Ambition, Determination and Drive – Daisy Jackson
With so many horses to train, ride and clients to teach we do wonder how our sponsored rider, Daisy Jackson, fits it all in.
From her recent interview however, we sensed that same determination, will and ability to carry on in the face of adversity is still very much so present, as it was five years ago when we first met her.
It’s been a true pleasure watching, if sometimes from under the radar, this incredibly talented rider transform from a young eager teenager to the focussed and ambitious professional rider, and trainer she is today.
Here we catch up with Daisy to see where she’s up to and how the past has shaped her beliefs, training methods and ambitions.
Why do you do what you do?
Dressage is my passion and addiction. I find the whole process of training a horse fascinating and challenging. The feeling you get when you have a good training session is unbeatable which fuels the addiction!
How and when did you start riding?
I have been riding for as long as I can remember. My mum had a yard of 20 odd horses and was a dressage trainer herself. My first pony was a little Welsh section A called Dash. He was supposed to be a fun pony but I used to get bored hacking or jumping and only dressage held my attention! We still have Dash now!
What’s your typical daily routine?
Ride, teach, ride, teach, ride, teach, eat, sleep, repeat!
I start on the yard at 7.30 or if I am teaching locally my first lesson begins at 7am. My first job when I arrive at the yard is to make the feeds. I always like to make the feeds myself as I am in charge of every horses training programme and we always feed according to workload and how each individual horse looks and feels. After feeds I begin to ride. I ride around 8 horses, sometimes more but rarely less. I intersperse this with lessons for the people that can’t have them at weekends or in the evenings. I also try and do laundry in between riding and teaching each day. I then spend the rest of the afternoons and evenings teaching at home and in the local area.
We have 2 full time grooms and 2 part time. I usually tack up my own horses although the girls give me a hand and take horses if they are doing well for time. Having good staff is the most important thing to ensure that the yard runs well. We are incredibly lucky to have the most fantastic grooms that enable me to do my job without having to worry about the horses. If I get home before 7pm I am having an easy day!!
What horse’s do you have in at the moment and can you tell us a little about them?
So, we have my 2 Advanced horses Tango and Blackberry. Both competing at PSG and working towards Grand Prix. They have got a lot of the GP work coming but we have not yet started to put any of it together. Tango is 11 and is by Furst Heinrich, bred in the UK by Larkshill Stud. Blackberry is an 8 year old mare by Rubineiro out of a Negro mare and is co-owned by her breeder Tracey Bywater of Team Premier Equestrian. She has just been off for almost 6 months after having some sarcoids removed. She is super sharp so not for the faint hearted! Then there is Leo who is by Don Frederico and full brother to a graded stallion in Germany. He is a huge 5 year old co-owned by Heather Stack his breeder from Larkshill Stud. He is 4 years old and I have been working on building his strength this year and lots of hacking to take care of his growing body. Then the babies: 3 year old Casino bred by Fiona Bigwood by her beautiful Cashmir and co-owned with Phil and Diana Ward and then Beyonce who is also co owned and is by Don Frederico out of a Sandro Hit mare.
Then we have Donny, Lucy and Halle all in full training but not owned by us and Cor and Ringo on part time training and of course Dash. We then have one of my grooms horses here; Henna.
What horse have you the highest hopes for?
Oh this is the toughest question! They all have their forte’s. I have a massive soft spot of Tango and he keeps surprising me with his potential. I have had trainers say he has big tour potential so very exciting. Blackberry is also very exciting and has had the same said! Leo has the hugest of paces, so he is a super prospect too, Casino is sooo talented and then we come to Beyonce who I have yet to sit on – and she looks as if she is going to be a sharp one! Her moves are pretty incredible so yes she is another one I have huge plans for! I haven’t really answered have I! I have high hopes for all of them hehe!
What would you say to someone who wants to become a professional rider?
You have to be a grafter! Don’t even think that when you are the rider you just wait for your horses to arrive and be taken away after each ride! If you want to be successful, you have to make every opportunity; don’t wait for one as they don’t just come to you. You must seize every offer with both hands especially at the beginning. Don’t be renowned for saying “no” or “I have too much on”. Everybody seems to be a ‘professional rider’ these days! So clients have a lot of options. You need to stand out and you need to do your (PR) homework. Use social media to grow your profile and make sure you live up to what you say online! I think it is also important to actually have the ability to train horses without the need a lesson every 5 minutes. It is important to work things out for yourself as well as learn from great trainers. You need to be able to train a horse not just steer it around a test!
What’s been your biggest learning curve in your career so far?
Following the path of bad training because my natural personality is of someone who is determined and not a quitter. I believed in someone who let me down because I ignored all the warning signs and believed it would come right. This is one of the reasons I strongly believe in the UKCC for all trainers; just because someone is a great rider or has an amazing BD record, doesn’t make them a great communicator or mean they possess a natural ability to impart knowledge. It doesn’t always follow that someone who rides well has the skills to teach or that they are educated in the way different people learn and know how to adapt their teaching style to get the best out of their pupils. Not all people will get on with the same trainer. Riders that have a straight forward horse or are not ambitious to do GP will find they are taught differently to someone who has aspirations to be a professional rider so you can’t compare everyone’s experiences either – they will all be different. I had a horse that was tricky for a young person and needed, time and patience and unfortunately he wasn’t given that. I was led to believe that I was a crap rider and incapable of training a horse when actually what was being asked of us was outside of both of our capabilities. Once I discovered how much strength building is required just for basic collection it all made sense why my horse had been so resistant. Now I realise that was the trainers frustration talking and had nothing to do with my ability. The experience taught me so much so I don’t regret it. I am still young and at the very beginning really so anything negative I learn from. I feel proud to have grown as a person as well as a rider and use experiences to make me determined to train my own horses until I am good enough to produce a Grand Prix horse and to consistently train horses and riders to achieve. It all takes time and I am learning more and getting better every single day. Funny enough I see the old trainer has completely changed towards their clients now and has become much more sympathetic, supportive and human.
How important do you think rider fitness is and what do you do to stay in shape?
It is obviously essential. I did used to do PT sessions and go to a rider fitness class but nowadays I barely have time for a toilet break Image result for laugh emoji However, I am pretty fit due to the amount of horses I ride. Ideally I would like to work further on my strength and fitness and hope this will be something I have time for as time goes on. I do regularly work on exercises given to me by my physio at the Balanced Rider which definitely helps my riding.
What item couldn’t you live without?
Oh there are so many! Not items but my grooms and my mum who is pretty much my PA! Oh and Di Williams who organises all my clinics. Then I couldn’t live without TopSpec because my horses are amazing on it. I couldn’t live without my Montar winter breeches from JS Elite Equestrian, my collection of Wolds Exclusive Bling bridles because my horses go so well in them. Also my horses physios Caroline Bennetts and Kate Boe are so essential to getting the optimum out of training sessions. Also my lucky bracelets from Del Viento Horse Hair Jewellery which I wear for luck every test. Lisa Theron my saddle fitter and the Barn Equine Surgery who have saved my horses I definitely can’t live without! Then there are my Bespoke Bandages sets as matchy is life or death isn’t it? Image result for wink emoji
What’s your new years resolution?
Next year I would love to have both horses on the international circuit so I am going to go for that one! Also to keep improving my riding as much as I can to get the best I can be and to do a brilliant job for all my sponsors and work as hard as possible to make them proud!