Britain’s first dressage medallist Jennie Loriston-Clarke put the sport well and truly on the map in this country through her extraordinary love of horses and consummate all-round ability, discovers Lucy Higginson
For years, when young hopefuls at H&H job interviews were asked to prove their knowledge by naming a British dressage rider or two, one name was offered above all others: Jennie Loriston-Clarke.
Jennie is in some ways the archetypal English horsewoman; riding from an early age, hunting through her childhood and surrounded always by ponies, hunters and foals. Yet in other ways, Jennie has been a pioneer, taking up dressage in its infancy in this country and doing much to put the sport on the British map with her skill, showmanship and generosity over a 35-year riding career.
One of six siblings raised by Anne and Colonel Jack Bullen at their home, Catherston, Jennie – remarkably – is one of three siblings to have ridden at the Olympics. Her elder brother Michael evented in Rome on Cottage Romance and in Tokyo with Sea Breeze, and her sister Jane (now Holderness-Roddam) won team gold eventing in Mexico on Our Nobby. Meanwhile, the stud named after the Bullen home is still thriving, in its fifth incarnation near Nether Wallop, Hampshire. Anne Bullen supplemented the family’s income by producing, breeding and showing horses often for owners – besides being a tremendously talented artist.