Kent born Tom Jackson has been surrounded by horses all his life. After finishing school with a sports scholarship, Tom spent the next two years breaking and schooling young and troublesome horses working for Sasha Pemple. With this valuable experience, he joined Dassett Eventing which took him to the next step of running his own yard which includes training four horses that are competing at advanced/3* level.
Having completed Badminton in 2017 for the first time on his horse Waltham Fiddlers’ Find (Wes), Tom is now working towards achieving his goals of representing Team GBR at the Olympics and World Equestrian Games in years to come, together with running at Badminton again this year.
Samantha Hobden caught up with Tom recently in Haynet’s Tea in the Tack Room series, to find out more about his busy life training and competing his event horses and what the future holds.
What is your earliest memory when riding ponies as a child? Tell us about your childhood spent with horses and ponies
We went to a local show on my leading rein pony to do a show jumping class. It was going really well until Mum didn’t jump high enough and knocked a pole down! I just remember being very annoyed needless to say I haven’t let her forget it.
Why did you choose to focus on eventing? Was it an easy decision to follow this direction into equestrian sport?
For me, it’s always been eventing. Even when I was at school all I wanted to do was get my exams out the way so I could go and work for a rider.
You have worked with young and troublesome horses in the past – what would be your advice to an owner that is having a difficult time with their young horse’s behaviour?
Keep things simple and clear. People can sometimes get caught up in the middle ground where the horse doesn’t understand and the rider isn’t getting what they want. Make it as black and white as you can so they can understand what you want from them.
What has been the challenges and triumphs of running your own yard?
I’ll start with the triumphs. I am very proud and feel very privileged that we have been able to build such a large string of quality horses with a hugely supportive backbone of owners who make it all possible. I always dreamt of being in the position I am now but making it a reality seemed a million miles away at some points.
The challenges for us are trying to build a successful and sustainable business in what is renowned for being a tough industry to make enough money when you’re not fortunate enough to have parents financial baking. We have been incredibly lucky to have invaluable support from the Jenkins my oldest owners who help with the running and setup of the business was instrumental in the first couple of years.
What do you look for in a competition horse? Do you go with your gut feeling or should a horse meet a list of requirements in your professional eye?
I think the most important things to look for are horses that have a good brain and conformation.
Which equestrian rider do you take inspiration from and why?
Pippa Funnell, mainly because she has won everything but also because of the way she trains and produces her horses. I have been lucky enough to train with Pippa for the past 18 months and love the way she goes about riding.
If you hadn’t gone down the equestrian career path, what would have been your Plan B?
There wasn’t really a plan B. It was a shit or bust approach.
What are your plans and goals for this year?
The big aim for this year has to be a top 10 place at Badminton.
Who have been your support network with your equestrian career?
Too many people to name, there has been so many people over the years that have helped get me to this point. Of course all of my owners, staff and sponsors as well as Pippa for all her support, but the biggest support has to have come from my girlfriend and yard manager Sabrina, we started the business together and she is as much the reason for any success we have as I am.
On a day off, where can we find you?
In our job they are a rare occurrence but when we do its a pub lunch or Netflix and chill!
Against The Clock Questions
Bays, Greys or Chesnuts Bay
Champagne or Beer Beer
Schoolmaster or Youngster A talented Youngster
Home Cooked or Eating Out Eating out
Spend or Save Save
Music or Film Film
Horse Racing or Racing Cars Horse racing
Please visit Tom Jackson Eventing: https://www.tomjacksoneventing.co.uk/
Header Image: Credit Nigel Goddard