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Life lessons: Dual Badminton winner Jane Holderness-Roddam *H&H Plus*

The Olympic gold medallist and double Badminton winner on treating every horse as an individual and coping with life’s ups and downs

Jane (née Bullen) won Badminton in 1968 and 1978 and Burghley in 1976, and was the first woman to compete for Britain in three-day eventing at the Olympics, winning gold in Mexico in 1968. She is a renowned trainer, judge and author, former chair of British Eventing and the Riding for the Disabled Association and runs West Kington Stud with her husband Tim.

I used to think there was one way of riding and all horses should fit in with that, but over time, I realised every horse needs treating as an individual and what works with one may not necessarily work for another. You have to get into a horse’s brain.

Warrior, who won both Badminton and Burghley, taught me an awful lot. He was very intelligent – much more so than me – and I had to learn to get the best from him. He wouldn’t go properly unless I rode him appropriately for his character.

I was working as a nurse at that time and I also had to learn how to get the best out of my patients and colleagues. It’s how you treat others which is important with both horses and people – you have to coax and ask, not tell.