Eleven tests, five horses, three days: find out how one of the busiest riders at Hartpury gets into the zone *H&H Plus*

  • The saying goes that if you want something done, ask a busy person. Jezz Palmer is a busy man at the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships.

    “I’ve got 11 tests in three days, five horses. The oldest is six and the youngest five, some exciting ones – lovely stallions and lovely mares,” he says. He adds the busy part has really been the build-up to Hartpury , in ensuring all horses have all “been out, done enough and seen enough” before coming to the championships.

    Just to add to the mental gymnastics, six of those 11 tests are freestyles. In other words, there is no let up for his internal sat-nav just because he has multiple horses in the same class.

    “I make sure as soon as I get off one and before I get on the next, I take a minute to plan what I’m doing and in my warm-up, as otherwise you end up getting in a bit of a muddle if you don’t stay focused,” he said.

    “Every horse has those different little things you’ve got to do and what you got to do with them in the warm up. So I make sure that I go into the lorry for a minute on my own and say to myself ‘right, this is the plan for the next one’.”

    The first day started strongly, with three out of three top 10 finishes in the Baileys Horse Feeds novice freestyle gold championships. Tiny Dancer was second on 75.19%, Romano Weltino sixth on 73.52% and Tramontana Firenze ninth with 72.87%.

    All three will also contest the PDS Saddles elementary freestyle gold this afternoon (Tuesday).

    Jezz holds entries in this morning’s Prestige Italia novice gold championship and Wednesday’s Equi-Trek Elementary gold final.

    Meet Jezz’s rides this week…

    Tiny Dancer

    “She’s a six-year-old mare by Uthopia out of Superstar mare, which is my partner Lucy’s [Pye] horse. I own her with Annie MacDonald-Hall. She’s an exciting horse. She’s hot, she’s not spooky, which is lucky.”

    Romanno Weltino

    “She’s owned by Mel Morris and Carol Hurst. She’s a five-year-old, so she’s the youngest in the class. She’s so bold – she’s basically like a mini grand prix horse. I love her, she’s like a toy!”

    King IV

    “He’s a stallion and is quite well-known on the circuit. He’s done quite a bit. He qualified for the World Breeding Championships last year. He’s got the elementary freestyle and elementary gold. He’s normally quite reliable. It’s his first year of covering, so he’s got a bit hotter in the ring. He’s starting to learn his job a bit more now – other than competing, so we’re just balancing that, making sure he stays focused. But on the whole, he’s pretty good.”

    Ketcher B

    “He is a stallion by Negro out of a Stedinger mare. I’ve done one championship on him, but he is getting stronger and stronger. He’s going from strength to strength. He’s got these amazing hind legs that just keep going, so I’m really looking forward to him!

    Tramontana Firenze

    “He’s a stallion owned by Nicole Nelson. She actually has him at home and I’ve ridden him twice between regionals and here. He is so green, he’s a six year old and he just got a 72% [in the novice freestyle gold] and bless him he was so good in there, so I’m really happy.”

    You may also be interested in…