This week I’m delighted to be chatting with Hong Kong international Grand Prix dressage rider Jackie Siu. Based on her own yard in the UK, where she rides and brings on her own horses, Jackie became the first ever rider to win a gold medal at the Asian Games under the Hong Kong flag. Read on to discover more about this extremely talented lady, her horses and her top tips for success.
Tell us about you
I am an international Grand Prix dressage rider based in the UK. I represent my home country Hong Kong and am sponsored by the Hong Kong Jockey Club. In 2018 I was the individual gold medallist at the Asian Games. I am currently training a few horses ranging from youngsters to Grand Prix level.
How did horses come into your life?
Having been born and raised in Hong Kong, horses were not part of daily life. However, my Father’s side of the family have always been keen horseracing enthusiasts, and my Mother who grew up in America rode as a child and my Aunt continued a life with horses and was a professional jockey. I guess an interest in horses were in my genes!
How long have you been riding?
I began riding at the age of five, after much ongoing persuasion my parents finally allowed me to have riding lessons.
When and where do you ride?
I manage my own yard in the Cotswolds, and this is where I train on a daily basis.
How did you start riding?
Having begged my parents for riding lessons as a child, they finally agreed, and I started riding at the Beas River Equestrian Centre in Hong Kong, which is run by the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Immediately I fell in love with horses and never looked back.
What you and your horses currently working on?
Each horse is an individual, and they have different strengths and weaknesses, but the principle I have for each one is that they can be the best that they can be. In terms of dressage training, the fundamentals of suppleness and being on the aids of the rider are a common theme with them all, whatever age, or level. I am always looking to see what works best for each horse so that they can perform to their best and enjoy their job too.
What do you love about riding?
For me riding is a passion about building a relationship between horse and rider, learning to trust one another, and developing a unique bond. This to me is the most important reason for riding, but in addition to this the competitive nature in me also enjoys the challenge of competition.
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
In the future I would very much like to continue what I am doing now. Having the reward of developing horses towards future goals inside and outside of the competition ring is what motivates me. I am always honoured to represent my country and push myself to fulfil my dreams.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
Certainly, I have. I think this is a natural emotion when you have worked so hard and want to do well. Particularly when I was a young rider, I often got very nervous at competitions.
How do you deal with them?
I think its important to accept some of these nervous feelings as a good thing, use it as a positive energy towards a performance. Over time, I have learnt to deal with nerves and that probably has a lot to do with gaining experience over the years and various situations I have found myself in. Again, try to see experiencing some nerves as a good thing, it means you care.
Your Top Tip
‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.’
The Final Furlong
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
There are lots of horses I have admired, past and present. Probably the horse from the past that I really like looking at old videos of was Rembrandt ridden by Nicole Uphoff, such an athlete!
Who is your equestrian hero?
I admire lots of equestrians. My trainer Carl Hester would definitely be one, and also Isabelle Werth and Anky van Grunsven (who I trained with before). I also have a lot of respect for riders in other disciplines too, such as A.P. McCoy what a legend!
If you could have five people to dinner who would they be?
That’s a tough question! Sir David Attenborough, Michelle Obama, both would be so interesting on global issues. Roger Federer, I would love to get insight into his amazing career. Dolly Parton, what a character and would definitely add entertainment. Finally, I think we could give a seat at the table to Brad Pitt! I think it would be quite an evening lol!
Favourite colour horse?
I have a soft spot for Greys!
Favourite horse event
I enjoy all sorts of cuisine!
Favourite way to relax
Hiking, spending time with family and friends, and nothing beats a good book.
Edward Scissorhands, and the soundtrack too!
If you enjoyed meeting Jackie you might like to view more chatting with interviews here You can keep up with Jackie’s progress and check out her instagram page here