Meet the ‘quirky but talented’ horse heading to Badminton after a slightly unconventional route to five-star

  • One horse set to make his five-star debut at next week’s Badminton Horse Trials, presented by Mars Equestrian (4–8 May), has had a somewhat unconventional route to the top. Cooley One To Many, a 15-year-old owned by Sophie and Lucy Allison, Franki Clapham and Carole King, who will be ridden by New Zealand’s Dan Jocelyn, has proved that time and patience – a lot of patience – can pay dividends.

    “Franki Clapham bought ‘Jack’ in 2014, when he was six, as her first horse and they arrived on my yard as liveries in 2016,” explains co-owner Sophie, who runs a yard on the Hampshire/Berkshire border. “He’s a big horse at 16.3hh and Franki would only weigh seven-and-a-half stone. He tried Franki and her mother Sheila’s patience, with some quirky behaviour, but they persevered, with Sheila even sitting outside his stable for hours with things like umbrellas to try to desensitise him.”

    Franki competed Cooley One To Many up to intermediate and CCI3*-S level with some success, but then decided she wanted to sell him as she was heading off to university. But before advertising Jack, Sophie called one of her oldest friends, Daisy Berkeley.

    “I asked Daisy if she would come and sit on Jack to see what she thought of him,” explains Sophie. “She thought he was incredibly smart so I bought a leg in him, alongside my mum and Daisy’s mum.”

    Daisy and Jack went on to compete at advanced and four-star level before Daisy passed on the ride to Dan in early 2022.

    “Jack is incredibly quirky and Daisy suggested Dan as a good rider to take him on,” says Sophie. “When she dropped him off with Dan in February last year, she left a list of instructions. And because he’s really laid-back and just a nice person, I think Dan wondered what the problem was, but then Jack managed to deposit him on the floor twice in a week and he realised the need for the instructions!”

    Jack and Dan have since gone on to finish 15th in Bramham’s CCI4*-L and jumped clear across country around Blenheim’s CCI4*-L, both last year.

    Sophie says it’s just a case of working with Jack’s quirks, because he is a talented horse: “He is amazing across country – he looks for the flags – and he loves his job.”

    Ahead of Jack making his five-star debut next week, Sophie says she is “sh**ting” herself.

    “When I evented I was twice entered for Badminton and didn’t make it due to last-minute lameness, so it will be lovely to finally achieve it with a horse I have a share in. I’m really excited and I’m really proud of Jack.”

    How to watch Badminton Horse Trials

    If you are interested in watching Badminton Horse Trials live from the comfort of your home, wherever you are in the world, then you will need to subscribe to Badminton TV. To sign up, visit watch.badminton-horse.tv – click the “Sign Up” link in the top right corner of your screen, then follow the instructions. An annual subscription to Badminton TV costs £19.99 and gives you 365 days of access to all of the content in the Badminton TV library, the ability to watch the action live, and the option to replay all of this year’s action later.

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