Spencer Roe :: July’s Feature Interview
Here we talk to HorseHage-sponsored show-jumper, Spencer Roe, about his background, horses and life on the international show-jumping circuit.
When did your career in the saddle begin and have you always had your sights set on show jumping?
I started riding when I was eight and I really wasn’t that bothered about it, to be honest and didn’t really like it, so I gave up for a few years, but then I got a really good pony who I could win on and then I was hooked!”
How much time on average do you spend riding a week?
Well… I start riding at 7:30am and finish at 4:00pm.
But I do get an hour for lunch…
You’ve represented Great Britain on a number of occasions, including the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, how has this helped shape you into the rider you are today?
I think it has helped me a lot as I have gained a lot of experience at such a young age. I learned a lot from other riders who have had a lot more experience than me, it was nice that they all wanted to help and give advice.
Your success continues on Wonder Why, what do you think makes the horse so special?
He is so special because he will always do his best for you, no matter what. He has the heart of a lion. Always wants to please, and he has a little cheeky streak which helps too.
Can you tell us a little more about your current group of horses in training and at competition. Is there a particular ‘one to watch’?
I have recently moved away and I am now based in Holland and have a whole new string of horses. But I have taken two of my own with me – Itamorkus (Bear) and Merlins Montana (Monty) so I would say they are ones to watch out for in the future.
What do you love most about show jumping?
I love the producing of horses and being able to travel the world doing what I love.
What kind of thoughts run through your mind before entering the ring, especially at 4* level?
Mainly going through the plan in my head and remembering the course.
Asking your expert advice …
What’s the best advice you could give a nervous rider who’s letting their feelings get in the way of the competition?
Just remember this is supposed to be fun – that’s why we do it. So kick on!
What sort of training exercises do you feel make the most difference to your horses’ way of going?
I do a lot of pole work and bounces to help them with their balance and also to make them really sit on their hind legs to get a good push off the ground for when the fences get bigger.
What top tips could you give for riding a clear round?
Just don’t forget about the basics – Keep your hands up and heels down, and don’t get hung up on looking for a stride into the jump.
At what age would you start training a horse for a show jumping career and how best do you recommend starting off?
I normally start training horses at the end of their year as a three-year-old and will ride them away for maybe six weeks and then leave them to mature a bit longer and then start again with them around April time when they are four years old.
What are your hopes and plans for the future?
I have just started a new job in Holland, riding for someone out there and hopefully it will open a lot of doors for me and I’ll be jumping some big shows and classes, fingers crossed.
Who is your hero, and why?
John Whitaker is a big hero of mine. The things he has done are amazing and he is still going strong. A true legend.
What products couldn’t you live without?
I couldn’t live without HorseHage. It’s an amazing product and the horses really love it. It’s great for traveling on the lorry as it’s sealed and easy to handle, but most importantly it’s dust-free which is important for all horses’ respiratory systems, but particularly those like mine that are competing and need to be able to perform at their optimum.