14 things you (probably) didn’t know about showing star Jayne Ross

  • Bobsleighing, million-dollar racehorses, Siamese cats and polo fields — there is much more to Jayne Ross than her ability to win in the show ring. We find out more.

    1 Jayne owns four Siamese cats

    They are called Lavender, Jasmine, Orchid and Louis.

    2 She has enjoyed multiple riding horse delight at HOYS

    All five of her supreme titles at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) have been won on riding horses

    3 She doesn’t go into the arena with a plan for her individual shows

    “It depends where they line you up and an unexpected starting point throws you,” says Jayne. “I read the situation and ride by the seat of my pants.”

    4 Jayne started using polo tracks to get her show horses fit this season

    “I don’t gallop, just lollop on a loose contact. The youngsters have learned to let go and settle in canter,” says Jayne. The tracks are wide — polo ponies work seven abreast — oval shaped and over a mile long.

    5 She isn’t a fan of supremes

    “It’s fab to win a class; to be champion is phenomenal. Then you come back for the supreme and come out a little disappointed if you don’t win. Supremes are a bit of a lottery, pitching a cob against a hack and a hunter, for example, plus the logistics — coming back for it on the final day — aren’t always viable.”

    6 Jayne evented up to advanced level

    One of her horses, Double Dee, got her back into the show ring when he contested worker classes and was placed at HOYS in 1979.

    7 Her parents were sporting greats

    Father, Freddie Wiliams, was a two-time world motorcycle speedway champion and her mother, Pat, an Olympic ice skater.

    “They weren’t horsey, but Dad rode a mile on [1981 Grand National winner] Aldaniti during the horse’s 250-mile ride to raise money for the Bob Champion cancer trust,” recalls Jayne.

    Continued below…

    8 She was brought up in a London Borough

    Jayne was raised in Harrow, on the outskirts of London.

    9 Her first ride was on a pony belonging to a family to whom her father delivered a car

    “Within five minutes I could do rising trot,” says Jayne. “My three-year-old grandson was here the other week and he did the same — it’s in the genes!”

    10 Jayne trained point-to-pointers for four seasons in the 1990s

    She had 43 winners altogether.

    11 In 1998 she moved to South Africa for 18 months to work with Flat horses and also judged at local shows

    “My daughter Joanna wouldn’t get off the plane the first time she visited because she expected to see lions on the runway.”

    12 It hasn’t always been showing with Jayne

    With her first husband Anthony Webber, a former national hunt jockey, Jayne ran a training yard and equine rehabilitation centre near Lambourn. They broke in around 150 yearlings a year and once had a filly bought from Keeneland sales for US$3.3 million.

    13 Jayne tried her hand at bobsleighing a couple of years ago

    “It’s one of the most fun things to do if you’re a speed merchant like me.”

    14 Jayne has a mascot

    A Bernese mountain dog called Mabel — who lives in the lorry. It is a replica of the real dog who died several years ago.

    Don’t miss the full interview with Jayne Ross in the current issue of Horse & Hound (12 November).

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