Event rider and freelance journalist Arabella Clegg chats with show jumper Jessica Mendoza to find out how this years competition season has been.
1. How has your competition year been?
“It’s not been a perfect year , some of the horses have been off with injury. I have some nice young horses that have been busy gearing up for some of the bigger levels. The horses are all starting to feel fit and healthier again so I’ll look forward to getting back out with them. The best shows of the year were the Grand Prix in Florida, and being part of the Nations cup team in Dublin. It was ToyBoys first time making a team appearance”.
2. What is your favourite show to compete at?
“Olympia. Without a doubt it is my favourite show, it’s one of the only times a year I get to go and compete back at home since being based in Holland. The fact it’s around Christmas too makes it extra special”.
3. Aims for next year?
“To compete in more of the Nations cup series and plenty of 5* shows. Hopefully I will be able to get some more owners on board to potentially get another horse with the aim of Tokyo in my sights”.
4. How do you keep your horses fit and healthy?
“I really like the horses to get out of their stable at least twice a day. So one will be when they are ridden and the other is for them to get turned out. I feed them on steamed hay by using the haygain steamer. This reassures me that there lungs are cleaner and they feel fresher for it. I’m a big believer in using the haygain nebuliser, whether they have a cough or not I feel it prevents them getting any potential problems and helps open their airways up”.
5. Describe a typical day in your yard?
“I’m usually riding my first horse around 8.30am and will ride four before lunch. We will then all have a lunch break together in the house before commencing riding the rest in the afternoon. The horses that have been exercised in the morning will go out in the afternoon and the ones who will be ridden in the afternoon will have been out in the morning. I don’t like to repeat what I do with the horses often, so if they have been in the school one day they will go around the gallop the next”. (A circular gallop that surrounds the boundary of the paddocks)
6. How as a rider do you keep yourself fit?
“I find riding around seven horses a day is enough. I might very occasionally go for a run!”
7. Would your grooms say you have any quirks?
“I have a treat box for when the horses are tied in the cross tie area, they are a bit spoilt”.
8. How did you get in to show jumping?
I started showing from a very young age and moved on to working hunters. The ponies would have some fences down and that frustrated Dad, so he decided he would buy some ‘proper’ ponies to go show jumping and it just went from there”.
9. Night In or night out?
“Definitely night in. I love to cook and experiment with different recipes and then an early night”.
10. What would be top of your Christmas list?
“A holiday! I’m my own worst enemy as I choose not to have time off as I love being busy with the horses and competing, but a holiday would be nice”.
To keep up to date with Jessica's competition schedule like her Facebook page.
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Hydration is probably not the first thing that occurs to us approaching winter but as vet Stephanie Davis, DVM points out, it can be a big issue.