Welcome to The Debrief, where we’ll recap the experience of a rider following a big result or otherwise memorable competition.

Cosby Green has had quite the year. She made the move to the UK back in March, basing with Tim and Jonelle Price at Chedington Equestrian Centre for the season. That in itself was a dream come true, and the season ended in similar fashion, with a top 20 finish in her first 5* at Pau, with Copper Beach, aka “Sean”. We caught up with her to hear everything about that fairy tale weekend in France, as well as her plans for the off season – and what the future may hold, too.

Cosby Green and Copper Beach. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

What was your number one goal for the weekend at your first five-star?
So, I would say my number one goal — though I certainly wouldn’t quite say the expectation, but thankfully I was sat on an experienced horse — was to do my best in all three phases and have a really good cross-country round.

I wanted to get round, because it was absolutely possible, and I knew we could do it, and then besides from that, I was really hoping for a top 25% finish. I was just short of that, which is a shame, but I would say results-wise, I was hoping for that. I kind of came in knowing that we could do it, and wanting to prove to the rest of the world that we could do it, too.

What was it like to go to your first 5* with ‘Team Price?’
Oh my gosh, at every event they’re like my home away from home, and they take care of me! Just that support system is so influential, and having that at every show is amazing — and especially at a 5*. That comfort and support is amazing, and it gives me so much confidence, learning from people who are so cool, calm, and collected. It was really influential to be surrounded by that at my first 5*. As I approached it, I just tried to be the way they are in everything they do; they’re such good role models and a great team to be around.

Cosby Green and Copper Beach. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

What did you practice the most in the weeks leading up to the event?
I think the whole picture, really. From when I first got here [in the UK] Jonelle had been talking about Pau, and that being our end goal, so everything we did was with that in mind. That was a little different for me; they definitely see the one-day events as good practice runs, so that was a shift in mindset for me, and they did the same for the short-format events too.

Every single competition I did, it was like, how is this going to better my performance at Pau? How is this going to affect his fitness? Everything was just planned so far out, so everything was set up to peak at Pau, ever since I arrived in March. That process was really, really cool to see and experience, and that’s always been it since I got here, so I wasn’t too overwhelmed because it’s something we have been preparing for the whole year.

Describe your feelings after finishing cross country in three words.
Relief. Emotional. Proud.

What did you do afterwards, did you have time to relax and take it all in?
I was actually super excited – my boyfriend who I’ve been apart from this whole year, he pulled off a surprise and showed up for two days. He showed up cross country morning, two hours before and I was so excited to see him, but at the same time, I knew I had to stay focused on the task at hand. But then I crossed the finish line, and it really resonated with me that he actually flew across the world to come see me. After that, I was an emotional wreck!

My whole family was there too, so we got a nice dinner, and we went out for a drink and  Allie Knowles – who was my coach back in the US — was there competing, too, so we all had a nice drink and a nice evening and tried to celebrate. We knew that it was a case of ‘who knows what tomorrow [show jumping day] holds.’ But we tried to do a nice little celebration, and it was just really special to be in France with the people that I care about. 

Cosby Green and Copper Beach. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

What about after the event as a whole – did you spend any time rewatching your ride? Did you have a debrief with Tim and Jonelle?
Yeah, so I talked to Jonelle a little afterwards, about how we’re going to plan better for the next 5*. She was like, “You’ve got it under your belt, you did what you needed to do.” I know my horse is never going to be first after dressage, and show jumping is always a little bit difficult. But she was still like, “well done,” and then right on to the next time – “ride him in the morning of show jumping and cross country; make sure you half-halt a little more.”

That is very much my mentality as well – let’s learn to see what we can do better next time and make the improvement and make the change happen. Enjoy the holidays is how we left it though!

But I love watching the round back, and how much my horse tried for me. I was just so happy, more than anything, at just how amazing my horse came through it; he just loves it. I think to me, more than anything, that meant the world to me, and maybe the happiest and the most proud. Yes, the riding was great, but the fact that my horse is just an absolute legend, and the fact that he came through and is just ready for more, that meant the most to me.

What is the number one thing you learned about yourself that weekend? What did you learn about your horse?
Yes…that I want to do it again! It’s so special. This is what I want to do, and I want to plan my life to be as successful as I can in this sport and be with people that make it special and enjoy the special horses and the moments and to remember that that’s kind of what we chase after and are hoping for — that feeling of the 5* and accomplishing something that when you walk it for the first time, you don’t even understand how the horses can do it! Then you go and do it and it’s just such an amazing feeling. And I learned that, you know, maybe I’m not too bad at this horse thing! It’s nice to be able to put 5* next to my name and it makes me feel proud, and that I’m good enough.

As for my horse…. I learned that he knows when to turn it on! And that he is a little bit fresher – because he’s generally the most quiet horse – but then he just gets a little fresh at these big shows. I think I just learned that he loves it and continues to do so: he truly made it feel like a walk in the park. He’s just a really cool guy!

Cosby Green and Copper Beach. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

What would you say has been the biggest thing you’ve overcome en route to having the result you did this weekend?
We had a pretty sweet build up to the event. We really worked hard at the show jumping, so it’s a shame that I couldn’t have ridden that better for a clear round. That would be the biggest struggle. The dressage has gotten better though; we’re chipping away at those points!

If you could talk to your younger self, what advice would you give her?
I think I would tell myself to never stop loving it and never stop loving the horses.

I’ve been such a horse nerd my whole life and when in doubt, just to lean in on that — the love of the horse. Sometimes you come across people that maybe aren’t meant for you, and may [stray from the path] to the top, but just have faith in the reason why you got into this in the first place. That has always held my faith together.

Cosby Green and Copper Beach. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

How do you plan to spend your off season? What do you like to do when you’re not riding and competing all the time?
Since my return to the US, I’m really trying to start to launch my brand and my business and kind of prepare for things when I come back home. I guess I’m kind of focussing more on the ‘admin’ side of being an athlete. I’ve learned so much from them [Tim and Jonelle], and I have a couple of ideas, so I’ve really started to think about structuring that.

Then, while I’m here in America, I’m trying to meet with as many people as I can, ride as many different horses and just catch up and maintain relationships with people, as well as to think about what’s coming next after the season — how can I best prepare for that?

Other than that, my old trainer Allie Knowles is also back in Lexington, and we’ve been talking about doing a party or a celebration. It’s not happened yet — it was going to happen right when we got back, but we were both tired from the time change. But hopefully we can do something with our friends — do a celebration here in a couple of weeks, a kind of ‘We did it!’ So that’s coming — it’s just not happened yet!

But it’s been pretty normal, just a lot of family time.  I’m so excited for my parents — they’ve been so supportive, and they were there to watch, and I’ve just been able to rehash the weekend with them and live it over and they had just as much fun as I did. They’re just as involved and into it and so I’d say it’s been a lot of celebrating with my parents more than anything!

Cosby Green and Copper Beach. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Looking forward to the future, what are your plans? Are you going back to Europe for another season…or longer?!
So, I’m coming back to the UK in December, to get the horses back in work again, then home for Christmas, then back to the UK in January for next season.

I can only stay there for about two years. My visa is only good for two years, so I don’t foresee myself trying to stay longer than that. This year went better than expected, and the horses are ready to take on a full other season. So, it’s hard to leave just yet, I’m not quite ready!

But the plan is definitely to start up my own program and barn in the US, and I’m starting to think about that because I was supposed to be home by now with all the horses and it was only supposed to be a nine-month stint. But here I am!


Autor Diana Gilbertson

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