Young rider Adam Gillespie has his sights set on the Great Britain Young Rider Eventing Team for 2014.
He and his three horses are in training every day at the gallops and in the ménage at the family home near Corbridge in Northumberland, but like all aspiring riders, Adam and his equine companions have quite a few Olympic-shaped hoops to jump through before the selection date in five years' time.
Last year Adam was thrilled to be chosen as a reserve to represent Britain at the 2013 FEI European Eventing Junior Championships.
This year, as a 19 year old, he moves on to the Young Rider age category and over the next four months will be competing in several events all over the UK for a place in the Great Britain Young Rider squad. The results will be announced in July 2014.
In addition to home-based training, Adam travels to the Yorkshire Riding Centre to have lessons with world renowned instructor Chris Bartle who is himself a dressage Olympian, Badminton winner and trainer of the Olympic gold medal winning German event team in Hong Kong. Chris puts Adam through his paces with rigorous exercises in dressage, jumping and cross country techniques.
Adam currently has three horses to compete on: Kasseedorf, a much loved Trakehner gelding; Gray Fin Bouncer; and Activ Limited Edition. He is currently looking for a fourth. All his horses are stabled at his Northumberland home so he's up at six every morning and off to the gallops, often with all three!
As well as having lessons from an Olympic champion, Adam's horses are tended to by Chartered Physiotherapist, Olympic Equine Physiotherapist and Kinesio Instructor Lee Clark, BSc MCSP SRP ACPAT KTAI, who is based in Darlington and worked with the Olympic team horses from all competing nations at London 2012.
In February 2014, Lee noticed that Kasseedorf was lacking muscle tone in his left hind and applied Kinesio Taping to build it up. Immediately the tape was applied Adam noticed a difference in Kasseedorf's gait and within six to eight weeks both sides were far more level. "The improvement with a relatively short space of time was uncanny", says Adam. It wasn't a huge problem but if we had left it like that, then the right hind would eventually have started to over-compensate and we could have run into big problems. It's amazing how Kinesio Tape, correctly applied, can help correct an issue like this quite quickly whereas in the past it might have taken months of massage and manipulation. I'm now a huge fan and may even try it out on my own aches and pains!"
Adam's next competition event which will count towards his place in the Young Rider squad - and ultimately the Olympic 2020 team - will be Burnham Market Horse Trials in Norfolk from 17 - 19 April. In between there will be hours and hours of training, travelling and exercise.
It's a tough schedule for the aspiring young rider and his horses, but he says: "I have a great team, including a very supportive family, the best professional training, and superb physiotherapy - which will now always include Kinesio Taping of course! I'm very grateful to the people behind me for all their advice, support and encouragement."
So let's all keep tabs on Adam Gillespie and cross fingers for selection to Great Britain Young Riders this year!