RIDER OF THE DAY: Jess Butler - 16 September 2011

Rutland-based Jess progressed through ponies with success in show jumping and eventing before moving on to horses at 13 years old. Since her A-levels she has been fortunate enough to follow in the footsteps of riders such as Jeanette Brakewell and Sarah Cohen and to ride and train with the Lawrence David Event Team and has now set up her own yard. Jess competed in the Express Eventing Series 2011 Qualifiers at the Bolesworth Castle Showjumping Classic and The Festival of British Eventing.




1. How old were you when you started riding, who introduced you to riding and which was your first horse?
I was about three my family rode and my first pony was a little star called Honesty.

2. How did you choose the music for the dressage to music phase?
Went for something up beat, someone once said my dressage would be good if it was against the clock, hence my first choice was way too fast.

3. Do you think horses enjoy the music, and do you feel it makes a difference to their/your performance?
I think so, I think in general it improves the performance and obviously gives you a rythym to follow.

4. How much practice did the dressage to music phase take?
I think it probably needs a bit more, but had a very helpful lesson with Richard Davison the other week.

5. What has been your most memorable moment of the Express Eventing 2011 Series so far?
Sam Griffiths dressage at Gatcombe was amazing.

6. Who would be in your dream multi-national Olympic eventing team?
Michael Jung, Piggy French, Mary King and Andrew Nicholson.

7. Do you reward your horses for a good performance and, if so, how?
Lots and lots of pats, and generally always get the next day off in the field to relax.

8. What has been the highlight of your career to date and why?
I think making to Junior long list in 2006 topped off a very good season.

9. What was your favourite subject at school and why?
Maths, I was quite good at it which helped, although I always reach for the calculator now.

10. If you weren’t a professional event rider what would you like to do?
I have worked a lot in kitchens and still work two nights a week in my local pub, so I think it would be something along those lines, although I can’t imagine wanting to be anything other than an event rider.

11. What would you most like to win that you haven’t already?
Burghley is the event I would most like to win one day.

12. What is your favourite holiday destination?
I might pop to Ireland at the end of the season.

13. Which horse would you most like to have had the opportunity to compete on and why?
I thought that a horse called Arakai always looked like an amazing jumper.

14. When did you last fall off?
A few weeks ago.

15. Do you have any pets at home?
One lurcher called Mitzi.

16. What’s your favourite meal – and can you cook it?
Chinese take away.

17. Do you have any lucky charms or superstitions?
No, haven’t found one which works yet.

18. What’s your favourite one-day event?
This year I would have to say Somerford Park.

19. What are you most looking forward to at the Final at the Horse of the Year Show?
To be going there is amazing.

20. Who are you tipping to win the Final at the Horse of the Year Show?
Mathew will obviously be very competitive having won three qualifiers.


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