The rider who captured hearts as “the galloping nurse” and was the first woman ever to ride on a British Olympic eventing team has enjoyed a stellar and diverse career in horses, discovers Lucy Higginson
Many horse lovers know Jane Holderness-Roddam’s name without quite knowing why. In recent years she has appeared in various guises: as a technical delegate; the owner of West Kington Stud; a lady-in-waiting to the Princess Royal; an ambassador and fundraiser for the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) and Brooke; and a long-time chair of British Eventing. But she was also a top rider, winning Badminton twice, Burghley once, and gold as a member of Britain’s victorious Olympic eventing team in Mexico City, 1968.
Born fifth of six children in the extraordinary Bullen family – her mother Anne was an artist who bred and produced show and riding ponies, and father Jack was a former cavalry officer – Jane was always destined to ride.
Jane’s elder sister Jennie (Loriston-Clarke) dominated British dressage for years and contested five Olympics; her brother Mike evented at two Games, while her younger sister Sarah became a successful actress.