Jayne Ross’ HOYS memories: ‘it opened up my eyes to what could be achieved’

  • Jayne Ross is one of Britain’s top showing competitors, with seven Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) supreme titles to her name, among countless other victories. After HOYS was cancelled this year, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, we take a trip down memory lane with Jayne to find out about her fondest and most disastrous moments competing at the prestigious showing championship.

    “It’s so hard to pick my favourite HOYS winner, as each one means so much to everybody,” says Jayne, while being interviewed by H&H’s showing editor Alex Robinson for episode 20 of the Horse & Hound podcast. “No two wins are ever the same and quite often people don’t realise what’s gone on behind the scenes to get the horses to the show, let alone to win. Each winner is different and each one of them is very magical in its own way.”

    Jayne’s first HOYS supreme title came in 2004, aboard a horse called Soldier Brave.

    “He was beautiful horse but not easy and could be very naughty,” laughs Jayne. “Marjorie and Richard Ramsay bred and produced him on behalf of the owners, Carol and Bill Bardo. And I was lucky enough to get the ride on him as Richard had sustained a badly broken pelvis in a fall out hacking, which meant he couldn’t ride Soldier Brave as he was difficult to get on.

    “I was fortunate to step in and take the ride on him in 2001, and I thought I would only have the ride for that season, but we obviously carried on together to ultimately take the HOYS supreme title in 2004 — that was very special as it opened up my eyes to what could be achieved. From then on, winning the supreme title at HOYS always seemed a little more within reach.”

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    One HOYS moment that stands out for Jayne because things didn’t go according to plan came when she was riding the favourite to win the ladies show hunter of the year.

    “I was on a lovely grey horse called Ballyhaven and he was an absolute saint,” explains Jayne. “He was called in top after his show and was then giving the ride judge the most beautiful ride. At the far end of the arena in those days was the hospitality area and at that moment, the tables were being laid for lunch.

    “Just as Ballyhaven was going past, a waiter threw a tablecloth up in the air to put it over one of the tables and it flashed straight in the horse’s face so he whipped round and completely ruined the job. That was a disaster but not Ballyhaven’s fault, but then that’s what you have to cope with at HOYS — it’s such a different environment.”

    To hear more of Jayne’s exclusive interview, listen to episode 20 of The Horse & Hound podcast or search “The Horse & Hound Podcast” in your favourite podcast app.

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