To mark our very first edition of “In the hot seat”, we catch up with one of the most popular riders on the eventing circuit, Jonty Evans and find out a little more about the man behind the legend.
The Irish rider has experienced the highs and lows of sport more than most. He has reached the dizzy heights of 5 star level eventing, finishing 9th at the Rio Olympics. Soon after his best horse Cooley Rorkes Drift (stable name Art) was nearly sold. Jonty managed to raise £500,000 through crowd-funding (and his huge popularity) to secure the horse. A year later tragedy struck and a fall resulted in a serious brain injury. After a year of extensive rehab and sheer grit, Jonty has started eventing again.
Favourite moment in your career
I have two. Firstly when I was sitting on the plane on the way back from the Rio Olympics, feeling like I’d done alright. Secondly, it was going for the very first hack on Art after the accident and feeling like this was what was worth fighting for.
First memory of horses
I had two welsh mountain ponies called Rosie and Posie. Rosie reared you off whilst Posy bucked you off. They taught me determination and humbleness.
Your worst behaved horse or pony
Rosie and Posie.
What advice would you give someone starting their equine career?
Hard work and perseverance always pays off eventually.
Riding at Badminton and the Rio Olympics. It’s everything I dreamed of,
If you were a horse, what type would you be and why?
A good thoroughbred- they are magnificent animals.
Horse of a lifetime
Favourite TV show
I’m not that bothered about TV. I do love Top Gear but I actually preferred it with Jeremy Clarkson.
When you have days off, what do you do?
I never used to have days off but now I try to take life less seriously. So by choice, I go out with my kids. I have a son called Charlie and a daughter called Amelia and they mean the world to me.
How do you unwind after a stressful day
With a glass of Whiskey- Irish of course.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
Never give up. A mantra that was entrenched in me from when I worked for Andrew Nicholson.
What are your hopes for 2020
If I don’t tell anyone no one can hold me accountable if I can’t pull it off. But put it this way, I’ve got lots.
What is on your bedside table
An alarm clock! Also a book called “In the middle are the horsemen.”
What is your most treasured Christmas tradition
My kids getting their stockings when they still believed in Santa.
Any Rocky film and Notting Hill.
What is the best and worst thing about the equestrian industry
The best thing: the support and care for each other.
The worst thing: out of date, sometimes draconian ideas
What haven’t you got the hang of in life yet
What is your biggest competition regret
I try not to do regrets. They are pointless. You can’t change what has happened.
Who is your non-horsey hero
There isn’t one in particular but I admire any sports person with an insatiable appetite for the fight.