‘We do it on a shoestring’: meet the one-horse rider making her Royal Windsor debut with ‘project horse’

  • Madieson Blakesley is a one-horse rider going places. At the forthcoming Royal Windsor Horse Show (1-5 May), the 21-year-old showjumper will be making her debut at the five-star show with 10-year-old mare Javelin IV (Zinedine x Quality Time) as she contests the Defender under-25 jumping competition.

    “She’s an amazing horse. We were a bit unlucky at the last fence in the grand prix at the recent Blue Chip Winter Championships, I think I just let her get a bit too forward down to it. She’s come up the levels so quickly that it still feels a bit mad to be jumping this level with her!” says Madieson.

    “Javelin has a massive heart, she’s a bit unorthodox and tricky, but we get on well. Every time she goes in the ring I know she’s going to give me her all. She’s actually more difficult to ride at home than she is in the ring – she’s hot at home and doesn’t really like flatwork – but in the ring she takes me to every fence, she just wants to jump.”

    A project horse, who finds 1.40m easy

    Javelin was bought as a “project horse”, but has exceeded all expectations for a family who “do everything on a shoestring”. The newcomers final at this year’s Horse of the Year Show is another goal for later this year.

    “I got her 18 months ago when she was jumping at discovery level,” explains Madieson. “The plan was to produce her and then sell her on, but we didn’t realise quite how talented she was.

    “The week we got her, we took her to Arena UK and jumped her in a few classes there and by the end of the week she was jumping double clear in newcomers. We stepped her up and stayed at 1.30m for a bit, just to try to perfect everything because she’s difficult and unorthodox. When she was ready more recently, we started at 1.40m level and she still finds it all so easy, like there’s more left in the tank.”

    Madieson and Javelin IV will be contesting the Defender under-25 jumping competition, which takes place in the Castle Arena at Royal Windsor on Sunday morning (5 May).

    “This is both of our first time at Windsor – it’s pretty nerve-racking, but exciting at the same time and I know Javelin will try for me in the ring, which is reassuring,” says Madieson. “I never thought I’d be jumping these sort of classes, so to be competing at Royal Windsor is so special – I don’t think I’ll find another one like Javelin.”

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