Here we catch up with British Horse Feeds sponsored event rider James Sommerville as we make our way into the busy eventing season. Based in North Yorkshire, Team Sommerville has already had a great start to the season and is looking to cement its future at the top level of the sport.
I was brought up around horses and ponies and was sat on a pony at a very young age. Mum and dad were keen riders and would far rather take my brother and I out to competitions and Pony Club than be stood on the side of a football pitch watching. As I got older I became more enthusiastic about my riding and eventing.
I started eventing in the Pony Club and since then I’ve been lucky enough to get experience with some great people. I first evented at BE level in 2002 and for as long as I can remember it is all I have ever wanted to do.
What has been your career highlight?
I would say I have been lucky enough to have a few career highlights, but I take great satisfaction from successful days out eventing. At Floors Castle in 2012 we took three horses, two contesting the novice and one the intermediate. All three horses won their classes.
At Bishop Burton in 2014, my team and I took five novice horses to compete in the two novice sections they were holding. All the horses jumped double clear and were first, second and third in one section and first and second in the other.
Highlights though are probably Freddie Too winning Aston-le-Walls Advanced Under 25’s class, becoming Scottish Novice Champion at Hendersyde, riding the winner in the British Eventing Four-year-old Championship on Chilli Chap and winning Aske Hall CIC* on Talent as a six-year-old, my first international win.
My team of horses is currently headed by Talent, a 10-year-old Advanced horse, followed by Captain Levade an eight-year-old Advanced horse and Altaskin Jack a seven-year-old currently competing at Intermediate level.
I also have some very exciting younger horses too. Shadow Inspector and Master Ramiro (pictured) are both six-year-olds who I hope will be future stars and have all the potential and qualities to achieve the top level of the sport.
Tell us about your back up team…
My team consists of my head girl, Lucinda Cornes, who has worked for Team Sommerville for nearly four years. She is ably assisted by Mabel Crampton who also helps me with the riding.
We are all very grateful for the support we receive from our sponsors and owners, all of which are so important to Team Sommerville. Our new sponsorship this season with British Horse Feeds has really given us a boost and the horse are all looking and feeling great on Fibre-Beet.
Plans for 2016 are always dependent on how the horses are going and feeling. Talent is scheduled to go and compete at Bramham in the CCI***, with the possibility of Pau CCI**** at the end of the season. Altaskin Jack is going to compete and establish himself at Intermediate level this season and the younger horses are progressing nicely in the early stages of their eventing careers. With a few BE100 classes under their belts they will hopefully be aiming for a few Novice classes during the second half of the season.