Behind the Stable Door: Louise Simpson

Louise saw huge success in winning numerous individual and team medals on Ponies and Juniors.  Having trained with some of the best showjumpers in the world like Peter Charles and William Funnell, Louise’s senior career took off while at Brendon Stud. Here she produced Don VHP Z who is now considered one of the best 5* horses on the circuit. While at Brendon Stud Louise gained numerous titles including Windsor Grand Prix in 2012 and 4th in the King George V Cup at the CSIO 5* Hickstead. In addition to this, she has had numerous other wins at top shows such as Addington and Horse of the Year show, Hickstead, Crans Montanta and Paris Masters.

We asked Louise some fun and interesting questions to find out a little bit more about her and we loved hearing her answers. 

I’m Louise Simpson and we’re here at DLS. This is Fiona who would be my best horse I’ve had for seven years.

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

''Definitely love at first sight. My grandparents have a massive livery yard in Kent so we were born into it – we had no choice really! But I loved it. When I was 7 and qualified for HOYS on my 128 I really got into it and knew it was what I wanted to do.''

What would a normal day be like in the months leading up to the showjumping season?

''The majority of them stay in work all year round and they vary at which horse has a break at what time. Preparation wise, the organising of the transport, feed and shipping, what staff we’re going to take all changes, but as far as the horses go nothing changes that much really.''

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

''Work a bit harder on my flatwork which I’m suffering with now! Ponies you just get on and jump which I’ve followed up until now as it’s suited me and worked for me but for selling reasons, they need to work well on the flat and wish I’d worked harder on my flatwork when I was younger.''

What is your secret weapon?

''Our team at home. As soon as your team is bad or you have one bad member of staff it affects the atmosphere and the staff doesn’t knit together and work well. When the yard is running perfectly, it’s a real difference. It also helps to have David as there will be horses that don’t suit me and suit him and vice versa so we can cater to all different horses here. The team we have here, epically now, is brilliant.''

What would your top training tip be to aspiring showjumpers?

''Keep practising. I’m a great believer in not doing the same thing every day, we try to get them out for a hack and when the weather’s good they can go in the field so it’s not too factory-like and they have a variety of work you do with them.''

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

''Brain. You can have one with all the ability in the world but if they don’t have the brain – either they’re too sharp or spooky – you need to be able to train them through it and if they don’t have that brain you can train them.''

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

''Hickstead. I prefer when they go in their own way!''

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

''In showjumping, John Whitaker. When I was a kid he was really high in the ranks and he’s still doing it now. He’s not only unbelievably talented but also a true horseman. I've seen him at shows still mucking out!

Out of showjumping, I love Tyson Fury the boxer!''

What is your favourite Protexin product?

''Acid Ease. Fiona has had 3 colic surgeries. The first happened only 6 months into owning her and 2 years ago had 2 more back-to-back and was really lucky to pull through the second one. It wasn’t until the third surgery they realized how full of ulcers she was. Since then we’ve had her on Acid Ease and since then (touch wood!) had it again.''

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?

''Travelling we use Quick Fix. We try to get them as much grass as possible and keep them on Acid Ease year round.''