Hello everyone, Bobby Costello will be joining us in a moment

bobby costello

BobbyCostello: Hello!

BobbyCostello: Welcome to tonight's chat!

Guest242: Hi Bobby, Congrats at Burghley!!! What made competing in the Olympics the most fun?

BobbyCostello: What made the Olympics fun? I would have to say getting to meet all the other equestrian athletes--

BobbyCostello: those in the three-day as well as the dressage and show jumpers. I got to see what they do a little more closely. Other than that--actually being in the competition was when I was having the most fun!

Guest242: Did you get to meet many other athletes from other sports and countries

BobbyCostello: Not a whole lot. We stayed in a hotel out near the horse park, so there were only a few times I was able to go into the Olympic village. I did meet a lot of people during the Opening Ceremonies.

Guest2195: How did the Olympics compare to Burghley?

BobbyCostello: The Olympics and Burghley? The atmosphere was a bit different. Even though Burghley is one of the biggest 4-star events, it was nice not to have so much security. At the Olympics, I didn't get to see the people who were there supporting me.

Guest2195: Do you think the tragedy last week will tighten security at all international events even more?

BobbyCostello: I'm sure at international events security will be even more evident. International, world championships and Olympic Games, I think will have more security--for those events that are widely publicized.

Guest1698: How did the courses compare?

BobbyCostello: The course in Sydney looked a bit harder when I walked it, than Burghley, but as it happens, I think the Burghley course rode a lot harder than I expected.

Guest242: what would you say has been your best performance?

BobbyCostello: I would have to say it's a toss up between the Kentucky in 2000 where the pressure was really on for me to do well to have any hope to go to the Olympics--and probably the Olympics itself.

Guest1698: Thank you. What were the obstacles that surprised you by their difficulty?

BobbyCostello: What obstacles surprised me? Walking the course at Burghley, I was most concerned with the Waterloo rails. The false take off point with a large drop afterwards followed by six strides and a jump almost identically the same. If you didn't have your line, your balance the same, you really could have had an ending to your round.

Guest2195: Do you train many students?

BobbyCostello: Yes, although I don't teach probably as much as some--like the international event riders. I enjoy teaching, but I find I am so busy with my own horses and competing as much as I do, it limits me as to how many students I can take it on. I am always very aware of teacher burn-out. I'm always concerned for how many students I have.

Guest1698: What were your horse's strengths and weaknesses in Burghley?

BobbyCostello: I thought his strengths were probably his jumping sequences. Although, we did have a few surprising time penalties, he jumped as well as ever.

BobbyCostello: Weaknesses? I was pleased with my dressage test, but it still has to improve by 8-10 points to start out in the top ten where you have a real legitimate shot of winning.

Guest242: Tell us about your new horse that is headed for Fair Hill?

Guest2195: How old is Chevalier?

BobbyCostello: His name is Dalliance. He was supposed to be ridden at Burghley, but I bought him the week before. I knew he was on the market and bought him before Burghley. He had finished 11th last year--I wanted him to come to me to do his next 4-star. He's about 16'3, he's 11-years-old, and very much the gentleman, and very talented. My goal for him is to give me two shots at the World Games next year. Chavalier is 12.

Guest1698: I'm sorry. I know we're jumping around here, but back to Burghley. The Waterloo Rails sound very daunting. Did many riders mess up there, and what other fences took their toll?

BobbyCostello: Back to the Waterloo rails--I think the jump caused a couple of falls, due to inaccurate riding, mostly. It really rode much better that I thought it would.

BobbyCostello: I'm going through the course in my head--I didn't get to watch very much, but I think the problems were pretty evenly spread out around the course--and not one fence was more influential than another.

Guest2195: What type of horse would you recommend for an adult beginning eventer?

BobbyCostello: For an adult beginning eventer I would recommend a horse with some experience which may mean that you are looking for an older horse, but it must be a safe jumper--experienced. The horse being a safe jumper is most important. The horse shouldn't be too strong, and should respect the jumps. That would be more important to me than a horse that is great on the flat, but not reliable to the jumps. As you gain more experience, you can start looking for something that is more competitive in all the phases. (Once you feel like you could train them.)

