Naughty first ponies and exciting young horses: 5 mins with event rider Tom Jackson *H&H Plus*

  • British event rider Tom Jackson, 27, was a team gold, silver and bronze medallist in under-21 ranks on Waltham Fiddlers Find. He has been placed at five-star and rode HH Moonwalk to win last year’s British seven-year-old national championship. H&H’s eventing editor Pippa Roome grabbed him for some quick-fire questions to find out more…

    Describe your first pony

    Shadow was a Welsh section A grey mare. She was a brilliant lead-rein pony and would hardly put a foot wrong while attached to someone. However, the minute you thought you were good enough to be let off the lead, she would bring you back down to earth with a bump.

    Countless times I would get just far enough away from any supervising adults before being promptly deposited. Shadow would then smugly trot off to the nearest source of food. We got her from a riding school and she taught me and both my younger sisters to ride before going on to two or three other families to do the same thing.

    How do you handle competition nerves?

    Focus on the process.

    What superstitions or pre-show rituals do you have?

    I used to have a few too many – everything from lucky socks to saluting magpies. I decided it was becoming a bit ridiculous so knocked it all on the head. The only thing I do now is chuck anything new out of the lorry so it has had a fall.

    If you could have any horse, which would you want?

    Toledo De Kerser. I have always admired him. He is a super athlete and I always think you would feel pretty confident going into the jumping on a Sunday, although I know Tom McEwen does a brilliant job as the horse has his quirks.

    Toledo De Kerser at Badminton Horse Trials 2019. Credit: Peter Nixon

    What do you eat for breakfast – and do you watch what you eat?

    Coffee is a must for me in the mornings. I normally try to have some porridge with honey as well. I am lucky to have useful help from a nutritionist through the World Class programme.

    What’s your favourite place to visit?

    The French Alps in winter. I love skiing and don’t think you can beat the picturesque views from the top of a mountain.

    Which famous person would you invite to dinner?

    Roger Federer – the way he has remained at the top of his sport for so long and so consistently is amazing. I would love to find out more about how he mentally remains so focused.

    Your favourite tipple?

    A good red wine.

    Describe your dog

    Alfie is the sort of dog who has more friends then we do. He loves roaming around events and making new mates.

    Share a horse you’re excited about

    We’re all excited about the prospect of Billy Cuckoo contesting her first five-star this year. She is a much-loved member of the team and has been a consistent performer. I am also particularly excited about a couple of younger horses who I think could have big futures – they are Ask For Manchier and HH Moonwalk.

    Pippa Funnell riding Billy Cuckoo at Belton Horse Trials 2016.

    Pippa Funnell riding Billy Cuckoo at Belton Horse Trials 2016. Credit: Peter Nixon

    Do you have a useless talent?


    What’s been your worst wardrobe malfunction?

    I spent the last few events of the 2020 season with vet wrap around my boots, as they had worn through to my socks. My new ones were delayed arriving due to Covid and it wasn’t a great look.

    What kind of sleeper are you?

    I can pretty much sleep through anything. When I worked for Dassett Eventing, I managed to sleep through my alarms and answer the phone to a co-worker, which I still have no recollection of – in the end they had to come into my room to wake me.


    This exclusive feature is also available to read in Horse & Hound magazine, 25 March 2021 issue

    You may also be interested in…