East Devon showjumper on the Olympic shortlist
- Credit: James Wilson
Former Kilmington resident James Wilson has been selected on the Olympic shortlist for the Great Britain showjumping team.
James, 26, is one of nine showjumpers on a list that will be narrowed down to a team of three, with two reserves, and the big decision will arrive on June 26.
It is a magnificent achievement for James to reach this stage and the culmination of more than two decades of dedication to the sport for the former pupil at Woodroffe School in Lyme Regis.
“I started in the sport at the age of four and my family have always had an interest in horses,” said James. “At the age of 17, when I left school, I started riding full-time.
“It was then at the age of 21 that I joined forces with my girlfriend Heather Larson to set up our business, Hill House Sport Horses. I also run Wilson Youngstock for breeding and horses up to five years-old.”
“Shortlisting for the Olympics has basically come from 22 years of graft. Selection is judged on performances over time and how you fare leading up to the Games.
“Covid has obviously interrupted everything, so preparation for everyone to get the horses going has been very difficult. My inclusion probably goes back to good performances in the 2019 season.
“It now comes down to a final selection on June 26. Everyone will have their own plan on competitions to attend and the best fit for their horse to be at the peak level.”
The journey to this stage started very early for James, who fulfilled childhood promise with a brilliant double clear in the junior Nations Cup trials at Wales and West when he was just 16.
James worked in Switzerland and Holland, riding 12 horses a day and taking nine horses to shows each week, further developing his knowledge of the sport.
After returning to the UK, he worked with IN showjumpers near London and became more familiar with international shows. He is now based at Hill House Farm in Somerset and will hopefully spend his summer competing in Tokyo.