British Eventing has more than 10,000 members and each year new members are attracted to join because it offers access to affiliated competitions across the country at all levels. At the start of 2015, Cat Jamieson began her British Eventing journey with her own Cappoquin Ned, a seven year old Skewbald gelding who she has owned since he was four.
In their first year of affiliated eventing, Cat and Ned have competed at ten British Eventing competitions, starting the year off at BE80(T) and finishing at BE90. Eventing Worldwide caught up with Cat to find out why she decided to join British Eventing, what she has learnt and her plans for next year.
Cat Jamieson is just one of the many riders who were new to British Eventing at the start of 2015. With her own horse Cappoquin Ned, or Ned as he is known at home, she decided it was time to live her eventing dream.
Based in West Berkshire, Cat works full time as a Senior Manager in a recruitment business, having gained a HND in Equine Studies and Foundation Degree in Equine Science, and fits riding in around her job in the evenings and at weekends. Having not competed for 10 years Cat decided the time was right to join British Eventing and have a go, having ridden from a young age.
“I started riding in London at the age of 11 at Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre but I come from a completely non horsey family. I had a complete break from riding between 2002 and 2011 – apart from the odd holiday pony trek. So Before I joined British Eventing I had only ever done unaffiliated one day events but that was when I was in my early 20s and at college. Having not competed for about 10 years, it has always been a goal of mine to compete at affiliated eventing. I had the confidence to join British Eventing because they start at BE80(T) level and it’s a sport that is popular with all ages. And they have trainers on hand to help you if you want.”
How useful did Cat find the BE Trainers? “This year I completed six BE80 classes but only used the trainers at two events,” she says. “But both times I found them extremely helpful as long as you listened to them. They are there to help. Being part of the eventing community is an amazing experience on the whole. People are so helpful. I travel alone to some events and have met some great people who I now class as friends. As a result of joining British Eventing and meeting new people I’m now involved in the Eventers Ball. I wanted to get involved with it this year as it’s for such a good cause – I will happily give back to the sport as much as I can.”
Cat believes one of the many advantages of competing at affiliated competitions is the high standard of courses. “With producing a young horse I wanted to ensure that we had a good experience. I would rather pay more to compete over a well designed and built course to have a good experience than not.”
As the year progressed, and after a top five placing at Calmsden in August, Cat decided to tackle the challenge of a BE90 class, even though the thought of the cross country made her nervous. “Competing in my first BE90 class was a big step for me,” she says. “The cross country looked huge in comparison to the BE80 courses. I was extremely nervous but I kicked on and held on tight. It was nice to see I wasn’t the only one who was nervous though.”
So looking ahead to next year, what are Cat’s plans with Ned? She says: “I’d like to start the year where I finished by competing in BE90 and aim to move up to BE100 by the end of the year. But I’ll see how it goes. Over the winter we’ll do six months of British Dressage and unaffiliated show jumping and some arena eventing for fun. I’m also booked on to do some British Eventing training courses to help us prepare for next year.”
Throughout the year, Cat and Ned achieved some impressive dressage scores – including a 22 at Broadway – which qualified them for the inaugural Amateur Eventer Dressage Championships at Blenheim Horse Trials in September. She says: “Competing at Blenheim was fabulous and I found it a absolute privilege – it’s not every day or every horse person that gets the opportunity to do that. And I’m definitely aiming for it again for 2016!”
And what advice would Cat give to any rider thinking about starting their own British Eventing journey? “Come and watch for a day, and see how friendly it is,” she replies. “It’s an opportunity to ask questions and walk the courses. There’s also the chance to volunteer and sit with fences judges. Or spend a day with somebody who travels alone. I would urge anybody to get involved – life is too short not to live your dream.”
To find out more about getting started in British Eventing visit their website http://www.britisheventing.com/asp-net/page.aspx?section=1153§ionTitle=Getting+Started
Sarah Carless Reporter at Large