Meet Ben Perry, rider at Team Jones Equestrian, Rutland
At a time when British Eventing brings back Team Gold and Individual Silver, and equestrian medals all round with two Bronzes in dressage and Individual Gold in the show jumping – it’s never been a better time to be a young rider setting out on a career in eventing.
And according to Ben Perry there’s no better place to be than at Team Jones Equestrian yard in Rutland, home of top international eventing and dressage riders Richard and Victoria Jones. With COVID hopefully behind us, 20-year-old Ben has talent spotters to impress with the Europeans coming up, and the Olympics in Paris to dream of.
In his two short action-packed years with Team Jones, he and his mare Fa Karla have fast forwarded from pre-novice BE90 competitions to qualification for 4* events following a strong performance at Aston le Walls. His excellent run of form continues, finishing on his dressage score at Houghton Hall CCI3* and sixth place in the Young Rider CCI3* championship.
So what’s the story behind Ben? Although he was brought up in the countryside around Loughborough, horses or ponies were never on the family radar – but they were on his. The mother of Olympic show jumper Holly Smith had a yard nearby where he was already riding ponies at the age of four and the addiction had started. He worked for free, rode ponies, and bought his first 14.2 pony at the grand old age of 12.
But he longed to go eventing. At 16 he sold the pony, counted his pennies and fell in love with a sharp 7yo mare with attitude and opinions that Ben was sure he could change. At 19 he and Karla took the perfect next step to join Team Jones yard in Rutland.
“It’s been life changing,” he says. “Richard and Victoria both go that extra mile – literally – to take me to the important events to develop my horse and my experience. With Victoria my dressage has gone from ‘grin and bear it’ to rhythm and harmony. But more than that, they teach me equine life skills that I just couldn’t have got at home because I don’t come from a horsey family.”
“I now have the confidence not just to ride but to meet with owners, talk with other competitors and even with British eventing officials. I have not only grown in riding abilities but in personal confidence.”
Team Jones are eyeing up a hopefully busy end to the season. Blair Castle CCI 3* and 4* on 26-29 August and the Chedington Bicton Park CCI 5* on 2-5 September all look to be on the cards for Richard and the yard’s top eventers, Alfies Clover and Kilballyboy Bob – both having been nicely prepped at some smaller events over the past few months. As for Ben, he and Karla are off to Somerford Intermediate and hoping to end the season on a high at Osberton International CCI-L 3*.
Watch this space!
About Team Jones Team Jones is based at Lowlands Farm in Rutland. Richard Jones is emerging as a top international eventer – in the top ten at Burghley and at Blenheim in 2018 – and his wife Victoria is going from strength to strength, building her international dressage career. The team has just finished a cross-country training field to add to their facilities so that training can go on for youngsters and established eventers alike. Team Jones is sponsored by leading horse feeds manufacturers Dodson and Horrell, saddle pad designer Sedelogic, e-bikes provider Eco Voltz, sports photographers Julie Priestly, artist and photographer Deanne Ward, Stierna Equestrian Sportswear, equestrian glove distributor Hirzl UK, and IBA International media relations consultancy. Find out about what’s happening at www.teamjonesequestrian.com, follow them on Twitter and Facebook, and check out the Instagram account.