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I'm a professional showjumper - AMA

(151 Posts)
showjumper Tue 07-Aug-18 08:03:33

As the title says grin

Feel free to ask me anything!

Urbanbeetler Tue 07-Aug-18 08:13:06

How many people in your situation come from poor or very modest backgrounds? Is it possible to become a showjumper with no financial support throughout the process? This isn’t having a dog - we have a brilliant teen horsewoman in our family but there is no money.

my3bears Tue 07-Aug-18 08:17:40

How professional are you?! What level do you compete at and in which country?

showjumper Tue 07-Aug-18 08:26:02

How many people in your situation come from poor or very modest backgrounds? Is it possible to become a showjumper with no financial support throughout the process?

If you are using "poor" to describe a stereotypical council house, NWM - type family, I would say unfortunately very few and far between. I personally do not know any & I know of only one or two.
Obviously it isn't impossible but I would say it's improbable for individuals to make it to a even a relatively decent level with no financial support.

It's incredibly unfair.

To your very keen teen, I would absolutely encourage her to gain her teaching qualifications through BHS & not to quit her education - I have a degree to fall back on in case of injury etc grin best of luck to her x

TaggieCampbellBlack Tue 07-Aug-18 08:27:32

How like Riders is it?

showjumper Tue 07-Aug-18 08:27:44

@my3bears

How professional are you?! What level do you compete at and in which country?**

I compete at international level & am based in the UK

Rainbowmelon Tue 07-Aug-18 08:29:39

Why are so many people in the industry ehem... unpleasant?

EmmaC78 Tue 07-Aug-18 08:29:49

How do you get the horses used to going on planes?

spottybetty Tue 07-Aug-18 08:30:09

Is Zara Tindall as nice as she appears?

What do you think about the controversy over Oliver Townend using his whip too much at Badminton cross country in May?

showjumper Tue 07-Aug-18 08:32:49

@TaggieCampbellBlack

How like Riders is it?

Can I start by saying how much I love your username grin

Unfortunately not similar at all... Riders was one of my favourite books growing up though! I remember sneaking it out of my mums room and staying up reading under the covers all night, aged 14 😝

MrsMozart Tue 07-Aug-18 08:33:13

When you started was it all family money or did you seek sponsorship?

I ask because we've sponsored people in the past but have, on the whole, found their appetite for the work needed to be somewhat limited. We weren't at international level though so maybe that makes a difference.

showjumper Tue 07-Aug-18 08:36:34

@Rainbowmelon

Why are so many people in the industry ehem... unpleasant?

In my opinion, there can be a lot of jealousy and this is usually the fuel. They are often the ones that lack any real knowledge so are the ones best to avoid.

Sunnybeachbabe Tue 07-Aug-18 08:38:55

How old were you when you could ride properly (off the lead rein) and how old were you when you first jumped?

Do you own the horses you ride or do you get approached to ride other people's?

When you walk a course is there anything that would scare you?

WhyDidIEatThat Tue 07-Aug-18 08:40:39

What does your typical riding week look like - do you do lots of flatwork too or does someone else do that?

showjumper Tue 07-Aug-18 08:41:06

@EmmaC78

The horses are loaded into horse container stables so they have lots of room & are comfortable during the flight. One of my grooms will usually travel alongside them to keep them calm and hydrated. There is always a vet with them too, just in case.

The horses never seem to mind it. Only once has one of mine panicked & needed sedative. It was a horrible situation but he was absolutely fine.

Frouby Tue 07-Aug-18 08:42:26

What is your day to day life like?

Do you still muck out and do yard duties?

Do you school youngsters or do you have grooms do that?

What has been your favourite ever horse and why?

Do you own your own horses or just ride for owners?

And why sjing and not dressage or eventing?

showjumper Tue 07-Aug-18 08:47:29

@spottybetty

Is Zara Tindall as nice as she appears?

What do you think about the controversy over Oliver Townend using his whip too much at Badminton cross country in May?

I have only been lucky enough to meet Zara a few times as she is an eventer and we tend to mix in different circles. Saying that, when I have met her, she has been nothing but friendly (and Mia is gorgeous too 😍).

I would like to believe that Oliver was ignorant to how much he was using his whip and if he realised what he was doing, he would have ridden differently. I personally would not ride my horses like that and would not condone what he did in any way.

WhyDidIEatThat Tue 07-Aug-18 08:48:25

Any specific exercises you can recommend for extremely green, extremely cautious horses to control speed going into a jump and limit broncing after?

DreamingofSunshine Tue 07-Aug-18 08:52:58

I'm unwell and rereading Jilly Cooper's Riders so I'm going to pretend your life is exactly like that wink

What is a typical day like for you?

What will you do once you can no longer compete?

showjumper Tue 07-Aug-18 08:56:33

@MrsMozart

When you started was it all family money or did you seek sponsorship?

I ask because we've sponsored people in the past but have, on the whole, found their appetite for the work needed to be somewhat limited. We weren't at international level though so maybe that makes a difference.

Great question grin

As a child, it was family money (which wasn't much compared to some families!). I'd be lying if I said that my family haven't helped me out over the years - it would have been impossible without them to start.

I received my first sponsor aged 11 - I still have that sponsor today alongside quite a few more!

Although not the most proactive approach, my sponsors have all come to me. It is really sad that businesses will invest time and money and not see anything from their investment. I would definitely keep an eye out, at shows, in H&H, even on Facebook forums, for individuals that seem to be doing well and maybe ask to visit their yards before sponsoring. Good luck!

Dapplegrey Tue 07-Aug-18 08:59:13

I ask because we've sponsored people in the past but have, on the whole, found their appetite for the work needed to be somewhat limited

Mrsmozart - I don't understand this sentence. Surely you need sponsees who have an unlimited appetite for work?

LadyKyliePonsonbyFarquhar Tue 07-Aug-18 09:00:22

How much money do you make?

Flyingarcher Tue 07-Aug-18 09:01:37

Are you a Whittaker or a Skelton? Or related to the Edgars? Honestly, for those who don't have a family background, how difficult is it to get up to elite level? Tell me John Whittaker (whom I idolised as a preteen - good old Ryan's Son) is less taciturn as he comes across. He does tend to embody Yorkshire monolsylabic grit.smile

Twistella Tue 07-Aug-18 09:04:36

We event so make absolutely no money grin

Could you ride a full up xc course if you had to? And what would you say a horse needs to be a showjumper as opposed to an eventer? (we always have horses that are great xc but sj is our weakest phase by far)

showjumper Tue 07-Aug-18 09:05:20

@Sunnybeachbabe

How old were you when you could ride properly (off the lead rein) and how old were you when you first jumped?

Do you own the horses you ride or do you get approached to ride other people's?

When you walk a course is there anything that would scare you?

I genuinely have no idea when I was off the lead rein - I will ask Mum later! I'm guessing around 2-3 for both.

It's about a 50:50 split. I do have my own, some co-owned with various family members/business partners then I will ride on behalf of owners too.

There isn't much that would scare me personally but I will always walk the course thinking of the horse I'm riding. For example, if I'm at a particularly big show, one of my younger horses will spook at crowds so I will try & plan for the best route for him grin

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