Hard work continues as Zara Phillips eyes Olympic gold at Rio
WINNING an Olympic medal this summer might have been a dream come true for Zara Phillips.
But the queen's granddaughter, who lives in Cheltenham with her rugby star husband Mike Tindall, is already focusing on her chances for Rio in four years time.
Zara said it had not been a case of resting on her laurels.
Instead, with the eventing season running for another month, she has stayed firmly in the saddle.
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She said: "Of course I'm now longing to go to Rio in 2016, but for the time being I have to get back down to earth and focus on my other horses.
"The eventing season isn't over yet and I need to qualify them for competitions next year.
"I seem to spend my life driving between Cheltenham and the yard at Gatcombe.
"My Range Rover is always caked in mud and filled with everything I need and our two dogs, Sway and Storm, who come pretty much everywhere with me. But that is the life we lead.
"People assume I always look like I do in my riding kit or in a dress at a social event, but the day-to-day me is driving around in my filthy car with my dogs in the boot, wearing a pair of jeans and a hoody."
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Zara admitted that times for her and her husband to relax were few and far between.
She said: "On the rare occasions that we do get a weekend off, we enjoy spending it together at our home in Cheltenham, with the dogs of course.
"I'll make a quick detour to Waitrose on the way back from the yard and Mike and I will cook something easy for supper – probably Italian.
"As most of my socialising takes place at competitions during the eventing season, I like the contrast of a quiet Saturday night at a pub with friends and then on Sunday I'll go swimming and catch up on all the chores I haven't done.
"I enjoy having Sunday lunch with the family and, when it's cold and wet outside, watching a film afterwards.
"This will all have to wait though, as it's not until October that I'll hang up my boots for the season.
"For the time being it's more early starts and long journeys in the lorry.
"I often get back to the yard in the middle of the night and spend the next hour unloading the horses and all the kit which can be exhausting."
But Zara admitted she still enjoyed coming back home to Cheltenham.
"There's nothing like returning home to Mike and the dogs after a competition and sleeping in my own bed," she said.
"And despite the unsociable hours, it never takes much to get me back in the saddle the next day.
"I'm lucky that I am able to do what I love."