Which horses are you most excited to be competing with this year?
My main horse is BBS McGregor, who my mother and I bred – he is actually named after the mixed martial arts fighter, Conor McGregor. There was a very worrying period when he was two years old. Everything he ate, he spat back out, and when we put him in his stable, he couldn’t get up. We didn’t know what was wrong, and a week later a lump appeared on the front of his face. My mother thought it might be cancer, so we called the vet and got him x-rayed. Thankfully, it turned out he had been kicked by another horse and it had split one of his teeth, which had gone into the roof of his mouth. The pain is what caused all his problems, which an operations was able to fix. So, we called him BBS McGregor because he is a fighter, and his stable name is Lucky because he is lucky to be alive! He is currently competing in 1.50m classes, and he has done a 3* Grand Prix before, and I’m hopeful he’ll move up to 5* level next.
One of my horses, who competed last week in Eschweiler is a 10-year-old called Guminka. He placed in a few 2* Grands Prix, but then unfortunately got a knock, so he is just returning from that now, and I think he’s got a lot of potential. BBS McGregor would be the horse I would take if I was selected for one of the big Rolex Grand Slam shows, and that would be his first 5*. People think I’m crazy but everything he’s done so far has been so easy.
How positive do you believe the Rolex Grand Slam has been for the sport of show jumping?
It’s been absolutely massive, Rolex has been an incredible supporter of show jumping, and having an initiative like that for riders and breeders is just amazing. The breeders that bred Explosion W and Hello Sanctos are leading the way, as they’ve won at Olympic and the Rolex Grand Slam level, so it’s a real incentive to try and go on to breed another horse of that caliber. We are aiming to have BBS McGregor jump at one of the Rolex Grand Prix shows. With the exception of this year, because of the Olympics, the Rolex Grand Slam is top of every rider’s list.
What have you learnt over the course of the last 18 months, and what positives will you take?
I’ve learnt to live every day as it comes, and to enjoy every day, as life isn’t the same as it used to be. Hopefully in the next year it will get back as close as possible to normality, but it will never be the exact same as it used to be. Because I work for Shane Breen in Hickstead, I haven’t been home that much to see family, but I’ve spent a lot more time in the stables. We’ve let the horses have a break for a while, which is good for them, as they have busy seasons. Taking some positives from the last year or so, it’s been good to produce the younger horses and give the older horses a bit of time off.
Source: Press Release from Rolex Grand Slam
Photo: © Rolex Grand Slam / Sportfot