Exclusive interview with the British show jumper Samuel Hutton
1. We read that you got started with horses when you were about 7. How did that come about exactly?
I was invited to a party at a local yard in Surrey when I first started school and from the minute I touched a horse, that was it, I was obsessed and they couldn’t keep me away. I spent all my weekends and school holidays there and badgered my parents to buy me a pony of my own, which luckily they agreed to when I was about 7 years old.
2. As an adolescent did you have a personal hero, and is that the reason you decided to take it further?
My teenage heros were John and Michael Whitaker. My parents took me to Olympia, at Christmas each year and I used to watch John and Michael jump and think, “one day I am going to compete here like them“.
3. When did you realise that this is what you wanted to do in life? While you were learning, were there any trainers who inspired you or helped you technically in any particular way?
As a child I dreamed, and as a teenager I was lucky enough to work and train with former GB Olympic showjumper Tony Newbery for about 8 years, Tony really taught me to ride and helped me to believe and realise many of my early ambitions in showjumping.
4.Which horses have been the most important ones in your career? Which have you had the closest partnership with?
I was lucky enough to both own and ride a mare called “For a Smile“ (Tilly) when I was first making my name in showjumping in the UK. She was a feisty grey mare, sharp, but with a big heart, she went above and beyond for me and I loved to ride her. When she retired I was lucky enough to be able to breed from her and I now have some exciting youngsters being produced for competition. She is still going strong at 21 years later when I competed in Europe I would have to say, the Stallion, Happydam, then only 9 years old, who took me to my first team GB 5* win in Gjion, Spain in 2016 and further team GB appearances in Aachen, St Gallen and Falsterbo in 2017. And the 9 year old mare Heidi Du Ruisseau who took me to my first GCT competition at the former London Olympic Park, and my first 3* GP win in Drachten, Holland.
5.Why did you leave Great Britain to live in Holland?
I enjoyed riding and competing in the UK, but at 23 I knew that I needed to gain more international experience. At first I was based in the Netherlands, working as a rider for Jan Tops in Valkenswaard for 3 years and now in Belgium, at AS Sport horses with Abdel Said for the last 6 years. I have been very lucky to ride some fantastic horses and experience competing at some great international shows in Europe and further afield in the US, Dubai and Scandinavia.
6. You have already achieved great results with the Belgian gelding H&M Kirlo Van Den Bosrand. How did this partnership come about?
I started riding Kirlo about 6 months ago, the owners of him, Tim and Olivia brought him to As Sporthorse.7. What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future are to win as many Grand Prix as possible and to get on the team for the Olympics in Tokyo
8. How have you been training your horses and what has been your experience with regard to competitions in this past year, a year which has been particularly tough on all of us, due to COVID?
It has been a very difficult year there has not been very many shows but we have been lucky enough to have a amazing facility at As Sporthorses to keep the horses in top shape.
9. We’d just like to finish with any advice you could give to young riders who dream of becoming champions one day in this amazing sport.
Never give up. You will experience many ups and downs and there are no shortcuts. You need to put in the hours, with your horses and with your training, and take as many opportunities to gain experience in the ring as you can. You never stop learning in this sport, every horse is different and a new learning experience, and that is why we do it.
Photos sIBIL sLEJKO © Rita Leo Verheyden – Melinda Sanvito
Riproduzione riservata HSJ ©