To represent your country on your first senior Nations Cup team is a momentous occasion for any showjumper.
But for 21-year-old Joe Stockdale, the moment was made even more poignant as the “slightly frayed” British flag he had sewn on his jacket was once worn proudly by his late father, Tim Stockdale.
“I definitely took extra pride wearing that for my Nations Cup debut,” said Joe, who jumped for just four faults and a time-penalty in his first team appearance at senior level riding nine-year-old mare Cacharel.
Joe had just been sent his own new jacket, and Union flag to put on it, ahead of his Nations Cup call-up in Spain last week (Saturday, 28 November) when he was having a clear-out at home.
“Dad’s old jacket with his first ever flag on it just happened to turn up in one of the drawers we were emptying,” Joe told H&H.
“Over time, that badge had become quite worn and my dad had been sent a new jacket with the badge already sewn on it, and he had been wearing that one instead.
“It’s certainly a bit frayed and you can tell it’s been well worn, but they’re exactly the same badges and we thought it would be nice to wear his one, so we stuck it on instead.
“It was just a really weird thing that it happened to show up at the same time my new jacket was sent to me.”
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Although the Great Britain team could only finish 16th, Joe was thrilled to jump for his country on his very exciting mare Cacharel.
“To be able to jump on a senior Nations Cup is something everyone looks to do – it was a massive goal for me this year but obviously it’s been very difficult with everything going on and the lack of shows,” he said.
“But I’m glad to have been able to tick that box and although the team result wasn’t quite what we wanted, it was nice personally just to be able to jump my first one, to be a part of the team and especially in that group of riders.”
Joe was joined on the team by Matthew Sampson (Cristo Beech), Alexandra Thornton (Chades Of Blue) and Holly Smith (Denver).
Read the full insight from the show in this week’s Horse & Hound, out Thursday 3 December.
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