Sam Jennings is an international event rider based in Kent. Last weekend she scored her first international victory with Cole Play in the CIC** at Nunney International Horse Trials. From her yard, Sam dedicates her time to producing, breaking, schooling, training and competing a variety of horses.
Following her victory, Eventing Worldwide caught up with Sam to find out how she got into riding, discover her greatest achievements and find out who inspires her.
Tell us about Cole Play?
Cole is owned by Gill Johnson. He was bought as a three year old from Caven Sales to produce and sell. But I liked his cheeky attitude and Gill bought him out from the business. He is 10 years old and Nunney was the biggest win we have had so far. Last year I had a bad fall from him at Chatsworth International, and it’s taken a while to get back to form. He did the 8/9 Year Old *** at Blenheim at the end of the year but he was very green so we wanted to do some 2* events to bring the confidence back. He’ll now do Barbury 3*** in a couple of weeks, and then we’ll aim for either Blenheim or Boekelo at the end of the year.
How did you get into riding?
I started riding when I was four years old. My mum went to a Tupperware party and came back with a pony! Sunny was completely unsuitable – I was a four year old riding an unruly four year old pony. I was a keen swimmer until I was 15 and then I got back into riding. I have always been sporting – I played South East Basketball, South Volleyball, Kent Hockey and Kent Netball. But horses took over again when I gave up swimming, and I was 17 when I know I wanted to ride full time.
What are your biggest career achievements?
Winning Nunney International with Cole Play was my first FEI win so that has to go up there was one of my biggest achievements. And being shortlisted for the Young Riders team is another career highlight.
Who is your biggest supporter?
Gill Johnson, who owns Cole Play, has been my biggest supporter. She is my organiser, she does my entries and lets me know what is going on. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be where I am today. She is also a dressage judge so she has really helped with the horse’s flat work.
What are your future aims?
I have been doing this for a few years and you get good horses and then they are sold. I want to build up a nice string of horses so I am looking to expand my team with younger horses. I have a small yard – we have 11 boxes – and I currently have eight horses in at present. But they aren’t all eventers – some of them have come to me to be sold. I would love the yard to be full of horses like Cole as I have produced him since he was young. So I would like to bring more young horses to bring on.
Which event rider has inspired you?
Blyth Tait – I remember one of the first books I read when I was younger was about him and I just thought he was fantastic.
To find out more about Sam and her horses, visit her website www.samjennings.co.uk. Sam is also on Twitter @SLJeventing.