Jane Gregory reveals

  • What was your first… job?

    Working on a farm in Wales as a placement before going to agricultural college. I spent the summer milking cows, driving tractors and looking after the ponies. The cows and tractors put me off college and I opted to go into horses instead.

    What was your first… horse?

    When I was 12 my godmother bought me a dun Connemara-cross which she bought for £175. He was called Timolin and I kept him anywhere I could, doing him before and after school. When I was 16 we won the junior section at the Pony Club eventing championships.

    When did you first… choose dressage?

    I was originally passionate about eventing but during that first farm job one of the horses was consigned to the flat through injury and I learnt that horses could have a life doing dressage. (The late) Janet Poulden who taught our riding club suggested me as a guinea pig for the National Dressage Convention with David Hunt and I was hooked. For the next two years I travelled for lessons with him before becoming his working pupil at 23.

    Who was your first… dressage horse?

    Bertie Wooster, a 16.1hh Irish draught-cross who was bought as a hunter for the owners of the farm in Wales. He was very green but I hunted him and did flatwork. When I left I persuaded his owner to do a swap — she had my car and I had the horse!

    Who was your first… hero rider?

    My first trainer, David Hunt. At the time David was having international success with Maple Zenith, whom I looked after and adored. I particularly remember him scoring a 10 for one-time changes at Le Touquet which I thought was just amazing.

    What was your first… team?

    The 1994 World Equestrian Games in the Hague with Cupido in our first season of grand prix. His owner Susie Cumin gave me the ride after he towed her through the advanced medium championships at Goodwood.

    When did you first… do piaffe?

    With Maple Zenith while we were hacking out in Windsor Great Park and he saw a four-in-hand — although at the time I didn’t realise what was happening. I experienced all the grand prix movements hacking him out as the park was pretty scary with carriages or polo grooms cantering eight horses at a time and he would automatically go into piaffe or flying changes.

    When did you last… go to Hong Kong?

    In December 2006 for my wedding to Aram, who is from Hong Kong and competes internationally for the province. Going back will be an amazing chance to see many of our wedding guests.

    When did you last… jump a fence?

    In March, doing grids with the young horses. Lucky Star will jump — but not seriously — while we are out hacking out. I still have a secret desire to compete in a one day event and might turn up — in disguise — one day. When Lusty retires I have promised him he can go hunting.

    When did you last… cook Sunday lunch?

    It happens very rarely as Sunday is my day for gardening and cleaning. I enjoy growing vegetables but get carried away and can forget to cook supper, never mind lunch.

    When did you first… win a grand prix?

    With Bertie Wooster at Windsor in 1990. We won the trophy presented to the best horse in his first season of grand prix – although I think he might have been the only one to count.

    When did you last… get eliminated?

    On my pony Timolin when he jumped the wrong side of a flag at a Pony Club horse trials when I was about 14. I couldn’t stop him and he jumped the bigger senior fence and I was gutted that having jumped the bigger fence he was disqualified.

    When did you last… wear a dress?

    At my wedding. Dresses and I are not natural mates — I am much happier in tails. After four hours shopping in Bath, I settled for a green dress.

    When did you last… go on holiday?

    Our belated honeymoon earlier this year when we went to Mauritius. It was only the second holiday that Aram and I have taken in the 20 years we have been together.

    When did you last… score a 10?

    Over 10 years ago with Cupido in a freestyle class at West Wilts EC. Stephen Clarke gave us 10 for a pirouette.

    When did you last… muck out?

    About a month ago when I went as groom to Aram when he was competing at a National Show in Germany. It was very hot and my dishevelled look complete with bucket and sponges got a few funny looks from those used to seeing me on a horse. But I enjoy that side of horses and can still plait in 15 minutes.

    This feature was first published in Horse & Hound

    You may like...