Life lessons: Trainer and judge Judy Bradwell *H&H Plus*

The Burghley winner on taking the time to establish a seat, avoiding horses being “jaded fit” and giving youngsters a good foundation for longevity

  • Judy won Burghley in 1970. She is now a hugely respected producer of horses and trainer of riders, as well as a judge. She was the first woman to be president of the ground jury at both Badminton and Burghley and is also a New Zealand eventing team selector.

    When I was 10, my father took me to a trainer called Captain FE Goldman, with my show pony, Solitaire. My father explained I couldn’t hold the pony except in a double bridle, but Captain Goldman told him to take it home, adding, “Your daughter might be coming home tomorrow if she can’t ride in a snaffle.”

    He was a tough trainer but succeeded with those of us who could take it, including Ruth McMullen, Angela Tucker and Lorna Clarke. I still hear his voice now when riding or teaching.

    I am keen on taking the time to establish a seat, rather than just buying an expensive saddle – nowadays people have all the money and gear, but they don’t learn to ride properly. There’s a lot of ignorance about tack and feeding, too. I see horses stuffing down hay until the minute they go cross-country. In the old days, they wouldn’t have seen hay for several hours before competition.