This month, we’re having a natter with British Advanced eventer Jodie Seddon! Jodie has produced horses from first show to Advanced alongside a high flying legal career; and now runs Stonehill Farm Eventing yard in Buckinghamshire. She competes regularly all over the UK at all levels, so we knew she’d be the perfect person to chat to now that the eventing season is getting underway
Q1: Hi Jodie! Lovely to speak with you. It seems like you’re a pro at keeping yourself busy; working as a corporate lawyer, running an eventing yard AND competing yourself! What are your top tips for striking that perfect balance between work and equestrian life?
A1: “I try to organise my time efficiently so no element is (irredeemably!) compromised. My advice for working riders would be to draw clear boundaries and try to keep them, so you give yourself enough headspace and time to do each element of your life justice. I find it helpful to be realistic about my capabilities day to day and manage myself accordingly – when I am super busy working, and I feel really drained, and I am supposed to flat school a horse which might be challenging then sometimes I may just go hacking instead & play around with some lateral work & transitions while out in the countryside – schooling isn’t restricted to the sandpit!!! I have some clear rules which I try to keep to – the day before a show, as far as possible to be on the yard & not trying to close deals on my mobile while packing the lorry… Above all it’s about teamwork – being able to trust those who have the care of your horse while you are otherwise engaged. I am very lucky to have my sister as part of the team at Stonehill Farm, so the horses are always watched over with a careful eye.”
Q2: Brilliant advice! The theme of the March box is ‘Competition Season’, and we’ve included some great items to help our subscribers prepare for any competing they may do! What are your favourite essential products when it comes to keeping your horses in tip top condition?
A2: “With a very grey #flyinggrey (Skies the Limit) as my number one horse we get through lots of shampoo!!! Fairy Platinum is a fantastic everyday stain remover, we try to save the purple shampoo for special occasions. However, the forage and feed we use is crucial to their good health and gleaming coats; the wonderful haylage Taylor Made Forage supplies together with expert nutritional advice from Red Mills feeds has brought the whole team through the winter in great shape.”
Q3: Tell us a bit about your horses! Who’s got the biggest personality? Who jumps the highest? Who steals all the carrots? We love learning more about our featured rider’s four-legged friends!
A3: “The #flyinggrey is frequently referred to (by me) as a pony due to his diminutive stature (16 hands on tiptoes!!), but in his world he’s utterly the boss. He may be top boy, but guests are not welcome into his mancave (stable…) without a reason. He likes his personal space… Go Go Gin is the queen, at 12 she is the dominant mare & quietly keeps everyone in line (including the #flyinggrey!), while being very partial to any form of human scratching on her more unreachable bits! Flugel is the yard napper – when not working, he’s frequently found asleep, day or night, snoozing in his bed.”
Q4: It goes without saying that a good training regime is vital when you’re gearing up to compete; do you have any favourite exercises or methods of preparation before the big day?
A4: “For me, training and preparation go hand in hand – I try to identify key aims for each horse individually and work backwards from there, week by week, to ensure all the training angles are covered well in advance. This includes regular jump training with Ian Wills, who is always on hand to help with work planning and management queries; and plenty of match practice – we are lucky to be close to some fabulous facilities at Addington Manor, where I compete regularly in BS, and great all weather XC facilities at Attington Stud and Aston le Walls – so the rain can never stop play! This winter I have also made a concerted effort to work on my own strength and fitness with a personal trainer – fingers crossed it pays dividends in 2017.”
Q5: In terms of your own eventing adventures, what are you biggest goals and aspirations for 2017, and the years ahead?
A5: “For 2017, number one goal is to continue to develop the lovely horses I have to ride, bringing them home safe and sound at every outing and building their confidence at each level. Ideally, I would love to compete successfully at 3 star on the #flyinggrey, Creevagh First Lady is very exciting and should consolidate at 2 star this spring, and it would be an absolute privilege to ride Go Go Gin competitively again after 3 long years of recovery from injury – every show will be a bonus! Here’s hoping….”
Q: Thank you so much for sharing your advice and knowledge with us Jodie! When and where will we be seeing you next on the competitive circuit?
A: “We will be in action at Tweseldown & Oasby next week, followed by a stay-away at Aldon International and a day trip to Gatcombe in March.”