British Olympic dressage team member Jane Gregory is more familiar under her maiden name of Bredin, as she was known when representing Britain at the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996 on Suzie Cumine’s Cupido.
At that time Jane had a yard with Suzie, but following Atlanta Jane and her partner Aram Gregory decided to set up their own stables in Wiltshire. In 2001, they finally found a farm which they spent years building up from scratch. Jane and Aram both had various horses to bring on, including her Olympic ride, Lucky Star, known as Lusty.
“I’d never had horses at home before, it was an exciting time for me and a big turning point,” says Jane.
Having been training intensively in Holland with Sjef Jannsen and Anky van Grunsven this was no longer feasible with a yard to build and run at home.
“I didn’t want to stop training with Sjef,” recalls Jane. “But I couldn’t commute to train there on the scale I had on the build up to Atlanta.”
Jane met Lucky Star as a four-year-old when he came to her yard for breaking and schooling with a client of Jane’s Tony Oliver. After the gelding was backed, Tony asked Jane to ride him so she was better placed to train the pair.
“Tony loved the horse but Lusty sometimes gave him an insecure feeling that he didn’t like, so I negotiated to buy the horse for £12,000, which was money my grandfather had left me in his will.”
She described Lusty as very trainable, his only fault being that he can be difficult to get on.
“He’s always been cold-backed,” she explains. “I never get on without thinking be careful, even though 99% of the time he’s fine and won’t buck at all.”
“He was a little bit sensitive as a young horse. He wasn’t without the odd question mark about whether he wanted to do something.”
Lusty made up for bucking Jane off occasionally when she got on, by learning everything very quickly and always being forward thinking. He was well placed all the way up through the grades, finishing second in the prix st george young horse championships and impressing on his international small tour debut at Le Touquet, France in 2001.
“After that it was a big jump to grand prix,” admits Jane. “But I always believed in him, he’s always on my side and isn’t spooky, though he’ll have good and bad days like any other horse.”
After Sjef, Jane trained for a while with Conrad Schumacher. In order to get more regular help with all the horses, she then trained for several years with friend and top British rider Emile Faurie.
“Emile was fantastic and we got a lot out of our training,” says Jane. “It was only when my husband Aram [whom Jane married in 2006 after 20 years], bought a horse from [German Olympic medallist] Ulla Salzgeber and went there to train that I thought ‘I’m missing out’ and could go and do the same. Ulla was so easy to deal with, you don’t always think top riders will be like that, or even pick up the phone, but she was so friendly.”
Jane took three horses out to train in Germany for two weeks last year, but she and Lusty ended up staying and going on to win national grand prix in Germany, scoring 70% in top company. Team selectors could not ignore the pair after that.
Jane’s career highlights
1994: Represented Britain at the World Equestrian Games with Cupido
1995: Team 3rd at the Nations Cup at Aachen CDIO with Cupido
1996: Competed at the Atlanta Olympics with Cupido
2008: Won the grand prix and grand prix special at Munich CDI with Lucky Star.
2008: Won the grand prix freestyle at the Mariakalnok CDI