Tales from Hartpury: one successful work’s Christmas party and a ‘wonderful’ horse

  • The stars aligned to match Amy Jack with her “loving and cheeky” dressage partner Graf Hit VH Bloemenhof (pictured, top).

    The pair had a spectacular show at the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships and Petplan Area Festival finals, with a clutch of top three placings on their third visit to Hartpury.

    “I’ve has him since he was three, so we’ve come along together,” said Amy, of the nine-year-old (Samba Hit II x Diamond Hit).

    “We went to Holland looking for a small horse – there’s not many small horses in Holland!. There was not a lot of choice, but there were three – one was about budget, one was below budget and one was above. He was the one above budget, and my husband was on his work Christmas do. Luckily, when I went to see him he was just at that sweet point in the evening and he said ‘yes, go for it!’”

    She added at being just over 5ft4, she was conscious that she didn’t want to be over-horsed.

    “Buying a three-year-old, you don’t know how much they’re going to grow. But he was very compact and well put together. He was probably just under 16hh then and he’s now 16.1hh, which is perfect,” she added.

    “He is loving, sweet, intelligent, cheeky – but very much wears his heart on his sleeve, so if he doesn’t like something, you’ll know about it. If he’s happy, everybody’s happy!

    “He’s super, he’s really trainable, really willing. He is spooky though, so that’s kind of been our problem along the way, but when it goes well, it goes really well.

    “He’s always been a good boy, he’s just not the bravest of souls. The first time we came to do the elementary silver he shrunk into himself when we came into the arena.

    “Now this is our third time he was so much more bold and then you can actually start to show what he can do. When they shrink behind your leg and are sucking back, you’re just riding for a clear round. But today we actually got to show what he can do.”

    ‘He was leading out youngsters as a four-year-old’

    It is the temperament of Bradley Moore-Taylor’s Jethro S that makes the seven-year-old so special.

    Bradley, an equine lecturer at Duchy College who has just taken up a position at Hartpury College, piloted the Biscayo x Numero Uno gelding to third place in the elementary bronze Area Festival final on 68.28%.

    “We’ve taken it slowly because he’s such a big horse, he’s 17.2hh, but he’s got the most wonderful temperament and trainability,” said Bradley, who acquired Jethro S as a three-year-old. “Anyone can ride him. He leads out youngsters – he was doing that as a four-year-old. He’s just the most wonderful all-round horse.”

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    He added: “The test actually went really well. It was smooth, consistent. I couldn’t have asked for any more really,” he said. “The rein-back was probably his weakest thing, but I knew that coming into the test as it has been in training, but that is only one movement and one mark say, so I was happy to take the hit on that.

    “He’s been consistent leading up to Hartpury, we came on a wild card, so I’m really pleased with him.”

    Don’t miss the 8 July issue of H&H for the full report from the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships and Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships.

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade to access our H&H Plus online service which brings you breaking news as it happens as well as other benefits.

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