Name: Kirsty Jackson
Qualifications: BHS II
Family: Married to Simon Jackson and mum to Grace Jackson
Achievements to date:
• Competed internationally up to Junior 1* level with Antwerp Honey Bee, finishing 4th at Necarne International 3 day event in 2001
• RUAS Balmoral Working Hunter Champion with Gransha’s Lord of the Ring 2003
• Irish Novice and Elementary National Dressage Champion with General Gist 2011
• 4 year old Young Dressage Horse National Champion with Shalako 2013
• Member of the Horse Sport Ireland Talent Development Squad 2014
• Runner-up in the Young Event Horse final at RUAS Balmoral 2019 with Granshas Charming Lad
Throughout my career in horses I have been blessed to always have experienced coaches guiding me. Individuals which have stood out for me over the years are my mother (Adrienne Stuart), Joanne Jarden, Gerry Sinnott and the late Molly Sivewright. Each coach had their own individual style but I looked up to them, took on board the advice they gave me and felt huge progress in both my riding and my self-belief. I feel these are the qualities that make a great coach and
During my 12 month placement at the world renowned Talland School of Equitation, in Cirencester in 2004, I experienced first hand the positive impact a good coach can have. Arriving as a working pupil with no formal equine qualifications, I immersed myself in the equestrian way of life, learnt all I could
and returned home the following year with my BHS Stages 1, 2, 3 and 4 and my BHSAI. I followed this up with my Intermediate Instructors certificate in 2006.
In 2018 I began coaching for Northern Ireland Youth Dressage. This is a great scheme for 8-25 year olds and aims to offer a high level of tuition to all levels. I thoroughly enjoy coaching these like-minded young riders and watching them mature and progress.
Gransha Equestrian Centre has been my home and place of work now for many years. It has developed into a successful riding centre, livery yard and competition venue. It is the perfect location to pursue my passion in coaching
both horses and riders in all disciplines.
Kirsty Stuart, a history in horses…
Growing up at my mothers riding school I was set up on ponies from a very young age. I was encouraged to try all disciplines and ponies were generally bought at a young age and with the help of my mum we brought them on.
Whatever the ponies excelled at tended to be the direction I went with them. This picture shows one of my earliest memories. Lead rein on Goldy with my Papa.
As the name suggested he loved jumping and gave me lots of confidence.
When I outgrew Poppy my mum found a young 13hh pony. He was very nervous at the beginning and Bobby and I did lots of showing and working hunter at novice level in the early days. His show name was ‘Parkhill Bobby Dazzler.’ At this stage my mum also had a young 15hh mare called Penny.
It was at the age of ten years old that I got my first taste of competing in England. Summer holidays consisted of two months touring around England with Penny and Bobby, competing at shows such as BSPS and Ponies UK. Emma McArthur did a fantastic job with Penny and it was only a few years down the line I realized just how amazing she was.
Bobby and I formed a very strong partnership and among the many titles he took, the Ponies UK Derby still remains etched on my mind. He really was a fantastic pony.
As I grew out of Bobby another young project came along, this time a grey pony called ‘Gransha’s Gerry Mouse.’ This pony blossomed into a top class working hunter champion and taught me a lot of valuable lessons on how to be patient and sympathetic while training a young pony.
For a short while I had a coloured pony called ‘Harry.’ He was a tricky character but we did qualify and compete at Hickstead together in the working hunter class.
We began eventing that summer and loved every minute of it. Together we competed at three international 1* events. The first of these was at Necarne Castle. We were in the lead after the dressage and cross country but rolled two poles in the show jumping and dropped to 4th.
The following year we returned to Necarne but parted company two fences from home on the cross country. Not being put off by this we entered for Burgie Horse Trials in Scotland. I was in the middle of my A-levels at the time so flew over only a day before the dressage.
I remember walking the course thinking will my little 15hh mare ever manage this, the fences were huge!
She put her heart and soul into it and brought me home safely and clear. She didn’t finish in the ribbons but for me it was a huge achievement and seemed a fitting time to retire her from eventing.
She was 17 then and I was beginning to feel too tall for her. She went on to introduce my sister and cousin to the exciting world of dressage and still out-trots anything else we have in the yard at the age of 29.
My transition to horses was made easy when my mum bought a lovely 3 year old called Frodo or ‘Gransha’s Lord of the Ring.’ As a four year old he won the Young Event Horse Final and as a five year old won the Working Hunter Championship at Balmoral before going on to finish 2nd in the working hunter class at Dublin Horse Show.
Ralph was another 3 year old bought and produced before being sold to Germany to go eventing.
In 2011 I was asked to give my opinion on a young horse called ‘General Gist.’ Shrek was rising 5 then and was bred to show jump.
He is now 8 and has been in residence at our yard since then! In his first season he won the novice title at our national championships and returned the following year to win the elementary title.
We travelled to Hartpury Dressage Festival in 2012 where he finished 2nd in his first test at medium level. He is working at Prix St George now and is a pleasure to train.
By the famous jumping stallion ‘Arko’ this bay gelding won the Young Horse Class as a four year old at the National Dressage Championships at Cavan. He is now showjumping professionally in the south of Ireland.
My latest project is an irish bred 4 year old by Carrick Diamond Lad, she has campaigned in the Young Event Horse qualifiers and will be aimed at the Young Horse class at the national dressage championships in September 2014.