Behind the Stable Door: David Simpson

Based in West Sussex, David has represented Ireland in Pony, Junior, Young Rider & Senior show jumping teams. 2019 was a phenomenal year for David, winning the Queen Elizabeth II Cup for the 2nd time at Hickstead and representing Team Ireland in 5* Nations Cup and World Cup Competitions.

David also claimed top spot at Horse of the Year Show as the Leading Showjumper of the Year, with the Vitek’s Gentleman VH Heldof.

We asked David to answer some of our questions to get to know him a little bit better and he filmed his answers below!

My name is David Simpson and I’m here with my top horse Foudre F. We are both delighted to be working with Protexin. Their products are incredible and brilliant for the gut health of my horses, espcially horses like Foudre who spend a lot of his time all over the world. He is on Acid Ease everyday because I think it’s brilliant for them as most of competition horses probably suffer from stomach ulcers. Quick Fix is another great product, it’s an oral syringe product which we use when they’re travelling. They get one syringe once a day whilst travelling as it’s so stressful and it’s one of the ways we try and eliminate the stress as much as possible. We want them to arrive at the show feeling great and in top condition, which Quick Fix is a great product for that.

     1. Has it always been love at first sight with show jumping and when did you decide to make a career out of the sport?

I always loved hunting and it developed into a love of showjumping. I’m from a very competitive family so any sport: rugby, football, showjumping we were competitive in. Horses were always a passion of mine so showjumping was a natural evolution of that. I got a place in Nottingham to do veterinary medicine, but I wanted to take a year out and try showjumping for a year so I went to work at Hickstead with Shane Breen. My year at Breen Equestrian was extremely successful so I decided then instead of spending the next 8 years in university that I would carry on showjumping.

     2. Describe what a normal day in the life of David Simpson looks like?

I come onto the yard at 8.30 and start riding and keep riding until 13:00 when I’d stop to have a little bit of lunch. We usually do a bit of Conor’s home-schooling over lunch which was not always enjoyable for the both of us. After lunch, if I don’t have one or two more to ride, I help the students that are based here or I have clients that come for lessons in the afternoon and do that until about 17:00/17:30.  Until 18:30, I’m in the office with Lori sorting out scheduling for shows including travel and entries, basically things you have to do in the daily running of a yard and hopefully be in the house for 18:30/ 19:00 and spend an hour in the gym.

     3. If you were to give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?

Probably to be to learn from my mistakes but don’t dwell on them. Negativity doesn’t help you. You learn what you’ve done wrong, learn how to make sure it doesn’t happen again and then move on. Don’t dwell on it.

     4. What is your secret weapon?

Our background team here at DLS.  I’m very lucky to have my wife Louise here as well so we can work together to keep us motivated and moving forward. We have a great bunch of grooms and staff that really make sure the horses are looked after to the best possible levels and are always in  great shape before the shows.

     5. What would your top training tip be to aspiring showjumpers?

Straightness. I think everyone worries about bending their horses  necks and doing fancy dressage moves but as long as your horse can canter, take off and land in a straight line you’ll find suppleness and everything will fall into place.

     6. When sourcing young horses as potential top level horses, what traits and characteristics are most important to you?

Heart. Heart is the most important aspect as they have to fight with you because at that level it’s just so tough and they need to work with you. They also need to have a good brain and be intelligent as coursebuilders nowadays build so light and the times are so tight, the horse has to also be intelligent to get results.

     7. If you could have the ride on any horse in the world, who would it be and why?

Currently in the world, it would have to be Explosion W. He’s just another level of scope, blood, carefulness, he just has everything. If I was picking a horse that was retired, I think Lantinis (Denis Lynch’s horse) as he had such an exceptional level of scope as when he won the Aachen Grand Prix it looked like he was cantering around a 2* Grand Prix.

     8. Who are your role models, in and out of showjumping?

In showjumping, Marco Kutscher is an incredible role model. We’re both quite tall guys so have to work quite a lot on balance but I love watching him ride, he’s incredible. Also, Frank Stucratt for the same reasons. Outside sport, I love Jurgen Klopp, the manager of Liverpool, I think his attitude and the way he manages team is admirable. Also my father, he’s a very intelligent man.

     9. What is your favourite Protexin product?

It would have to be Acid Ease. All my horses since we’ve started working with Protexin feel better and look better. I think gut health is such an important aspect of horse care, especially competition horses that even when you try and maintain their natural life as much as possible, keeping them fit, caring for them and getting them ready to go to shows its almost impossible to give them enough time in the fields so I think Acid Ease is brilliant to make sure they are always in great condition  and feeling comfortable to go to shows and win big classes.

     10. The old saying is no foot no horse, but it’s also true to say no gut no horse. What steps do you take to look after a showjumpers gut/digestive tract whilst travelling and away at a competition?

All our horses are on Acid Ease all the time, whether they are competing or not. Then when they are travelling to and from shows, we use Quix Fix daily. When we are at the shows, we use Recover Aid as it’s brilliant to keep them feeling pepped up and fresh so that they can perform at their best.