Meet the two young ‘stars in the making’ with their competition horses at Team Jones yard in Rutland
India Ward and Kate Dennis have just secured jobs of a lifetime. They, together with their competition horses, have both joined the Team Jones South Luffenham-based eventing and dressage yard.
They come from wildly different backgrounds – 18-year-old Kate from a North Yorkshire farming family grew up with horses with an eventing mother, young horses for breaking in, and an older sister Charlie Dennis already competing at 3* horse trials.
19-year-old India on the other hand comes from a town background in Water Newton, Peterborough, and although her mother did some eventing and dressage, she was the only member of her family to have the burning desire to ride horses – and dressage is her cup of tea.
Both were searching for quality training that would help them achieve their riding ambitions and the Team Jones yard has provided the perfect fit.
Taking the Winter Qualifiers by storm, then off to the Championships
India and her 14yo Danish warmblood Elverhojs La Cour joined Team Jones yard in November and she and her horse quickly took to the daily routine. With the help of Victoria, the two of them took the Winter Qualifiers by storm, winning with 70% and 69.86%. This was followed by the Winter Championships at Hartpury, with India coming 6th in the Silver section of the Advanced Medium and 2nd in the Under 21’s in a really tight competition – just 1.4% separated the 2nd to 6th places!
On the road to Osberton
Kate joined in March and came mob-handed with two horses – home-bred 8yo Eric the Red and her 7yo KEC Quality Ethan. “Eric has been up to Intermediate – but we’re making sure we get the basics right. We’ve been to Lincoln, Belton and Burnham Market Horse Trials and we’re improving all the time.” After having some poles down at Lincoln and Belton, Kate had double clears at Burnham Market, so up the leaderboard she goes.
Kate admits she has always struggled with dressage, so having a top dressage rider like Victoria on hand is special. “I just can’t believe the amount of top training we are getting,” said Kate. “The yard is full of fabulous quality horses. I get to both see and work with the yard’s top eventers - Alfies Clover being prepped for 5* events, the young horse Grafics that has just joined the yard from Ros Canter’s, and the youngster Financial Express that is making such promising progress.”
Help where it is needed
India can’t believe it either. “I can even ride Victoria’s Grand Prix horse Tijs H. It’s a privilege just sitting on a horse like that and gives me first-hand experience of the feeling you are looking for in the movements. Richard and Victoria are so hands on here. At the Winter Championships where I was up against all the top dressage professionals competing their young horses, Victoria took the time to come to help me warm up – I’ve never had this sort of professional help before.”
Dreams? Ambitions? India is looking to do the Premier League at the end of the year and has her sights set on the young rider’s trials and the team. Kate is heading for the long format 3* at Osberton with Eric and to bring on Ethan in all three eventing disciplines.
The last word goes to Victoria Jones: “We all know the road to riding success is paved with hard work, long hours, setbacks both personal and animal, and highs and lows. We are so lucky to have this team here at Lowlands Farm. For Richard and I it is so important to be giving back to the riding community. Kate and India may be young professionals just starting out on their journey, but we believe they have the talent and determination to be stars in the making. Our job is to help them achieve their ambitions by having the proper groundwork, good training and hands-on support.”
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.
The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) has selected Rutland event rider Richard Jones as one of five event riders for the UK Sport World Class Podium Potential squad for 2019-2021. Team Jones is sponsored by leading horse feeds manufacturers Dodson and Horrell, sports photographers Julie Priestly, artist and photographer Deanne Ward, and IBA International media relations consultancy.