Summer Jones - On her way
Equal emphasis on performance and horse health has young eventer well on her way to fulfilling big plans.
Equestrian writer, 24/09/2020
Seventeen-year-old Summer Jones plans to become an international eventing competitor and she's off to a great start as a working pupil for show jumper and breeder Ben Dunning's Rozel Sporthorses. Her return on investing long days of labour is a big improvement in the jumping efforts of her longtime partner, Bob, a Connemara with whom she competes at BE Novice, and her newer mount, Floris, a Warmblood she is bringing along and currently contesting the BE90 to 1M classes. Once she finished secondary school, Summer steered her education to a strictly equestrian path.
She first went to work with an Italian Olympic rider based in Gloucester, but the two-hour drive from her family's Soberton farm left little time to ride her own horses. When the event season resumed after the COVID break, Summer had a chance
to measure her horses' improvements in a competitive context. "Floris used to jump really flat. I had trouble keeping a rhythm and he always had poles down." They are only a few shows back into the season but Summer's most recent outing with
Floris included their first clear round in the jumping ring. Together with a personal best dressage score, they led their section going into the cross-country, then rode to a phase-topping round at their first affiliated event.
Learning and applying the new knowledge from her jumping mentor is typical of Summer's approach as a young equestrian. She's equally keen about ways to improve her horses' health. When she happened upon a demonstration of Haygain Hay Steaming equipment, she was quick to see how helpful it could be for her horses.
"Both of my horses suffer a lot when their hay is quite dusty," she explains. "They cough and struggle to breathe easily." That's worrisome for any horse and especially an eventer because of the respiratory rigours of their three-phase sport.
"We were soaking the hay," Summer recounts of her attempts to treat Bob and Floris' hay before steaming. "It made the hay really heavy and it flooded their stables. Plus, it really just wasn't working well for either horse."
Summer now has Haygain's largest steamer, the HG2000, at the family's home stable. Because high-temperature steaming reduces up to 99% of the dust, mould, fungi, bacteria and other allergens found even in hay of good nutrient quality, the horses' coughing is no longer an issue. Plus, they love it. "They wicker when they smell the hay starting to steam," Summer reports. "When it starts to get hot, they poke their heads over their doors and sometimes start kicking the doors to get the hay faster!"
Summer appreciates the steamer's easy and efficient operations. "I turn it on when I come home from work and it steams while I'm riding. It has made things a lot easier."
After what remains of this year's eventing season, Summer will continue with the jumping focus and add in British Dressage competitions through the winter. "I'd like to be a top eventer and compete at Burghley and Badminton," she says. With equal emphasis on performance and her horses' health, she's on her way!