Over 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 2021 season...
Kristina Hall-Jackson caught the eye at the end of the short 2020 season when her up-and-coming horses produced strong results in young horse classes, with Juela finishing fifth in the six-year-old British championships at Osberton at Thoresby and Igor B landing 14th in the seven-year-old championships at Le Lion d’Angers.
Kristina bought Igor B – known as Rupert – from Vere Phillipps two years ago “as a present for myself”.
“He was a bit of a quirky horse – probably not everybody’s cup of tea – but now he’s everything you want in an event horse,” she says, explaining Rupert was a weak youngster who had been showjumped by an amateur rider who bought him as a foal.
“You’ve just got to work him out as he’s very sensitive, but really wants to work with you. Out hacking, he can’t possibly carry on if there’s a leaf, but you can point him at any jump and he’d go. He was very cheeky when I got him, but I could never be hard on him, he had to learn to trust me. Now we have a good partnership, though he’s still the biggest chicken on the yard!
“I was shocked how bold he was at Le Lion as he’d only had one whole season eventing. I always had Le Lion in my hopes for him, but with Covid I thought there was no chance we’d get qualified, but he really impressed me and Chris Bartle there.”
Kristina Hall-Jackson trains with Chris and with Judy Bradwell, with whom she went to the Netherlands to see Juela as an unbroken three-year-old.
The rider explains: “She came off the lorry looking like a little Welsh pony and she was very wild. Everyone thought I was mad because she was the first horse I was going to back myself, but I did manage to break her in – it took a bit of time, but I work well with Charlotte, my groundsperson, who is very experienced.
“She didn’t come out as a four-year-old and I took my time with her. The more I rode her, the more I thought she was something really special. She is sharp, but it’s about channelling that in the right direction. I still fall off her more than any of the others, but she loves me – every time she sees me she whinnies.”
Kristina, 24, is based at home at her parents Allison and Tracy’s property in Yorkshire, with nine stables.
“We’ve got a lovely little cross-country field that we’ve just developed and brilliant hacking – lots of hills that help keep the horses fit. It’s where I grew up and it’s beautiful,” she says.
Kristina Hall-Jackson: junior success
The rider’s association with Judy Bradwell started when she was doing pony trials and in 2013 she was given the ride on Judy’s Lemington Lets Dance. She achieved six top-10 placings in international events with him and the pair were 17th at the junior European Championships at Bishop Burton in 2014.
“He was the most amazing cross-country horse – I felt the safest person in the world going cross-country on him and I hope one day I can produce something like him,” she says. “He was a bit tricky in the stable; he seemed to love me, but didn’t like everyone else.”
Judy also placed Wutella with Kristina, but the mare was too careful across country at four-star level, so in discussion with Chris and Judy, Kristina decided it was best to gain some showjumping experience on her. She is now competing Wutella at 1.30m level and aiming to do a 1.40m class in January.
“She was always quite hot on the flat, so it’s nice not to have to do flatwork on her!” says Kristina. “She loves showjumping and is also really good at nannying the four-year-olds out hacking and babysitting them in the field.”
Kristina Hall-Jackson says having both Chris and Judy as trainers works well for her.
“I’m about an hour from Chris so I go up there regularly and have week-long stays, it’s like my second home. Judy’s a big part of my horse career – I ask her for advice and she’s helped me buy my horses. She has an amazing eye and her knowledge is incredible. I’ve produced my own horses except the two I’ve had from Judy and I wouldn’t be where I am without the experience of riding them.”
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Kristina’s top horse is the mare CMS Google, who jumped a double clear in the CCI4*-L at Burnham Market last season.
“I love that horse. She’s not textbook in the way she jumps, she has her own technique, but she’s the nicest horse on the floor,” she says. “She was nappy when I first had her – I was eliminated at my first showjumping show on her and fell off at my first event. The horses are all unique and I treat them as individuals. I have more mares than geldings as I think I get on with that challenge.”
Google will be aimed at the under-25s at Bramham Horse Trials in 2021 with the long-term target of getting qualified for a five-star in 2022.
Kristina also has three four-year-olds, saying: “I’ll have to sell a few to keep the top ones running, but it’s nice to have them coming through the ranks.”
She will also compete a new ride next season, a novice called Oakbank Ultimate Illusion who belongs to Ruth and Ian McMullen, and her own four-star horse Slaney Cruise, who is returning from injury.
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