Kirsty Chabert

Kirsty Chabert (née Johnston) is a British event rider who has been longlisted for the senior championship team and finished on the podium at five-star.

Kirsty Chabert and Classic VI, pictured with groom Sarah-Jane Tetlow after finishing second at Luhmühlen 2022.

Kirsty Chabert and Classic VI, pictured with groom Sarah-Jane Tetlow after finishing second at Luhmühlen 2022. Credit: Libby Law

Kirsty is from a horsey family – her father John evented at the top level and her mother Debbie, who died when Kirsty was 12, was a grand prix dressage rider.

Her parents John and Debbie Johnston founded the Landford Common Stud in Wiltshire and their foundation stallion was Fleetwater Opposition. The first horse they bred was the French Olympic team horse Yarlands Summer Song.

“Mum and Dad have a huge legacy of breeding some serious event horses – they’re not conventional types, but they’re true event horses,” says Kirsty, who rides lots of home-bred horses, many of them carrying Opposition in their names. 

Has Kirsty ridden at five-star?

Kirsty has competed at five-star a number of times.

She was the best British debutante at Badminton Horse Trials in 2016, when she finished 42nd when she was 27 years old.

Her ride Opposition Detective was bred by her father Johnny, by his late stallion Fleetwater Opposition. Johnny gave him to Kirsty for her 18th birthday.

“He’s my best mate and would be your perfect husband — I’ve just got engaged, so I hope my husband can live up to ‘Barney’,” said Kirsty after completing.

Kirsty rode at Badminton again in 2022 on Classic VI, but was eliminated for three jumping problems across country.

However, the pair re-routed to the German five-star at Luhmühlen Horse Trials, where they finished second.

Kirsty and Classic VI also won two CCI4*-Ss in Ireland during 2022.

Their good results led to Kirsty and Classic being listed for the British squad for the eventing World Championships. Kirsty was also on the reserve nominated entries with Opposition Loire, who finished third at Bramham in June that year.

Kirsty Chabert and Classic VI at home in July 2022

Kirsty Chabert and Classic VI at home in July 2022. Credit: Andrew Sydenham

Who is Kirsty’s top horse?

Kirsty’s top horse Classic VI (Betty) was bred by Peter Charles and is owned by her father John Johnston and Carole Somers.

“She’s beautiful – if you ever wanted to draw a horse she is your most perfect model,” Kirsty says. “But she’s very, very quirky. We still have to shoe her in an alleyway with horses next door, she doesn’t spend much time in an arena and I can’t do polework or grids. 

“She wasn’t naturally brave initially but I went out with my best friend and her New Forest pony, crossing every bit of safe terrain in the forest – dirty, muddy bits of ground, ditches. She learnt to go and to be sure-footed and to this day that’s what we do. As long as there’s no pressure on her and she enjoys her job, she is phenomenal.”

Does Kirsty Chabert have a child?

Yes, Kirsty had her son Henry in December 2018.

Kirsty had an easy pregnancy, but was in labour for five days and ended up having an emergency caesarean section.

“That was fine and I was riding at Tweseldown in March,” she says. “Then towards the end of that year, I started to get really severe hip pain. I basically couldn’t do sitting trot.”

Medical care was complicated by Covid-19 and doctors tried to pass Kirsty off with a groin strain diagnosis. Things came to a head at Aston-le-Walls in July 2020.

“I was on Classic, it was a monsoon and I was slipping around left, right and centre. I said, ‘I can’t go into the test like this, I can’t grip, I can’t sit.’ So I didn’t take her in and I just sort of broke down a bit.”

Kirsty saw a consultant and discovered scar tissue from her caesarean section had attached itself to her pelvis, necessitating an operation, which was successful.

Kirsty, her French husband Arthur and Henry live in a house in the village near the yard. The couple were married in 2016 after first meeting at a party at Osberton.

Arthur runs the sites for JJ Acquisitions, the property development business Kirsty’s brother Ben owns with his business partner Christian Osorio, and now runs the sites. He also events a couple of horses and was 17th at Burghley in 2019 on Goldsmiths Imber.