This week I’m thrilled to be chatting with dressage rider and trainer Victoria Jones. Based in Rutland where along with her 5*eventing husband Richard they run their own business producing and competing horses and training clients. Victoria has enjoyed considerable success having represented Great Britain as a Junior and then as a Young Rider competing abroad and at the European Championships. Read on to discover more about this hugely talented lady, her horses, her ambitions, and her top tips for success.
Tell us about you and your horses
I live with my husband, Richard Jones, who is a successful 5* Eventing rider and our two children, Freddie and Florence in Rutland. From here we run our business, Team Jones Equestrian, producing and competing horses in our respective sports, and training clients. I got into dressage through Dane Rawlins who I started training with as a teenager. He gave me many amazing opportunities, and I quickly found myself on the Junior and then Young Rider teams competing abroad, and at the European Championships. Funnily enough, I also met Richard through Dane, so I’ve got a lot to thank him for!!
I took a break from competing whilst at University and then due to subsequent ill health, but enjoyed much success in recent years both Nationally and Internationally at Small Tour level on my two Jazz horses, Tijs H and Wiepke, and more recently on Suzy Dawe’s Extra, who I competed up to Inter II. I currently have two super 7 year olds, Dirty Talk and Rayban, and two very exciting 3 year olds in training.
How did horses come into your life?
I grew up on a farm. It was non horsey in the beginning, although my father had ridden much of his life cowboy style!! There were however horses in a neighbouring field, and my sister and I always used to sneak off to see them.
How long have you been riding?
Since the age of 7. Seems like a while ago now!!
When and where do you ride?
Everyday. Mostly riding in the mornings and then teaching in the afternoons at home.
How did you start riding?
My parents caught me one day trying to clamber on one of the neighbour’s horses in the middle of the field, and they decided if I was that intent on riding it was probably best to send me to the local riding school for some lessons under supervision. Of course my own pony soon followed. Typically he was the naughtiest and most lethal thing on four legs, but as I survived that and still somehow loved riding, he ended up being the first of many.
What are you and you’re horses currently working on?
Dirty Talk will make his competition debut this year. I plan on bringing him out at Medium, and then Advanced Medium, whilst also carrying on educating him towards Prix St Georges for the following year. At home he has started with half steps and passage, so all looking good for the future, Grand Prix being the ultimate goal. Rayban, who is a very big mover, is being a little slower to mature and strengthen, and my competition plans with him remain open, although the end goal is still the same. Horses develop at different rates and part of being a successful rider is being able to recognise what training level and intensity is appropriate for each individual. The three year olds will be quietly educated by my husband this year, and I also have plenty of his horses to train as well.
What do you love about riding?
So much! Primarily the partnership between horse and rider. That can be truly something special. To take a horse from the beginning and teach them to do extraordinary things, quite literally teaching a horse how to dance. There are also so many life skills to be gained from riding, patience, determination, responsibility, courage, dealing with winning, and the inevitable losing, to name but a few.
What would you like to be doing in the future and do you have goals?
To get back competing Internationally at Small Tour and then on to Grand Prix and Big Tour. If that takes us to some exciting places, then great, but importantly to also enjoy the journey, and produce my horses as happy athletes to the best of their ability.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
I can get nervous, especially at big shows. I think it’s a very natural part of the process of working hard towards a goal, and then wanting to be able to deliver as best you can. I get far more nervous though watching my husband competing at the likes of Badminton and Burghley.
How do you deal with them?
I use my nerves towards positive energy, that helps me focus. Any negative feelings I try to zone out. Once I’m on board, I’m fully focused on my horse and the task in hand. I follow a plan for my warm up and put trust in my training which gives both me and my horse a feeling of security and confidence.
Your top tip
Love what you do and work you’re ass off to achieve you’re dreams and be the best you can. Make the most of the highs and learn to deal with the lows. Also, keep you’re eyes and ears open; you never stop learning.
Down The Centre Line
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
There are so many spectacular horses out there these days I think we are spoilt for choice. I remember the amazement when I first saw Totilas. He was the first of his kind, and just utterly breathtaking, so maybe him. However, I will say there can be a big difference between look and feel. Some horses that look great don’t always ride great.
Who is your equestrian hero?
I admire many top riders who are out there consistently producing horses to Grand Prix and achieving good results, in this country particularly Carl Hester and Gareth Hughes. In terms of utter precision, delivery, and for her nerves of steel, I would have to say Charlotte Dujardin.
If you could have five people to dinner who would they be?
Current Olympic champion, business entrepreneur, mother and all round superwoman Jessica Von Bredow-Werndl , to find out how she does it all!
My long standing trainer, Gareth Hughes, to say thanks for all his fantastic coaching.
Good friend, Joel Tedham as he’s the best company and basically dazzles everyone.
Patrik Kittel, he’s a great rider, sportsman, and family guy, he rescued my then 3 year old daughter who was running off when I was competing in Compiegne!
Carl Hester, as he’s basically the king of British dressage!
Favourite colour horse?
Can’t beat a beautiful dark horse, but good horses come in all different colours.
Favourite horse event?
Aachen is pretty mind blowing. I’ve not competed there but been lucky enough to go a few times.
Too many to list!
Favourite way to relax?
Quiet night in with my family, or the (very)occasional wild night out.
Don’t really have one, but I do love a good Netflix series.
If you enjoyed meeting Victoria you might like to view more dressage rider chatting with interviews here You can keep up with Victoria’s progress and check out her instagram page here