January Baxendale achieved a lifetime ambition by winning a class at Hickstead.

” I believe every horse & rider partnership is unique, and I feel confident that my choice of Wow saddles and Switcha girths reflects this “

Amateur SJ January Baxendale achieved a lifetime ambition by winning a class at Hickstead. Like so many of us, January Baxendale juggles multiple roles: amateur show jumper, company director, wife, mum, founder of The Good Sports Team and owner/rider of three horses.

“I believe every horse & rider partnership is unique, and I feel confident that my choice of Wow saddles and Switcha girths reflects this. Juice (Jurioso W) isn’t exactly an obvious choice of stead for my 5ft7 frame & his pint size 15.2 stature. With the help of Jenny Basham we were able to design a saddle that works perfectly for both of us without compromise. The increased feeling in his movement was instant and felt incredible. It plays a huge part in him being comfortable and able to do what he loves best – Show Jumping & showing off lol. When I accidentally returned from Hickstead last September with a 3rd horse there wasn’t any question as to my choice of saddle. Four year old Dingle changed shape pretty quickly and Jenny was able to make the necessary adjustments to ensure she was comfortable as she developed.

About me: Amateur show jumper, company director, wife, mum, founder of The Good Sports Team and friend to many. Mum to 3 wonderfully unique horses all of which I never rode before I bought them. I rode as a child, washing up in pubs to save for my 1st horse and mucking out at the local riding school just to be around horses. I took a 20 year break as I realised life would be more balanced and comfortable to pursue this ridiculous way of life when you could actually afford the time and dollar to do so. Turns out there is still very little balance (actually none) in horse life v non-horse. The time it takes to look after them properly and their outstanding ability to deplete your bank account faster than Usain Bolt. But for me, a gentle nuzzle or a knowing look is enough to put an instant stop to the rational thoughts that question my life choices. I simply love my horses and want them to be happy.

I’m now learning to be competitive as it was something I felt afraid of. I never want to come away from the ring disappointed, the fact that my horses are happy and we actually get to the ring is an out and out win in my book. Being in the ring signifies we are fit & healthy, and that I have not given into my fears! As well as our show jumping we enjoy hacking around our beautiful Suffolk countryside, trips to the beach and to the forest – I do this for my own sanity as well as theirs.

About My Horses: Juice (Jurioso W) Bay – 15.2 – Durango VDL x Manhattan | Gelding – 8 Yrs Diva, attention seeker and biggest drama queen on the yard. Has to be centre of attention at all times (even when the dentist comes). There is no such thing as too much attention in his world. We bought him as a 3 yr old simply for his character. He was at a friend’s yard to be sold, I didn’t know anything about his breeding nor had I ridden him so everything we have achieved has come as quite a surprise. He loves to jump (more than I do) taking him to shows is like taking a kid to a sweet shop. I swear he would load himself onto the lorry given the choice. Our very 1st British Novice saw us actually fall over (there will never be 1 and half strides in a double). This was a big knock to our confidence. We found our way to awesome via the British Show Jumping Academy training and struck gold with the legend that is Mia Palles-Clark. We made the main Arena at Hickstead for the 1st time in my life last year, and we have recently won our 1st class there – again another 1st in my lifetime. It’s scary to actually write this but our focus now turns to the Bronze League semi-finals, if I can keep my nerves under control there we will qualify for HOYS.

Maizie (Maizie Fantazie) Appoloosa – 17hh – Fantaland x A well loved mare | Mare – 10 Yrs I’ve had the pleasure of owning and loving Maizie for over 3 years. Maizie is the calm one, she lives for feed, speed and is a real giver of confidence not only to myself but to the many friends who ride her. In fact my friends tend to get more clear rounds on her than I do. I perhaps get a little too excited and she doesn’t need any encouragement. She’s a real powerhouse and containing her canter and enthusiasm is pretty much what we work on. I often start too quiet as I’m fully aware we will accidentally get a little faster as we continue around the course. She has been ridden by race horse trainers and jockeys at the Henry Cecil weekend (where she won for them both). She was also Oisin Murphy’s ride when he made a promotional video with Ben Maher earlier this year. My goal for her this year is to thrive again at the Henry Cecil weekend and hopefully get her to the London International Horse Show for the Injured Jockeys class. She is my only horse not currently in Wow – I’m saving up for that. Whilst her saddle fits her and feels comfortable, I can appreciate that a wow saddle may be a game changer in terms of our connection and my position.

Dingle (Billy Dingle) Grey – 16.3hh – Plot Blue x Cevin Z | Mare 5 Yrs Dingle is an absolute sweetheart, she can occasionally be lead astray by Juice but on the whole has taken everything in her stride. Our partnership started when I watched her full sister Billy Bilboa win the 5yr old championship at Hickstead in 2020. Bilboa took my breath away, not only her ability but her calm approach to life. I bumped into her and her groom on the Hickstead bridge who confirmed her personality was exactly how it appeared in the ring. Fast forward another 12 months there is was a Billy Stud Auction at Hickstead, I opened the catalogue and to my surprise there was Dingle. I set myself a sensible budget and after an exciting, prosecco fuelled few hours found myself owning 3 horses ooopise lol! She hacks alone & in company, a dream to clip, shoe, handle and has a jump which feels like no other horse I have ridden. I have had some help along the way (3 horses a family & a job is pretty intense), I learned the hard way that lunge pens really are a thing when she cleared my 1.40M arena fence and took herself for a gallop around the neighbouring field (she can confirm the grass is actually greener on the other side). She went to stay with George Bateman who is based at Boyton Hall (if Carlsberg did yards it’d be Boyton). I have recently given the ride to my friend Michaela as who bagged 4 double clears at Hickstead in the British Novice whilst I concentrate on Juice’s Bronze League ambitions. I’m not in any rush to produce her or push her in the age classes. I look at Juice and think I got it right with him, so I will follow the same full circle, non-intense approach. Her next goal is to get to the beach and to further develop our connection and partnership.”