Guest2195: Is Pony Club the best start for a young eventer?

BobbyCostello: I think Pony Club is a great start for any young kid wanting to get into eventing.

BobbyCostello: But, I think it's also important not to rely solely on Pony Club for instruction, because not everyone's rate of learning is going to be the same, and you want to make sure you're improving and moving up at a rate that's fitting for you.

Guest1698: What person has had the most influence on your career, and in what way?

BobbyCostello: Who has had the most influence? That's pretty easy. Mark Phillips has had the most influence on my riding. I started riding with him about eight years ago at a time in my career when I really needed to start getting serious and he has really inspired me to keep trying to achieve--things I didn't know were achievable.

Guest2195: Do you work with any other coaches?

BobbyCostello: Cindy Sydnor in North Carolina--I usually meet up with her 5-6 times a year. She really helps me with my position--making sure it's correct. She really helps me with the communication with my horses. Jumping wise I don't have one person that I show jump with. Although in the past I have obtained lots of help with Joey Darby in Southern Pines. He's a well-known show jump trainer.

Guest2195: What are your short-term goals? How about long-term?

BobbyCostello: I have two horses--Dalliance and Ayvric--I'd like to do well enough with those two to be competitive in Kentucky next year in the 4-star.

BobbyCostello: Long term? To have a couple of horses ready and qualified to do the World Games next year in Spain.

BobbyCostello: One would compete, but have a chance with a couple.

Guest2195: Is there a lot of camaraderie among the three-day riders?

BobbyCostello: Friends with 3-day riders? Yes. I wasn't sure what to expect last year with the Sydney training camps. Everyone got along really well and were supportive toward each other. They eventers train together, so we have more time to get to know each other and time to learn to care how the others do.

Guest2195: What do you think about the new rules at Burghley regarding the team/individual medals?

Guest1698: Do you have a relaxation -- or revving up -- technique before you go in the ring? What are you thinking before you ride down to that first fence?

BobbyCostello: Like the one at Burghley--I think the two show jumping rounds are important to keep show jumping in the Olympics, but I'm not sure it's the best way to go about it. There has been talk of having one of the show jumping rounds before the cross-country to decide the team medals, then the show jumping on the last day to decide the personal medals. I think that might be a better way to go--although, I'm not thrilled about any part of the Olympic competition becoming more like a CIC format.

BobbyCostello: A relaxation technique? I do a lot of visualization about an hour before I get on my horse. I go sit in my car or just go to a quiet place and visualize myself jumping the whole course--picturing myself keeping position the whole time.

Guest2195: What do you think is the biggest challenge facing eventing now?

BobbyCostello: Not letting the perceived need for change--which I think is quite legitimate in some cases

BobbyCostello: --change the sport so drastically that we regret those decisions a couple years down the road.

BobbyCostello: I think over the past decade there have been a lot of changes to the sport which has definitely

BobbyCostello: improved the sport, but those changes were made over a long period of time with a lot of thought.

BobbyCostello: It seems like we are implementing change to make it look like we're doing something to please the rest of the equestrian world. They might just not like our sport.

Guest2195: Now that Mark Todd is retired, who do you think is the overall best in the world now?

Guest1698: I know you're about to leave us. Thank you. I figure it's like the Spanish Inquisition on your end, but I've enjoyed it immensely -- and learned some things.

BobbyCostello: Best now? I would say it's a toss-up between Blyth Tait and Andrew Nicholson and quite honestly Kim Vinoski. She has incredible talent in all three phases, plus she is so mentally tough and is rounding out a very nice group of riders for the future.

Guest2195: What about David O'Connor?

Guest880: Thank you Bobby...have a nice evening everyone

Joan: Thanks very much!

BobbyCostello: I'm not sure about David's string of horses at the moment--whether they'll carry him to the same success he had. He's starting with a group of nice young horses. You can definitely never rule him out.

BobbyCostello: Thank you all for a coming to the chat. I hope it was informative and fun.

BobbyCostello: Thanks for being patient.