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Festive stars: ‘It took me 16 years to win HOYS again’: The versatile show horse rider who beat all the pros at the NEC…

Over the days of Christmas this festive season, we are shining a light on up-and-coming talent across the equestrian disciplines. These are riders you really need to keep an eye out for during the 2020 season...

Next up is show horse specialist Jasean Spraggett. Based in Worcestershire, Jasean won one of the most coveted finals at this year’s Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) — the lightweight hunter of the year — riding the mare Noble Queen Bee, who was also a finalist in the Cuddy working hunter championship, where she was the highest placed mare…

1. Pony Club roots

Jasean, 27, started showing with her mum at local Pony Club level with the Poole and District branch before competing at Ponies (UK).

“I have such fond memories of Ponies (UK) at East of England showground, especially with my first pony Cledwyn Lass (Louby),” says Jasean. “She was a grey Welsh section A who did hunter pony and show pony lead rein classes. I then moved up a level and I had my show ponies with Julie Templeton. I continued to have my other ponies at home where my mum and Nigel Oliver — who based his horses on our yard — home produced them.”

2. A gorgeous and multi-talented Welsh

In 1999, Jasean had her first rides at HOYS with the first ridden show pony Woodend Bambi and 128cms show pony Pendley Temptation:

“My first big win was on the gorgeous, multi-talented Welsh section A Springbourne Camelot who won the open Welsh A and B final at HOYS in 2003,” she reminisces.

3. Home breeding

Jasean works at home at the family-run Mulbrooke Stud, riding and competiting the youngstock. Alongside this she teaches at clinics up and down the country and trains people at shows, also course walking and warming horses up for the ring.

“I have also been fortunate enough to ride some beautiful horses and ponies over the years,” explains Jasean. “I have ridden for some of the top producers in the country which is always an honour. It’s always lovely to pick up a spare ride at a show for someone.

4. Giving something back

Jasean is also a qualified BSPS coursebuilder and also builds courses at the TSR summer championships.

“I always loved doing working hunter pony classes within the BSPS so decided when I grew out of the class I would become a coursebuilder so I could still be involved and give something back to the society,” she says.

5. ‘I really wasn’t sure he would be good enough’

The one Jasean credits for rocketing her to the top was a 153cm working hunter pony called Gigolo (Jiggy).

“Jiggy was found entire tied to a lamp post at the trotting sales in Ireland,” she says. “He arrived with us as a five-year-old and was very weak, unbalanced and unschooled. He would trip over all the time and I really wasn’t sure he would be good enough.

“Myself, mum and my trainer at the time Di Lampard and my instructor Linda Pearce from the Cottesmore branch of the Pony Club, worked hard and eventually it started to pay off. As a six-year-old he came fifth at HOYS and he then went on to be the first pony I would compete on the BSPS England Team with. He also won the RIHS, Desert Orchid, Champion of Champions, and multiple county show championships. He was retired and is still with us today.”

6. Six-strong team

“I currently have six in work, four of which are home-breds,” explains Jasean. “There include Noble Queen Bee who recently won the lightweight hunters at HOYS, a four-year-old coloured (Mulbrooke Love In The Air) and a novice worker by Amour G (Mulbrooke Errant Amour).”

7. The biggest victory

Noble Queen Bee — or Sally — as she is known at home, topped of Jasean’s year with an incredible HOYS win…

“Sally qualified for the working hunter at HOYS early in the season and I wanted to still take her to the big county shows, without over jumping her so I decided to do some lightweight hunter classes. She had some good placings just missing her ticket and last qualifier was at the BSHA National Championships. To my utter shock the top four had already qualified and the ticket went to me and Sally in fifth. I cried a lot!

“She finished fifth and highest placed mare in the Cuddy working hunter final and then to win the lightweights was a dream come true. Maybe when she is a mummy she can try for the Cuddy in-hand…”

“When my name was called out I genuinely could not believe it. To have beaten some of my idols was incredible! Having my friends and parents there was amazing; my parents have struggled to get to shows and this was the only show my Dad had made it too which made it extra special.

“I was starting to wonder if I’d ever win HOYS again after 2003; let’s hope it doesn’t take me another 16 years.”

8. The two-legged heroes

“None of what I do would be possible without my two legged team. My parents have supported me the whole way through and without them none of this would have even started. Some other vital team members are horse dentist Dean Andrews, chiropractor Emma Phillips and farrier Andy Bennett. Another major part of keeping me doing what I love is my surgeon Dr Colin Natali. I’ve been having steroid injections in my lower back for five years unfortunately this year they didn’t work but Dr Natali has now given me a rhyzotomy which has enabled me to compete. Without him I wouldn’t be able to ride at all.”

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9. Hunting, Olympia and lots of lunch

Jasean enjoys a quiet Christmas with her family.

“I will be spending Christmas Day with my parents. Mum is an amazing cook so Dad and I always look forward to at least three helpings of lunch. Sally has had a break and is now in work and getting fit for a few days hunting in the new year with North Cotswold Hunt. We will have our yearly trip to Olympia Horse show on the Friday night. My dad loves racing so we will all go to watch the Jockey challenge. It doesn’t feel like Christmas until you’ve seen the Olympia christmas finale.”

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