Josephine started riding before she started walking and dressage was all she ever wanted to ride. Where others wanted to hunt, jump and gallop across the country Jo’s burning ambition was to excel at the sport of dressage. At the age of 6 years she proudly announced that she was going to compete in Cavan, at the Dressage Ireland National Championships. Her mount Lily, a stroppy lead rein pony was not a sufficient deterrent and Lily was given no choice, at 7.30 am on a rainy Saturday morning the Cavan debut took place.
Josephine’s next pony, the redoubtable Tommy Pickles still resides at Marlton today, at the ripe old age of 26 he is currently introducing young children to the fun of horse riding. Josephine competed both Tommy and the part bred Connemara Springer Bob successfully in Ireland and on the Home International Under 21 circuit in the UK, winning several championships along the way.
Her first horse was Blue Valentine, a gorgeous part Arab, Dutch Warmblood and Irish Draught gelding. Blue combined the Warmblood’s talent with the Arab’s fiery mind, adding a good dose of the Draught’s sense of humour and he challenged Josephine’s riding on more than one occasion.
In typical fashion Josephine ignored the advice of the experts to “sell that animal”; and persistence eventually paid off and at the age of 22 she competed in her first ever CDI in Deauville and then at Hickstead. Blue was in the ribbons in both and never dropped below 60%, not bad for a home trained overgrown pony with an equally overgrown ego! Blue went on to be Reserve National PSG Champion twice until melanomas forced him into retirement at the age of 18.
In 2014 the aptly named Let’s Go (aka Ludwig), a gigantic Holstein gelding, came into Josephine’s life. He tested her to the limit with his uncanny knack to produce tears of frustration, throwing the teddies out of the pram just when things seemed to be improving. An outbreak of strangles at the start of 2017 left Ludwig fighting for his life and all plans for a Big Tour debut had to be shelved. Josephine patiently nursed her big boy back to fitness, her patience and persistence paid off and they kicked off the 2018 season with a creditable 3rd place in the PSG National Winter Finals.
She also has an exciting young horse waiting in the wings. The most unlikely dressage prospect, Marlton Scout is a 5 year old cob currently competing at Elementary. What the mare lacks in paces she makes up in cadence and her incredible trainability makes her a delightful change for Josephine. Scout will be joining Ludwig on the trip to the UK in June where she will be competing at a number of shows to gain further experience.
She is ably assisted by her mother Barbara who runs the yard at home and doubles up as driver, trainer and groom on trips abroad. Her long time friend and mentor John Roche has helped her and her horses recover from injuries and set backs and both Ludwig and Blue owe a large part of their success to John and also to Heinrich Zieg from Somerton Equine Hospital. Josephine has trained for last 8 years with Markus Waterhues. Based in Germany Markus is a successful Grand Prix rider and trainer who travels to Marlton for regular clinics and accompanies Josephine on as many of her international outings as his busy schedule will allow.