International showjumper Tim Gredley talks to Horse & Hound about his horses, his habits and his heroes

When did you first… jump the top of the wings?
I would have been about 11 or 12. The wings weren’t that high though — only about 4ft — and it was on a horse, as I never really rode ponies. So I was a bit of a cheat!

What is the first… breed of horse you go for?
A lot of my good horses are KWPNs. I started out with them and have always got on well, so haven’t looked much further. I like the fact they tend to be very rideable and careful.

What is the first… thing you do when you get back from a show?
After doing the horses, I have a bath. It’s a great way of unwinding physically and mentally.

Who was your first… hero rider?
I grew up watching John Whitaker and Milton. They won everything and made it look so easy. John sits very quietly — it’s as if he’s doing nothing at all.

When did you last… gallop flat-out?
When we arrived in Spain for the Sunshine Tour. All the horses were very fresh so, rather than have a fight, I prefer that they let off some steam. There’s a huge warm-up arena that is perfect for the job.

When did you last… laugh so much it hurt?
When [showjumper] Robert Maguire’s lorry broke down recently and we went to try to help. It was hysterical watching him pretend he knew what he was talking about and tripping over all the tools.

When did you last… go for a run?
I ran six miles two days ago, as I’m doing the London Marathon in April in aid of the Animal Health Trust. I’m looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time.

When did you last… see something special in a horse?
Last year I bought a five-year-old mare from [showjumper] Dave Quigley. She’s a big mare and I have really high hopes for her. She was incredibly green when I saw her, but I was struck by how good her technique and temperament were. She’s extremely careful, which is all the more impressive given her size.

When did you last… buy new boots?
About two years ago. I always have two pairs on the go and they always seem to last two years. I’m going to get some new ones while I’m here in Spain.

When did you last… do something romantic?
I sent my girlfriend roses on Valentine’s Day.

When did you last… get a cricket score?
A couple of months ago in Zwolle in the Netherlands — I had 17 faults. It was a training round, but I hadn’t anticipated quite so many down…

For more revelations from Tim Gredley, see the next issue of Horse & Hound (25 March, ’10)