NAME: Tess Carmichael
DISCIPLINE: Show jumping
IG ACCOUNT: @tesscarmichael
- How did your passion for show jumping start?
I have loved horses for as long as I can remember. I started riding as soon as I could and then, at the age of 12, I was lucky to get my own pony, Charlie Brown and I started to compete. Charlie Brown loved to jump! He gave me so much confidence and we had so much fun. I did compete at all disciplines but jumping was always my favourite. I think he probably really started off my passion for jumping.
- How many horses do you have & Could you tell us a little bit about them?
I have a lot of horses at home but that’s because I can’t bear to part with them! When we first got the farm I had two horses, and now we have 13! A lot of them are retired/semi-retired but I get so attached to them I can’t bring myself to sell them so they stay at home with me for their retirements.
I have six horses to compete.
Unique III (Boo) 17 year old KWPN bay gelding
Boo is my out and out superstar. We’ve had him since he was six. He’s getting older now and I get really upset when I think that one day soon he is going to have to retire but anything now is a bonus because already he’s done so so much for me. He’s won me so much, he’s so quick that I have been known to fall off turning him between fences in a jump off, and has taken me from jumping 1.15 to 1.45.
Skara Glen’s Voltan H (Vollie) 16 year old KWPN bay gelding
We bought Vollie as a 12 year old as a schoolmaster to help give me confidence over bigger tracks. He’s like a cheeky pony trapped in a horse body and nobody has ever told him how old he is as he acts like a young horse all the time! He gets overexcited and it’s not unusual for him to squeak when jumping because he’s loves it so much! I love that he’s 16 and still enjoys it.
Atlantis PP Z (Ally) 13 year old Zangersheide bay gelding
I’ve probably never wanted horse as much as I wanted Ally. I had known him for a year before we finally bought him as a seven year old. He’s two very different horses at home and in the ring which took a bit of adjusting to. But last year he was fantastic and I had my best season with him.
Bangle SR (Bangle) 9 year old Holsteiner bay mare
Bangle was an early Christmas present two years ago. She is so clever and quick with the sweetest character. The first few months with her were quite a steep learning curve as she’s sensitive and sharp but now I feel we have a great partnership. I believe in her a lot and this year she stepped up and started to jump a few bigger classes.
Harley (Harley) 9 year old KWPN bay gelding
We bred Harley, I rode his mother, Dora and she is still at home with us now. He was our first and only venture into breeding. I’ve known him since was 20 minutes old so I really do know him inside out. I backed him myself (which I had never done before!) so I do feel very proud when he does well. He’s a bit of a late starter as he’s had a few health issues but he has an amazing attitude in the ring and is proving to be very competitive!
Chisinau W Z (Carl) 6 year old Zangersheide chestnut stallion
Carl joined our team last year. He’s out of the same mare as Atlantis and I feel very fortunate to have him. I’m really excited for things to come with him as I think he has a huge amount of potential. He did a few Globals this year and has shown that he’s got a good attitude so looking forward to what the future brings with him!
- What have been your career highlights so far?
I think there are always lots of milestones throughout someone’s riding career. There are special moments that you just will never forget. It’s not always just about the big wins but also accomplishments; when you jump a height you never thought you could or you achieve something with a particular horse that you had been aiming for.
I think one of the moments that was really special was when I won my first rug. Growing up I had always watched HOYS and Olympia, seeing riders winning classes and then doing their lap of honour on a winning rug. It was the dream! Boo gave me my first International win and with it came my first winning rug, and it was a beautiful wool Gucci rug - better than anything I had every imagined! Boo wore it for the prize giving and it never went near a horse again. It now lives as a blanket in the house!
4. You’ve done quite a lot of travelling with FEI Global Champions tour, which location has been your favourite this year and why?
It’s so hard to choose a favourite location on the Longines Global Champions Tour. It takes in some of the most amazing places around the world.
I love London, I think the site for the show is fantastic and it’s also really lovely for so many of my friends and family to come and support us. Also the girls who work so hard at home looking after the horses have the opportunity to come and watch them at an amazing show which is also special.
It’s a really unique show as it’s in the centre of London yet it doesn’t feel like it. There is a lot of space for the horses in the stabling area and the ring is nice and big. We’re also lucky as it’s less than an hour from home so it’s definitely the shortest distance the horses have to go to a Global Tour show!
- What motivates you?
My passion for my horses and the sport. In general I’m a very motivated person when it comes to my horses. I also always look to the future and have goals of where I want to be as a rider. Going to the Global Tour shows is great because you can watch the best riders in the world work and compete their horses, which I find hugely motivating.
- How do you handle the pressure leading up to big shows?
Nerves are something that I really really struggle with, I’m getting better and I’ve learnt a lot over the years for the best way to handle them. I think the mental approach is something that gets easily overlooked. I work with a sports psychologist to help me learn the best way to manage my nerves. He also uses hypnotherapy which has helped a lot.
- Who is your biggest supporter?
Without a doubt my family are my biggest supporters. I couldn’t do it without them. Neither of my parents ride or are horsey so it’s incredible how involved they are with the sport now. They come to almost every show we go to as well as getting involved in the less glamorous side of things! The girls all have the day off on Christmas and it’s a family effort to get all the horses done.
- What are your top 5 essential horse products (boots, saddle, tack, shampoos etc.)?
My absolute essentials which I use every day would be:
- My saddles - I love my saddles, I spend hours and hours in them! I ride in Devoucoux and I genuinely believe they are the best! Their saddlers are so knowledgeable and always get the right fit for the horse and for me. The leather is so soft and ages so well over time. I get upset when we change them as I get attached!
- My Parlanti boots - I have two pairs. Brown KK boots which have a bit more of a sporty feel for riding in at home and a more traditional black pair for shows. They’re both made to measure so fit like a glove and are so comfortable I can wear them all day.
- Bombers bits - These bits are great. They do a Pelham that is a straight bar with a port in it made with sweet iron that I love. I ride three of my horses with this bit in the ring. They also do a great version of it as a snaffle that I find the horses accept really well even if they can be a bit difficult in the mouth
- The Equiport work bridle - I have been asked so many times where I get my work bridles from. They are so so useful. They have clips on the head piece and the reins which makes changing the bits very easy. The flash is removable and you can adjust the height of the bit with one buckle. When you’re riding 4-5 horses a day it makes changing the bridle set up so easy!
- Horseware Rugs - Their rugs are just fantastic. Each of my horses have a full set of stable rugs and they share turn out rugs. Also as we turn out all year round they do a great selection from light fly rugs to warmer thicker rugs for the clipped horses in the winter. They wash and fit really well.
- What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
To enjoy it! It’s so easy with all the build up and pressures of events to forget why we do it in the first place.
- Do you have a favourite AD product?
To be honest it’s hard to choose between the breeches and the base layers! I really hadn’t worn base layers before the shoot I did with AD but when I tried them I loved them and now I live in them. The technical fabric is really supportive, breathable and comfortable. Also they come in the most beautiful range of colours!