Jive Master finds his rhythm

Written by Paige Smart

Two and a half years ago I had never ridden but I decided I wanted a horse and went to meet Jive Master (Aka. Paddy), the moment I met him, I fell love.

Jive Master started his racing career at 6, when he defied double odds & won his first race. He sold out of Ireland for €30k and went on to run 14 times for Tim Vaughan over hurdles, winning 3 races and placing in 3. He then went on to run in several P2Ps. He came off the track in September 2014 after breaking down with a bad fore suspensory injury.

The first year of our partnership was spent resting, in-hand work, lunging and building a bond as he lacked so much trust. At this point we were stabled right on the Quantocks and surrounded by woods, when ridden work began Paddy soon showed us that he didn’t like anything other than open spaces! There were monsters everywhere. We hacked out alone once & after spooking, and then galloping home we didn’t try it again for another year. I questioned many times whether I was enough for him & if I could really do him justice, several times I considered giving up and selling him on, but I’d fallen in love and I couldn’t imagine life without him, so I stuck by him.

We soon discovered that Paddy also loved his handstands & was known for them on gallops too. At first when he used to buck if I hadn’t fallen off, I got off. But now when he bucks, I just laugh at him and tell him to get on with it.

A year ago, I decided it was time he found his new career, so we stepped into the world of Showjumping. I had only been riding 18 months and had never jumped before so pointing an ex-hurdler at a fence was terrifying!

We spent months trying to get around a 70cm course, we had poles down, refusals, run outs, dirty stops (I was doing the handstands) and we were always eliminated by fence 6 (if we hadn’t already withdrawn after a disastrous time in the warm up).

It was at this point I was told by many instructors, other competitors and venue organisers, that he was a waste of time, he would never be any good and I should just give up. A few even told me he should be pts as no one could turn him around!

But I loved him to bits, he was, and always will be, my pride and joy. We’d come so far already and there was no way I was ever going to give up on him now and I’m so pleased I didn’t.

I worked so hard, day in day out, I was dedicated to Pads & it all paid off, because in the last 6 months we have gone from strength to strength. We are now out jumping double clears at 1m and winning 90% of our classes. We jumped BS Club for the last 4 months of the season; we knuckled down to get as many points as possible.

With the results now in, we have not only secured top spot in the RoR Club League but also a firm second place in the Club 90cm and 1m Leagues, against combinations that have been jumping all season. Qualifying us for both the BS Club Finals and the RoR Club Final at The British Showjumping Nationals in August. A dream come true and something I never believed would be possible.

Most importantly through hard work, determination & dedication not only have I proved all the doubters wrong but I’ve developed the most amazing partnership with Pads.

Giving a former racehorse a home was the best decision I ever made. The bond we have developed through all our ups & downs is unbreakable. He has taught me so much & continues to do so everyday, not only have I filled him with confidence but he has filled me with confidence too. I wouldn’t be half the rider I am now if I hadn’t brought Pads home, he truly is my one in a million.