YOUNG show jumpers Ben Talbot and Tom Davison may have to put their aspiring riding careers on hold as their band has been signed to record label Universal.

Ben, 22, is the lead signer of Dakota and has been writing songs since childhood.

“My grandmother was a pianist and she taught me how to play. I’ve been writing since then,” said Ben.

Dakota formed last year and H&H columnist Richard Davison’s son Tom, 22, joined Ben, Aran Whealen and Rob Armitage as a bass player four months ago.

“I didn’t even realise he played bass until [fellow show jumper] Henry Lacey told me,” said Ben, who has worked in studios and session played alongside competing.

The band has just completed its first album, Here, There and Everywhere.

It is due for release this summer and described on Dakota’s myspace site as a collection of 11 “masterfully constructed and wickedly memorable songs”. A single will be released in May.

“We are just finishing off some B-sides,” said Ben.

“Although I am probably going to have less time to compete with our busy schedule, I’m still going to try and get to shows to catch up with my friends.”

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (2 April, ’09)