Cricklade showjumper enjoys major triumph at Hickstead
WHEN Cricklade show jumper Jamie Fry won the Winter Novice Championship at Hickstead last week he knew his successful grey mare Lady Maria moved another step closer to leaving his yard.
"You sell your dreams," he said matter of factly.
From something like 400 original entries, the seven-year-old grey mare fought off all opposition in what her rider called 'the main novice class of the year'.
Some 140 potential winners arrived at Hickstead and the following day had been reduced to just 24. Nine went clear including Lady Maria, who then beat the finalists in a jump-off against the clock.
And that makes her a very valuable commodity indeed.
"I have already had some serious bids for her and I think I will be selling her at the end of the season after taking her to a couple of competitions abroad," said Fry.
Running a showjumping nursery is an expensive business and sometimes sales have to be made to turn a profit.
But Fry, 42, is making a habit of producing top class prospects, including Lady Maria's older half-sister Larissa, whom he sold to Sweden where she has gone on to Grand Prix success.
"Larissa was third in the Newcomers at the Horse of the Year Show and fourth there in the six-year-old class, but Lady Maria is a much better horse and has a lot more scope. She will peak between nine and 12 years of age and can go to the very top."
Fry himself enjoyed great success in Pony and Young Rider classes. "I jumped for England about 14 times and won the Pony Derby in Ireland," he said.
I also won a gold medal at a Young Riders' Nations Cup event in Germany when I was about 19."
He has been based at Cricklade for 22 years where he runs a beef herd as well as his equestrian activities.
In addition to his own career in the ring, he teaches pupils (including his own two sons Toby, 9, and Oliver, 7) as well as training a string of young showjumpers and breaking in and dealing with difficult horses.
"We put in a lot of time and work here and it is a real team effort," he said. "I have had Lady Maria since she was a foal and we have created quite a bond."
But when Lady Maria moves on, he knows that her bloodlines have been left behind.
"When Larissa was showing promise I bought her dam so in addition to Lady Maria, we have four more young ones in the pipeline," said Fry.
"There are no more to come as the mare has now stopped breeding, but I know that when my boys, who are very keen, reach 15 or 16, they will have top class horses to ride in competition."
Jamie Fry can be contacted for lessons on 07740 942669 or via email at email@example.com.