Stephanie DeWitt chats with Harriet Nuttall

By Stephanie DeWitt   Photography Julian Portch   #Harriet Nuttall

Having just returned home to Somerset from World Class Training at Solihull, top showjumper Harriet Nuttall took time out from her busy schedule to speak with NagMag. Along with other young riders such as Chloe Winchester, Louise Saywell, Millie Allen, Holly Smith and Joe Whitaker, Harriet received tuition in jumping from Di Lampard while Richard Davison gave lessons in dressage.

"All showjumpers benefit from a lot of flatwork training," said Harriet.  "It helps a lot with their balance while jumping."

What has been your greatest success to date?

It must surely be winning the Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Hickstead last summer with Galway Bay Jed which came as a bit of a surprise! Hickstead is a place where I always seem to do well and it felt great!  In fact it was pretty awesome and a big achievement.

Tell us a bit about Galway Bay Jed.

He's a 9 year-old by Romanov, a really nice Irish Sport Horse stallion. We bought him from Ireland when he was 5 and had just been backed, then produced him ourselves.  At 17.2 hands he's very tall but he's a lovely horse with a nice temperament, although he can be very needy but also very cute!

What influence has your father, Rupert, had on your showjumping career?

He's been a massive influence, he's been my backbone all the way through! This has always been a family business. We buy in horses, train them and sell them on. Luckily Dad also enjoys being an owner. He has always had a good eye for a horse, so all my horses have been chosen by him.

If you hadn't become a showjumper, what other path would life have led you on?

I would have been a PE teacher! I enjoyed team sports when I was at school and I would have liked working with kids.

 

What is your normal daily routine?

My day starts at 7am when I ride out. By lunchtime I've usually exercised six or seven horses. In the afternoons I often teach. Then there is office work and administration to be done including sending in entries to shows. Or perhaps one of my sponsors might pay a visit. At 5.30 it's time to bed the horses down for the night.

Do you have a favourite bit of horsey equipment?

We've just got a stunning new horsewalker which is my new toy! Apart from that I wouldn't be without a good massage rug. It's always in use and helps soothe any injuries.

What are your plans for next year?

At the beginning of the year we're off on the Sunshine Tour. I like to get my horses out jumping on grass early. We finished last year being in the British team competing in the 5* Nations Cup in Dublin, so I'm looking to take part in some big Grand Prix classes and hopefully be included in more national teams.

How will you be celebrating Christmas?

Christmas is always a family time. All the staff have the day off, so we do the mucking out ourselves and enjoy a lovely hack. In the run-up to Christmas the horses enjoy some down time, not going to any shows.

Where do you like to go on holiday?

I haven't actually been on holiday in a long time! My absolute dream holiday would be to go on safari in Africa. When competing I get to go to some really nice places, though. In reality I'll probably just spend some time in Cornwall.

Where do you see yourself in ten years' time?

It's difficult to see that far ahead!   Obviously I want to continue my showjumping career but I also want to do womanly things and have my own family sometime. I've been with my partner, Will Biddick, for two years now. He comes from Cornwall and is a jockey;  he runs his own business, breaking 3 year-olds in a separate yard. And I would like to win the Hickstead Derby - I've been third and second (twice!) on A Touch Imperious - and be a permanent fixture on 5* Nations Cup teams!

Harriet Nuttall QE II Cup

Harriet Nuttall QE II Cup

© Julian Portch

Harriet Nuttall Hickstead Derby 2017

Harriet Nuttall Hickstead Derby 2017

© Julian Portch