Jeanette Brakewell’s legendary eventer Over To You (Jack), who is the most medalled horse in eventing history turns 30 on the 5th June. During his career, he earned 2170 points and competed as part of the British Team at the European Championships, World Equestrian Games and The Olympics plus individually at numerous 4* events…he’s clocked up a few air miles too!
Turning 30 is a big milestone for any horse not least one who’s had such a busy career. So we caught up with Jeanette to find out more about their partnership, how the ‘old man’ is doing these days and most importantly, how they plan to celebrate his birthday;
When did you first meet Jack and what was it about him that made you want him to be your partner?
I first met Jack when he came to the yard I was working at with his owner for a lesson from my boss. He was quite sharp and naughty which is why I was asked to ride him. He was subsequently bought by Richard Holdsworth for me to ride permanently.
Jack is the most medalled horse in eventing history, did you know he had the makings of a superstar from the start?
He certainly didn’t look like a superstar in the making but our partnership grew stronger and stronger and he got better and better.
What phase did he most excel at?
The cross-country because he was fast and economical.
What was his most challenging phase and how did you overcome the challenges through training?
His most difficult phase was the dressage. He naturally went like a tea pot so there was lots of focus on stretching him to a contact to get him stronger over his back and more connected.
If you had to pick one, what would be your biggest achievement with Jack?
I would say winning the individual Silver medal at the World Equestrian Games in Jerez in 2002.
What did Jack turn his hooves to after he retired from 4* eventing?
He did some of the indoor cross-country events including the Eventers Challenge at Hickstead and came out for the odd celebrity appearance.
How has he spent his days since fully retiring?
He is still in work to this day. He is fit and sound (though a bit stiff when he first starts) and he is worked 3-4 days a week and nanny’s the youngsters out hacking.
What did Jack teach you?
Patience and trust, and that thoroughbreds are the best gallopers!
Why is he such a special horse?
He is special because of what he has achieved and because of how sound he has been throughout his career. He is very special to me because he launched my career.
How do you plan to celebrate Jack’s birthday?
We are having a bit of a get together, it’s a good excuse for a party really!
Who’s your current hero horse and what are you plans for 2018 / 2019?
My top horse at the moment is Forever Red who is at 3 star level and may consider doing Pau 4* at the end of the season. Plans for 2018 are to get back to full fitness following breaking my ankle in March (planning on competing in the next couple of weeks) and cracking on with the other horses I have to compete. My ultimate aim is to get back on to teams again but will need to make a push for some more talented horse and new owners if possible.
If you would like to find out more about Over To You’s story there is a book available with stunning colour photographs charting his career from the yard where he was born in Ireland through to his final event – fittingly also in Ireland at Tattersalls. The book can be purchased here.
Finally, from all at Team SPILLERS, we wish Over To You (Jack) a very happy birthday!