H&H’s 135th birthday: Katie Jerram-Hunnable — ‘such difficult circumstances made it so special’

Through the highs and lows of equestrian sport, Horse & Hound has been there – documenting the many achievements of Britain’s top riders and sharing their experiences on the world stage. We all have our treasured memories from the last few decades of competition, but what would some of our best-loved celebrities single out as their proudest moments? Next up, as we celebrate H&H’s 135th birthday with a bumper issue (dated 20 June), is showing rider Katie Jerram-Hunnable

Horse sport involves some spectacular highs and devastating lows, as this showing superstar knows only too well.

Katie first competed at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) at 10 years of age. While she has since enjoyed a string of successes at the highest levels, her proudest moment came at the end of a particularly difficult year.

“Standing supreme champion at the 2010 Horse of the Year Show with Dunbeacon meant so much,” she says of the week that the sensitive gelding conquered his demons to win the lightweight hunter, the ladies’ hunter and the supreme title (pictured). “I’d lost my lovely horse Azarax earlier that year when he suffered a fatal guttural pouch haemorrhage. He had been my first ride back after I’d broken my neck and he won supreme horse at the Royal Show. I was away at the Dublin show when I got the dreadful news that he was dead.”

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Katie continues: “Dunbeacon was a very difficult horse and I’d always felt that the whole HOYS atmosphere would be too electric for him. It was a huge ask to expect him to cope and very hard to perform a supreme show under that pressure. It had been a job to get on him in the outside ring, as he was very cold-backed and would sink down, so as I jumped on him I prayed that he would stay standing up.

“In the ring, however, he was on fire. He was absolutely magical to ride. I still don’t know why he suddenly grew up – it was if he pulled his socks up and did it for Azarax.

“Such difficult circumstances made it so special. It was an incredible, emotional win.”

For all the latest equestrian news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday