Following in his mother and sister’s footsteps, Jonny started riding when he was eight years old. Jonny and his sister, Alana, were generally pretty mischievous with their ponies and paid very little heed to where they could and could not ride – indeed they paid little attention to anything they were told they couldn’t do. Probably unaware of the excellent teaching that dribbled into them as young kids from Antonia Wills, it was only when they were a little older that their intrepid adventures on their ponies translated into the fearless joy that accompanies all good riders. A thoroughly engaged equestrian family, Alana has evented up to three star level and now assists her husband, himself a successful jockey and Master of the Grafton, with their successful racing yard.
Jonny, meantime, though eventing himself for a few years, started to specialize in dressage just in time to get involved in Young Riders. Seeking out the help of Delia Cunningham, he went from having never ridden much more than a simple eventing test to contesting Prix St Georges dressage within a few months. His then horse, Sibelius, was far more than just a young rider horse and the pair competed all through the levels and enjoyed a few seasons competing internationally at Grand Prix.
On finishing his master’s degree in philosophy, Jonny was seconded to assist in the running of the family business. This meant that dressage took a bit of a back seat for a few years. It was in 2009 that he asked his trainer, at the time, Pammy Hutton, if he could stable full time at Talland. This meant that he could crack on with running what had turned into rather a large and successful family business of nearly 1500 staff by day and rock-up to Talland in the evenings to try Pammy’s patience and light up her indoor school often till ten o’clock in the evenings. Six years later and with a considerably larger string of horses, Jonny left Talland to set up his own place at Curls Farm. They were very formative years since he’d not really done much riding for nearly four years and had dropped from being pretty much at the top end of the sport with Sibelius to having to catch-up, again.
Rising back up again with Tom meant international placings as well placings at Intermediaire I and Intermediaire II at the Nationals. At the same time a successful sale of the family business was forged meaning that Jonny could spend more time riding, once more. Some very promising youngsters as well as the super-exciting 9 year old Zick Zack Toftegard complement his top ride, Khartoum. At the 2016 Nationals, Jonny and Zak enjoyed a 4th in the Medium Gold and 3rd in the Advanced Medium Gold classes – with 2017 looking even more exciting! Aside from the dressage, Jonny also restarted his eventing following the arrival of King Caspar in May 2016 – they managed to squeeze in several runs at BE100Plus, even getting a double clear.